Travel in Namibia

By | June 12, 2021

The road network in Namibia is – in African comparison – excellent in large parts of the country. It is true that only a few thousand kilometers of roads are tarred and the remaining roads are gravel and on the coast partly also salt roads. But even these unpaved roads (at least the road category “C”, but also many “D” roads) are usually very well maintained and the majority of them can also be driven on with a normal car, especially in the dry season.

Despite the good roads, Namibia is the country with the highest number of deaths in road accidents (relative to the population). Unfortunately, serious accidents with three, five or even ten or more deaths occur regularly in Namibia. Because of the low traffic density, the cars outside the built-up areas are usually traveling at at least 120 km / h. Two cars approaching each other then approach each other at an extremely high speed, so that the very frequent head-on collisions lead to terrible accidents. These accidents are very often due to risky overtaking maneuvers causes alcohol, dodging animals suddenly on the street and blown tires. Especially tourists without driving experience on gravel roads often overturn when driving too fast on gravel roads. Driving in Namibia is by far the greatest risk when traveling in the country.

According to ebizdir, buying an all-terrain car is recommended for Namibia. It doesn’t have to be a ‘hardcore’ SUV, however. As long as you don’t want to drive a lot on sand (dunes, beach) or often drive on remote and very poor roads (for example in Damaraland or Kaokoveld), a 4WD SUV is usually sufficient. Common vehicles in this category in Namibia are primarily compact SUVs such as the Nissan X-Trail, Toyota RAV 4 or Land Rover Freelander. Common ‘hardcore’ 4WD vehicles are Nissan Patrol, Toyota Fortuner, Toyota Landcruiser, Ford Ranger, as well as the Land Rover Discovery and the legendary Land Rover Defender.

For tax and duty-exempt expatriates, it is worth importing a new car, as used cars are relatively expensive on site due to the considerable customs duties. Cars imported duty-free may be sold on the free market after they have been used for at least two years. The procurement of such import cars is generally carried out. through special companies and organizations specializing in international organizations and expats such as Kjaer & Kjaer, Begeca or Toyota Gibraltar. GIZ’s procurement department has further information for development cooperation staff. A lead time of at least four months must be planned for importing a new car. The car should be ordered accordingly in good time before departure.

It must be noted that the duty-free import of a new vehicle for expatriates is only possible within the first six months after entry. Since a residence and work permit must first be available for the application for duty exemption, it is advisable to order a new car so that the car arrives in Namibia about two or three months after entry.

There is an excellent tourist infrastructure throughout the country. Lodges from simple to luxurious, guest farms, hotels, guest houses and a large number of excellently equipped campsites make traveling in Namibia extremely simple and easy to organize. The relevant tour operators, special Namibia portals and Namibia travel forums and numerous Namibia travel guides provide more information. Accommodation directories for all of Namibia can be found on the ‘ Where-To-Stay Namibia ‘ website or in the ‘ Trummies List”. The latter contains numerous maps showing the location of the various types of accommodation available in a region. This is particularly helpful when planning a multi-day trip through the country with multiple changes of accommodation.

Namibia is an ‘auto country’. The public transport system is pretty rudimentary, without your own car in Namibia – also because of the great distances – as good as nothing. The Townhoppers minibus shuttle service runs twice a day between Windhoek and Swakopmund. So-called ‘ Intercape buses ‘ (large, comfortably equipped intercity buses) connect Windhoek with Cape Town in the south, Johannesburg in the east and Lusaka in the north. But that’s pretty much the entire range of public overland transport.

There are also train connections on a few routes, but these are so slow that they are no real alternative to road. Especially comfortably furnished special trains are regularly used for tourists, eg the ‘ Desert Express ‘ from Windhoek to Swakopmund. The train ride with overnight stays is several times longer than the four hours that you need by car for this route. All Namibia tour operators and the Namibian railway company TransNamib provide more information.

Air Namibia offers various domestic flights from Windhoek, such as to Ondangwa and Rundu in the north, to Walvis Bay on the coast, to Katima Mulilo in the Caprivi and to Oranjemund and L├╝deritz in the south, but domestic flights are okay compared to long-haul flights to Europe expensive. Finally, there is also the option of charter small aircraft, but this option is of course significantly more expensive than a domestic flight.

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