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Namibia Self-drive Safaris & Tours

4.6/5  –  220 Namibia Reviews

Namibia is perfectly suited to the self-drive safari and is one of the best and safest destinations in Africa whether you’re self-driving or not. It’s a fantastic country for combining wonderful wildlife viewing with spectacular landscapes and fascinating cultural encounters. It also has one of the most professional safari industries, and the variety of places you can visit is simply extraordinary. Getting around in your very own 4x4 adds a whole new dimension to your safari experience and is one of the best ways you can possibly imagine for getting to know Africa.

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1-20 of 29 self-drive tours, trips and holidays to Namibia

7 Questions About Namibia Self-drive Safaris

 
 

7 Questions About Namibia Self-drive Safaris

Answered by Anthony Ham

What are the pros and cons of a Namibia self-drive safari?

“The biggest advantage of embarking on a self-drive safari is the freedom it will give you. Although your tour operator will probably provide you with an itinerary to follow, you’ll decide when to stop and when to move on. If you’re in Etosha National Park and you’ve found a lion on a kill, you can stay as long as you want: it’s entirely up to you. Or perhaps you want to watch the sunrise over the dunes of Sossusvlei: again, it’s your call, and you won’t have to wait around for others to get out of bed. A self-drive safari is very much your safari and, for some, myself included, there’s no better way to travel. The downside of a self-drive safari is that you’ll be driving through Namibia all by yourself. You won’t have a guide and nor will you have other safari-goers as companions along the way. The latter may not be an issue: you’re sure to meet other travelers as you go. And for most who choose to travel on a self-drive tour, the freedom you enjoy more than compensates.”

1

Where should I go on a Namibia self-drive trip?

“There are lots of choices for where to go on your 4x4 safari in Namibia. Etosha is undoubtedly one of southern Africa’s best parks for seeing wildlife, especially rhinos, elephants, lions, cheetahs and so much more. Other Namibia highlights include the sand dunes of Sossusvlei; the dramatic scenery in Fish River Canyon; the unusual wildlife possibilities (including desert-adapted lions, elephants and rhinos) of Damaraland; the rock art of Brandberg and Twyfelfontein; the shipwrecks, seals and sand dunes of the Skeleton Coast; and the opportunities to spend time with the Himba people in the northwest and the San in the Kalahari in the country’s east. More remote possibilities include the parks of the northeast, such as Khaudum, Bwabwata and Nkasa Rupara National Parks; the latter is especially good for birding. They’re all worthwhile experiences, and what you can see all depends on how much time you have to spare.”

2

What is the condition of the roads in Namibia?

“Namibia’s paved road network is generally excellent, with the roads in good condition. This is good news in a country where distances between attractions can be vast. For the more popular off-road attractions in Namibia, the unpaved roads are usually good: they are most often wide, graded regularly and well maintained. This is certainly true in Etosha National Park, along the central sections of the Skeleton Coast and around Sossusvlei, although soft sand can be an issue in some areas of the latter. Trucks rarely travel these roads, which means the damage that can be caused by heavy vehicles is seldom an issue. Some of these roads are gravel, others are sand and/or dirt. In some of the more isolated areas, such as away from the main trails through northern Damaraland, some of the tracks are quite rocky and you’ll need to drive slowly and carefully. And in Khaudum National Park, you’ll need to travel in a group with at least one other vehicle as many of the trails are soft sand and it is really remote country.”

3

What is the best time of the year for a 4x4 safari in Namibia?

“When it comes to the weather, the best time to go on safari in Namibia is from June to September, although May and October are generally also fine. During these months, you can usually expect clear skies, dry conditions and cool nights, especially in desert regions. With the best weather conditions come the best road and track conditions. Many unpaved roads can be quite difficult after rains, but thankfully, rain is rare during these months. High season in Namibia runs from July to October. Roads, campsites and national parks can all get busy at this time. Prices are at their highest, and limited availability may mean you have less choice unless you book well in advance. April, May and June can be a cheaper but nonetheless good alternative. The Wet season months of November to April aren’t all bad: rains are rarely constant or too disruptive, and with low season comes lower prices and fewer crowds. Other advantages of traveling at this time include the birding (many migratory species arrive in September and stay until April) and the opportunity to see newborn animals in the parks.”

4

Do I need 4x4 experience for a self-drive trip in Namibia?

“Prior experience driving a 4x4 is not necessary for going on a self-drive safari in Namibia, provided you’re not too ambitious about where you go. And if you don’t have much 4x4 experience, you should, of course, drive with great care in the unfamiliar conditions. For most destinations, including Etosha and Sossusvlei, the roads are easy to drive and you shouldn’t experience any difficulties. In national parks, speed limit maximums are usually 40km/h (25mph), which is a safe speed well suited to those not accustomed to driving off-road. If you’ve never before driven a 4x4 vehicle off-road, it’s probably best if you avoid more challenging destinations such as northern Damaraland and Khaudum National Park. If you’re concerned about your lack of 4x4 experience, consider taking a 4x4 familiarization course, either before arriving in Namibia, or before setting out after you arrive in the country. And whether you take such a course or not, make sure that you spend time asking lots of questions and getting to know your vehicle when you first pick it up.”

5

How much does a Namibia self-drive safari cost?

“Prices for a 4x4 safari in Namibia vary greatly, depending on a number of factors. One of these is the time of year that you travel (high-season prices apply from July to October). Another is the type of vehicle you choose. Prices can also differ depending on whether you’ll be camping (which is cheaper) or staying in lodges or tented camps (which are more expensive). And, of course, some self-drive safari operators are simply more expensive than others. It is worth remembering that the per-person cost will change notably depending on how many people will be traveling in the vehicle. If you’re traveling alone, the per-person cost could be very high. It will be less if there are four people in the vehicle. As a general guide, and without factoring in any of the above, expect a Namibia self-drive safari to start at US$200 to US$250 per person per day.”

6

Is it safe to self-drive in Namibia?

“Namibia is considered one of the safest safari destinations in Africa, and this is certainly true for those going on a self-drive safari in the country. Crime rates and the prevalence of traffic accidents is generally lower than in some other African countries. And Namibia’s low population density usually means that you’ll share the road with relatively few other vehicles. As long as you drive carefully, and take particular care when driving off-road, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a safe safari experience driving through Namibia. Tips for ensuring that you stay safe on gravel, dirt or sandy roads include driving extra slowly, because it’s very easy to lose control if you have to brake suddenly. Avoid driving at night. And always be vigilant for animals crossing the road without warning.”

7

Namibia Reviews

4.6/5 220 Reviews
Expert
Christopher Clark  –  
United Kingdom UK

Christopher is a British travel writer and has contributed to various Fodor's guidebooks and a range of travel magazines.

Sand, salt pans and stars: Southern Africa’s wild west
5/5

With the exception of the verdant Zambezi Region, most of Namibia is comprised of harsh and inhospitable desert, but I’ve always found it staggeringly beautiful. Namibia was the first place I really travelled in Africa; I’ve been back...

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Expert
Ariadne van Zandbergen  –  
South Africa ZA

Ariadne is a renowned African wildlife photographer whose work is featured in many well-known guidebooks and magazines.

The stark beauty of Namibia
4/5

Most of Namibia’s environment is arid and harsh, and yet there are few people who wouldn’t call this country beautiful. The desolate landscapes of the Namib Desert are picture perfect. Photographers, myself included, love to get...

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Panagiotis Giannopoulos  –  
Netherlands NL
Reviewed: Feb 22, 2024
Excellen
5/5

Incredible trip of 10 days all around Namibia. The travel agency organised everything and personalised it. All the lodges were excellent. Can't decide what was better, the dunes in Sossusvlei, or the wildlife in the North.

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Aaron Roberts  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Feb 20, 2024
Namibia was one of the most enchanting, fascinating, and beautiful countries I've ever been to!
5/5

My recent trip to Namibia was nothing short of extraordinary. From the moment I set foot in this captivating country, I was greeted by a landscape that seemed to stretch endlessly, offering a mesmerizing blend of natural wonders and...

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Aris  –  
Cyprus CY
Reviewed: Feb 16, 2024
Wild, remote, exclusively for adventurous nature lovers...
5/5

From all the many things we worried about before booking our Namibia trip that potentially could go wrong, nothing did! I think that must my starting point of my review. We didn't get sick, we had no road accident (not one flat tyre in 4000...

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Herbert Tai  –  
Hong Kong HK
Reviewed: Jan 17, 2024
Exceed expectation, will definitely visit again!
5/5

If you are from urban area, you can never imagine there is a place like Namibia in the world. Animals and breathtaking sceneries everywhere! Comfortable lodges and good food make sure you can also take a good break. People in this...

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