5 Tips to Get the Most of Your Adventure in Namibia

It all started with a picture of Deadvlei... "I must get to Namibia."

By: Bryan Young

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Our Namibia experience started with a picture.

For so many of us adventurers, it often begins that way. We see an image that just takes our breath away and we declare to ourselves, “I am going to…”

Personally, I have a whole bookmarked section on Chrome and a Travel Bucket List in my iPhone notes dedicated to these moments. And that’s exactly what I said to myself when I first saw photographs of Deadvlei in the Namib National Park of Namibia.

If you’ve seen a picture, then you know what I mean, and probably have already made that personal travel declaration. If you haven’t, then look at these pictures, or Google it. Then book your trip!

My trip to Namibia was planned a little differently than most trips. For instance, I currently live in Lesotho, look it up! It’s the small country located entirely inside South Africa and boasts the title of being the highest country of the world since the lowest elevation of Lesotho is higher than every other country’s lowest elevation. It’s why it’s aptly referred to the “Mountain Kingdom.”

Anyway, I moved here in August of 2015 with my fiancé for her work as a resident pediatrician completing her global abroad. I quit my job and flew to Lesotho ready for a year of new adventures. Knowing we only had one year abroad we quickly began to plan our adventures, and that’s when I saw pictures of Deadvlei.

“We’re going to Namibia,” I declared.

“Why?” she retorted. “What’s there?”

“Deadvlei. Just trust me! Just look at these pictures!”

And from that our trip was born.

During our year in Lesotho we’ve traveled to the extreme, inspired sadly by knowing we only had one year before her job had us return back to Houston, TX. And we’d be damned if we did not make the most of our time in southern Africa. So we’ve basically covered the entire portion of southern Africa in our travels over the past year. Namibia was our final destination, having saved it for the winter season in order to avoid the heat of summer. It also turned out we saved the best adventure for last!

With my job finished, I tasked myself with planning our trip to Namibia and soon discovered that I was going to have to make some tough choices. There was so much to explore and see, but as always seems to be the case with any vacation, not enough time to do it all, and way too much ground to cover. Therefore, in order to maximize our adventure we’d have to set some ground rules so that we could relax, but also explore the amazing country to it’s fullest potential.

So from that, here are my recommendations for exploring Namibia:

1. Research and PLAN: 

Namibia is an incredible country with amazing destinations, but they all require planning. There are so parks you need to make reservations with, maps to route, tons of companies that provide guided tour options, and most importantly, off the beaten path destinations that can make your trip extra special. Plan so that when you enter Namibia you hit the ground running!

2. Prioritize Your Destinations: 

Look at all that Namibia, or any destination for that matter, has to offer and make the tough choices. For us that was getting to Deadvlei. From there we planned a stop en route to Sossusvlei at Namib-Naukluft Zebra Park for some great hikes and then driving north passing through Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and then exploring the unique rock formations of Spitzkoppe. 

But that also meant we missed out on Fish River Canyon, Ethosha National Park, the Skeleton Coast, Kolmanskop and Luderitz to name a few. But personally, we couldn't have chosen better. Make the tough choices and go there! More importantly enjoy it and don't have FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)! You're where you want to be, enjoy it!

3. Don’t spend too much time in one place: 

Most destinations can be explored with 2 days, so hop around Namibia and choose a route that gives you the most adventures. But with that said…

4. Don’t spend too much time in the car: 

Namibia is huge and most of the roads are gravel. As they say here, don’t measure your drive in distance, but time, and it’s true. It’s going to take a little longer to get places, and you’re on vacation, so why rush?! As you plan your Namibian adventure, just like any trip, choose a route and itinerary that gives you ample ample exploration time without too much drive time!

5. Rent the Proper Gear/Vehicle: 

By this I mean get a capable 4x4 vehicle capable of handling Namibia’s rough roads. We met a couple who drove a sedan and suffered 2 flat tires and multiple issues exploring the country. For just a little more cash, it’s worth it to get the more reliable vehicle, and the capital Windhoek has plenty of options. We had a blast with “Clyde” our trusty Toyota twin cab Hilux! We even added the rooftop tent and loved it! (Just don’t skimp on the insurance, especially with tires and windshields!) But a side note, know your limitations. I got us stuck in some deep sand, so even if you have a 4x4, experience definitely helps!

Final Thoughts:

Namibia is an amazing place and I cannot wait until the next opportunity my soon to be wife and I get to come back. This needs to be on the top of your travel bucket lists! Enjoy and use these tips when planning a trip to Namibia, or any destination, for that matter! 

Happy travels!

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.