Despite the enormous distances in Namibia, most people travel by ground rather than air. If you hire a vehicle, make sure you have enough cash on hand to fill the tank with petrol. Typically, gas stations do not take any form of payment other than cash. A modest gratuity of NAD 3-5 for the employee pumping your fuel is very usual. When driving through Namibia’s rural roads, it’s usually a good idea to pull over and fill up your tank whenever you spot a service station.
Namibia’s roads are excellent, with paved main routes and well-graded gravel minor routes. Except for tertiary roads and the Skeleton Coast, an all-wheel drive vehicle is not required. Driving at night is very hazardous due to the abundance of animals on the roadways. Traffic travels on the left side of the road. Namibian roads are notorious for consuming tires. Check your spare tire and examine your tires on a regular basis. It’s also a good idea to get any tire insurance that your rental vehicle provider may provide.
Namibia has some of the worst traffic accident rates per capita in the world. Self-driving tourists “win” the ‘no other party involved’ accident category after losing control of their vehicles for no apparent reason other than speed. Driving on dirt roads is unlike any other driving experience that Europeans or North Americans may acquire at home, and the 100km/h speed limit does not imply that you should, or even can, drive at that pace safely.
Namibians often estimate the time it takes to travel between locations based on their extensive experience driving fast on dirt (untarred) roads. If you add a third, you’ll arrive alive and with your kidneys intact! Remember that this farmer passing you at breakneck speed knows every rock and puddle on this road, has a better-suited vehicle, a lighter load, and maybe a few hundred thousand kilometers of experience under his belt.
Allow the rental business to give you a copy of their rental agreement before you book a vehicle. Most of them have many (and often absurd) limitations. Take your time comparing them based on your requirements.
- Drive South Africa (Car and 4X4 Hire), +27 21 423 6957, e-mail: [email protected] Rental branches’ pick-up and drop-off locations are offered in eight locations throughout the country, including Namibia’s airports and major cities.
- Europcar Car Hire (Car Hire), (00264) 61-227103, e-mail: [email protected] Car rentals in Namibia.
- Kalahari car hire (Car hire Windhoek), 109 Daan Bekker Street, Windhoek, +264 61 252 690, e-mail: [email protected]
- CABS Car hire Namibia (Car hire Windhoek), 282 Independence Ave, Windhoek, +264 61 305 912, e-mail: [email protected]
- Windhoek Car Hire (Windhoek Car hire), 124 Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo Street, Windhoek, +264 61 306 553, e-mail: [email protected]
- Thrifty Car Rental, +264 61 220 738. Offers 24 hour car rental service for a scenic drive through Namibia edit
- AAA Car Hire, +264 811 246 286, fax: +264 61 244558, e-mail: [email protected] Sedan, 4WD and bus rentals in Namibia.
In Namibia, there are two kinds of taxi services: shared taxis and dedicated taxis, often known as “radio taxis” or “call-a-cab.” The shared taxis are required to obtain a license that restricts their mobility to inside a town or between a group of towns. Taxi rates for shared taxis are set by the government and cannot be negotiated. Taxi drivers may, however, overcharge visitors who are unaware of the normal rates. Radio taxis do not have this limitation, although they charge between 5 and 10 times the price for the same trip.
Shared taxis are seldom roadworthy; in Namibia, any vehicle must pass the roadworthy test only when ownership changes. It is not unusual to see steel wire-tied bonnets, emergency spare tyres, shattered windows, and other such occurrences. Drivers often disregard red lights (called “robots” in Namibia) and stop signs, allowing passengers to board wherever they find them, even on motorways and in the midst of intersections. Be courteous to other vehicles by not waving at a cab that cannot safely stop.
Long-distance shared taxis make it simple to travel across towns. They are quick, sometimes frighteningly so, and inexpensive. Simply ask around to find out where the taxi rank is located (sometimes there are several taxi ranks, each one with departures to different areas of the country). However, none of them will transport you to tourist sites, which are usually typically located outside of major cities. Instead of waving at cabs operating inside a city, it is customary that you gesture in the direction you want to go.
Many businesses provide low-cost shuttle services between most places, including Windhoek, Swakopmund, Walvis Bay, Tsumeb, and Otjiwarongo. These services are completely secure, although they are more costly than cabs.
TransNamib. Operates air-conditioned buses (and trains) to locations across Namibia.
TransNamib, Namibia’s national railway operator, provides trains (and buses) to locations across Namibia through its StarLine passenger service. Some of the options are as follows:
- Windhoek-Swakopmund-Walvis Bay
- Windhoek-Keetmanshoop (formerly also to Upington in South Africa but not any more)
- Walvis Bay-Swakopmund-Tsumeb
The StarLine scheduled service transports people in special carriages attached to freight trains. These passenger coaches include airline-style seats, air conditioning, and (sometimes) audiovisual entertainment. On lengthy trips, vending machines offer refreshments.
Desert Express, +264 (0)61 298-2600, fax: +264 (0)61 298-2601, e-mail: [email protected] The Desert Express is a luxury tourist train that travels across Namibia on a regular basis, bringing visitors to places like Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, and Etosha National Park. Buses carry tourists from railway terminals to the different attractions.