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Saladman
Jan 12, 2010


Has anyone spent much time going around Namibia? I bought tickets kind of on a whim during a flash sale, so we'll be spending 17 days (inc. fly in and out days, so 15 really) around Easter next year and are trying to figure out what to do. I've read enough to know the obvious basic things like Sossusvlei, Etosha, and the Skeleton Coast, but we're also wondering if it's "worth it" given our timing to try to get to the Okavango Delta or fly out to Victoria Falls or something. Etosha seems like it might be pretty "eh" in early April since the animals will be all spread out based on what I've read (although it's rather hard to find detailed season-specific reviews).

Has anyone been to Fish River Canyon and the Grand Canyon and knows if the former would impress them after seeing the latter? Is it totally different, or is it a similar big canyon also running through the middle of a semi-desert?

Driving around in a big truck through empty desert highways with dramatic landscapes sounds like our idea of an awesome time, but I'm not sure we need 15 full days of it.

There also seem to be a lot of special places that require flying in, which would be possible to do once or twice, but since they're all like 1000/night flight+lodging it'd have to be pretty goddamn spectacular. Namibia is ridiculously expensive outside of Windhoek, everything there makes Iceland look like a bargain. Will we get mauled by elephants if we sleep in our car a couple times?

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Chairman Capone
Dec 17, 2008



Just going to say that next spring I'll likely be going to Lusaka, Zambia for a work trip, so will definitely also be interested in anything people have to say about it.

Saladman
Jan 12, 2010


Well, just for the curious here's the general itinerary / travel plan, although obviously at 8 months out there's a lot that might change. Victoria Falls seems pretty far and would eat up 3 days (even if flying) and adding it in would mean either rushing the rest of the itinerary, or skipping Waterberg NP and taking a day out of Etosha or the Swakopmund area, though maybe in the end we will do that swap. The south seems pretty boring if you've ever seen the Grand Canyon or Colca Canyon.

Google Maps says 34 hours / 2600 km for this itinerary, so it'll probably be more like 40-42 hours of driving time, not counting driving time in parks and game drives and whatever. Seems OK for two weeks.

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Saladman fucked around with this message at Jul 19, 2017 around 21:05

Senor P.
Mar 27, 2006
I MUST TELL YOU HOW PEOPLE CARE ABOUT STUFF I DONT AND BE A COMPLETE CUNT ABOUT IT


Saladman posted:

There also seem to be a lot of special places that require flying in, which would be possible to do once or twice, but since they're all like 1000/night flight+lodging it'd have to be pretty goddamn spectacular. Namibia is ridiculously expensive outside of Windhoek, everything there makes Iceland look like a bargain. Will we get mauled by elephants if we sleep in our car a couple times?
What are you smoking? Namibia is cheap. (The Namibia dollar is pegged to the South Africa Rand which is not too hot right now. Unemployment in Namibia is.... around 25-30%?)

Maybe stay at places that are not all game farms?

I have not heard of any places down there that you can't drive to.

Senor P. fucked around with this message at Aug 22, 2017 around 03:03

Sad Panda
Sep 22, 2004

I'm a Sad Panda.

Sleeping in your car is fine, and if you're wanting to do it at a police station they'll almost certainly have no problem letting you do it there for free. I stayed frequently travelling by bicycle and spoke to people in cars who did it a bunch too.

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Saladman
Jan 12, 2010


Senor P. posted:

What are you smoking? Namibia is cheap. (The Namibia dollar is pegged to the South Africa Rand which is not too hot right now. Unemployment in Namibia is.... around 25-30%?)

Maybe stay at places that are not all game farms?

I have not heard of any places down there that you can't drive to.

I've finally gotten around to booking this trip, and looking back at this thread this comment is pretty far off base. For most countries milking tourists for their money, when their currency drops in value relative to their main tourist markets, the prices just go up accordingly. I have a 2014 Tracks for Africa book and everything has changed in price accordingly with the exchange rate, e.g. the cheapest place in Okaukuejo camp was N$650pp in 2013 and it's N$960pp now. A friend of mine who did the trip in 2010 and sent me her itinerary and details, and basically everything was a little under double the price (in Rand) as it was then, traveling at the same time of year, and is correspondingly nearly the same price today in US$ as it was then -- small increase. Yeah maybe a domestic beer is cheaper now for someone coming from abroad, but the main costs of lodging and car have just adjusted accordingly.

Outside of Windhoek and Swakopmund, even campsites with supplied tents are often around US$50/night/pp, e.g. Hoada Camp site, and it's not like there're a lot of options. Even in smaller "towns" like Kamanjab and Uis it's often around $50/night/pp if you can get a room in a guesthouse. Yes obviously you can always do things more cheaply and bushcamp or whatever, I'm just surprised that no enterprising people have tried to undercut the market. Or if they have, they're so incompetently advertised that they're not even listed in Tracks4Africa. Lodging is a lot pricier in Namibia than in, say, Italy or Spain. Even the camp sites are more expensive than Italy and Spain. In any case it's my honeymoon so I don't really want to bush camp and have to poo poo in the woods for two days in a row. Our initial thought was to maybe do it camping in a camper car and make that romantic and alone but ehhh...

It looks like you can drive almost everywhere except the southern Skeleton Coast and northern Skeleton Coast which require special and not-readily-obtainable permits, and a few other areas around Swakopmund where you need special permits which can be apparently readily obtained. That said there are a bunch of places where it's a terrible idea to drive if you don't have lots of experience driving in soft sand, like driving from Walvis Bay to Sandwich Harbor.

In case anyone is curious about Namibia, here's the final itinerary:



Which seems to be a pretty standard two-week first visit itinerary of Namibia; there actually weren't as many route choices to make as I expected. The only major thing cut out for this general itinerary was Spitzkoppe and the Palmwag area of Damaraland. The other major interesting sites in Namibia are too far for a typical two week trip (Caprivi, Kolmanskop, Fish River Canyon, Kunene River/Epupa Falls/Ruacana Falls), and apparently the Kalahari is super boring to visit, which maybe in retrospect should not be so surprising.

Saladman fucked around with this message at Jan 22, 2018 around 19:27

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