The ultimate Namibia road trip guide

by | Sep 26, 2021 | Africa, Namibia, Roadtrips, Travel Guides | 0 comments

2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

If you love road trips and camping, you should add Namibia to your travel bucket list right now. The spacious, well-equipped campsites, little traffic, and endless, scenic road make Namibia is a prime destination for 4×4 road tripping, and nights spent listening to the sounds of the bush in a roof tent.

A self-drive camping trip is one of the best ways to explore Namibia’s jaw-dropping landscapes.

Due to the remoteness and lack of tar roads in many places, road-tripping Namibia comes with a few challenges. But with a bit of advanced planning and research, you’ll be able to have an epic trip to Namibia, regardless of your level of camping and bush experience.

For this post, I’ve put together a complete guide to road-tripping and camping in Namibia, telling you everything you need to know about planning the perfect Namibia road trip.

Before you go

Due to Covid, it was very quiet in Namibia when I visited in August 2021. In normal years, it can get very busy. If you plan on visiting Namibia during the high season, it’s definitely advisable to plan your route and book your accommodation in advance.

What to expect from visiting Namibia

With its mindblowing landscapes, Namibia is the perfect “outdoor destination”. You will be able to watch the sunrise from giant dunes, road trip one of the world’s most remote coastlines, explore unique rock formations, and experience incredible animal encounters.

However, the low population and remoteness of some places also mean that the infrastructure is often very basic. Most roads are unpaved and dusty, supermarkets are only found in larger towns, and you will often drive for hours, without seeing as much as a single house.

If you’re up for an adventure, you’ll absolutely love a Namibia road trip!
2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

The best time to visit Namibia

The best time to visit Namibia are the cool and dry months from June to October. These days are mostly warm and sunny, but it does get pretty cold at night. The dry season is also the best time for wildlife viewing, because of the low water resources and scarce vegetation.

Wildlife gathers around the permanent waterholes, making it a lot easier to spot and photograph them. On the downside, Namibia is also a lot more crowded with tourists during these months, so make sure to book well in advance.

November to April are the wet season. The weather is hot and humid, with short but heavy downpours. But even the rainy season isn’t a bad time to visit Namibia. The lush landscapes will make wildlife spotting more difficult, but this is a great time for bird viewing and for escaping the crowds.

Namibia’s visa-options for tourists

Namibia currently allows citizens of 53 states to visit for up to 90 days without a visa for tourism purposes. You can find a list of those countries here.

2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

Renting a 4×4 in Namibia

While there are some tarred highways between economically important cities, most roads in Namibia are gravel roads. It is possible to travel Namibia in a 2×4, but I would highly recommend renting a 4×4 with enough clearance.

4×4 Rental Companies

Namibia’s capital Windhoek is a 4×4 capital! There are various car rental companies, renting 4x4s with camping equipment. Some of the rental companies offering 4x4s with camping equipment are:

Tipp: request quotes from a few different companies to find the best offer.

For our Namibia road trip we rented a car from Savanna Car Hire, as they came back with the best offer. They offer a camping package, which includes the roof tent, and all the camping gear you’ll need (gas cookers, tableware, a table and chairs, a fridge…).

The roof tents are super quick and easy to set up, and if you’ve never used one before, you will receive thorough instructions before you hit the road. And the car also comes with spare tires, a compressor, and tools like jacks, a tow rope, and so on.

Driving in Namibia

As I mentioned earlier in this post, most roads in Namibia are gravel roads. When we visited Namibia, they were in pretty good condition. Nevertheless, driving can be a bit challenging. But don’t worry!

    Here are my 4 best tips for driving in Namibia.

    Be prepared for long drives

    As one of the least populated countries in the world, Namibia is known for its vast landscapes. Be prepared to drive long distances, sometimes without crossing another car for hours. Always add an extra 1-2 hours to time indications on Google Maps. The gravel roads and multiple photo stops along the way will definitely slow you down.

      Drive carefully and stick to the speed limits

      Due to the low traffic, it could take hours for someone to come past and help if something happens. Plus, many rental cars have a black box, and the insurance might not pay, if it turns out that you had been driving too fast.

      Adjust your tire pressure

      Some of the roads in Namibia will require you to lower your tire pressure. Make sure you get the necessary instructions when you pick up your rental car, but here’s how we kept our tires:

      • 2.2 bar for driving on tar roads
      • 1.9 bar for driving on gravel roads
      • 1.2 bar for driving on sand (from Sossusvlei 2×4 parking to 4×4 parking)

      Don’t drive at night

      There are no street lights outside urban areas, roads are not always marked, and there are frequent animal crossings at night. Make sure you’ll have enough daylight left, before heading off on a drive. And remember, driving in Namibia will almost always take longer than you might think!

        Namibia itinerary_morning coffee with a view at Spitzkoppe
        Rhino at Waterberg_2 week Namibia itinerary

        Camping in Namibia

        There are essentially two types of campsites in Namibia: the state-owned Namibia Wildlife Resort (NWR) Campsites and privately-owned campsites.

        As they are run by a government enterprise, NWR campsites are usually located in prime locations, mostly in national parks. On the other hand, the facilities at these campsites are often rather basic (shared bathroom facilities, etc.).

        Privately-owned campsites are usually located outside of national parks. But many of them have much better facilities, like private toilets and showers right next to each campsite. And that often at similar or even better rates than the NWR campsites.

        Campsite recommendations

        SossusvleiOshana Campsite in Sesriem is the only privately owned campsite inside a national park in Namibia. All campsites have their own shower, toilet, braai, and sink with hot and cold water.

        Spitzkoppe | Spitzkoppe Tented Camp and Campsite is located about 500 m from the main entry to Spitzkoppe Mountain Reserve. All sites have their own toilet, shower, braai facility, and tap, and the camp also has a pool with beautiful views of the Spitzkoppe mountains.

        Etosha National Park | Trading Post Campsite is located a mere 6.5 km from Etosha’s Andersson Gate. All sites have their own shower, toilet, sink, and braai.

        Windhoek | Urban Camp is situated in the heart of Windhoek, just a 5-minute walk from the famous Joe’s Beerhouse. All campsites have their own braai.

        Good to know before you go

        All Things money

        My experience with ATMs in Namibia was mainly that there aren’t many. You’ll find them in bigger cities and towns, but other than that, your chances of getting cash are pretty small. However, the good news is that credit and debit cards are widely accepted.

        You will be able to pay by card at most campgrounds, hotels, restaurants, and shops. I would recommend keeping some smaller notes or coins anyway.

        Tipping is voluntary but greatly appreciate in Namibia. Many people in Namibia have a very low income, so even a small tip can go a long way. It’s common to tip tour guides, waiters, petrol station attendants, people looking after your car in a car park…

        Petrol stations in Namibia

        My #1 fuel tip for your Namibia road trip is to fuel up whenever you can! Seriously. Visiting one of the world’s least densely populated countries also means that sometimes, the next petrol station is hundreds of kilometers away.

        2-week Namibia itinerary
        2-week Namibia itinerary

        Grocery shopping in Namibia

        A bit of meal planning goes a long way in Namibia! You can find supermarkets like Checkers or Spar in bigger towns and cities, and campsites often have a small shop, selling canned products, dry goods, and snacks. But it’s also possible, that you might go a few days without being able to stock up at all.

        Getting a local sim Card

        While the phone coverage is pretty bad to non-existent in many parts of Namibia, getting a local sim card is pretty useful nevertheless.

        The best option for travelers currently is the AwehSuper from MTC, giving you 3GB of data, free call minutes, and texts to Namibian numbers, as well as extra data for Whatsapp and Facebook for NAD 65 for 7 days.

        Covid Testing Facilities in Namibia

        If your home country or next destination requires you to get a Covid test prior to departure, you can book an appointment or visit a drive-through testing facility. You can find an overview of testing facilities available throughout Namibia here.

        Is there anything else you’d like to know about planning a Namibia road trip? Let me know in the comments. And don’t forget to pin this post on Pinterest to save it for your future travels!
        2-week Namibia itinerary
        2-week Namibia itinerary

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        Hi, I’m Sara, a twenty-something Swiss on a mission to become a full-time travel writer and digital nomad.