Desert jeep safaris in Namibia are high on every discerning adventure traveller’s bucket list. Check out our expert guide to hiring 4×4 vehicles and our pick of the off-road routes for some unforgettable adventure travel in Namibia, Africa’s off-roading paradise.
Namibia’s glorious wildlife, spectacular scenery and extensive driving routes make it a magnet to tourists. And for the more intrepid traveller, taking off on a rugged, all-terrain, off-road adventure is the stuff of dreams. Exploring Namibia’s extreme landscapes is a must for the 4×4 enthusiast and for anyone keen to observe some of Africa’s most majestic creatures in their own habitat.
A 4WD vehicle provides the most comfortable way to explore the country and if you’re driving yourself, you will be instantly grateful for its all-terrain ability as you literally get to grips with the country’s notorious gravel roads. Planning is essential and that includes ensuring your vehicle hire includes satnav, which is vital for self-drives. If you’re travelling in the rainy season (December to March), you’ll be glad you’re driving a sturdy 4×4 as the roads can quickly deteriorate.
Whilst most roads in Namibia are now in good condition, you’ll still be traversing potholes and other obstacles like large rocks and stones and must be prepared for animals wandering along or into the roads.
Advice for driving in Namibia includes keeping headlights on and deflating tyres to provide a larger surface of contact between the vehicle and the sand.
The Namibian interior is often empty of traffic but don’t let that act as a green light to let rip and put your Landy or Toyota 4×4 rental through its paces. Namibia’s gravel roads place different demands on the driver with the risk of rolling or sliding out at speed one of the biggest dangers. Learning how to handle the vehicle and gaining confidence in this terrain, particularly steering into corners and accelerating out of bends, is an absolute must before you set off on your self-drive adventure. All good self-drive companies will include some driver training, help with planning your route and navigating your way around.
Be prepared for early starts and hours of driving – and as stated in official travel advice, be mindful that you reach your next destination before sundown as stray livestock and wild animals can be dangerous. In fact, many rental companies will either advise or categorically insist you do not drive in the dark due to the risk of hitting an animal and damaging the vehicle.
Most trips begin in Namibia’s capital Windhoek, where your 4×4 hire company will give you a briefing before you set off on your off-road travels. Your route is likely to take you to Damaraland before arriving at the Etosha National Park and then circling back again.
There are plenty of 4×4 trails in Namibia and the opportunity to explore the more remote and incredibly beautiful areas of the country shouldn’t be missed.
Some places in Namibia are only accessible or certainly more easily reached in a 4×4 such as:-
- Damaraland with its water courses, open plains and grassland, granite hills and deep gorges
- Sossusvlei Dunes and Dead Vlei in the Namib Desert
- The so-called ‘moon landscape’ at the Kuiseb Canyon
- The Namibian Kalahari where desert terrain should only be attempted in a 4×4
- The salt road to the Skeleton Coast Park from Swakopmund
- The Caprivi Strip which links northern Namibia with Zimbabwe and Zambia
- The Kaokoveld region in north-western Namibia, which can only be accessed by 4×4
On a 4×4 driving adventure of Namibia, you’ll most certainly encounter elephants, wildebeest, ostriches, zebras, lion and even rhino. And cat lovers should also make a stop at the AfriCat Foundation, which rescues and releases injured cheetahs, leopards and lions, and promotes education and conservation as it strives to preserve Namibia’s wild big cat population.
If you feel the call of the wild, it’s time to book your jeep. To hire 4×4 vehicles in Namibia, visit iSuperdrive.com where you can compare prices and book direct from fleet owners.
If a self-drive 4×4 driving adventure sounds a bit too nerve-wracking, you can, of course, join a guided safari. Take a look at some of the incredible driving experiences now available via iSuperdrive.