Most people thinking of visiting Sub-saharan Africa often think of visiting South Africa, Kenya, or Tanzania. But often looked over, Namibia is one of the cheapest most rewarding countries in Africa to visit. Namibia is a large country with a very low population and is located in the Namib Desert and the Kalahari Desert in southwest Africa on the South Atlantic coast.

Namibia is the driest country in sub-Saharan Africa. If one is interested in exploring deserts, then this country is majestic. It is also famous for the highly distinctive San people (also called Bushmen) - shown in the 1980 comedy movie, The Gods Must Be Crazy.

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Why Hire A Car In Namibia?

The country is known as a prime destination in Africa and is famous for its fantastic ecotourism. It features eye-watering wide open spaces and extensive wildlife. The most visited places in Namibia include Fish River Canyon, Sossusvlei (with majestic red sand dunes), the Skeleton Coast Park (famous for its shipwrecks), the coastal town of Swakopmund, and the massive and rich Etosha National Park. Skeleton Coast is a stunning desert with many shipwrecks along the beaches.

  • Population: 2.5 Million

Tourism is a major part of Namibia's economy and it is well set up for tourism. While tourism some other countries in Africa (like Kenya and Tanzania) work mostly with tour packages and safaris where transport is included, Namibia is different. The best way to explore Namibia is to hire a 4WD and drive around the country by oneself. Alternatively, it is entirely possible to explore the country with tour packages.

  • Roads: Namibian Roads Are Of Good Quality
  • Driving: Driving In Namibia is Easy And Straight Forward
  • Left: Namibia Drives On The Left Side Of The Road

There are many hire companies in Namibia and the roads are in good condition and everyone drives according to the road rules. There is no big adjustment for those used to driving on American roads (other than driving on the left side of the road).

Notably, there are many extraordinary lodges dotted about the country, but many are only accessible by car. Some of these lodges are oases in the desert and are often surrounded by rich wildlife.

  • Lodges: Many Of The Best Lodges Are Only Accessible By Car

Related: A Travel Guide To Africa: 11 Things To Know While Planning Your Trip

Hiring A Vehicle In Namibia

The most popular way to explore Namibia is with an all-terrain vehicle with fold-out tents on the roof. The most popular vehicle is the Toyota Hilux but there are also Fords, Isuzus, and Landrovers available. One does not need to camp if one doesn't want to. There are always world-class lodges dotted about everywhere throughout the country. One can just rent a pickup truck and drive from one lodge to another.

  • Camping: Most Camping Is Foldout Tents Mounted To The Roof
  • Drivers License: One Can Drive On Any Foreign Licence Printed In English

While it is better to have a 4WD vehicle, it is not actually necessary as most of the roads are fine with regular streetcars. One can also go on a self-drive safari in Etosha with a normal street car too. Still many of the roads are gravel roads and one may have issues in the wet season - but as this is one of the driest countries in the world, the wet season does not last for very long.

Some of the rental companies include Savanna Car Hire, Namibia Car Rental, and Zambezi Car Rental.

Related: The Highlights That Cape Town, South Africa Is Known For, As Seen In These Tourist Pics

Planning A Trip To Namibia

A good amount of time to see much of Namibia is around 2 weeks - there will of course be much that one can't see in that time. But two weeks is long enough to see most of the highlights. Remember that this is a large country and one will be doing a lot of driving.

  • Length Of Time Required: 2 Weeks Is A Good Amount Of time To See The Country

Tip: It Can Be A Long Distance Between Fuel Stations, Always Fill Up On Half A Tank Before Heading Into The Desert

It is possible to just park and camp in the desert in many parts of Namibia. In national parks and tourist areas, one must camp in a designated campground. The cost of camping is normally around $10 per person per night but can be $15 per person per night.

  • Best Time to Visit: June To October (Also High Season)
  • Low Season: December To April
  • Worst Weather: November To February - Very Hot
  • Wet Season: December To April (Mostly Showers)

Having a vehicle also enables one to go on self-drive safaris. In East Africa, self-drive safaris can be a little difficult and may even cost the same as an organized safari. But in Southern Africa, self-drive safaris can be the cheapest and the most rewarding.

Next: Things To Do In Africa (Other Than Go On Safari)