Although Namibia is one of the best countries to self-drive due to the good road infrastructure and availability of fuel and spares there are a number vital points that must be taken into account to prevent any unfortunate mishaps.
Photo: Chris Duplessis
As in all Southern African countries driving is on the left side of the road. To increase the visibility of your car and to ensure safety for all passengers, switch on the lights, also at daylight.
Most road accidents in Namibia are caused by speed. It is not always easy to manoeuvre a vehicle on a gravel or dirt road, especially if there are any sudden and unexpected obstacles like rocks, sand drifts, potholes or animals on the road. Vary your speed according to the road conditions, always be alert and make sure that you have total control over your car.
Make sure you plan your trip exactly before leaving. Ensure that you have enough fuel until your next destination in Namibia and inform yourself where the next petrol stations are. Fill your tank as often as you can, even when it is still half full.
Please check your vehicle before leaving for your Namibia self-drive trip. Make sure that the breaks are working and check the tyre pressure. Please test if the spare tyre is in a good condition and make sure you have all necessary tools needed for changing a tyre.
Be prepared for a tyre change on the gravel roads in Namibia. It might happen that edgy stones can harm your tyre and you may be faced with a break-down. Maybe even add second spare tyre and a tyre repair kit if you plan to visit very remote areas.
In remote areas there is no cell reception. If you are stuck or have a puncture on one of the gravel roads in the middle of nowhere, it might take hours or even days until another vehicle passes by and help. Please make sure you have enough food and drinks packed as well as sun screen or a sun hat.
Carry lots of water with you during your Namibia self-drive trip. It is highly needed in case of a break-down in the vast and isolated desert landscape of Namibia.
While driving in Namibia, you might be lucky to spot African wildlife next to the road. Please do not get distracted by this sight, rather stop your car slowly if you want to take a picture. Also be very cautious and alert. Animals might jump into the road or cross suddenly.
Ensure that you reach your stop-over venue or destination before nightfall. Potholes in the roads can be overlooked and lead to unnecessary punctures or car damage. Also, the African wildlife is most active at dusk. The chances that you hit an animal or are distracted by wildlife jumping on the road at night are highly increased.
Please avoid driving long distances as the road conditions and your speed might vary. A trip that doesn't seem long in kilometers might end up being a 14 hour drive due to driving slowly on certain roads or a break-down.
Driver weariness is an issue so plan enough stops at guesthouses or lodges in Namibia - or even better: Hire a 4x4 camper in Namibia and have your home with you all the time.