The car rental I got with my local European drivers license and we did not need the international drivers license and even most of the times at police-checks this is enough we were told by the rental company. However having and international drivers license is on the save side.
One can drink all water that comes out of a crane without any treatment we where told at the car rental. However the water in Windhoek tastes awful. You can get tap water e.g. at gas stations. All water is pupmed out of the ground except far in the noths where it comes from the Okavanko river and there you should not drink it. You don't need a water treatment filter, like a Katadyn filter, in Namibia.
There is (effectifly)no malaria risk we were told from the car rental and also a traveler were told this in three pharamcies in Windhuk. As any body tells Malaria is only in the far north and only in the rain season. We stopped medicla precautions.
The camp Sesriem has noting to do with the entry to Sossusvlei. But you have to pass the camp in order to get to Sossusvlei and the camp gates open at sun rise and close at sunset (currently at 19:00h). Sossusvlei itself closes at 20:00h. This means when you stay in the camp you can watch the sunset and animals grassing otherwise you have to leave before. The permit costs 30 NAD per person and 10 per car.
23. Juli 2017 7:40 Windhoek 41°C 9°C
Namibia is a bizarre combination of English, and Africans language, German colonial culture, black and white people. It has only a population of 1.5 million where the black Ovambo, which live mostly far in the north, are dominating and due to the dry climate 1.5 million is what the land can bear. Cities are small and the country side is empty, so you often do not meet any other car for half an hour. EVery square meter of the 850000 square kilometer is used as farm land, but due to the dry climate a cow needs 20 hectare land to feed. Namibia is safe, so to say the Switzerland of Africa, but in large cities there are always a few children begging for money. White people have usually German origin and German names and infrastructure often dominates the city life. Currency is the Namibia Dollar (approximately 1 EUR = 1 USD = 6 NAD = 2 DEM) which is one-to-one linked to the South African Rand. Tourist accommodation matches western price levels with around 300 NAD per night and other local accommodation goes down to 125 NAD per night. Camping costs from 20 to 80 NAD mostly for the supplied water, toilet and shower. German Hotels usually are operated properly, else where service is lacking (pre-used linen ...). After the flight we arrived at 7:40 in the morning, pass the typical border control formalities and picked up our car in Windhoek. The Toyota Hilux and the equipment was pretty warn out and gave us lots of trouble later adding more difficulties to driving on the left alone. In Windhoek we went to the shopping mall, to the bank and did our initial gossery shopping, .This is the only place where you can park you car save in a concrete parking house. Even if most of Namibia is save a lot of CD-people hanging around in Windhoek and Mariendal and one of us always stayed at the car here except at the parking mentioned above. Food is incredible cheap and we got a whole large shopping card full for 200 NAD=35EUR. We did not forget plastic bags and mineral water and paper towels/toilet paper. For all parks camps in Namibia you only can book here for 700 NAD altogether. The permits you get at the camps. We departed south and headed the B1 to Rehoboth and get gas and water there. The we turned into the D 1280 to the Lake Oanob Dam Resort, where we camped the night for 80 NAD. This camp was very well maintand with a nich bath with hot shower. In the car we measured 41°C while around 4:00h in the night it was 9°C. The light sleeping-bag supplied by the car rental was far to cool.
Wedensday, 04. October 2000
Next Morning we continued down south the tarmac road B1, pass the Tropic of Caprihorn to Mariental where we did some shopping. After 290 km we reached the village of Asab. The man at the gas station is to lazy to sell us gas and we turn left into the DR3939 to the collapsed finger clip. It was an impressive 13 meter high rock pile standing on a tip before it collapsed in 1988. We decided to camp here in the middle of nowhere. We had rice with peppers for dinner.
Thursday, 05. October 2000
Since we made only 300 km good we decided to skip the most southern part of Namibia and continue to Keetmanshoop and Lüderitz. We were surprised when we the gas meter went from 3/4 to empty in just 100 km, while it took us 200 km from full to 3/4. Our Toyota Hilux uses 14 liter per 100 km has a 80 liter tank and 20 liters reserve and one liter is around 3.5 NAD. We made a fast ride with no further stops to Keetmanshoop. It is a very relaxed and trusty peaceful town. We refill gas and spotted Uschi's Parking and restaurant where we had dinner in a very relaxed atmosphere with regular German or western food. At the post office I buy stamps for 2.20 NAD world postcard postage and ask at the tourist office the way to the Quiver tree forest and camp. When we returned to the car it appeared that the battery did not start the engine and did not supply the fridge for at least 3 hours. The man at the restaurant showed us the backup switch. And the car started. We drive to the Quiver tree forest camp got a beautiful camping palace with shower for 70 NAD. At 5:00 there was the cheetah feeding and to our surprise we where allowed inside behind the fence and I even was allowed to pet the otherwise aggressive animal. Near sunset we went to the Quiver trees for the photo session. After sunset all kind of strange insect/animal noises appeared - some quaking like a frog humming and rattling.
Friday, 06. October 2000
The morning started with trouble. The weak battery from yesterday added to the engine starting trouble each morning so we were grounded. After cursing the rental company for this trash we looked for help. Our very friendly Swiss neighbour were so kind to help us. Switching batteries did not work out, so we organised a starter cable. They got a brand new (13000km) Toyota Hilux with new and clean equipment in perfect state for DEM 4300. The man at the gas station said one should only rent cars at larger companies like Budget. Because of the trouble we decided to skip the very south of Namibia and continue the 337 km to Lüderitz. The landscape changes to stony mountains and then to high plateau dry gras vegetation, followed by sand dessert before we finally reach the Atlantic west coast and Lüderitz. Here we encounter our first small sand storm - a astonishing experience, when sand clouds glide over the roads. We stay at the nice Bay View Hotel for 299 NAD where we get a room with bath and TV and swimming pool in the yard.
Saturday, 07. October 2000
Lüderitz is a small diamond! mining town founded by Germans 1909 (I think). Also some of the German colonial charm remains the town is mainly populated by black people nowadays. Lüderitz is a very small town with a population of just ??? . We saw one fish restaurant at the other side of our hotel -but that is it. The engine starts tough again as the battery was still low, although we don't use the fridge anymore. After some search for a dealer we buy a backup battery for 302 NAD so we could risk driving pads. Unlike promised there is no Brown German corn bread to buy in Lüderitz as the white population drops in numbers. Lüderitz is not really worth visiting it if not for you doing some shopping. We departed the 122 km back to the village ~Aus and leaving the tarmac roads, following the C13 north. After 51 km we hit the D707 at some cafe or alike. We turn left following the sign to the Namtib Guest Farm, our destination for today. The savanna looks terrific under the afternoon sun. After 47 km and some confusion we reach the farm one hour before sun set. The owner tells us that there is no camping and we could get a room for 290 NAD if not all 10 rooms were already occupied. We should go the 12km back to the gravel road and the 30km up to the right there is a camping. Camping is not allowed in the Naukluft park we just entered. We enter the sand desert with red tone sand and for its most it turns into a sand pad so we have to switch the 4-wheel drive on. I like driving there. Suddenly we discover the most beautiful sun set with a intensive glowing red over the red desert sand. It was getting dark after 40km and we still have not encountered the camp. We pass an open gate and decide to camp in the open desert. The wideness of the sand fields is very impressive and it was very windy. We constructed a wind shield and had soup with bread and tea make a small fire from the three pieces wood that were left. This was one of the bets evenings.
Sunday, 08. October 2000
The sunrise is beautiful at our camp. Packing goes faster as we getting more experience. I take and hour walk eastwards to the next hill. We depart further north to the next gas station and the desert changes into dry grass vegetation again. We turned into the D407 direction Maltah and like a miracle the gas station appeared out of nowhere, which is really impressive if you have to doubt all information you get. These D-class roads are not often maintained an have a lot of corrugations. Now we continue the D826 north to ~Sossusvlei, the red desert dunes in the Namib deserts Naukluft park. A older German couple warns us that they had heard that the D826 very sandy and a real tire killer. We do it anyway. After 80km of terrible corrugations and lots of stones a tire bursts. The tires was ripped apart and not much left. We continued to Sesriem and stayed in the 4x4 Drive camp. Christoph has still trouble with his leg so I walked the 2km to the Mövenpick hotel and restaurant. The Oryx and Crocodile steak is really delicious. Also I realise the absence of cellular phones and in the silence I can enjoy the beautiful restaurant. I meat the couple from the gas station and could confirm that the D826 is a tire killer.
Monday, 09. October 2000
As we waiting for the eleventh to make use of our reservation for the Sossusvlei. We drive up to Solitaire. It turned out to be a farm with a shop and a gas station, not a village like the map suggests. The gas station has been permanently closed. I talk to some Dutch people and they explained: We decided to enter the same day at 14:00h. The 60km to the Dead Valley are tarmac road and we pass the famous dune 45. After that you can only go with a four-wheel drive car five kilometer further through a sand field. If you are skilled and don't stop it is easy. Otherwise you can make some interesting off-road sand driving experience, what I really enjoyed. Starting is of course most difficult. I made a lot of photo stops and but had no difficulties. When we came to an intersection one direction warned "Soft sand!" and I thought "how much worse could it be?". The sand hills are higher and with our heavy loaded car I decided to back up. Everything was fine until I decided to turn on the open field. Now we stuck with the heavy loaded 4x4. But we digged ourself out and made it back on the sand tracks. The dunes where beautiful and the lake was filled with water the first time since 1907 someone explained. I walked up the dune which is very exhausting and met an younger couple and we take photos form each other.
Tuesday, 10. October 2000 15:00
Christoph is and astrophysicist and has arranged a night at the Internationale Amateur Sternwarte (IAS) at the Hakos farm near Gamsberg. We take up the C36, C14 passed the Kuiseb passage and turned into the C26. The Gamsberg pass is heavy terrain. The road is heavy rough with corrugations and dip and of cause high slopes. Most of the time we drive in second gear the high slopes. At 15:00 we reached the Hakos guest farm at 1921 meter over sea level. The reception by the traditional German hosts where friendly and we meet several professional German astronomers. In the past allot of astronomers took there telescopes down to Namibia and back to make some observations. Then K.L.-Bath had the idea to bundle the effort and founded the International Amateur Observatory club to establish a permanent observatory here and on the Gamsberg. The conditions are perfect, the Seeing is smaller then one arc-sec. Currently there are four concrete foundation pillars and the required building under construction. A C14 telescope on with Liescher Mounting on a tripod is temporary available. For tourists there is a old Zeiss telescope in a observatory room. Internationale Amateur Sternwarte
Wednesday, 11. October 2000 15:00
We drive back the C26 but this time down to Swakopmond. The last part is through the sand desert but Scrapper were just before us preparing the gravel road. Thus it is in good condition. We pass Walvisbay a fishing harbor belonging to South Africa and reach Swakopmond at 15:00. We stay at the "Hotel Europa" a old German frame-work building.
Thursday, 12. October 2000
The population of 30000 consists out of many traditional German settlers, and they keep there tradition. You find traditional German bakeries, butchers, shops and restaurant transformed to Africa - A very interesting composition. Thus the common language is German and even the black population talked German to you by default in restaurants. The owner ask if I had some relatives here. There is a Haack family here in Namibia and the father worked as mine worker, the sons are in Windhoek now. One see how close the relations are here. We got a new tire here for 970 NAD - relatively cheap for an off-road tire. We met the South African traveler in its light blue Hilux again.
Friday, 13. October 2000
After complaining we got a good replacement for the Toyota Hilux. We drive up the B2 to U...., turned into the D1935, and the D1937. Vegetarian increases and with that the presence of mosquitos and other flies. We pass the gate of the Ambeit Ranch, where we have to sign in. 11km further we reach the ranch buildings. The range is excellent maintained. For 50 NAD pp we stayed on the comfortable camping with table and seats, shower and grill. The ranch is famous for it's many attractions. First we visit the interesting stone formations, most famous the elephant head. There and in Philips cave we see some Bushman paintings. We encounter some of the numerous animals on the farm. Some told us he just saw three of the four giraffes. After sun set we prepared our dinner. And the incredible happened it started raining. Just a shower but rather rare here.
Sunday, 15. October 2000 Monday, 16. October 2000
We drive up north and the vegetation gets greener with trees. We reach the Waterberg park. Camping is 120 per day. We meet Toni from Switzerland who has taken a one year break. He drove in his Pizgauer Swiss army surplus vehicle all the way down from Morocco, West-Sahara Mauretanien, Senegal, Mali, Benim. Here he shipped to South Africa. From Namibia he will go to Botswana, Zambia, Malawi Tanzania, Kenya Etopia, Sudan, Lybia back to Europe.
Tuesday, 17. October 2000
I just want to relax and walk and Christof wanted to drive and see the Skeleton coast, so we go separate ways for four days. I stayed in Otjiwarongo. Otjiwarongo is the trading town for the farmers around. It has a dozens of gas stations, garages and super markets and another 60 stores or so. Even florist, two photo stores are there. The Internet cafe went bankrot. The safari store on the main street (Hage Geigob) between Georges and Bahnhof street has a nice selection and is worth visiting. The German owner also can give you some information. e.g. There is a nice accommodation with pool for 125 NAD called "Out Of Africa". The German operated Hamburger Hof I stayed in is clean although the furniture dates from the 1950th and the restaurant is also good. Also they overdo there service when they took my closes for the laundry without asking for. I went to the crocodile ranch. The entry is 15 NAD and it has 40 female and 6 male crocodiles that where imported from Botswana in 1985. The owner explained that you can't estimate there age. They get 140 years old and get new teeth every two years (?). Crocodiles get feed one a week some kilos of meat when it is warm. When the temperature drops under 19 C they stop eating for half a year. The water-pool is very expensive as one cubic meter water costs 85 NAD. Further there are crocodiles breaded. They are used to produce leather products and the meet is sold to restaurants. They got an export license because only crocodiles that are grown there are used.
Brandberg and Bambatise Longe
Tuesday, 17. October 2000
Christoph goes westwards to the Brandberg mountain seeing the Finger Clip. He stays at the beautiful Bambatise Longe, which is one of the most rewarding accommodations.
Tuesday, 21. October 2000
We drive to the Etosha National Park. Lots of Springbok, and Zebras come close to the road. You are not allowed to leave the car outside the camps and few rest places. Next day we drive down the pad and see many Giraffes coming close to the cat and at the Aus water whole a elephant herd is resting. Zebras are used to the cars and we drive in middle of a heard. It is short before the rain season so the sky is cloudy and it showers for a couple of minutes. At effectively 20 min before the sun set set the camp gates close and at the water whole of Halali people are quite. I watched the play of the Elephants for 2 hours. No one dares to bother these large predators. At then they decide to leave and a Rhino, leopard jackal and hyena drink.
Tsumeb, Tsinsabis and the Baobab Tree
Tuesday, 24. October 2000
I wanted to see the Bushman at the Mur... Ranch six km from Tsinsanis. When arrived the house lady told me that it is closed for the next two days, then the next busses will arrive, but I could camp for 60 NAD without any activities. Tsinsanis is a small settlement of Bushmen which only a food and bottle store. The children where friendly, not like those Dollar begging kids elsewhere, and I gave away all the caned food we had left to them. With a smile and waving of the locals we went on the 3016 and 2855 to see the giant Baobab tree which are up 3000 years old. I went to the Koukous farm which looked nice from the brochure. I was the only guest. In reality the personal conversation with the farmer and his wife during the dinner I was invited was what I enjoyed most. It was for sure one of the nicer evenings in Namibia. The Farmer came here in the 1950 and his wife in 1985. They live from growing cattle. On need 20 hectare per cow. Altogether they have 400 cows on 6000 hectare and game. All 15 water installations are diesel l engine powered as there is not enough wind to power them. "In the radio came the news that two guides with two tourists going from Windhoek with Windhoek car hire to Zambia and Botswana. The guides where known as experienced. On 23-10-2000 suddenly they where attacked and a bullet hit one guide in the head the other in the lung the tourist were not hurt . They with many difficulties they drove back and the guide was treaded in Windhoek and survived. " The problem in Zambia an Zaire is that the white farmers property were taken and handed to the poor. Now operated by incompetent and lazy people everything went down the drain. And all people went into poverty. Many black people think the white people just occupied the best positions without realizing that being responsible is hard work. Now even in Namibia it the Ovambo occupy many position without any qualification just gripping money. The consequence is that all installations are rooting down. There is literally no wildlife outside farms and park. Bushmen and other The bush man and other for which hunting was difficult with traditional weapons now just have killed it for fun. In the 60 one still saw the sky full of ducks today you are happy to see three
Greetings from the South
Car rental and Equipment
- the standard off road car is the Toyota Hilux (the workhorse of Africa).
- it is excellent and cheaper then any other so don't try to get a Land Rover or similar.
- get one which needs 93 octane fuel not 95 because 95 octane fuel is not every where available
- if you have a fridge then ensure that you get two batteries.
- this avoids to be unable to start after the fridge has drained the one battery.
- get two spare wheels.
- on bad corrugations tires usually are destroyed beyond repair.
- bring your sleeping bags don't rent them.
- in the south it can get 7 C at night in the north it is warmer (in spring).
- a 25 liter water can is enough for Namibia.
- get two jerry cans and fill them with petrol.
- ensure that the seals of the jerry cans are good
- if not a plastic bag between the closure mechanism can seal them
- one roof-top tent can house up to two persons
- roof top tents are safer since they are off ground
- In my option Technitop roof tens are more convenient the the usual Eezi-Awn.
- get a hard tent case instead (like Technitop) instead of the polyurethane bags which are a hassle to pack
- the car rental I got with my local European drivers license and we did not need the international drivers license
- and even most of the times at police-checks this is enough we were told by the rental company.
- However having and international drivers license is on the save side.
- get all insurances you can get.
- in any case you will be liable for like around 2000 USD
- on almost 25% (I heard) of the trips an accident occurs due to bad driving skills
- check that you are allowed to drive on gravel/dirt roads
- with some larger companies like Hertz in some cases you may only drive on tarmac roads, which will bring you no where.
- usually you are not insured at all if leaving official roads but there is rarely a change to leave them.
- one can drink all water that comes out of a crane without any treatment we where told at the car rental.
- however the water in Windhoek tastes awful and one should go out side.
- you can get tap water e.g. at gas stations.
- all water is pumped out of the ground except far in the norths where it comes from the Okavango river and there you should not drink it. (And not go there in first place)
- 93 octane gas is available almost everywhere but 95 octane not
- one liter 93 octane gas costs around 3 NAD in October 2000
- Solitare is a kiosk not a city. The gas station is closed there.
- plastic bags to cover baggage
- toilet paper
Equipment Top Ten
Most important equipment:
- sun hat
- heavy hiking boots. You need them always when leaving thew car.
- your flashlight - it is 12 hours dark a head light for (7 EUR ) proved most useful.
- water bottle
- sharp knife
Roads and Driving
Maybe you expect the wild free Africa in Namibia. Don't expect to much.
Every square inch beside the parks is fenced and used for cattle.
A cow need 20 ha, farmer have usually 6000 ha. That leave you with the excellent network of gravel roads, except 5 km in Sossusvlei which is a real sand field
- and don't follow the soft sand sign. If you think it can't get worse
- it can.
Roads are classified with letters and numbered:
B are tarmac roads
C are gravel roads which are maintained more often
D are gravel roads which are maintained seldom
In reality C or D may be as good or bad.
You are allowed to drive:
- 120 km/h on tarmac roads
- 100 km/h on gravel roads
- 60 km/h in the cities
- on gravel road you need a longer distance to stop
- driving on bad road with corrugations there is a low speed
- and a high speed (e.g. 70km/h) where no shaking is felt
- on sandy pads apply acceleration very careful.
- after some days driving all day gets boring - plan time for something to do
- It will always get sand into the car even through the sealing and closed windows.
- you can reduce this if you set the ventilation to circulate inside the car
- you should always fill up gas and water where ever possible
- you never know when the next gas station is available
- this especially important if you are not used to the car
- most gas gauges are defect and will indicate full until the tank is half empty and then drop at once.
- gas stations are often more then 100 km apart
- always ask where the next gas station is with your type of gas
Four Wheel Drive
Cars with permanent four wheel drive have 3 differentials, two axel and one
center deferential. Those (center) differentials prevent wind-ups by different
rotation speed of the wheels (in curves) on tarmac roads.
On slippy roads the differentials can be locked to prevent spinning on loose ground and digging the car in.
Cars with part time four wheel drive have no center differential - front and rear wheels are always locked when four wheel drive is applied.
- therefor four wheel drive can applied when the surface provides enough slip
- that is when you leave tarmac road and travel on gravel roads
- do not apply four wheel drive on dry tarmac roads with part time four wheel drive (you have no center differential)
- on really difficult terrain you may the apply the rear axel diff lock and then the front axel diff-lock if it is equip with those
- sand driving is done by momentum
- apply 4WD before you need it
- if stuck stop hitting the acceleration pedal immediately, to avoid to dig you in
- the track you came is now firm
- if stuck reverse along the same track you came and get momentum
- after starting in first gear select the highest gear that give you enough torque to get through (Low third)
- follow other vehicle tracks
- get a the standard 1:4000000 road map
- signs showing road numbers, direction (city) and distance are every where
- you don't need any other mean of navigation or maps
- learn the upcoming roads you will cross to check your position
- always stop at major intersection or when unsure
- this only takes 10 seconds getting lost may cost hours or your live
- don't go to close to the boarder to Angola and to Caprivi - shootings happen there
- the sun stands in the north at noon in the southern hemisphere
- the sun travels from east in the morning almost straight vertical to the west in the evening.
- don't make the mistake and conclude that e.g. east is right from the sun position around noon, as the sun does not travel from right to left.
Camping and Park Permits
- as I mentioned there are not many free spots you could camp wild.
- we only did this twice which was beautiful.
- you will look for one of the many camping site and guest farms.
- those have water, a shower, a fire place and a toilet.
- there is one misconception that you can only get the permits in Windhoek.
- this is not true - The permits you only get at the camp entries.
- only the government camping reservation can be done and pre-paid in windhoek
- the dates are mandatory but may be changed if space is avaliable
- if you are lucky you get a space without reservation at government camping
- there are always other camps out side and you just need to pay the permit to enter
Here is and example from Sesrim:The camp Sesriem has noting to do with the entry to Sossusvlei. But you have to pass the camp in order to get to Sossusvlei and the camp gates open at sun rise and close at sunset (currently at 19:00h). Sossusvlei itself closes at 20:00h. This means when you stay in the camp you can watch the sunset and animals grassing otherwise you have to leave before. The permit costs 30 NAD per person and 10 per car.
- go to a snake park to see what you can encounter (e.g. Swakopmund, Mokuti Longe).
- also you will hardly see snakes, they are there and you will see their traces.
- snakes are camouflaged - you will not see them even if you are very close. Believe it!
- high boots and long pants protect you from many snake bits
- there are 160 species of snakes in Namibia but 85 % of the snakes are not dangerous to humans
- treatment for the bite of venomous snakes is a subject of controversy and some treatments that were recommended only a few years ago are no longer thought to be effective
- most of what you may read about treating snakebites that was written more than twenty years ago is probably wrong
- many vets/doctors have never seen an actual case of snakebite.
- fortunately, venomous snakes do not always inject venom when they bite; in roughly 25% of the bites from venomous snakes no venom is injected
- immobilize a limb of a snake bit like a broken bone
- appropriate is a springe style suction device, the rubber suction cups often sold in "snake-bite kits" do not develop enough suction to do the job
- with a springe style suction device you may still only remove as little as of 5 to 15%
- The Black Mamba is the most dangerous snake. Already 10 mg of the neurotoxic venom is deadly and it injects 100 to 400 mg with a bite
- they can get up to three meters and deliver a byte in your upper body.
- most snakes flee when they feel the vibration of large predator and humans
- an exception is the Puff Adder, this potential deadly snake is to lazy to flee and counts for most accidents with humans
- in cities there are often beggars
- leave your car only on a monitored closed parking lot in cities (e.g. Windhoek)
- in the country side there a not many people and you are perfectly save
- No vaccination are required currently
- but if you stay aboard you need some vaccinations as preparations. Beside the standard vaccination Tetanus... you should get the following:
- Hepatitis A
- Typhus, and some
- Malaria profilaxe.
- Places from Etoscha National Park and north are in the rainy season a Malaria(Tropica) risk areas.
- don't trust and info on Malaria aboard - ask at a pharmacy in Windhoek
- cover your body tread exposed body parts with some Moskito repel
- sleep in a Moskito-net or a Moskito tight tent
Places to Go
- Ketsmanshoop and the Quiver-tree camping
- Etoscha National Park
- Bushman farm
- Ameib Ranch