Self drive (camping) safari in Namibia help

Nov 3rd, 2010, 08:20 AM
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Self drive (camping) safari in Namibia help

Im starting to look into planning a trip to Namibia and Im very much inclined to plan a self drive. Since my main goal will be photography I don't want to end up in some overland truck or minibus and it seems that doing a self drive in Namibia is a very good possibility.

Im a bit confused right now though whether I should book a trip via an agency so everything has been taken care of, or if it's worthwhile to look into planning the whole thing yourself..
Any suggestions? Do you save a lot of money planning it yourself? What are good agencies to look into?
Nikao is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2010, 08:53 AM
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ttt as I'm interested in this too.
annhig is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2010, 09:05 AM
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Given that the agencies do this all year and send lots of clients to places, I would expect them to have big discounts from suppliers, which you wouldn't normally get.

So, I would be very surprised if you could do it cheaper.

Try Cardboard Box, Discover Namibia, Chameleon as agents.

Namibia is superb for self-driving.
mcwomble is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2010, 09:27 AM
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thx.. ill contact those agencies to see some prices (they dont seem to have them listed on the site).

Few things im wondering about though;

Nights in Etosha park;
Most trips only include 2 or 3 nights, but the park seems to be HUGE... why would you only spent such a short time in there? (in comparison; when I went to the serengeti i spent 5 nights there)

Whats the best season to go to Namibia if you are there mostly for the wildlife?
Nikao is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2010, 10:36 AM
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I am in the proces of booking a 5 week selfdrive tour myself. You can see my itinerary on atnother post.

I have been in contact with both Cardboard and Chameleon and both seems very good and the prizes are pretty much the same.

I have booked 6 nights in Etosha,did the same in 2003 and that worked pretty good for me. 2 nights at each camp and just to answer your questions about why most tours stay only 2 or 3 night, must be because they need to squeeze as many attractions as possible into their itinerary.

The best season for wildlife seems to be june-october, we are going mainly in july.
jesron is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2010, 10:59 AM
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thx jesron, ill look into your itinerary to get some ideas.
Any suggestions / possibilities to encounter wild dogs? (saw them in tanzania a few years ago and would love to see those marvelous creatures again)
Nikao is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2010, 11:06 AM
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In 8 years I am yet to see wild dogs actually in the wild in Namibia.
There are apparently some packs in the North East, Caprivi, Kavango and Bushmanland areas but I haven't seem them yet.

You can see them at Na'ankuse Lodge which is close to Windhoek Airport, so perhaps if you have no luck finding them in the wild that might suit as a substitute.
Discover_Namibia is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2010, 11:31 AM
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We had a wonderful 3 week self drive in Namibia earlier this year spectacularly arranged by Gemma Dry of Discover Namibia (her post is right above mine). We did indeed see wild dogs at Na'ankuse Lodge (which was fabulous) but they are not roaming free, obviously.

Here's a link to our (unfinished) blog - Namibia has some wonderful photo opps!
Elizabeth_S is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2010, 12:23 PM
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thx elizabeth, you have some really awesome photo's on your blog!
did you go on a private/selfdrive trip or were you in a guided group?
Nikao is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2010, 12:51 PM
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It was just the two of us - had a fantastic time......happy to answer any questions......
Elizabeth_S is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2010, 12:57 PM
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You have a few decisions to make before you are able to decide whether you should do the bookings yourself or use an agent.

Are you thinking of self-driving and camping? If so, then you will need a vehicle that comes fully equipped with camping gear. Most of the companies that offer these fully equipped vehicles also offer a booking service - they will book all of your campsites, tented camps etc. They will even set up your itinerary for you if you wish. Have a look at www.safari We have used them several times for self-drives in Botswana, Kenya and Tanzania and have found them to be excellent. However, their vehicles and expertise come at a price - but well worth the money in our experience. Their in-country back up gives us the confidence to do these trips on our own.

If you plan to stay at tented camps or lodges, then you will not need a vehicle that comes fully equipped. All you'll need to decide is whether you need a 4x4 or not - depending on how far afield you plan to go in Namibia. For Etosha, you will not need a 4x4, but you'll want something high off the ground so that you have good visibility for game viewing. You could rent a vehicle from a company such as Avis and then look after all of your own bookings.

Once you decide how you wish to travel - camping versus lodges/tented camps (or, of course, you can combine the two, as we do) - then you'll need to decide whether you wish to do the research needed to plan and book your own trip. Personally, I love to do the work myself, but it is time consuming and can be a bit overwhelming. Etosha is easy to book online, as is much of the accommodation in Namibia. We book most of our trips to South Africa and Namibia ourselves online from Canada. We don't do it to save money - I don't expect it is any cheaper. We do it so that we know exactly what we are getting and have only ourselves to blame if something goes wrong. That being said, we are so thorough, we have not yet ever encountered a problem. When we rent a vehicle from Safari Drive, we set up our own itinerary and then run it by them for their input. They then look after all of our bookings. Trying to book campsites in Botswana, Kenya and Tanzania is very difficult to do online.

To give you an idea what a self drive in Southern Africa is like, I offer you two links.

The first describes a self-drive camping trip (with a roof-top tent) that my husband and I made through Botswana - there are many photos and a trip report.

The second describes a self-drive through South Africa and Namibia where we rented a 4x4 but stayed in tented camps and lodges.

In the first instance, Safari Drive, who rented us the fully-equipped vehicle, made all of our arrangements - campsite/lodge bookings, land transfers etc.

In the second instance, I did all of the bookings - vehicles, accommodations, tours etc. - online.

Both trips were a great success! Robin
canadian_robin is offline  
Nov 4th, 2010, 03:56 AM
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thx all for the great input so far!

Right now my biggest challange seems to be to find someone to come with me lol... (girlfriend cant and best friend neither)
Nikao is offline  
Nov 17th, 2010, 02:55 AM
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the self drive is probably of for me for now, since my girlfriend can't come with me this time. I think I won't feel comfortable enough to go selfdriving all on my own, so looking in some other possibilities at the moment.

Lastly I want to thank Discover_Namibia for the great help and support (via the email) on working on an itinerary. Highly recommended to use if you want to go on a drive in Namibia!
Nikao is offline  

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