Namibia Self Drive Safari Budgeting

An important consideration for a Namibia self drive safari is the budget, which can be difficult to determine because an independent safari is so flexible.

But after more than 25 years of going on self drive safaris myself I've managed to keep the costs below US$110 per person per day when travelling for longer than a week, every time. So you can confidently budget that amount.

Take note: The currency in Namibia is the Namibian Dollar - symbol "N$" - but South African Rands are accepted everywhere. The N$ exchange rate is linked to that of the Rand.

Namibia Distance/Time Calculator

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Fuel is going to be one of your major expenses on a Namibia self drive safari so to work out how far and how long you are going to travel to get to Etosha from the major centers in the country, use the distance calculator on the right (based on an average travelling speed of 110km/h or 68mi/h)...

Namibia Road Network

Namibia has one of the best road networks in Africa which is one of the reasons why it's such a popular self drive destination.

The total length of the road network is estimated at 62 237 km (38 672 mi) of which about 13% is paved. Most of the gravel roads are in very good condition and can be driven comfortably using a sedan vehicle. Major routes are numbered with a B prefix (mostly tarred), secondary roads have a two digit number with the C prefix included and minor routes have a three or four digit number with a D prefix appended.

Some of the roads in the more rural areas of Namibia can become impassable during the rainy season when there are heavy downpours.

The verges of most of the main roads are kept clear of vegetation to make it easier to see wildlife (kudu, steenbok, ostrich) and livestock wandering onto the street which can be especially hazardous at night.

Popular Namibia Self Drive Destinations

The Etosha National Park is #1 on the list of places you really have to see on a Namibia self drive safari holiday and the Cape Cross seal colony (123km/76mi north of Swakopmund) should also appear high up on any safari enthusiast's list.

Other areas that are not purely safari related but are also very much worth visiting:

  • Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert - Located within the Namib-Naukluft National Park, this salt pan which only rarely fills with water (once every 10 years on average) is surrounded by some of the highest sand dunes in the world.

  • Swakopmund - A very picturesque coastal town with easy access to desert tours where you can experience first hand the surprising amount of life that the dunes support like lizards, chameleons, spiders and snakes.

  • Fish River Canyon - The second deepest canyon in the world (only the Grand Canyon in the USA is deeper), plummeting over 550m (1 800 ft) to the desert floor in some areas, this 160km (100 mi) canyon is situated in southern Namibia.

  • Skeleton Coast - The beauty of this area lies in its desolation and isolation, and the fact that it's untouched by human intervention except for the multiple shipwrecks that lie scattered along the length of the coast.

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