Why Driving a 4x4 is Vital in Namibia

© Kunene at sunrise

For a real Namibia adventure, and for the best way to experience the vast and scenic beauty of the country, there is no other way than to self-drive by 4x4. Although the roads in most areas are good, and accessible in a two wheel drive, it is best to have a 4x4 as there are those areas where a two wheel drive cannot go.

The road network in Namibia is good in general, the main roads are tarred and it is possible to get from the southern part of the country to Windhoek and further up north on a good tarred road - but there a 4x4 will allow more freedom off the main routes.

A 4x4 vehicle is advisable and in some areas an absolute must

A real Namibia safari holiday has to include the Sossusvlei Dunes or Dead Vlei in the Namib Desert, neither of which are accessible in a normal sedan car without a long and usually hot walk from a parking area. A 4x4 will get you to the foot of the Sossusvlei dunes to allow for more time to appreciate the area.The Kuiseb Canyon and the so-called 'Moon Landscape" are reached by a long and winding gravel road which is accessible in a two wheel drive car but for ease and peace of mind a 4x4 is recommended. You could make it by a sedan car but then have to be prepared to change tyres due to the rocky stones on the road.If you want to see the ship wrecks on the rugged Skeleton Coast, you have to drive on the C34 Salt Road from Swakopmund. Heavy mists along the coast can make this road very slippery so a 4x4 is advisable. Reflections on the road surface and mirage effects along this Skeleton Coast road are common.The wild Kaokoveld region in the northwestern part of Namibia, is only accessible by 4x4. This part of Namibia is really just for you - the 4x4 Namibia adventurers. If you want to see the Desert Elephants and travel Damaraland, you also need a 4x4.

Rainy season (November to April)

>Namibia is not only sand, desert and gravel. During the rainy season between November and April, adventurers might be faced with driving through mud or river floods. Flash flooding can also wash away or wash out some of the gravel roads.

No Mobile Phone Reception in Remote Areas of Namibia

Most highlights are located in the in the middle of nowhere, in beautiful Namib Desert landscape or vast empty plains. If you are really far away from a main road, there will be no cell reception. For a safer feeling and better handling of your car and for being able to enjoy your Namibia safari holiday to the fullest, explore the country by 4x4.

Namibian highlights reached by sand road - 4x4 only

  • Sossusvlei Dunes and Dead Vlei, Namib Desert
  • Namibian Kalahari
  • Skeleton Coast (sand and salt road - can be very slippery)

Namibian highlights reached by gravel road - 4x4 only

  • Twyfelfontein Rock Art, Petrified Forest and Organ Pipes, Damaraland
  • Palmwag Desert Elephants, Damaraland
  • Kaudon area in the Caprivi Strip

Namibian highlights reached by gravel road - 4x4 advisable

  • Kuiseb Canyon ("Moon Landscape")

Namibian highlights in pure wilderness - 4x4 only

  • Kaokoveld, north-western Namibia

Namibia 4 x 4 Vehicle Hire

Finfd out about Namibia self-drive 4x4 hire.

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