Getting to and travelling around Namibia
Getting to Namibia is easy as it is so well connected. Air Namibia is the National Carrier and receives flights from London Gatwick and Frankfurt. With daily flights from neighbouring South Africa and Botswana, it incorporates easily into any Southern African itinerary. You may even consider combining it with time in Victoria Falls. Namibia also has a fantastic Charter Flight network connecting the various lodges and areas, enabling us to provide luxury fly in safaris throughout the country.
When considering how to get to Namibia, most travellers choose to fly into Hosea Kutako International Airport, about 45 minutes east of the Captial, Windhoek. Many flights operate from Cape Town every day. But if you're considering an alternative route, here are some things to keep in mind:
- The International Airport in Windhoek is called Hosea Kutako, named after a famous Namibian freedom fighter
- Eros, Keetmanshoop, Oranjemund, Ondangwa, Oshakati, Grootfontein, Mpacha, Runud, Walvis Bay and Luderitz Airports are also available for immigration and customs
- Eros Airport is outside of Windhoek and has daily flights to Sossusvlei, Swakopmund and Etosha
- Namibia is well supported by a Charter Flight network
- Air Namibia is the national carrier and has operated for many years
- British Airways, South African Airways and Lufthansa all operate flights to Namibia
Should I Fly or Should I Drive?When it comes to planning your trip to Namibia the first thing that you need to discuss with your Rhino Africa consultant is whether you plan to utilize the Charter Flights around Namibia or whether you plan to self drive. In this section we address the advantages and disadvantages of both of these options.
The advantages of Flights around Namibia
The network of charter flights in Namibia as well as our fly-in safaris provide a quick and easy way to explore the country. They allow you to discover great distances in a relatively short period of time. Flying over Namibia gives one a true understanding and appreciation of its size, especially a flight over the Namib Desert, which looks like a rippling strip of sand and the flight is an experience in itself. Flights from Sossusvlei in the South of Namibia to Etosha National Park in the North of Namibia, allow you to combine these two most popular destinations in a matter of a few days.
The disadvantages of Flights around Namibia
The first and most obvious disadvantage of flights in and around Namibia is the cost. The great distances involved and the exclusivity of the lodges mean that the planes are small and therefore only take a few guests at a time. Luggage is limited to between 10kg – 15kg (22lbs – 33lbs) per passengers which must be packed in soft pliable bags, this requires careful and mindful packing, but bear in mind that the lodges do offer laundry services. The other distinct disadvantage of air flights is that you miss the opportunity to actually explore the country by road and to get a true understanding of the distances and the enormity that is Namibia.
The advantages of road travel around Namibia
The most obvious advantage of road travel around Namibia is the affordability, compared to flights, road travel allows you to explore Namibia at a fraction of the cost. Namibia is scenically spectacular and traveling by road allows you to completely immerse yourselves into the scenery, discover and stop at little places off the beaten track and really get an appreciation of Namibia at your own pace.
The disadvantages of road travel around Namibia
Lets face it – picking up a car, driving into the desert, miles from anywhere, with no cell phone contact and only yourselves for company can take a bit of nerve. Self driving is not for the faint hearted and it does take a particular kind of person to enjoy it. The roads are often poorly maintained and travelling between the popular tourist destinations can often require you to travel huge distances in one day which eats into your precious time enjoying the places you came to see. Discuss this carefully with your Rhino Africa consultant before you take it on. Self drive takes time and therefore a week or more is required in order to fully appreciate your time on holiday in Namibia.
Your Rhino Africa Travel Consultant is trained to understand and appreciate this differences and nuances. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of flights with your consultant so that they can assist you in planning the ultimate Namibian Travel experience for you.
Car Hire in Namibia
If you are a little bit confused about how to start planning your trip to Namibia, the first thing we encourage you to do is to drop us an enquiry and start chatting to us. Our self drive tours are a few of our favourite and most popular tours. They concentrate on the highlights of Namibia including the Namib Desert, Sossusvlei, Damaraland and the Skeleton Coast and Etosha National Park. Ranging from 8 days to 3 weeks they are ideally suited for the person looking to explore Namibia by car.
Namibian Driving Tips
In Namibia the cars are right hand drives and everyone drives on the left. The speed limit is 60 - 80km per hour in built up areas and 120km per hour on open roads. All passengers must wear safety belts and drivers are required to have their original drivers license at all times. The use of cellphones when driving is illegal.
The road network is one of the best in the world. Road signs are international and easy to understand. Though Namibia is rated as having the best gravel roads in the world, travel is hazardous at speeds above 80kms per hour. Slight bends in the road easily cause the vehicle to slide – avoid over correction when this happens. Accidents are common, hence the above average insurance excess charged by Namibia Car Hire companies.
Special attention should be paid to Namibian wildlife and signposts warning of antelope, warthog, and kudu, as they often graze along the edges and can be unpredictable. As roads north of the veterinary cordon are usually unfenced, drivers should watch out for animals, both during the day and at night. Always have your headlights and spot lights on at night and when dusty conditions are encountered. Slippery conditions can be encountered during the rainy season in the interior and throughout the year when using the coastal ‘salt’ roads.
Tyre pressure should be checked as often as possible. Correct pressure plays an important role in maintaining grip and prolonging tyre life. Slow punctures are common and if pressure is checked regularly they can be fixed at a service station. When you collect your hire car, check all tools and spares yourself; do not take the car rental company's word for it. Refuel as often as possible when travelling through remote areas as supplies in these areas can be erratic.
The Namibian landscape is extremely fragile, so please follow only well defined tracks and roads. Deviating off existing tracks not only spoils the scenery and enjoyment of others, but destroys plants and small creatures. In certain areas, such as the gravel plains, a single set of car tracks can remain visible for decades. Respect the Namibian culture and traditions of those inhabiting the area through which you are travelling. Disrespect causes resentment and ill feeling towards tourists.
CARAN stands for the Car Rental Association of Namibia, and all car hire companies in Namibia must comply with certain standards if they are to be come members. These standards include: providing sufficient insurance, 24 hour back up service in cases of accidents or breakdown, providing new vehicles, and ensuring that vehicles are regularly serviced. The companies that we use for car rental in Namibia are all members of CARAN.
When it comes to choosing your car you will have to choose between a 2 Wheel Drive Sedan Car and a 4 Wheel Drive. Generally speaking the 4 Wheel Drive cars cost more to hire and run and must be driven with greater care and alertness. These vehicles can be unstable. They do however have greater ground clearance and allow you to go further, and of course there is a certain appeal about driving a 4x4 in this particular setting. Two wheel drive vehicles have less ground clearance and carry less, however this prevents novice drivers attempting the impossible and can lead to a safer journey.