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11-seater land rover or 2 4x4s for self-drive?

Sweden
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11-seater land rover or 2 4x4s for self-drive?

Hi all. We are a group of 8 planning a self-drive to Namibia. We have been offered the option of a large land rover (11 seater). Has anyone driven one of these before? We are not sure how easy one of these vehicles will be to drive and are a bit worried that we will have some problems e.g. changing tyres if we get a flat. Also, would we need a special driving licence?

The alternative would be 2 4x4s - but this would of course increase costs and we would need more drivers amongst us.

Any thoughts appreciated! Thanks!

Naracoorte
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1. Re: 11-seater land rover or 2 4x4s for self-drive?

I would be thinking about where is all the luggage going to go?

Personally I think the two smaller vehicles would be a much better way to go.

Gaborone, Botswana
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2. Re: 11-seater land rover or 2 4x4s for self-drive?

Also, if one has a problem, the other can go for spares, fuel, etc

London, United...
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3. Re: 11-seater land rover or 2 4x4s for self-drive?

I'd also say opt for the two smaller ones. As I have repeatedly mentioned in other threads, you do not really need a 4x4 anywhere in Namibia, you can get by with an ordinary saloon in all of the numbered roads, and also in Etosha. The only place where you may really need 4wd is going in all the way in Sossusvlei. One option is to have one 4x4 and a cheaper ordinary car, and you can make two rounds at the 'vlei with the 4wd to get everyone in.

The 11 seater Landrover is a brute to handle on the unpaved roads, unless you have plenty of experience driving on gravel I would not reccommend it.

Someone from Namibia please confirm, but AFAIK a normal B category license should be OK. I never had any license problems driving a 9 seater Toyota Quantum.

Edited: 2:04 pm, February 28, 2014
Sweden
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4. Re: 11-seater land rover or 2 4x4s for self-drive?

Hi all, thanks for your replies!

As I understand it, there is a separate luggage compartment, so space should not be an issue in the tank.

We have confirmed that we do not need a special licence to drive the tank. I know many people say that you do not need a 4x4 in Namibia, but for a little extra peace of mind, we are going to opt for a 4x4.

Swakopmund, Namibia
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5. Re: 11-seater land rover or 2 4x4s for self-drive?

I would always suggest a 4X4 vehicle. In fact, I suggest engaging the 4X4 system whenever you are on a gravel/non-tarred road. This just makes it so much safer and spreads the load throughout the drive-train.

I once drove up north and did not engage the 4X4 system ... at one corner the vehicle skidded slightly but after engaging, it felt so much better.

I do agree also to have 2 smaller vehicles but unfortunately it does cost more and splits the group. I know the company who rent out those "stretch" Landrovers and the vehicles are mostly in super condition so if you do want to be together, and you are okay with driving a larger vehicle, then go for it. Great for game viewing in Etosha.

To add, Landrovers are "permanent 4X4" so no need to engage this.

Hope this helps a bit.

Danie Steyn - Namibia Tours & Safaris

London, United...
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6. Re: 11-seater land rover or 2 4x4s for self-drive?

Danie, what you write is an excellent demonstration of why driving in 4wd on gravel roads is NOT safer - in fact it just conveys a sense of false security because it feels more stable at speed, but the tires will lose their grip at exactly the same point as in 2wd, just with less warning. If you look at the statistics, more 4wd-s get overturned by tourists in Namibia on the gravel roads than other vehicles, simply because it feels safer, so they drive faster...

Nixt, if you do go for the big Landy, take it easy in the first couple of days and get accustomed to handling the big and heavy vehicle on gravel roads. Test your stopping distances, try out what happens when you step hard on the brakes, and ideally on a secluded flat area try out with an empty light vehicle what happens with a sudden steering movement and how it feels when the wheels lose sideways traction.

If there is an option to disengage 4wd, use that as the default mode. The tendency of a rear-driven 2wd to skid in tighter corners is in fact a very good signal that you are driving a tad too fast given the road conditions. 4wd will give no such warning, just all four tires will suddenly let go at the same time if you are over the limit.

Slovenia
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7. Re: 11-seater land rover or 2 4x4s for self-drive?

While reading these excellent advices about driving a 4x4 on a gravel road, one more question: does deflating the tyres for say 10% makes any sense, vehicle handling or tyre protection wise? Not speaking of driving on the sand, just usual gravel road.

Gaborone, Botswana
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8. Re: 11-seater land rover or 2 4x4s for self-drive?

"If you look at the statistics, more 4wd-s get overturned by tourists in Namibia on the gravel roads than other vehicles," - is that not because tourists rent 4x4s more often than 2x4s?

Stanley, Falkland...
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9. Re: 11-seater land rover or 2 4x4s for self-drive?

+ for andrasz.

Check out Ossie Ardiles driving on a (Falklands) gravel road recently. 4WD doesn't always help on gravel.

Better comfort; and visibility. I agree. But road-holding at speed?

London, United...
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10. Re: 11-seater land rover or 2 4x4s for self-drive?

Deflating tires in sand makes all the difference in the world, but on gravel it would ruin them pretty fast. Yes, it would improve traction, but at a (rather costly) price.

As for the figures, as the great Talleyrand once said, there are three ways of lieing: saying yes, saying no, and presenting statistics... :)

That being said, I think given the premiums associated with the 4wd-s still more regular saloons are being rented in terms of numbers, but I think all those in the know would agree that a disproportionate number of 4wd-s get rolled in tighter bends.