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If you are planning your first trip to Namibia and don’t know where to start then we can help ensure you’re not overwhelmed. You probably have questions such as- What is the best itinerary? Should I better book a guided tour or is a Namibia self-drive safari the best option for me? After reading this article you will have a much better understanding good feeling of which type of travel is best suited to you!
Namibia self-drive safari vs. guided safari – pros & cons
One thing we know for sure – both options are highly recommended and offer you a unique Namibia experience. Nevertheless, pay attention to the third option at the end of this blog – the one you should AVOID booking!
Namibia self-drive safari – pros
Flexibility – do whatever you want!
You can stop wherever and whenever you want. You can spontaneously change your schedule and the route if nothing is pre-booked. Not being tied to a schedule is freeing, although it is recommended to pre-book your accommodation during high season!
The price – it might be cheaper!
A safari tour through Namibia may not be the cheapest vacation, but is definitely one of the most memorable! Renting a 4×4 camping car is one of the more expensive parts of the trip. If you’re on a budget you can plan a self-drive safari on your own! We recommend researching where to rent a car, how to get from the airport to your first accommodation, which campsites and lodges to book in advance, where to go for your first grocery shopping in Windhoek by the day you arrive in Namibia etc. Those and more things must be planed ahead properly.
High adventure level- feel like a discoverer!
Imagine, daring to venture into the vast expanse of Africa on your own. This might be an adventurous feeling for you and your friends. You will feel like a discoverer who is the first one to explore the untouched nature of Namibia. Driving on your own through the rough gravel roads, just hoping not to get stuck in the deep sand. This feeling makes your heart definitely jump!
Namibia self-drive safari – cons
You only see what you know!
A lot of things in nature remain hidden when travelling on your own. A tour guide is best placed to show you details and wildlife that you might simply pass in your car. The little gecko in the sand, the plant you should not touch or the story behind old cave paintings, even secret spots where lions nap during the afternoons – You will quickly learn more about the country, its wildlife and the fantastic culture.
A lot of effort!
There are a few things you must consider whilst planning your trip. Find the best (and trustworthy) 4×4 car rental service, buy groceries for the trip on the day of your arrival. Contact every accommodation and wait for their feedback before booking. Deciding how many kilometers you can drive per day without falling asleep and planning how much time you need to drive between destinations due to bad quality gravel roads. Knowing how many nights to spend at eachone destination, how to dig the car out of the sand when stuck, how to change a flat tyre…These important factors will what you need to take care of on your own.
Namibia private guided safari tour – pros
Private Guide – exclusively taking care of your group!
This means you don’t have to join a group of tourists on a coach. Instead, you will have your own tour guide who focuses on your group with your friends. You will feel comfortable with one another, because the tour guide always becomes another friendly, fun member of your group.
A perfectly organised tour!
Planning a safari tour can be hard work. Your tour guide can suggest different itineraries with various lengths, suited to a range of budgets. You just have to choose which itinerary sounds most exciting for you and your group. The tour guide takes care of the rest.
Learn more about Namibia!
At the campfire you’ll probably hear countless hilarious anecdotes about the life of a tour guide. Guides also share their immense knowledge – about plants, landscapes, chasing tracks of animals and the diverse culture of Namibia. You will experience the country in a much more immersive and authentic way, through the eyes of a local Namibian.
Avoid the tourist trail!
With a local you will go to places that may not be featured in any travel guide you read online. These are places that you shouldn’t travel to as a self-driver – including roads that require skillful off-road driving or places that you are only allowed to visit with a local guide. Would you camp in a dry river bed away from any official campsite on your own? No way! But, with a local tour guide you might get to experience this once in a lifetime adventure…We’ve experienced elephants pass by our campsite just 5 meters from where we sat around the campfire! Those unique experiences are only possible if you travel away from common tourist spots with a local tour guide.
Namibia private guided safari tour – cons
Of course, all of the advantages listed come at a price. A privately guided tour through Namibia is more expensive than a self-drive tour. You need to weigh up the cost and benefits (such as ease, adventure and comfort) that come with a tour guide or choose to spend less money and plan the safari yourself.
No matter what you choose, one thing we know for sure is that you will have a blast in Namibia! In the end, you need to decide what suits your budget and your personal preferences. Finally, is has to be mentioned, that the safety factor is not an argument against a self-drive safari – Namibia is one of the safest countries in Africa and it‘s easy to navigate! Whichever option you choose, I guarantee that you will have the time of your life!
Avoid booking the following safari tour
As I mentioned at the beginning, there is one thing that I personally would not recommend booking. The most inauthentic way to travel Namibia is a package bus/coach tour with foreign tourists. You will be rushed through the country in a bus with 10 other people, chased in and out of lodges with a strict schedule for lunch and activities… and you’ll have to endure strangers around you listening to exhausting small talk. Although the price of this tour is more affordable than a private tour guide, you won’t experience the pure Namibian adventure that comes with both a private tour guide and a self-drive safari.
If you are ready to explore Namibia we can help!
If you are interested in exploring Namibia, WildWifi offers a unique experience specifically designed for digital nomads and remote workers. Join our annual coliving in Windhoek and choose the option to travel around Namibia with a group of like-minded people!