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  • Writer's picturePolaris Overland

Why Not Try Before You Buy - Namibia

Cheetah at Otjiwarongo

Overlanding is an expensive lifestyle choice and is not always for everyone. So before you spend serious amounts of money kitting out an overland vehicle with all the bells and whistles why not take the opportunity to try before you buy.

In 2016 we decided to try a taste of overlanding to see how we enjoyed the nomadic lifestyle and sitting 2 feet apart day after day. We are happy to say it was a great success, and it was from here we went on to feel confident in the fact that living in such close proximity in warm dusty vehicle and tent was not going to be concern for us on our future trips that generally lasted in excess of 9 months to the likes of Mongolia.

Our taster to overlanding was achieved by hiring a 4x4 vehicle with roof tent and basic camping set up and exploring a little of Namibia. There were a couple of reasons we chose Namibia.

Firstly for Dave it had been years before flying over the Skeleton Coast in a helicopter heading out to a drill ship in the North of Namibia that gave him the first embryo of an idea to come back and drive some of the Skeleton Coast on an overland trip.

Secondly there is a reason seasoned overlanders wax lyrical about Namibia and return over and over as it is an overlanders paradise of varied scenery, mostly gravel roads with amazing wild life. Who can fail to be overwhelmed when a family of elephants make their way across the road in front of you and not on a park but on a normal road between two towns. Put simply Namibia has it all and then some!

And finally with Dave having worked in much of Africa, particularly West Africa he felt it was a safer introduction to Africa for Angela.

Camping at Spitzkoppe

Planning for your trip is pretty straight forward, there are numerous websites with information on camps and rest stops to over night and many will plan an all in package but to be honest most of what they offer will not be needed. If this is the route you would like to go then Selfdrive 4 x 4 we found to be very helpful and used to letting us find our own comfort zone for how much input we wanted or needed.

There are numerous self drive 4x4 companies offering dependable vehicles with good quality roof tents and equipment. We had a Toyota Hilux with onboard water tank and long range fuel tanks giving us a range in excess of 700 miles.

Heading back to camp from Sossuvlei

We used Asco Car Hire who we found to be great, with free airport transfers, good demonstrations of the vehicle and equipment and good safety briefing on driving in their vehicles on gravel tracks. They also give a graphic of rings from the centre in Windhoek emanating out for breakdowns where close in you will get sorted same day, a little further out and more remote and it’s within 24 hours, then 48 hours and finally it’s we’ll get to you as soon as we can. A point to remember is mobile phone service is sketchy except in built up areas. Seems obvious but if going remote it needs to be accepted although their are options to rent a satellite phone if you feel you might need it or feel better for having it.

Heading to Ugab Rhino Camp, Damaraland

Driving in Namibia is straight forward with over 80% of roads being gravel. This means care is needed not to go too fast and be very aware of the camber on the edges which can and do suck vehicles into a roll on a regular basis.

Despite the lack of tarmac most roads and tracks are indicated on maps with gps routes available for more remote areas. You can download our base line route here:-

Namibia Route 2016
Download GPX • 589KB

Angela with Spitzkoppe

Accommodation can be booked in advance using the various websites including the official Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) but there are private options too. We interspaced our trip with a couple of nights in lodges but found the campsites and the roof tent to be more than adequate and comfortable. In fact we preferred the tent.

Excel file with accommodation details for our trip in 2016 can be found here:-

Namibia Route Summary
Download XLSX • 26KB

So why not take a look at Namibia and once you have planned your route, booked your accommodation the only other thing left to remember is your camera as you are about to be amazed.

Cheetah at Etosha National Park

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