Tips & tricks @ Namibia
If you dream of traveling in Africa but have no idea where to go first, Namibia is a good place to start. With the exception of the bad gravel roads, we found it no more difficult or dangerous to travel in than Asia or Europe.
Please note when renting a 4x4 that the car is not older than 5 years. This is purely to be sure that you will not just get stuck in the wilderness among all wild animals. We rented our car at Bushlore in Windhoek back in 2015.
The official language of Namibia is English, which makes independent travel easy. You can ask questions, you can get directions, you don’t have to use your hands and feet all the time… it’s all so easy.
Namibia is safe and easy to travel through, but it also has a lot to offer. Head to Etosha National Park and you’ll get to drive alongside elephants, giraffes, lions, black rhinos, and more. You can hit up the Namibian Desert for sand dune climbing at sunrise. There are beaches and coastlines full of shipwrecks to explore. The darkest skies are in Namibia, so the Milky Way is always shining brightly above your head at night. Oh, and there’s a ghost town in the middle of the desert.
In other words: Namibia is the best!
We are travelers that like to experience everything a country has to offer. In every country we visit there are also a few basics we value and that is comfortable sleeping and good food. Of course this has to fit within our budget, which isn't a backpacker budget, but we also don't have unlimited financial resources.
Our daily budget in 2018 is based on the fact that we travel with our own car. We stayed at campsites and did some wildcamping. Namibia is a perfect country to do this and it saves you a lot of money (All the places we have visited, can be found on iOverland).
Accomodation: EUR 9,54
Food, Drinks: EUR 9,96
Going out (lunch, diner, drinks): EUR 8,21
Activities: EUR 1,84
Gasoline: EUR 22,93
Others Costs: EUR 7,23
** Total: approx. EUR 60,31,- per person per night. We stayed in Namibie for 31 days.
You can stay in Namibia for up to 90 days without needing a visa. You must be in possession of proof of a return flight or a flight to the next destination, and a valid passport (valid for at least 6 months). Costs: EUR 18,- (cros border permit).
When crossing the border note that you have a stamp in the passport with the correct expiry date. They often write this wrong and then you are burdened with extra costs when you leave the country. In some cases it can even lead to a prison sentence.
If you are exploring the country by car, you will find different kind of roads. The general rule we apply to the pressure in our tires are:
Tar roads: approx. 2,5 bar
Gravel roads: approx. 2.2 / 2.3 bar
Sand roads: 1.6 to 1.2 if the road is very sandy
Take in mind the car, the tires you use and how heavy your vehicle is loaded. This will have an effect on how much pressure you should have in the tires.
MONEY Namibian dollars are essential for buying petrol and small items, whilst most hotels, restaurants and larger shops accept credit cards (Visa, MasterCard). They also accept dollars if you have no local money. Be aware that you have to pay a fee with every withdrawal of money. People who make a calculation how long they can travel. Keep in mind that approx. 2% of your budget is spent on the 'foreign currency' fee for your own bank in your own country.
WILDCAMPING Namibia is a perfect country for wild camping. Here are some of our ground rules when wild camping:
- Make sure that you are at the place of destination before dark. A good time to look for a good camp site is most of the time around 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm. This gives you enough time to scout out the area.
- Find a spot that is out of sight, so that people that are passing by can’t see you.
- When making a fire please be aware of the environment, especially in dry season. Fire’s can easily escalate.
- Make sure that you are not next to a village. The fewer people know where you are, the safer it is.
- If you want to stay in or next to a village, talk to head of the community for approval. Most of the time they say yes, which means you are safe. Although you’ll not have time for yourself as the whole village will come visit you ;-) althought you are the highlight of the village.
- When you find a spot and you are close to a wildlife park, be aware that you don’t stand under a tree elephant’s like. Also, don’t stand on a path which wild animals use.
- When you need to go for a bush toilet, make sure to dig a hole and cover it after.
- Respect the environment and don’t litter. Take you trash with you.
· If you are interested to know where we stayed than have a look on iOverlander.
Most campsites offer free wifi, although the speed is questionable. Our advice is to buy a local sim card. For Namibia we advise MTC as they are the largest and has the most reach throughout the country. Keep in mind that the network isn’t wide spread yet, so most places you just have to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
You will find supermarkets in most big towns. Make sure to stack up here as in rural areas or villages you will not find (a lot of) options to buy groceries. Our favorite supermarket in Namibia is Food Lover’s Market. They have a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables.
When travelling off road, keep in mind that you are in animal territory. Always give them their space. Do not blow your horn as the animals can get aggressive.
The signs of aggression to look out for in an elephant include:
· shaking his head,
· lifting his trunk and rolling it over his head and eyes,
· flattening his ears against his head,
· rocking his back legs and crossing them.
If he displays any of these warning signs, be very careful. These are all clear indications that he is not happy with your presence and will more than likely attack you. Male elephant who are alone, are most of the time rejected of the group and are more aggressive and on their guard.
Rhino’s have no coordination and have poor eyesight. When they flee be very wary as they do it unconsciously.
Never stand with your car between the water and the hippo. In case of danger, they run back to the water where they feel safe.
For the alcohol lovers among us, it is good to know that supermarkets & liquor stores can only sell booze until 5pm on weekdays and 1pm on Saturday. Sunday’s shops are closed so make sure you stock up for the weekend.
When reading the road map you will find letters for the different kind of roads. The letter marks the quality of the road. For example, the letter B is an asphalted road that can be ridden by anyone. The letter C becomes a common gravel road. Here you are expected to reduce the tire pressure to prevent punctures. The letter D is dusty sand and pebbles. A cool and adventurous route for lovers.
CAR TROUBLE OR GETTIN' STUCK
For all road users in Africa, you always help another road user in the event of a breakdown or if someone is stuck.
If you can't find the information needed, please feel free to contact us. ----------- Chris & Inge ------------------------------------------------------