Namibia Vacation October 2012

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Aug 11th, 2013, 08:53 AM
  #21
 
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Elizabeth_S, you're right - they have two different daily rates for zero excess...one with and one without the tire (or "tyre") and windscreen. Knowing what gravel roads are like, I will just feel better having it. And since I may be alone, I just really want as few complications as possible.

Wildlifepainter, you drove yourself out to the dunes, correct? Did you do the whole "lowing of tire pressure" and then pumping air back in when you got back? I assume they give you a tire pressure gauge? The rental company doesn't consider the road out to the dunes to be "off-road" right? I notice that in their small print that they say "no dune driving" but I think they are referring to off-road. Also, I thought it was funny that if you pay for zero excess, it covers everything except sand storm damage. The sand storms must be pretty bad there!
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Aug 11th, 2013, 10:37 AM
  #22
 
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P.S. Wildlifepainter, what is the procedure at gas stations? Do you pay for the gas first and then pump? Or do you pump and then pay? Or do they pump for you? Are the rates on the pump when you pull up? I'm wondering how you knew that they tried to increase them just for you....
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Aug 12th, 2013, 11:39 AM
  #23
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The weather was lovely. It did get hot in the mid afternoon but it always cooled off in the evening. We thought it was cold in Swakopund (65) but mostly because of am and pm fog. We have chosen to return at the same time of year as we thought it was perfect.


We went with the 30,000 excess for our 4x4 Hilux meaning they ran our card for US$3000 or so. It didn't cover tires or glass but we didn't need either. They're were some chips in the windshield and we both acknowledged them on checkout so no issue. No flats or other issues either. We used Advanced Car but I don't think any car companies cover tire and glass? They gave us back the credit slip when we returned.


Honestly, there are next to no cars on the roads, they are straight and fairly smooth so if you keep your speed down what can go wrong. Oh, and don't drive after dark or faster that allowed and you will be fine. I'm a worrier so trust me even I was ok with all this.
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Aug 13th, 2013, 10:04 AM
  #24
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At the gas station, get out and watch them pump the gas. What they did to us twice was stop the pump, reset it and then fill it up. Then they would come up with a larger total. We made a point of getting out our notepad and writing down all the numbers (also good for figuring out how to return the truck near empty) and that seemed to keep them honest. Do give them a tip though.

We did lower the air in the tires and ran it that way for the whole trip. This was advise from the guys at Africat and we had no problems. Our truck came equipped with a gauge and pump and tow rope and first aid kit. The only issue was they talk and record in bars of pressure which did throw my husband until he double checked with his gauge from home and the one provided.
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Aug 13th, 2013, 04:46 PM
  #25
 
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Wildlifepainter - thanks for the response! I have now added a notebook and pen to my list (although, I would have had those anyway most likely). Interesting about the pressure. I'm used to "Pounds (psi)" of pressure in tires and didn't realize there was even such a thing as "bars."
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Aug 14th, 2013, 11:17 AM
  #26
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1 bar = air pressure at sea level = 14.7lbs
We lowered to 2 bars on their gauge.
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Aug 14th, 2013, 06:57 PM
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Too much math for me!
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Aug 15th, 2013, 08:50 AM
  #28
 
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Great to hear you had such a good time, we're returning to Namibia in the Autumn so good to hear how you found it at that time of year.

We've used Advanced several times and found them very reliable and fair. We once dented the vehicle quite badly (backing away from an elephant quickly!) and instead of just withholding the deposit they called a garage to come and look at the damage and quote for that specific repair which was very reasonable and a fraction of what it would have cost in the UK, so we were happy to pay that and the deposit was returned (and the repair turned out to be less than if we had paid for zero excess).

On the petrol front I don't quite get it ... if they reset the pump then wouldn't you be paying less as you already had an amount in the tank? Sorry if I'm slow on this, want to understand how it works so we can keep an eye out!
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Aug 15th, 2013, 09:27 AM
  #29
 
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(by petrol I mean 'gas' of course!!!)
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Aug 16th, 2013, 01:33 AM
  #30
 
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Who is Gemma? Tour Director? Many thanks, Ulinda7 .Australia
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Aug 16th, 2013, 03:06 AM
  #31
 
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Gemma Dry is the owner of Discover Namibia, a tour company

http://www.discover-namibia-safaris.com/
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Aug 16th, 2013, 12:45 PM
  #32
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They would just say they had to reset it in order to "fill it up" (sometimes the pump shuts off) so that is why you just need to watch. Keep in mind that often times locals want to talk to you so it is easy to get distracted.
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Oct 20th, 2013, 02:04 PM
  #33
 
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Ok..I'm back to ask more questions if you're still around wilddlifepainter...

When you were driving to Big Daddy in the early morning, was it easy to find your way there? Are there signs or anything? Haha - I can just picture myself going out and getting lost and not knowing what dune is what and then getting stuck in the sand.

Also, Do you recall if you put your truck into 4-wheel-drive mode for that 5k drive out to Big Daddy in the sand?

Do they let you leave before 5am, or is that the earliest
that you can go out? I'm thinking I'd like to be at the top of the dune for the sunrise...

And at the gas stations, was the price per liter displayed on the pump anywhere? I'm wondering if I just pull up and ask for "50 liters" (or whatever I think I need) it may keep everyone honest...but for that I'd need to know what the price is ahead of time. Oh, and BTW - I will be from Canada I'm close anyway - 10 mi or so from the boarder. I know enough about Vancouver to fake it at the gas stations.

And the final question - did Advance Car Hire pick you up at the airport or did you have to find your own way to their location?

Thanks!
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Oct 21st, 2013, 04:52 PM
  #34
 
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Advanced usually pick you up from the airport and take you to their office to pick up the vehicle. They also take you to the airport for your return flight. We are taking up their special offer at Etambi Guesthouse this time so will report back:

'As a special offer from 1 October 2012 till 31 Janaury 2013 we will be offering 1 night free accommodation at Etambi guesthouse for any booking between 7 and 14 days.

For a booking 15 days and more we will be offering 2 nights free accommodation at Etambi guesthouse'
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Oct 23rd, 2013, 09:23 AM
  #35
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Hi Carrie,

Advanced did pick us up (sign with our name) and drop us off at the airport and all was very seamless. Gas pumps were very similar to home with price and liters all displayed. Yes at the end of the trip we requested liters not a fill up as you want to return it near empty.

The road to Big Daddy is tar and the only one(a few dirt side roads along the way). It was very dark when the lodge trip departed at maybe 4:30 so we left when it started to get light but I forgot the time. I thought it was a bit scary flying along in the pitch dark with fog and animals so didn't want to do that on our own. At the parking lot it turns to dirt and it was necessary to engage the 4x4 for the last 5km. It could be difficult to figure out what peak is Big Daddy but it is the one to the left towering over Dead Vlei.

We were there after sunrise on our 2nd trip and I much preferred it as it was a bit warmer and we had it to ourselves. Either way a very enjoyable experience and we are planning a return trip.
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Oct 24th, 2013, 04:19 PM
  #36
 
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Thanks! I'm making notes.... I will be able to go two mornings so that will be my plan as well - one sunrise and one later in the day. That will actually work out nicely as I'd like to be at Dead Vlei for sunrise on day #2.
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Oct 26th, 2013, 06:15 PM
  #37
 
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p.s. was your truck a diesel?
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Oct 28th, 2013, 11:52 AM
  #38
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Yes 4x4 Hilux dual cab.
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