We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Namiba Self Drive

Bristol, United...
5 posts
1 review
Save Topic
Namiba Self Drive

Hi,

I am planning a trip to Namibia this September and I am hoping to hire a car and drive from Windhoek to Etosha to Swakopmund (via the Skeleton Coast) to Sossusvlei and back to Windhoek. I am only 19 and therefore I was wondering if anyone knows of any company that I could hire a car through? I have had my license for over a year. Also I am travelling on a tight budget and was wondering whether I need to hire a 4x4 as they tend to be more expesive with greater fuel consumption, are Namibian roads suitable for a standard small car? Any advice or tips would be highly welcome.

Thanks.

Baltimore, Maryland
Destination Expert
for Washington DC
Level Contributor
2,171 posts
250 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Namiba Self Drive

You can use a standard car. The road to Etosha and to Swakapmond is tar so a normal car can handle it. I can not speak on car rental for that age because I have never tried so I will defer to the experts for that.

Just wondering, will there be older people with you or are you a solo traveler?

Bristol, United...
5 posts
1 review
Save Reply
2. Re: Namiba Self Drive

Thanks for the advice, I am travelling with my girlfriend who is also 19. This would be the second part of our trip following some time in Botswana.

Nashville, Tennessee
Level Contributor
2,264 posts
201 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Namiba Self Drive

As above, you can use a standard car that time of year. You can see better and have higher clearance in a big 4x4, but it is much more expensive and unnecessary. I believe you may be too young to rent, but not sure. We used advance car hire and value car hire for our next trip. Others can give you their experience.

With your age and planning issues, you will really come out ahead by talking with one of the TO that posts regularly. They will save you headache and money. We used Gemma Dry with discover Namibia. She saved us money and gave us realistic driving times and distances.

Aside from that, we did a similar itinerary as yours but in reverse. That way we built excitement ending with Etosha which I believe is the highlight of Namibia.

Very easy to self drive with proper planning. Easy navigation and safe. Very remote and beautiful. Low cost compared to big safari destinations. Loved it and going back in 3 months.

Isle of Man, United...
Level Contributor
37,001 posts
340 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Namiba Self Drive

A normal car will be Ok . Your problem may well be our age. Some will permit hirers down to 17 (with a hefty surcharge) but some restrict to over 25s. Talk it through with Gemma. she knows most Hirers.

Windhoek, Namibia
Level Contributor
324 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Namiba Self Drive

you will be able to find a car, but be careful with renting a sedan and driving on gravel road with it, if you make an accident with the car on a gravel road, be sure that you will receive a big bill.

Isle of Man, United...
Level Contributor
37,001 posts
340 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Namiba Self Drive

Same goes for a 4x4 surely Chris? any accident where no other vehicle is involved costs big time.

Hermanus, South...
Destination Expert
for Namibia
Level Contributor
1,637 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Namiba Self Drive

Most rental firms like people to have held their licences for a minimum of 5 years and preferably be over 21.

I have sent you a PM Alex with contact details for a firm that can help you.

What you will find if you are a younger renter, or a renter that hasn't held a licence for 3 years is that the hire firms will not allow reduced excess liability so you will have to take the maximum excess.

Driving as an inexperienced driver in Africa can be quite challenging, especially as you are likely not used to the sort of driving conditions we have here...quite different from Bristol, which is why hire firms can be a bit reluctant to rent. I would suggest that you choose a route that is not too challenging, and then you can have a great time.

Best of luck!

Gemma Dry - Discover Namibia Safaris

Windhoek, Namibia
Level Contributor
324 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: Namiba Self Drive

Mfuwe, you are right.

the thing is people think that when they rent a car and pay the "full insurance or zero excess" they can cause any damage to a vehicle and dotn have to pay anything, but this is not the case, most vehicle hire companies, including ourselves, have satellite tracking on the vehicles.

so if the the renter makes an accident and he was speeding, then he will be fully responsible for all costs, no matter what insurance package he took out, or due to negligent driving, like over red tracking light, alcohol etc.

insurance cover the vehicle where a 3rd party was involved or mechanical breakdowns, when i rental company says that you can take out insurance that cover the vehicle 100%, this will be a company with a large fleet, they do sometimes not have insurance on their vehicles, they do their own insurance and can afford to loose a vehicle if something happens, but most of the time nothing happens, the rental company makes more money, because the clients pays a higher daily rate for the "full insurance"

the same story with extra tyre/windscreen insurance, the client can take our this insurance at a higher daily rate, so if a tyre is lost then the client don't have to pay for the tyre damages, but there you also have to be careful, always ask the hire company how many tyres is included in this insurance, most of the time is is only 1 tyre, off course the rental company cant replace the tyre after every second trip, so what we normally do is agree with the client on a price that they have to pay if they loose a tyre or sometimes we don't even charge them and refund their money if they had to buy a new tyre while on tour.

Stuttgart, Germany
Level Contributor
26 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Namiba Self Drive

just to add to the above commends...you need a 4x4 in skeleton coast...and i dont think you will be able to rent one considering your age....all other places you can reach with a 2wd.....ie if you have enough driving experience....namibia has good roads, even the gravel roads are really good and almost zero traffic.....and it is a good recipe for overspeeding!....if you are sure that you are a disciplined driver, then go for it...its a beautiful country, very friendly people and absolutely safe...and if you are not sure, then i would say wait for a couple of years of driving experience...otherwise you are risking not just your life, but also your gf's...good luck!

Isle of Man, United...
Level Contributor
37,001 posts
340 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Namiba Self Drive

I don't think the Skeleton Coast warrants a 4x4. Up the coast road is good hardpacked Salt/Gravel and turning inland the road is gravel too.

If there is a big wind blowing you may get minor sand drifting over but that is all.