First Namibia (South) Trip




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  1. #1
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    Default First Namibia (South) Trip

    Hello Community

    I am planning on doing my First Namibia overland expedition. I do not have definite travel dates yet as I am still in the route planning phase. My main focus is currently the southern part of Namibia as I am still a rookie and will tackle the north at a later stage. My list so far includes Augrabies (on the way to Namib), sossusvlei and spitzkoppe, I would also like to see Luderitz. I would like some advice on which places are a must see, which routes/passes are a must drive and just any advice on the Southern part of Namib.

    Thanks
    Wessel
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    Default Re: First Namibia (South) Trip

    Try to get hold of Weg Aug/16 covering a 10 day Nam South tour. Whatever you want to know is explained.
    We depart 4 Jun to cover that route in detail.
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    Default Re: First Namibia (South) Trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Weskus0203 View Post
    Hello Community

    I am planning on doing my First Namibia overland expedition. I do not have definite travel dates yet as I am still in the route planning phase. My main focus is currently the southern part of Namibia as I am still a rookie and will tackle the north at a later stage. My list so far includes Augrabies (on the way to Namib), sossusvlei and spitzkoppe, I would also like to see Luderitz. I would like some advice on which places are a must see, which routes/passes are a must drive and just any advice on the Southern part of Namib.

    Thanks
    Wessel
    Namibia is a big country, so it is a good idea to do one area per trip. A few years ago we did the following route:

    We drove from Cape Town to Ais Ais, camped there for one night.
    The next day we went up to Hobas to the lookout point over the Fish River Canyon and then we went south, down to the Orange rivier via the Gamkap Canyon and then west along the river and via Rosh Pinah to Aus, camped at Klein Aus Vista. It was a longish day but we were in time for sundowners at Klein Aus. The next day we went on a day trip to Luderitz. Keep in mind that you can only do Kolmanskop in the morning. We then went back to Aus and also stopped to see the desert horses on the way back.

    After a second night in Aus we went north via the D707 to Duwusib Castle and on to Sesriem for 2 nights. Visited Sosousvlei and Dooievlei and the Sesriem Canyon. Then on via Solitaire to Swakopmund for a few days. Lots of touristy things to do there: quad bikes, visit the desert with a guide to see all the small desert creatures, boat trip in Walvis, Dune 7, lots of restaurants.

    Then we went north, up the coast past Mile 108 and then inland on the D2303 and then on past Brandberg Mine to the Ugab Rhino Camp and to Twyfelfontein. This is a route for at least 2 vehicles as you travel through a desolate (but beautiful) area. At Twyfelfontein you can : have a beer or lunch at the Twyfelfontein Country Lodge, visit the rock engravings, the Petrified forest, the Organ Pipes and the Burnt Mountain and try to see the desert elephant. There is a tourist trap called the Damaraland Living Museum, but unless big busommed (sp?) naked ladies are your thing, I will advise to skip this attraction. From there we went down to Erindi and Windhoek and back home.

    On this trip we skipped many attractions that are must see places, but we only had two weeks and now we have a valid reason to return and concentrate on an even smaller area.

    I will pm you a link to photos of this trip.

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  5. #4
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    Default Re: First Namibia (South) Trip

    awesome thanks for the advise. Would you recommend Namibia in winter or summer or does it depend on where you go ?
    "One man's trash is a another man's treasure is a terrible way to tell your child they're adopted" - Weskus

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    Default Re: First Namibia (South) Trip

    Sounds wonderful. Im sitting in front of a T4A paper map planning my namibia trip as I am typing now

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    Default Re: First Namibia (South) Trip

    Spitzkoppe maybe too far north to include in a south trip...
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    Default Re: First Namibia (South) Trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Weskus0203 View Post
    awesome thanks for the advise. Would you recommend Namibia in winter or summer or does it depend on where you go ?
    We prefer winter, cold nights,warm days and minimal chance of rain, but it is European holidays so lots of tourists.
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    Default Re: First Namibia (South) Trip

    Here's a report I wrote a couple of years ago. It still applies:


    NOTE: Almost all the places, lodgings and activities listed here are on the internet, and most bookings can be done via the web. Google is your friend.


    NAMIBIA can be a bewildering country for the first timer - it is vast (two thirds the size of South Africa), sparsely populated (two people per square kilometre, as opposed to nearly 40 in South Africa) and the landscape can be harsh and forbidding. The Namib Desert, as the hardebaarde say, is not for sissies.
    I lived there for two years, and despite the fact that there was a war on at the time (this was in the mid 1980s) they were two of the best years of my life. My company car (thanks Rand Daily Mail and Cape Times) was a Toyota HiLux 4x4, and in those halcyon days, I had free rein to travel at will in search of interesting feature articles. Ever since, Namibia has been one of my top travel destinations in Africa.
    So you want to go there, but have no idea how to start planning a trip. The first thing to remember is that the distances are vast, and while the country’s gravel road infrastructure is excellent, don’t bargain on doing more than 300 to 350km in a day - tar roads are few and far between. And while most of the gravel roads can be negotiated – relatively slowly - in an ordinary saloon car, a high clearance vehicle or 4x4 is a big advantage. I wouldn’t take my Kia Picanto to Namibia.
    Don’t bargain on speeds of much more than 80km/h if you are in a 4x4 or high clearance vehicle, and in a saloon car, speeds of around 60km/h are more realistic. Anything over 80km/h is foolish, and very dangerous - while the gravel surfaces are generally excellent, there are plenty of patches of unexpected soft sand, and rolled vehicles are a common occurrence. The generally accepted wisdom if travelling in a four wheel drive vehicle is to keep high range 4x4 engaged, drop your tyre pressures to around 180, and don’t overload your roof rack.
    Carrying your own camping gear is a distinct advantage, as Namibia is not cheap, with many of the tourism establishments being geared towards the foreign, especially German, market. And frankly, there is nothing nicer than being out under the stars, sitting around a fire in the Namib Desert - this is big sky country, and the general standards of the camp sites, both private and government, is excellent.
    Carry plenty of water, spare food in case of emergency, a full tool kit, a tyre repair kit (and know how to use it) and a second spare tyre casing if your vehicle has even a slightly exotic tyre size, or has low profile tyres fitted. The Namib stones are notorious rubber chewers.
    And get a good map, don’t just rely on your GPS: make sure your map has all the road numbers on it - Namibia’s road authority numbers all their roads, and when you’re asking directions, you’ll be told “take the D707 to the intersection of the C13” etc. Excellent maps that are available in South Africa include the Tracks4Africa map and the Reise Verlag map. The MapStudio Namibia road atlas is reasonable. You can also buy the Roads Authority map at any filling station in Namibia.
    So where to go as a first timer? Unless you are a hardcore offroader, I would advise against planning too ambitious a trip, or venturing into areas like Damaraland, the Kaokoveld, the Khaudum Game Reserve, and the Nyae Nyae Conservancy (what used to be called Bushmanland) unless you have at least two well equipped 4x4s in your party. The north eastern corner of Namibia, comprising the Caprivi Strip and the Kavango, is true bushveld, with plenty of big game, and should be kept for a second or third visit.
    With two weeks in hand, I would restrict myself to Namibia’s “Garden Route”, that wonderful stretch of Namib Desert between the South African border and Swakopmund. With three weeks in hand, I would add in the Etosha National Park, one of the great game parks of Africa.
    My favourite route (all of which can be done, carefully, in a saloon car, but preferably a 4x4) is to enter Namibia at Noordoewer/Vioolsdrift, and immediately hang a left onto the Rosh Pinah road that snakes its way all along the Orange River, with magnificent vistas over the river into the Richtersveld, and of the desert.
    There are several accommodation options at the border, with my preferred favourite being the chalets at Felix Unite’s wonderful base camp just a few kilometres inside Namibia, overlooking the Orange. If you have the time, a three day canoe trip down the river is quite possibly the best fun you can have with minimal clothes on.
    Aus is the real jumping off point into the true Namib, and the camp sites and chalets at Klein Aus Vista take a lot of beating. This is also the best place from which to take a short trip to see the legendary desert horses of the Namib, and, if you don’t want to stay in Luderitz itself, to visit this most weird and wacky little fishing town, a must do on my list of Namibian sights.
    Number one attraction for most visitors to Luderitz is the eerie mining ghost town of Kolmanskop, which could have come straight out of a Werner Herzog movie. Supposedly named after a transport rider, Johnny Kolman, or Coleman, who had to be rescued from the nearby koppie after his oxen disappeared in a sand storm, Kolmanskop owes its genesis to the discovery of a diamond here in 1908 by a labourer employed by August Stauch.
    It was finally abandoned to the advancing desert in 1950, but not before a weird and unlikely town sprang up, complete with several mansion-like buildings in the Bavarian style, a town hall, bowling alley, lemonade and soda water factory (with an ice block plant) and a casino.
    Luderitz itself is a fascinating town to wander around, but be aware that the wind can really howl here, and it can be bitterly cold, even in midsummer. A drive out to Dias Point and then down the peninsula to Grosse Bucht takes you through an incredible desert landscape, with wild seas and great vistas back over the town and harbour.
    Watch out for the fearsome sand storms that sweep through, especially on the B4 tar access road - they can do serious damage to your paintwork and windscreens.
    Next up is the “Garden Route”: from the B4, take the C13 from Aus towards Helmeringhausen, and after 54km, turn west onto one of my favourite roads in Africa, the D707, which skirts the Tiras Mountains and the Namibrand nature reserve. Both encompass vast areas of privately owned land under conservation, with a wide range of brilliant accommodation options - the vistas here are quite simply breathtaking, the landscapes surreal.
    Fill up with diesel, petrol and cold drinks at the quirky little oasis of Betta, and then follow the map (choose whichever route takes your fancy - I favour the D826 and C19 or C27 routes) to Sesriem, gateway to the Namib Desert sand sea, and the iconic Sossus Vlei dunes. There are at least 19 different acccommodation options (at last count) within easy driving distance of Sesriem, but if you want to be first at the gates before sunrise, camp at Sesriem itself. Note that the road to Sossus Vlei is now tarred all the way, except for the last 5km, which require 4x4, or jump on one of the Namibia Wildlife Resorts taxis that do shuttle trips into the main pan and dune field.
    If you’re feeling the heat by now, head up the D854 to the Naukluft section of the Namib Naukluft National Park. From the camp site, hike up the apparently dry river bed, past a massive wild ficus (fig) tree filled with rosy faced lovebirds, and suddenly, without warning, you will come to a series of icy cold, very deep, crystal clear pools of spring fed water. Utterly exhilirating after a hot hike. Look out for kudu and zebra on the way down.
    By now, the bustling, cosmopolitan seaside resort of Swakopmund is calling. En route, stop off for cold beers, or spend the night at the quirky Rostock Ritz just before the Kuiseb Pass. In a land of wacky, wonderful people and places, the Ritz is near the top of the list.
    Swakop is a wonderful dorp. Wander around, soaking up the Bavaria-by-the-sea architecture, head off into the dune fields with one of the local operators for a brilliant quad bike ride (strictly limited to a defined area to limit environmental damage) or take a day drive into the Moon Landscape, the Welwitschia fields, or go with an operator to the birding paradise of Sandwich Harbour, south of Walvis Bay.
    Swakop is spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants, but top of my list would be the legendary Kücki’s Pub (sister to the Rostock Ritz), The Tug and The Jetty, while a top item for sight seeing is the extraordinary Kristall Gallerei, which has one of the most outstanding geological collections I have seen.
    If you’re on a two week deadline, now’s about the time to pack up and head home, but with an extra week in hand, head up the coastal Skeleton Coast road to Cape Cross, where tens of thousands of Cape Fur Seals bask (very noisily, and very pungently) on the rocks. Then pick up the D1918 from Henties Bay to the mystical and magical Spitskoppe, one of the most spiritual places to pitch a tent on the African continent. The community run campsite is very basic, with long drop toilets and not much else. But a sunset here, with barking gekkos sounding off as the day fades, is unforgettable. Top tip here is to arrive a couple of hours before sunset, and spend at least an hour picking out the best campsite - numbers 10 and number one are my favourites.
    From Spitskoppe, head into southern Damarland via Uis, to the rock engravings at Twyfelfontein, camping at the Aba Huab campsite (or lodging at one of several establishments in the area).
    Twyfelfontein is one of the world’s greatest open air art galleries, a vast area of Stone Age petroglyphs, mainly depicting wild animals like rhino, elephant and lion dating back some 6000 years.
    Then it’s off to the Etosha National Park. My favourite campsite is Okaukuejo, which also has a range of chalets, both mid-range and luxury. Top tip here is to spend at least two nights, if not more, and spend the first day and night simply wandering around the camp birding, and hanging out at the water hole. At night, the action gets really busy as a range of animals wander into the floodlights - I have seen a pride of lions kill a springbok right in front of the fence here, and on our most recent visit, we saw 14 different black rhino, and saw an African wild cat kill a dove in mid-flight, an impressive aerial leap.
    Game drives on the various loops out of Okaukuejo are always rewarding – there is no need to fly out of the camp at first light, the way you would in Kruger. Spend the dawn hours around camp at the water hole, and birding, then head out after breakfast, when the game is heading towards the water holes dotted about this vast game reserve.
    Halali is the forgotten camp of Etosha, but is one of my favourites, with an air of the Kruger National Park of the 1960s about it. The water hole (also floodlit) has regular leopard sightings, but is not as productive as Okaukeujo.
    Namutoni has some of the best game viewing loops within an easy hour’s drive out of camp, but I find the camp site a bit claustrophobic, as it has no grand vistas, or immediate attractions.
    And then it is the long road home, with a brief stop at Lake Otjikoto, where the retreating German forces dumped a huge amount of armoury ….
    Namibia comes with a health warning: it is seriously addictive and induces a bad case of euphoria. It is both habit-forming and sense altering. It is one of Africa’s most bewitching destinations.
    Top Tip: The Namibian Tourism Bureau office in Burg Street, next door to Cape Town Tourism’s offices in the Pinnacle, has loads of high quality brochures, books and maps, almost all of them free. The staff are knowledgeable, passionate about their country, and efficient. Directly opposite is Ulrich Naumann’s Deutsche Buch Handel, one of the best shops in South Africa for maps (you’ll find the Reise Verlag maps there) and natural history guide books (in English as well as German).
    Last edited by Tony Weaver; 2017/05/18 at 10:07 PM.
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  11. #9
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    Default Re: First Namibia (South) Trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Weskus0203 View Post
    Hello Community
    Campsite
    I am planning on doing my First Namibia overland expedition. I do not have definite travel dates yet as I am still in the route planning phase. My main focus is currently the southern part of Namibia as I am still a rookie and will tackle the north at a later stage. My list so far includes Augrabies (on the way to Namib), sossusvlei and spitzkoppe, I would also like to see Luderitz. I would like some advice on which places are a must see, which routes/passes are a must drive and just any advice on the Southern part of Namib.

    Thanks
    Wessel
    South of Swakopmund is also Bluttekoppen, the arch campsites east of Bluttekoppen and Spreetshoogte near Solitaire. Solataire you can get permits to the Bluttekoppen area and through the Naukluft Park. There are plenty campsites there on Tracks4Africa and they are cheap if you are self sufficient.
    Near Bullspoort there is the Naukluft 4wd trail if you are looking for some 4x4 driving, but do not dawdel, otherwise you will not make it to the campsite.
    I would turn off towards the campsite at Tsheriektiek at the drilling machine abandoned there, instead of going over the plateau on top which is slow, rough and an anticlimax, except for the lookout at the end...

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    Default Re: First Namibia (South) Trip

    Quote Originally Posted by mcowell View Post
    We prefer winter, cold nights,warm days and minimal chance of rain, but it is European holidays so lots of tourists.
    Sept to Dec is very hot. 50deg in far south and 40 plus in north. Rain starts in Jan up to mid or end of April. Dirt roads are then not nice to be on. I suggest from mid March to Augusts. If you travel an area in March it will look toyally different in june. March it will be green and June various colours of bron and beige. Both very beautifull. So you have to come twice to Namibia for the same area. Same with the north.

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    Default Re: First Namibia (South) Trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Erwin Schimper View Post
    Sept to Dec is very hot. 50deg in far south and 40 plus in north. Rain starts in Jan up to mid or end of April. Dirt roads are then not nice to be on. I suggest from mid March to Augusts. If you travel an area in March it will look toyally different in june. March it will be green and June various colours of bron and beige. Both very beautifull. So you have to come twice to Namibia for the same area. Same with the north.
    Yes I am strongly considering going in winter, I think it will be nice and cosy then with a nice campfire and electric sheet.
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    Default Re: First Namibia (South) Trip

    Thank you Tony very nice report gave me plenty ideas. Yes google is indeed your friend I prefer pre booking instead of pitching up and hoping to find camping/accommodation space.
    "One man's trash is a another man's treasure is a terrible way to tell your child they're adopted" - Weskus

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    Default Re: First Namibia (South) Trip

    Few random thoughts ...

    - N$ = SA rands. You CAN pay with Rands in Namibia. Your bank cards will work on that side, just remember to let your bank know when and for how long you are going.

    - also inform your insurance and get a "travel letter". You should have this with you at the border.

    - also a good idea to contact your medical aid broker and inform them of your route. Discovery then issues you with a detailed list of medical service providers along your route. NOT a compulsory item, but one email and it provides a lot of peace of mind.

    - Summer = HOT ! 40+ in the day, and way past midnight before it drops below 30 .... We prefer April/May.

    - Peak seasons - times such as Easter weekend Namibia is BUSY !! During these periods fuel runs out !! Make sure to have a jerry can, and fill up when your tank reach HALF .....

    - Windhoek - BUSY city !!! more taxis than cars, and hooters going non-stop .... The rest of Namibia is HEAVEN !

    - Also consider Namibian Valley of a thousand hills ....

    - this is one LARGE landscape !!! Depending on your route you will be doing LOTS of gravel roads. PLEASE dont plan on long distances per day. Yes, it can be done, but hardly fun.

    - daylight savings - during winter months most of Namibia (all except Caprivi) is an hour later than SA time .... make sure you understand the implications of this .... we have paid for B&B just to find out 7:00 is actually 8:00 our time and lost an hours worth of driving time.

    - winter - SHORT days !! With very long distances to cover, and short days your really are limited in the distances you can safely cover per day ... add in a few tourist stops and suddenly you travel very short distances ... worse, you race from one camp site to the next and see nothing ....

    - Luderitz - we were very fortunate and had perfect weather. But this is one spot where you have a very high chance of getting blown away. If you are planning one or two B&B nights, this is the town for it.

    - fuel - there was a drive to stop payment of fuel by card .... read up more on this. apparently some places accept cards, while many others dont. So you need to carry enough cash ....


    ENJOY this beautiful country !!!!!! Certainly one of our most loved destinations.

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    Default Re: First Namibia (South) Trip

    Thanks Chris, yes fuel is one of my biggest worries, the disco 4 v8 is a very thirsty car, I don't have an extended tank so I only get about 450 - 550km per tank depending on how I drive. Is this a huge concern ? I really don't want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere without fuel. I am thinking of adding 2ndary fuel tank prior to attempting Namibia.
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    Default Re: First Namibia (South) Trip

    a normal "road" trip has towns every 100 to 200km at the furthest.

    The sports start if you dont fill up at 1/2 because you know the next town is 100km down the road ... to get there and find out it has no fuel. From Betta's to Helmeringhousen(SP?) is another LONG distance !! has about 5 liter left from my second jerry can ..... REALLY should have filled up BEFORE Betta's where they DID have fuel.


    90% of the time fuel is not an issue, just in peak season.


    My neighbour did it in a V8 RangeRover ... more than enough fuel stations, even without a long range tank.


    going off road, and doing long coastal trips is off course a different story. But that is not the type of trip you describe.
    Last edited by ChrisF; 2017/05/19 at 09:47 PM.

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    Default Re: First Namibia (South) Trip

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisF View Post
    a normal "road" trip has towns every 100 to 200km at the furthest.

    The sports start if you dont fill up at 1/2 because you know the next town is 100km down the road ... to get there and find out it has no fuel. From Betta's to Helmeringhousen(SP?) is another LONG distance !! has about 5 liter left from my second jerry can ..... REALLY should have filled up BEFORE Betta's where they DID have fuel.


    90% of the time fuel is not an issue, just in peak season.


    My neighbour did it in a V8 RangeRover ... more than enough fuel stations, even without a long range tank.


    going off road, and doing long coastal trips is off course a different story. But that is not the type of trip you describe.
    Carry at least 10lt of drinking water also rather fill up in each town. Keep a jerry can filled with fuel. Try to limit you distances to 400km per day otherwise you will not see the country and only rush from on sleeping point to the next one. Lower your tyre pressures on the dirt roads and travel not faster than 100km per hour on these roads. That is also the speed limit but no traffic cops on these roads. Engage 4x4 high which gives beter traction. Whatch out for loose gravel in the turns. 80 to 90 is a better speed and also gives you as driver some time to look around. Put your main lights on during the day if you do not have day light driving lights. It is law in Namibia to travel with your ligths on during the day. Avoid traveling at night. We have lots of wildlife that still roams free and hitting a koedoe or gemsbok is going to spoil your holliday.

  23. #17
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    Default Re: First Namibia (South) Trip

    Good advice above.
    Keetmanshoop to Mariental is 224 kms...
    There are other places further north where you will need to be able to do about 1 000 kms to the next fuel pump, which may then also not have fuel, so add 100 - 200 kms to that.
    It also depends on how much exploring you will want to do.
    It also depends on how long you are planning in keeping your vehicle. If you are planning on selling in the next year or two, you will not get your money back on the additional tank you have fitted. If you intend hanging on to it for a while I would recommend the fitting of the additional tank.
    With a petrol vehicle I would recommend an extra fuel tank, because of the dangers and inconvenience of carting petrol around in cans.
    Diesel with lower combustion levels is less dangerous, but just as inconvenient to be topping up from jerry cans.
    I do realise that you only need to fill the cans when you know that you will be far from reliable fuel for a while, but the bigger range is also convenient and worthwhile for future fuel hikes when you have much greater range on the cheaper fuel...

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