Namibia is one of the best countries for an ultimate road trip. The country is HUGE, and it’s impossible to cover too much in a day. Here you have some things to know before travelling, especially on a 4×4 self-drive trip!
Getting to Namibia
European Union (except Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia), the United Kingdom, United States, as well as most of the Commonwealth nationals, do not require a visa to enter Namibia and can stay here for up to 90 days.
Most international flights arrive at Hosea Kutako International Airport, a 45minute drive from Windhoek, Namibia capital, which is a good starting point for tours of Namibia. We flew with Ethiopian Airlines, from Europe, and I must say it was a pleasant surprise: new aircraft, friendly staff, proper seating and ample legroom.
Best Time to Visit Namibia
The best months are from June to October, which is also the peak travel season, so make sure to plan and book well in advance. During those months it’s the dry season that comes with no mosquitos (we only fought them for two nights in Sossusvlei), pleasant temperatures during the day(but it can get cold at night in Damaraland or Etosha) and ideal wildlife viewing.
Money in Namibia
The currency of Namibia is the Namibian Dollar (N$). The Namibian Dollar and the South African Rand are both used side by side as the countries currency. They are valued at 1: 1.
You’ll find ATMs throughout Namibia, and this is unquestionably the simplest way to manage your money while travelling. When withdrawing or changing money, you may receive either South African rand or Namibian dollars.
Credit cards and debit cards are accepted in most gas stations, shops, restaurants, campings and lodges.
Tipping is expected everywhere in Namibia, so make sure you have some small notes on you. When you park your car in the city, at a shopping mall, at a gas station, tourists sites or other areas, often you will see men asking for money to watch your car: It’s a standard method in Namibia.
Is Namibia Safe?
It is the first thing that our friends asked us before and after our visit. Now I can definitely say that it is one of the safest countries we’ve visited. From the car rental company, we were advised not to help someone with a puncture other than tourists, not to take hitchhikers, not to ask for help when we see a group of local men, instead reach for the help of tourists or elderly. Honestly, I found the Namibians very kind, friendly and always helpful.
However, as anywhere else in this world, be vigilant and stay safe at any time. Never leave anything valuable in your vehicle and don’t wander alone at night (that goes mostly for cities like Windhoek, Swakopmund or Walvis Bay).
Internet in Namibia
The easiest way to buy a Sim-data package is right from MTC store, inside the small arrivals hall at Windhoek airport. Wi-Fi connection is often slow and unstable in Namibia: most of the time, we could check our emails or chat, but uploading/downloading was a mess. However, overall, it was better than expected. Don’t rely on Wi-Fi at lodges or campsites; rely on your Sim.
Sim-data package: MTC Super Aweh Voucher for one week: 65N$ (4€, 4.5US$) included: 700 free minutes, 1500 free SMS, 3 GB free, 750 MB free for Facebook&Whatsapp. Cheap, isn’t it?
Driving in Namibia
Days are short, the roads are sometimes exhausting, you still have some things to do along the way, so driving that much in a day is not an option. You will drive most of the time on C gravel roads with a max speed of 80km/h, but on D gravel roads you will drive slower, due to potholes. Driving in Namibia is done on the left side of the road. Also driving a 4×4 car is highly recommended! We used offline google maps, and it was perfect for our 2-week road trip.
Namibia it’s a rough land but still very easy to drive. It’s such a trouble-free country to navigate on your own, so I dare to say that anyone could do it.
Distances from Windhoek to:
– Etosha National Park, 433km, 4h30′ drive
– Sossusvlei, 370km, 5h drive
– Swakopmund, 350km, 3h30′ drive
– Spitzkoppe, 277km, 3h drive
Renting a BUDGET Car in Namibia
I know, renting a 4×4 rooftop tent car can be quite expensive. Still, considering that accommodations aren’t cheap, this option it’s the best way to travel and also the most popular way to visit Namibia.
We’ve opted for a BUDGET car from Savanna Car Hire ( I can highly recommend them: we had some minor problems with the fridge, and they were very responsive and helpful). Budget cars are usually old models with more miles on board (ours had 178.000km), with no crossing border option, but they cost less.
Car Rental: 4×4 Rooftop Hilux, BUDGET OPTION = 12.285N$ (758€/ 840US$) / 13 days rental, with a reduced excess option also included (14.000N$) or 58€/ 64US$/day
Camping in Namibia
Namibia is an excellent country to camp. The campsites usually have good facilities: electricity, running water, toilets and showers- private or communal, a restaurant or a bar, a small shop for necessary groceries, and a pool to chill out. Remember to book well in advance!
If you don’t want to buy food supplies and cook, but serve lunch or dinner at one of the restaurants inside the campsites, make sure to book in advance. Some of them only offer pre-book meals.
Shopping in Namibia
There are plenty of supermarkets in Windhoek, like Pick&Pay, Spar or Chequers, where you can stock up on groceries. Make sure you have some small notes on you for the men guarding your car while shopping.
Some random prices:
Water: 35N$/5-litre bottle. You can refill it at any petrol station, convenience store for 10N$/bottle.
Beer – 25N$/can – Alcohol is sold everywhere: supermarkets, gas stations, restaurants and bars. But keep in mind; it’s against the law to buy alcohol in shops or liqueur stores on Saturday on Sunday. All the fridges are chained so don’t even bother asking for help!
Meet – Pork-neck chops, 122N$/kg. Braai is famous in South African countries; charcoal and firewoods are sold at every petrol-station or convenience store.
Milk: 20N$/1-litre, Apples: 28N$/kg, Pears: 33N$/kg, Pineapple: 22N$/piece Bananas: 24N$/kg, Ginger biscuits: Oh my god, they are so delicious, definitely something to try: 13N$.
2-Week Self-Drive Trip Costs:
2.800N$ (173€, 191US$) for 4 nights accommodated
3.522N$ (217€, 240US$) for 9 nights camping
12.285N$ (758€, 840US$) for 13 days rental with extra insurance, 58€/ 64US$/day
4.386N$ (270€, 300US$) for 305-litre fuel for 2.850km made in two weeks
6.325N$ (390€, 432US$) for park entries, food and extra
Total: around 900€, 1000US$/pp for 13 days or 69€, 76US$/ pp/per day (without international flight tickets)