South Africa and Namibia provide the self-drive holiday maker the perfect destination to head out independently, and fascinating landscapes and big game make for an unforgettable safari holiday.
There are not many places in South Africa where an average car cannot get to. Even the country's greatest wildlife park is easily accessible. Save for some designated 'off-road' routes the country is open to all forms of motor vehicle. And this also applies to Namibia.
Some years back I was asked by a guest why the parks of Africa were so inaccessible to visitors wanting to travel the country on their own in a sedan car. I pondered this for a while before realising that, although the majority of Africa's parks were out of reach for people in ordinary sedan vehicles, South Africa and Namibia more than made up for the lack of park experiences for self-drive travelers in Africa.
Zimbabwe is also accessible in a sedan but in the past there were issues with availability of fuel, however these issues seem to be a thing of the past.
What makes South Africa and Namibia such ideal self-drive destinations? The reasons are numerous. First world infrastructure, easy availability of fuel, well marked routes and a range of accommodation options to choose from add up to a hassle free holiday.
In fact two of Africa's greatest wilderness destinations are so accessible it is not even necessary to have a guide. Etosha National Park in Namibia and Kruger National Park in South Africa are recognized by connoisseurs as two of the continents iconic game parks - and they are exceptionally easy to get to.
Namibia is as easy as South Africa to get around. The roads are of the same high quality, albeit that the attractions are further apart. Unlike South Africa's routes where the attractions are all within easy reach of each other, Namibia is a desert country and the distances between stops are huge, so it is best to sit back and enjoy the open spaces.
There are other countries in Africa that are suitable for sedan, and in fact it is quite possible to drive from Cape Town to Nairobi in a sedan. In most countries north of the Zambezi, however, the game parks are generally inaccessible to non-four- wheel drive vehicles.