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Self-drive tips in Namibia

Recently daring Africa consultant Louisa embarked on a self-drive trip around Namibia. Here she gives her advice on what to expect and why it’s the perfect trip for all… 

Like many, I was a little apprehensive before I set off on my two week self-drive adventure across Namibia but what I discovered was that a Namibian road trip is not just in the realms of a boys only Cape to Cairo road trip. Stops for picnic lunches were made ever-more memorable overlooking endless dramatic arid vistas and we even had the occasional loo with a view. Looking out over this ever-changing, mind-blowing scenery and empty roads along which we sped past on our long drives was definitely worth it.

Here are a few of my top tips and essential packing items I came up with during the trip to enhance any Namibian road trip…

Dealing with weather conditions

The weather is typically hot in Namibia, usually around 30°C in the day, so keep hydrated and drink lots of water. Equally at night, between June and August it does get very cold at night so take a warm jacket and layers.

Those essential travel toiletries

Wet wipes and hand sanitisers are a must in the desert. Dust will be the main problem and combined with the heat, will make your skin and hair dry. Invest in a rich conditioner and remember to bring a good moisturiser and lip balm with a high SPF. I’d also highly recommend carrying some loo roll, an important item to have in times of need.

Driving the dirt roads

Like anywhere, when going on a self-drive trip, it is vital you stay safe on the road. Enjoy the road trip of a lifetime taking your time to drive through this stunning scenery. Most of the 4x4s are manual, so if you need an automatic just let us know in advance. Keep an eye on flat tyres here and plan ahead for gas stops – the gas stations are well marked on the map. There they have attendants who will fill up the car and wash your windscreen, but make sure you have cash to pay for fuel as many stations don’t take cards…and don’t forget to give them a small tip.

Capturing that perfect photo

You’ll inevitably want to record the memories of your Namibian adventure but there are a few things you should do to ensure you get the best photos to take home with you. Firstly keep your camera safe from the dust by storing it in a seal proof bag. If you take an SLR camera, remember cleaning brushes to avoid clogged up lenses. Finally use a wide angle lens to get some fabulous landscape shots you can treasure.

…And don’t forget!

Although I wouldn’t normally drive without my GPS, it is better to follow the map and directions as many of the lodges are not marked in the right spot. You should also pack a USB charger which fits the cigarette lighter, it’s vital for charging phones and cameras. A small knife when making a picnic also comes in very handy. Finally, download some audio books or take some story CDs as well as music for the perfect soundtrack to this epic adventure.

It truly was a wonderful two week adventure taking in unique lunar landscapes where we discovered that changing a tyre really isn’t that difficult… with a little help from a couple of Namibian friends.

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