The Ultimate Safari Transportation Guide
For couples, solo travellers, groups, and families, traveling on a Namibia safari holiday promises to ignite your inner sense of adventure. From hiking the epic dunes of the Sossuvlei to visiting the seals at Walvis Bay, experiencing a game drive through Etosha National Park, or dining out on the town in Windhoek, there’s so many marvellous activities for everyone to enjoy.
One of the unique appeals of a Namibia safari tour is that there’s a plethora of ways to navigate and explore this captivating Southwest African Nation too.
Hot air balloon rides can whisk you over some of the country’s most famous landmarks including the Fish River Canyon, open-topped vehicles can transport you through enchanting National Parks, whilst boats can even journey you down the exotic rivers.
If you’re considering booking a self-drive safari and you’re considering the best way to get from A-B, or even if you’re contemplating a guided tour of Namibia but you’re unsure of what activities to include, in this guide we take you through all the transportation options available on your safari trip to Namibia.
Transportation by land
When you conjure up images of a safari adventure you probably imagine travelling through vast landscapes in a 4x4 vehicle. Whilst in some respects you’re partly right, there are an array of other ways to explore this fascinating country by land.
In recent years more and more budget safari operators have started to offer ‘overland tours’ whereby groups of travellers’ head out on a safari adventure in a large truck that can usually accommodate over 40 people.
These overland vehicles are custom-built to ensure there’s enough space for safari-goers to bring their own equipment, including camping gear, food, tents and cooking utensils.
Journeying through Namibia in an overland truck is a great idea for people who enjoy camping and the outdoors; you’ll get to camp out by night, immerse yourself in the wild landscapes, visit local markets and engage with the locals.
Land Rovers and Land Cruisers
If you’ve booked a private guided tour you will have noticed that you’ll be heading out on an epic game drive to explore some incredible wildlife at places like Etosha National Park.
Many safari operators prefer to accommodate passengers for game drives in a variety of vehicles, but Land Rovers and Land Cruisers are two of the most popular.
These vehicles are usually highly specialized, featuring slightly tinted windows to keep the sun at bay and some even have a pop-up roof.
Land Cruisers can usually transport up to 6 people and they are perfect for navigating rough terrains. Boasting wide windows, they also provide excellent game viewing and photo opportunities.
Open Safari Vehicles
Another popular vehicle offered on game drives, particularly if you’re traveling through reserves like NamibRand on a guided tour, is open-sided, or completely open, 4x4s.
These vehicles are often converted Land Cruisers that can accommodate up to nine people, including the tour guide. Journeying in an open safari vehicle is the best way to get up close and personal with nature, and it goes without saying that you’ll easily be able to spot wildlife given that you’ll have a completely unobstructed view.
Keep in mind that although Namibia has a warm climate all year round the country isn’t immune from inclement weather, particularly if you head out during the wet season. Make sure you bring a raincoat, sunhat, and shades to protect yourself from the harsh elements.
Over recent years the popularity of horseback safaris in Namibia has risen exponentially.
Exploring Namibia by horseback is a thrilling way to take in some of the county’s best sites and the biggest advantage of travelling by horse is that you’ll be able to access areas that simply can’t be reached by other transport methods.
One of the most common horseback safari routes starts from the Namib Desert and ends in Damaraland. During this trip you’ll spend your days galloping across the magnificent desert sands before cosying up around the campfire and gazing at the stars at night stars. In total you’ll cover over 200km of stunning scenery, admiring the desert-adapted animals as you roam the arid plains.
Hot Air Balloon
There’s nothing more romantic than hopping in a hot air balloon-glass of champagne in-hand- whilst drifting over some of Namibia’s most stunning landmarks.
Hot air balloon rides in Namibia are extremely popular, and very easy to book. Some operators even offer balloon trips that enable you to fly over the oldest desert in the world, the Namib; you’ll set off early in the morning when the temperatures are cooler, and you’ll be able to admire a gorgeous Namibian sunrise from your incredible vantage point.
Namib Sky Ballooning Safaris you have the unique possibility to fly over the oldest desert of the world in a hot air balloon during the cool hours of the early morning. It is a fantastic experience and exhilarating feeling to watch the sunrise in the Namib Desert from a hot air balloon.
For those short of time but unwilling to compromise on experiencing the best a Namibian safari trip has to offer, booking a fly-in safari could be the perfect option. Fly-in safaris journey passengers from different destination in Namibia via internal flights, so that you can get to places quicker than travelling by road.
Aside from fly-in safaris, some tour operators offer helicopter rides including chopper tours that transport you over the famous Sossuvlei dunes. A helicopter ride is the best way to capture the beauty of the vast Sossuvlei desert expanses. From your birds-eye perspective, you’ll be mesmerised by rolling sand dunes, rugged mountain tops and incredible solidified rock formations
Namibia may be synonymous with rough terrains and sprawling plains but there’s much more to the nation than that. In fact, there are some incredible rivers, as well as the magical Atlantic, that are just waiting to be explored.
If you’re travelling to the northern part of Namibia, particularly near the Angola border, then consider taking a romantic ride down the enchanting Kunene river in a Mokoros.
Mokoros are canoe like boats that have been dug-out. Traditionally they were made from wood but they are now constructed with fibreglass in a bid to protect the native tree population traditionally dug-out wooden canoes, but in recent years, they’ve been made out of fiberglass to preserve the indigenous trees.
If you’re heading up to The Skeleton Coast you can even hire a kayak and get up close and personal with a colony of over 200,000 seals that call this area home.
Finally, you can always rely on your own two feet- and this is the best way to explore the sights, smells and sounds on your Namibia safari adventure.
Namibia is one of the best places in Southern Africa for hiking, with dozens of epic trails on offer that are perfect for beginners, and more experienced trekkers. The Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world, is home to Namibia’s most famous hiking trail: The Fish River Trail.
The Fish River Trail allows you to embark on a multi-day hike; you’ll descend the canyon, navigate the rugged terrain, camp by night under the stars and finally rest at a luxury resort which serves as the final stop on the trail.