This page contains the 4X4 Namibia Maps & Facts behind the December 2017 month I spent with Ben in Namibia. Twenty-three of those days were spent traveling in his old Toyota Land Cruiser in the most remote reaches of Northwest Namibia (mostly off road).
Note that this trip is not for the faint-of-heart. You must be self-sufficient most of the time and have a great deal of 4WD experience. If you don’t meet these requirements then I recommend you stick to the Swakopmund, Messum Crater, Spitzkopper, Palmwag and Etosha areas.
Our 4×4 Namibia Route
Start to Finish drive time was 23 days. Plus 1 week before and another week after that I spent in Windhoek.
Costs (Out-of-Pocket Expenses)
US$ 489, plus US$ 400 car overhead.
Plus before/after 4×4 fees of US$ 150
Ben’s out-of-pocket expenses = N$ 7,270 or
US$ 505 or € 449.
4X4 Namibia Maps & Facts Trip Details
Day 1 11/18 Start Windhoek – Camp1 Kuiseb Riverbed
Day 2 11/19 Walvis Bay – Swakopmund N2 Villa Wiese
Day 3 11/20 Start South Namib-Naukluft Park (towards Sandwich Harbor) Camp3 Dunes
Day 4 11/21 Swakopmund D4 Villa Wiese
Day 5 11/22 Start North – Coast to Orawab River inland Camp5 SE Messum Crater
Day 6 11/23 Camp6 Guntagab River mouth (off Ugab River near Rhino Camp).
Day 7 11/24 On ridge along Guntagab River, across painted desert, Camp7 at Huab River mud hole crossing.
Day 8 11/25 Down Huab to coast, North to Terrace Bay, dry river into dunes Camp8
Day 9 11/26 up dry river, cut north to old lion camp for lunch. Exit Hoanib River. Sesfontein (no diesel). Camp9 at fort.
Day 10 11/27 C43 to Opuwo restock, NW Epembe, N across Zebra Mtns. Enuandi Monument, along Kunene Riverside, Camp10.
Day 11 11/28 W to Epupa Falls, Camp 11
Day 12 11/29 S then W across Zyles Pass into Marimansburge plains Camp12
Day 13 11/30 Hartmannberge Range above Serra Cafema Resort Camp 13
Day 14 12/01 South across plains (green drum) Hoarusib River (ticks) Camp 14
Day 15 12/02 Hoanib River Camp15
Day 16 12/03 Khowarib Canyon River Camp16
d17 12/04 Sick day, Kamanjab, Oppi-Koppi Camp17
Day 18 12/05 Outjo, Anderson Gate Etosha NP, Lindeguist Gate, SE Tsumeb Resort Camp 18
Day 19 12/06 New tires & restock, Tsumeb Resort Camp19
Day 20 12/07 SW Otavi, Otjiwarongo, Omaruru, Erongo Mtns, Boulder Camp20
Day 21 12/08 San People, SW, Spitskoppe Camp 21
Day 22 12/09 NW x plains, up Omaruru River, W C36 to Uis, W to Brandburge onto Ugab, down to old Camp6. Camp22
Day 23 12/10 Down Ugab to coast, back to Swakopmund D23 Villa Wiese
Day 24 12/11 Desert-Sky Backpackers
Day 25 12/12 Back to Windhoek – Urban Camp
Return to the Month of 4×4 in Namibia blog.
Google Route Map
Airport Money Changers & Transportation
Many money changers in Arrivals/Departure hall. Most charge 0% commission while in the city most charge a commission (all banks do). There are 3 good non-bank money changers in a small shopping mall (on Independence Ave around corner from Tourist office). Check their rates against each other. All non-commission.
No public transport. Best to arrange with the place you are staying. Fixed fee (N$ 350) taxi from Airport (see Transportation desk in center of arrival hall for taxi assignment. Note that sometimes there is a different if more than one person.
From city to airport no public transport. Book at your accommodation. From Chameleon Backpackers it is N$ 300 for one person or NS180 per person if more than one.
Urban Camp – 2km from city center or 15 minute walk up and over the hill. Shopping around the corner.
Mostly Overland trucks and independent 4×4 renters getting ready to head out. German owned and 99.9% German guests. The do speak English naturally.
Costs range from N$190 per camper (own tent or vehicle), N$ 490 two-person safari tent (with small fridge) and N$ 690 high-end safari tent (with small fridge).
Excellent meals averaging N$ 100 (better deal and food than at Joe’s Beerhouse around the corner).
Full breakfast buffet N$65
Note that this is a place for people with self-service vehicles, not a backpackers. No kitchen, fridge or cooking area provided.
Chameleon Backpackers – Few hundred meters from city center, shopping and eating.
Very cool place with pool, bar, huge kitchen, included large buffet breakfast and different styles of accommodation. Tent area is tiny and not attractive. Small two-person safari tents are N$200 much better than using your own tent. Also dorms, singles, etc.
Cardboard Box Backpackers – 1 km from city center and shopping/eating.
Do not stay here. I stayed many years ago it it was in ruff shape but ok. This time I booked 3 nights in my tent but left after one night. This is a party place for locals. Noise well after midnight. Somehow the facilities are even shabbier that last time. The pool is dirtier than an elephant water hole. Breakfast is watery instant coffee, a slice of toast with butter and a hard boiled egg if you get there early.
Joes Beerhouse is all the rage. You must make a reservation to eat there. Main meal averages around N$ 150 and wasn’t anything special in my opinion. Sure there are lots of beers to pick from if that is your thing, but for dinner, I found the game & non-game meals at the Urban camp better and cheaper.
I went with MTC (available everywhere). No special requirements for a sim. I went to the MTC office in the mall in center of Windhoek and they wanted to see my passport (while was told other places don’t bother). Anyway, got sim for N$ 1 and purchased N$ 100 (2 N$ 50 top up cards).
To use the top up card enter *132* (the code on the card but without the # between the numbers) # call. (yes don’t enter the #’s in the number but do end the sequence with a #
For balance *139# call
You get a message with Internet settings once sim is activated.
There are lots of data bundle options, otherwise it is pay as you go. Note that outside of Windhoek I found the data speed less 2G so useless. While in Windhoek for 5 days gearing up I activated the AWEH plan (7 days, 5 Gig). Use it or loss it after 7 days. To activate text #AWEHGIG# to 134
Then you will activate GPRS with your sim pin (even if you turned sim verification off).
Finally if asked for another pin enter 1234
This is not your phone or sim pin. I had to go to a MTC shop to figure this one out. The guy said it asks for this pin the first time you try to use data.
There are some areas that are free and some that are by day and some that include over-night fees. Too many options and variables to explain. Visit the Namibian Conservation office in Windhoek or Swakopmund for details. The staff are very helpful.
Also the Palmwag Concession area charges a daily fee. If you enter/exit from north of Sesfontein you don’t generally pay a fee (no official gate or checkpost) however, there are some locals that string a cable across the track and ask for a fee. We ignored them. If you are going to pay, pay the actual concession people to ensure that the area stays supported. Download the map and contact the Palmwag folks directly for details. (I also recommend a camping visit to their lodge!).
Lots of tech shops in malls/center in and around Windhoek and Swakopmund. In other areas there is nothing.
Internet & Electronics
Atlantis Internet Cafe, has it all and good technical resources. There are two stores that sell computer equipment and lots of shops that sell camera equipment. Also some good advice on drone sales (to purchase you have to visit the mall in Walvis Bay but items are limited). If you want a good mid-range drone buy it before leaving home. Namibia (Windhoek & Swakopmund have lots of low end toy models or one high end DJ model. Nothing in between as of December 2017.
Desert Sky Backpackers
Small dorms (N$200 night) without breakfast. Fully stocked kitchen available. Ok but small area for tents. 3 areas for car camping. Good mix of backpackers and self-drivers. Two blocks from center. Free Internet worked. My preferred spot.
Dorms N$ 260 night. Very busy with young backpackers. Free Internet did not work. Noisy place on main road.
I stayed at Villa Wise a few time. Dorm bed (ask for an empty dorm room) is N$ 220 night with good breakfast included. Kitchen available but no utensils (none). Internet does not work and there are very few customers here. This used to be a popular spot but the owners moved away and it has died. Located at northeast corner of town (a bit of a walk to center) across from old Train Station (now a casino).
Other Area Accommodation
PO Box 94, Kamanjab, Namibia
Gemsbok Str 29
Tel +264 (0) 67 330 040
Fax +264 (0) 67 330 184
Owner – Vital Cardeynaels, German
Free camping and a free beer for those doing Overland.
Anna-Mari Du Plessis (Manager)
Tel: +264 (0)64 40 3096
Cell: +264 (0)81 620 6887
Office Hours only from 08h00 to 17h00 – Mondays to Fridays
The plant is commonly known simply as welwitschia in English. Named after Friedrich Welwitsch who “discovered” the plant in 1859, some of the specimen are estimated to be between 1000 and 1500 years old. As a desert plant, most of its water is taken up by a 30 meter diameter network of roots. Water is provided in the form of dew (fog) as rain is an absolute exception. Only about 0.1% of the seeds produced manage to germinate. It has female and male specimens and pollination takes place with the help of insects.
The Messum Crater
Composed of both intrusive and extrusive rocks. Between 132 and 135 million years old, Messum has a diameter of 18 km.
They are not a distinct species of elephant but are African bush elephants that have made their homes in the Namib and Sahara deserts.
A goofy looking bird I saw in Swakopmund. It is native to Africa, mainly south of the Sahara.
The gemsbok or gemsbuck (Oryx gazella) is a large antelope in the Oryx genus. It is native to the arid regions of Southern Africa. It is depicted on the coat of arms of Namibia where the current population of the species is estimated at 373,000.
The Suiderkus Wreck
A modern fishing trawler, the Suiderkus ran aground near Möwe Bay on her maiden voyage (1976) despite a highly sophisticated navigational system.
Return to the Month of 4×4 in Namibia blog.