You really don't need a 4x4 vehicle to explore this wonderful country as most of the roads are navigable using a normal sedan vehicle.
So it will save you a considerable amount on a diy Namibia self drive if you don't pay a premium for your rental car.
Best Namibia Self Drive Safari Destinations (No 4x4 Needed)
Etosha National Park
Amazing safari destination, particularly the floodlit waterholes that get visited by all manner of wildlife, especially during the dry season. The big five occur here, so you will have the opportunity to spot them all.
Cape Cross Seal Reserve
This is a protected area for Cape fur seals that descend on the reserve in their thousands to breed. Between 80 000 to 100 000 seals inhabit Cape Cross. You may also get to see jackal and brown hyena that feed on seal pups if they can catch them.
Swakopmund Desert Dunes
Ride on the dunes themselves and get to see (if you are fortunate) Desert and Namaqua chameleon, Sidewinding adders, Cartwheeling spiders, scorpions, Shovel snouted sand diving lizards and Palmato geckos.
How To Go On A Namibia Self Drive
The process can be divided into two stages - the things you need to know and do before your trip and the things you need to know and do during your safari.
- Car Rental
- Travel Insurance
- Camera, Lenses and Binoculars
- Clothing, What To Pack
- Safari Activities
During Safari Know-How
- How To See More Wildlife
- What And Where To Buy Food
- Better Safari Photography
- Safari Area Maps
- Gate Times and Distance Charts
- Places To Linger On Your Safari
- Top Routes For Wildlife Sightings
- Wifi And Mobile Availability
- Rules Of The Road
- Mammal, Bird and Reptile Identification
To make things a lot easier for you to plan and go on your own Namibia self drive I've written two how-to ebooks, Guide Your Own Safari and Guide Your Own Safari Planner that contain all the above information and more.
The Cost Of A Self Guided Safari
The answer to this is, it depends.
It depends on you.
The kind of accommodation you want ( budget, mid, deluxe ), the car you want to rent, how long you want to stay, where you eat and so on. Remember, a self drive safari is the most affordable one you can go on but also the most flexible.
Really, the best way to determine what a Namibia self drive safari will cost you is to ask for a quotation (no obligation to travel if you request a quote here), tailored to your unique circumstances.
Then you will know exactly how much to budget for your dream trip.
Getting To Namibia
A number of airlines globally offer flights to Namibia from Europe and the USA such as South African Airways, Air Namibia (the national carrier), British Airways, Virgin and Air Botswana.
If there aren’t direct flights from where you are there is always the option of first flying to Johannesburg in South Africa and then getting a connecting flight to Windhoek in Namibia.
In total, there are about 30 civil airports (open for public use) in Namibia ranging from the ones that handle international traffic, smaller domestic ones and airstrips that mostly take charter traffic.
The company responsible for operating the principal airports is called the Namibia Airports Company.
International Airports ( Airport Code )
Hosea Kutako International Airport ( WDH )
Domestic Airports ( Airport Code )
Windhoek Eros Airport ( ERS )
Katimo Mulilo ( MPA )
Rundu ( NDU )
Ondangwa ( OND )
Walvis Bay ( WVB )
Luderitz ( LUD )
Keetmanshoop ( KMP )
Booking Domestic Flights For A Namibia Self Drive
The main domestic carrier operating in the country is Namibia Air and there are many charter airlines in operation to get to the airstrips in the game reserves themselves.
Remember that you need to be at the airport an hour before departure for domestic flights in Namibia.
The local currency is the Namibian Dollar (N$) and it has the same value as the South African Rand (ZAR) to which it’s pegged. The Rand is legal tender in Namibia and accepted everywhere.
Notes are issued in denominations of $10, $50 and $100 and coins in denominations of 5c, 10c, 50c, $1 and $5.
No foreign currencies are accepted in state owned rest camps and there are no facilities to exchange currency so if you are visiting Etosha and other state owned properties make sure you have local currency on hand or pay by credit card which is also accepted.
First National Bank, Standard Bank and Bank of Namibia are well represented throughout the country and they provide foreign exchange services as well.
Banking hours are from 09:00-15:30 on weekdays and 08:30-11:00 on Saturdays except for the smaller towns where banks close between 13:00 and 14:00.
Standard Bank has different hours in the larger service centres namely from 08:30-15:30 on weekdays and 08:30-12:00 on Saturdays.
Most businesses in Namibia accept international credit cards like American Express, Visa, Diners Club and MasterCard but shops in rural and remote areas often don’t, so make sure you have some cash on hand for situations like this, especially when it comes to refuelling.
There are automatic teller machines available in all of the larger towns from banks like Standard, FNB and Bank of Namibia.
There are no ATM’s in the Etosha National Park so make sure you have drawn cash elsewhere before you reach there.
Tipping is much the same as in South Africa. A ten percent tip is standard in restaurants where the service charge is not included in the bill.
At petrol (gas) stations it is also customary to give the attendant who fills up your car (no self help here) and washes your windscreen a tip.
You will also find in some of the bigger towns that when you park your vehicle someone will come up to you and offer to watch over your car until you get back.
You can decline (in which case theoretically they won’t intervene if someone tries to steal or break into your vehicle) but these are often unemployed people who have no other means of earning an income. A small tip when you get back to your car will be sufficient.
When on a Namibia self drive safari you may go on a guided activity like an open vehicle game drive. Tips to park staff is not compulsory but much appreciated. The amount is up to you and in accordance to your opinion of the quality of the guiding.
Rules Of The Road - Outside The Reserves
All vehicles drive on the left hand side of the road, the same as in the rest of Africa. The main roads are tarred and all the secondary roads are gravel, but most of them are in good condition.
The speed limit on gravel roads is 100 km/h but driving on them can be deceptive so the recommended driving speed is 80 km/h (45 mph) until you are accustomed to the conditions.
On tarred national roads the speed limit is 120 km/h and in towns the speed limit is 60 km/h.
Make sure that you have a spare tyre on the vehicle you use for your Namibia self drive safari (most hire cars will have a spare but make sure it’s inflated) because it is quite possible to get a flat on some of the roads you will be traversing, especially in the Etosha National Park.
If you are going to be driving away from the main tarred routes then it’s a good idea to take at least 10 litres of bottled water for emergencies. Fill up with fuel wherever you get the chance because distances between towns can be large. Try not to let the tank fall below one quarter full.
You are legally required to wear a safety belt and you may not talk on a cellphone while driving in Namibia.
A driver's licence from any country bearing a photograph of the holder will be accepted in Namibia, if the licence is in English or has an English-language certificate of authenticity attached to it. Alternatively, an international driving permit, obtained prior to arrival, may be used.
There are roadblocks outside the major towns and cites like Windhoek and you might be stopped and your car inspected. Make sure you have the registration papers handy (the car hire company will provide you with that).
If you enter by vehicle through the border you will have to purchase a cross border charge permit. If you are stopped at a roadblock you may be asked by the officials to produce this permit.
Everything You Need To Know And Do Before Your Self Drive Safari
Over 40 years of self drive knowledge is displayed on this website and in the "Guide Your Own Safari Planner" eBook for you to access to make sure you are exceptionally well prepared for your own African self guided safari.
Logistical Planning and Booking
You don't have to do your self drive alone. We provide logistical help and accommodation, car rental and flight bookings at no extra cost to you. Being agents mean we can offer you the same prices as if you were to book and plan things on your own. Contact Us.
Everything You Need To Know and Do During Your Self Drive Safari
The "Guide Your Own Safari" interactive eBook loaded on your phone is almost like having a human safari guide with you on the trip. It contains all the information you need while your safari is happening to make it a huge success.