Trip to Namibia

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Jul 14th, 2013, 03:14 AM
  #1
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Trip to Namibia

Hi, we are wanting to go to Namibia next year 2014 for about 10 to 12 days. We would like to do a self drive. We have reached out to several tour operators but their suggestions are not what we are looking for and we just don't know who to trust. Can anyone advise us where to begin? Also would you recommend a self drive tour some operators encourage it and others don't so we are confused.
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Jul 14th, 2013, 05:51 AM
  #2
 
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Hi. Namibia is a beautiful, diverse country.

We used Gemma Dry of Discover Namibia Tours. You can click on my name and read my trip report. We were going to do a self drive and ended up hiring drivers as you will read, but one is totally possible.

Enjoy.
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Jul 14th, 2013, 08:36 AM
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We also used Gemma Dry of Discover Namibia Tours and highly recommend her. She put together a fantastic 3 week self drive itinerary for us from Windhoek to Sossusvlei, then Swakopmund, Damaraland, through Etosha and then along the Caprivi Strip to Botswana (dropped the car off before we crossed the border). We loved the driving (did almost 5,000K).

We had a Kia Sportage which was fine but the tires were cr*p - had a couple of flat tires (you need to be prepared to change a tire).

Here's a link to our (unfinished) blog


http://lizandrichardsa.typepad.com/africa/g-namibia/
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Jul 14th, 2013, 10:46 AM
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Liz that blog cries to be completed especially since Namibia is my next destination!

Very comprehensive & useful information.

How difficult was it to climb the dunes? Is walking in the only way to get to Dead Vlei?
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Jul 14th, 2013, 11:04 AM
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KathBC - it grieves us it remains unfinished!

Climbing up sand is a workout but it was nice and cool in the early morning which made it easier. We are in good shape although my husband has a dodgy back....but were fine.

Re getting to Deadvlei - below is a link to a good map that shows it's a 1.1 kilometre walk from the Parking Lot to Deadvlei (second map). We went the longer (higher) way.....that walk is flatter although most of it still in sand.

http://www.visitingnamibia.com/sossusmaps.html

We LOVED Namibia - happy to help if I can.
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Jul 14th, 2013, 12:05 PM
  #6
 
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The early morning does make it easier to walk to the top. We were a group ages 8 years to 62 years and everyone made it up fine. Give yourself enough time before sunrise to walk up slowly. Then sit down and watch the magic!

Dead Vlei was my favorite. The kids rolled down to it, I ran down and some of us walked down. These are my favorite pics of the whole trip.

Good luck and happy planning.
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Jul 14th, 2013, 12:41 PM
  #7
 
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We did a 14 day self drive in 2007. You can click on my screen name to find my report. We didn't use a tour operator. I booked our rental car and accommodations directly.
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Jul 15th, 2013, 07:25 AM
  #8
 
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We also used Gemma for a 14 day self drive in Oct 2012 and loved it. In fact we have already booked a return visit in Oct 2014 with Gemma. Our first visit was the standard tour of 4 nights Etosha (with 2 nights at Africat first), then 2 nights Damaraland, 3 nights Swakopamund, and then on to 3 nights Sossusvlei. The next trip will be all up north. 2 nights Damaraland, 10 nights Etosha, and 5 nights Caprivi. And just to show how much we loved Namibia and the self driving, we are also looking at a trip to just southern Namibia for early 2015.

Gemma booked everything for us including the truck. We were met at the airport by the car company. They gave us a lesson in changing a tire (which we didn't need), how everything works and gave us the packet from Gemma with all our maps and vouchers. Returning it was a breeze with no questions asked even though we had added a number of scratches to the passanger side. Driving on the wrong side of the road did have a few moments.
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Jul 15th, 2013, 10:18 AM
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I agree with Patty - assuming that you have the time/motivation to do the work/bookings yourself, you do not need a tour operator. We have self-driven through Namibia several times, either in combination with SA, Botswana and/or Zambia and, for all of our trips, we have planned the itinerary and completed the bookings ourselves. Here is the link to the trip report of our most recent self-drive, which includes the itinerary and many photos.

South Africa and Namibia (jump to the middle pages to skip SA)

http://bert-and-bin.smugmug.com/Trav...9180243_8Kkvjg

Here is the link to our 2008 trip, which is very similar.

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...mibia-2008.cfm

Pick up a copy of the latest edition of the Bradt Guide to Namibia - excellent book for self-drivers. CR
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Jul 15th, 2013, 10:27 AM
  #10
 
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Sorry - one other comment - for future postings, be certain to put the words "self-drive" in the title of your post. It will catch the eye of those on this forum who do a lot of self-driving in South and/or East Africa. CR
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Jul 16th, 2013, 01:46 AM
  #11
 
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I did a self drive in Namibia last year.

Areas visited;
- Kalahari (Bagatelle Lodge)
- Sossusvlei (Hoodia Desert Lodge)
- The coast (some B&B)
- Damaraland (Grootberg Lodge)
- Etosha (Onguma Tented Lodg, mostly)
- Waterberg (Frans Indongo Lodge) (did not visit the area, was only there for CCF).

Trip report & pics here;
http://safaritalk.net/topic/9681-namibia-2012/

Car & lodges were booked via Sun Safaris.

With the esception of Onguma (which I specifically wanted) the lodges were chosen in terms of budget, typically costing a bit less, but upcoming "players" offering very good stuff, sometimes even offering a bit more than the most known places.

Sun is expert in finding places like that, and they certainly got it right with Hoodia and Grootberg. Perhaps a bit overprices was Onguma ...I should have listened to Sun.

Ciao,

J.
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Jul 16th, 2013, 08:38 AM
  #12
 
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Loved your photos!! Feeling inspired. While we are planning a safari trip to Tanzania next year (this time to take our granddaughter and daughter), I think Namibia-based on your photos and experience--should be our next destination!! Thanks for posting.
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Jul 17th, 2013, 03:09 AM
  #13
 
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* Lifts hat *

My pleasure!

J.
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Jul 18th, 2013, 04:53 AM
  #14
 
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We also did a self drive in Namibia. It really is easy--not much traffic and the roads are mostly hard-topped. I booked everything on line myself.
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Jul 18th, 2013, 04:59 AM
  #15
 
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AND, we observed a male lion sleeping in the grass while self-driving in Etosha. None of the people on tours and with guides who were staying at the same lodge saw it.
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Jul 19th, 2013, 08:35 AM
  #16
 
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Don't wait to late to book if you are set on specific lodges. I had to really get creative for Zimbabwe this Sept when I booked 10 months in advance including changing travel dates and picking 2 of 4 new lodges.

I also had to reroute and change a lodge for Uganda for March 2014 again booking 10 months in advance. I think Africa is becoming very popular.

And yes I have already booked Namibia for Oct 2014 with Gemma.
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Jul 20th, 2013, 06:51 AM
  #17
 
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We used Pieter Burger at New African Frontiers great experience I agree that it is possible to make all the reservations on your own, but it was nice to have a contact while out on the road. I would make sure you upgrade the car rental to get a v-6. Our little 4cyl diesel Toyota Hilux 4wd was significantly underpowered and had a tough time on sand. And yes, you will be changing tires. Make sure your rental had at least 2 spares. And repair your tires as you go. Have a great trip! I'm totally jealous!
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Jul 20th, 2013, 09:41 AM
  #18
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[email protected], thanks for the information. I think using a travel agent is smart I'll just have to be insistent on the itinerary we want.
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