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Namibia self driving problems

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Last July, I spent 3 weeks In Namibia and made 4300 kms. The rented car was a high clearance 2x4 Nissan X-Trail and the renting company was BUDGET. My agent rented the car through a broker because the broker covers what is not covered at all by any insurance of the renting company like towing charges (only covered in case of mechanical fault not for instances caused by accidents, undercarriage, water and sandstorms damages) and undercarriaged damage. They also cover serious tyre and glass damage which can also be covered by the renting company, but at an additional charge.
90 % of the roads in Namibia are gravel roads and therefore in some places, might be very surprising and dangerous. In some places the gravels are big and you might have the feeling that you are driving on marbles. I slewed round twice but I managed to keep the car on the road. If I ever have to go back to Namibia, I will rent a 4x4. Indeed a 2x4 is, in some places, on a C road, barely limited and on a D road, inadequate. When I reached a service station, I always filled up; the next station can sometimes be 300 kms further, pumps might be out of order (it happened twice during my trip) and the station tank might be empty (it happened one time). I had one flat tyre, but this can normally happen on such a trip.
Furthermore, I had another problem. In the middle of nowhere, on a gravel road near Khowarib, a car came in the opposite direction, at a much too high speed and hurling stones in all directions. One of those stones smashed to bits the right rear window. Luckily, it was early in the morning and I had just left a lodge. So I went back and they were kind enough to help me to fix a plastic screen on the window frame. The car was a small bus (more or less 12 places) that lodges and tour operators use. Unfortunately, it was so fast that I had no time to read the name of the lodge or tour operator. That kind of inconvenience can happen when you travel. What is not normal at all is the way BUDGET, a world known and considered company, managed the problem.
I first called the emergency number. I explained the all thing to the employee. When he was sure that I was not immobilized, he told me that the car was mine and I had to sort it out myself to go to a garage to make the repair. It was surrealist. It was my first visit to Namibia and of course I had to be familiar with the way everything works there?????? It was even more surrealist when they told me, at Windhoek airport on the day I left the country that they had to import the window from RSA, because there was no spare one in stock on the whole Namibian territory!!!!! I then asked the same employee if the car was still insured against theft. After a lot of hesitations, he told me that it was no more insured and if the car was stolen, I would be responsible for it. So I decided to phone my agent and explained him the all story. He contacted Budget at Windhoek airport. Those guys contacted me in the evening and explained me that they had no replacement car and that the next day I had to go to Outjo to replace the window, but also pay the cost of it to the repairer, so that he could after payment only, immediately order the window. Budget had a print of my credit card and those costs were covered by the broker, so it was difficult for me to understand this procedure. The next day, they told me that I had to go To Otjiwarongo, 100 kms further than Outjo and in the evening, what a surprise, that I had to go to Windhoek. With regard of their great willingness to solve the problem in an unprofessionally and not commercially way, I decided to ask my agent to send them an e-mail saying that if the car was stolen, I could not, at all, be considered liable for it. He copied it to the management of BUDGET South Africa. The next morning, o miracle, they announced me that they had found a car, and coincidently another X-Trail, and it will be delivered to me the next day in Okokuejo. It took them more than 3 days, and a lot of delays, excuses and pathetic speeches, and only after some intimidation from me and telephone calls that cost me 700 USD, to find a solution to the problem. I was not expecting an immediate solution, I was not in North America or in Europe, but at least more professionalism, consideration or consistency in handling such problems. I must say it was pitiful. I hope that it’s not a Namibian way to handle problems and only restricted to BUDGET Namibia.
Posting this thread, I only wanted to share a personal experience. It’s not happening everyday to everyone, everywhere, it’s just back luck. Concerning landscapes, Namibia is an exceptional country and I encourage everyone to visit it but when self driving, it might be dangerous. Actually as a consequence of the abnormally heavy rains from the beginning of the year, some roads are in poor condition, particularly the last 70 kms on the C40, between Khorixas and Palmwag.
Finally, the cherry on the cake, BUDGET Namibia charged me unduly with the refilling of petrol, but that was not a real surprise.
I will go back to Namibia, self driving, but certainly not with BUDGET

Mike

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