Do I really need a 4x4 ?

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Jan 8th, 2006, 01:42 PM
  #1
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Do I really need a 4x4 ?

This will be our first 2 weeks trip to Namibia next northern summer and will be travelling with 2 kids aged 11 and 5 years.
I like self-drive and our itinerary will cover:

Etosha NP
Skeleton coast
Sossuvslei
Swakopmund

+ 2 nights in Vic Falls before entering Namibia by air to Windoek

My question is whether or not a 4x4 is really necessary or anyway safer than a 2x4 due to gravel roads etc..We will remain on main roads.
I am already aware to keep the limited speed due to several fatal accidents.
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Jan 8th, 2006, 01:58 PM
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No need for the 4x4 for Etosha, Sossusvlei or Swakopmund. I have driven these areas several times with an ordinary sedan. I don't know how far you intend to drive along the Skeleton Coast. I have driven as far as the Cape Cross seal colony with absolutely no trouble.

Leann
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Jan 8th, 2006, 02:22 PM
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I drove from Windhoek to Etosha in a 2WD and it was fine -- great roads. I flew into Sossosvlei, but once there, I saw lots of 2WD cars (including VW beetles that had made the trip).

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Jan 8th, 2006, 08:34 PM
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For Sossusvlei, without a high ground clearance 4x4 you will have to walk or pay to be driven the last 1 mile. Certainly not a reason to get at 4x4, but wanted to prepare you. Don't try to make it in your two-wheel drive vehicle, getting unstuck will be lots of trouble and may cost $$$$.
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Jan 9th, 2006, 03:41 AM
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thank you all

I read somewhere that there are shuttles from Sossusvlei parking lot to the dunes !
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Jan 9th, 2006, 04:02 AM
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Yes,there are shuttles at Sossusvlei. They leave every 10 minutes or so and cost around R25 ($4 US) per person. Not a problem to get one.

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Jan 9th, 2006, 06:39 AM
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I drove it in a 2wd Nissan Sentra -- very little clearance. Only tough part without a 4X4 was going up the Skeleton Coast. As mentioned no worries until past Cape Cross Seal Colony. Once into the National Park it became quite sandy and a 4x4 would have been nice. We did still make it through though without incident to the inland road through Damaraland.

I think as long as you don't go too far up the coast you will be fine without a 4x4.
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Jan 9th, 2006, 06:48 AM
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main concern was just how far to go up to the coast.
Is it really worth to go further after the seal colony ?
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Jan 9th, 2006, 07:52 AM
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Fabio,

After enter Sossusvlei you will be driving in between the dunes in your 2 wheel drive vehicle on a paved (sort of) road. It is only when you get towards the end of the dry channel and begin to encounter sand that 4x4 is necessary. The reason to continue is that some of the better sights (Dead Vlei, etc.) are in that area.

If you are self-driving, will you be camping? If so, you can camp inside the park gates and get a earlier start than those you have to wait for the gates to open. This gets you more dramatic views as the sun rises.

George
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Jan 9th, 2006, 08:01 AM
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Fabio

If you're not camping, Betesda Rest Camp is moderately priced and is well located in the Sessriem area. The food isn't great, but the rooms are certainly adequate. There are other nicer places, but they get pricey.

Leann
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Jan 9th, 2006, 08:15 AM
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Unfortunately I am not camping as our 2 kids already take a lot of our efforts and this is our first trip to Namibia ! maybe when they are older..
we are looking for some kind of family units or a 2 double beds room in the area.
Assuming that we will not take the 4x4 just for Sossusvlei, then we will have our sedan car. So we talked about shuttles towards dunes after having left our 2wd parked. Where do they drop us off ? How long do we have to walk to see better views of the dunes, as tuckeg/Geroge said: Dead Vlei etc.?
Would 2 nights in the area be enough ?
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Jan 9th, 2006, 08:28 AM
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Fabio,

It will not be a problem, after you enter Sossusvlei you will drive quite a ways (5-10 miles) down the center of the dry river bed with huge dunes on each side. You can pull off in a two wheel drive vehicle to paking areas and climb or photograph at many of these. When you get to the end, either wlak if you're young and fit and it's not too hot, or take the shuttle the mile or so to the end where you can hike in to Dead Vlei and climb Big Daddy. I would pay for the shuttle as it lets you save your energy to tackle the dunes. There is a parking area for vehicle where the shuttles depart and it is safe to leave your car there. Be sure to bring water with you. Two nights is fine.

George
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Jan 9th, 2006, 08:31 AM
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Realized I didn't answer one of your questions, the shuttle drops you off about a mile further down the dry channel in an area where there are interesting sights. You will be picked up there whenever you get back and retruned to your car.
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Jan 9th, 2006, 08:36 AM
  #14
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thank you !
It seems we covered all details.
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