Before embarking on a Namibia self-drive safari holiday it is very important to familiarise yourself with a 4x4 vehicle by test-driving on sandy or gravel areas. If this is not possible prior to departure then the first day or two of the safari should be spent getting to know the vehicle.
Driving on gravel and sand is very different to driving on tarred roads, and also driving in snow as so many people are used to. For the safety of all passengers, it is very important to have enough driving experience and to be able to handle a 4x4 correctly in different situations.
Sand road driving in Namibia
Keep both hands on the steering wheel and concentrate on the road as conditions are always changing. Slow down if you see an obstacle but try not to stop as the tyres may get bogged in the sand.
When driving in deep sand drive slowly and deflate your tyres if necessary. Lowering the air pressure in the tyres will increase the grip. Driving through heavy sand in low range is the best solution.
Gravel road driving in Namibia
Please don't do anything abruptly when driving on a gravel road in Namibia. Expect potholes, large boulders or huge and rocky stones to appear at any time. Also watch out for wildlife. Animals are easily frightened and often jump onto the road into the path of the oncoming vehicle. Be careful when overtaking on dusty roads as animals may appear suddenly in the road.
Tools and equipment needed when driving off the beaten track in Namibia:
- Spade or shovel
- Tire pressure gauge
- Tire pump - for inflating and deflating tyres
- Tyre repair kit
- Towing straps
- High lift jack / air jack - for changing tyres when stuck in sand or mud
- Bow shackles - for the towing straps
- Emergency medical kit
- Two spare wheels - as tyre repair workshops are not found in the middle of nowhere
- Enough food, water and fuel
4x4 adventurers should not just drive off-road anywhere in Namibia. Most of the sand or gravel roads will be in Namibian national parks. Please stay on these roads for eco reasons.