Independent Travel Tips: Namibia
Namibia: a country of towering sand dunes, other wordly landscapes, and captivating wildlife. The massive distances and out-of-the-way sights may make it seem like a visit here requires flights and tours, but renting a car and going independently really is the easiest (and cheapest) way to see this incredible part of the world.
Here’s some independent travel tips to get you started…
The water throughout Namibia is perfectly safe to drink. Bring a reusable water bottle and fill it up as you go.
With the exception of the very far north, the country is malaria-free.
It’s hot! Be sure to stay in the shade during the middle of the day, and to wear sunscreen.
It’s dry! I wasn’t prepared for how Namibia would dry out my skin and scalp- bring some body lotion and lip balm.
While a lot of the food is meat-based, and a braii is a popular activity, vegetarians will have no problem getting fed. For veggie travel tips throughout southern Africa, click here.
South African rand is accepted everywhere, and the Namibian dollar is pegged to this currency at 1:1. Even if you’re going to South Africa next, make sure to exchange all of your Namibian dollars before leaving the country, as banks in South Africa will only offer 70% of the actual worth!
Camping is a great way to save money on accommodation, and you can buy a cheap tent at an outdoor store. Campsites will let you set up your tent and use the facilities for around N$100-150 per person per night.
The sights are spread out, so make sure you plan a realistic route, that doesn’t try to cover massive distances in short times. And don’t try to take in more sights than you time in Namibia allows- you won’t enjoy your trip if you’re frantically trying to see everything!
Be sure to fill up on petrol whenever you can- there are long stretches of road with no chance to refuel.
Hopefully you won’t need it, but it’s good to know some basic car maintenance, such as how to change a tyre. Help is hard to find in the middle of nowhere!
When driving on unpaved roads, stick to the speed limit of 80km/hr. Even if the road is clear, it’s very easy to skid on the sand.
When driving on sand, lower your tyre pressure to 1.8 bar.
Entrance fees for national parks in Namibia are amazingly cheap- just N$80 per adult and N$10 per car. For the full list of fees, click here.
Check Auto Europe for the best deals on car rentals in Namibia.
The sights are all spread out throughout the country, from Etosha National Park in the far north, to the Skeleton coast in the northeast, to Sossusvlei and Namib Naukluft National Park in the east, and Fish River Canyon in the far south. In my opinion, all of the sights are worth the trip, and the distances between them take in some incredible landscapes, too. Read about all of the sights we encountered in our great Namibian road trip, part 1 and part 2, plus some more tips for Etosha NP.
Got any other tips for independent travel in Namibia? Be sure to share them in the comments!