- Westair Aviation (ex Westwing), +264 61 372 300, fax: +264 61 232 402, email@example.com. Offers both scheduled and charter flights throughout the country.
The national railway company of Namibia, TransNamib, operates trains (and buses) to destinations all over Namibia via their StarLine passenger service. Some routes available are:
- Windhoek-Swakopmund-Walvis Bay
- Windhoek-Keetmanshoop (formerly also to Upington in South Africa but not any more)
- Walvis Bay-Swakopmund-Tsumeb
The StarLine scheduled service conveys passengers via special coaches hooked on the back of freight trains. These passenger coaches offer comfortable airline-style seating with air-conditioning and (sometimes) video entertainment. Vending machines provide refreshments on long journeys. StarLine, +264 61 298-2032, fax: +264 61 298-2495, paxservices@transNamib.com.na.
Other rail services operating in the country are:
- Desert Express, +264 61 298-2600, fax: +264 61 298-2601. The Desert Express is a luxury tourist train that traverses Namibia regularly, taking tourists to such destinations as Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Etosha National Park. Buses are used to transport visitors from train stations to the various sights.
Despite the vast distances in Namibia, most people get around by land, and not air. Namibia’s primary routes are tarred, and secondary routes are well-graded gravel. An all-wheel drive vehicle is not necessary to reach the major tourist destinations except Kaokoland and the Skeleton Coast. Driving at night is very dangerous because there is a lot of wildlife on the roads. Traffic drives on the left. Namibian roads eat tires and chip windscreens. Always check your spare and inspect your tires often. If someone overtakes you on a gravel road, drive as far left as possible and slow down to avoid being hit by flying stones. The road edges can be soft, so take care.
Service stations can be a fair distance from each other, so it pays to get a map showing where they are located to plan your trip. If you are on the back roads of Namibia, it’s always wise to stop and top-off your tank when you see a service station. Most service stations in towns accept credit cards, and many have ATMs available. However, in the countryside you might have to pay cash. A small tip for the attendant pumping your gasoline of N$3-5 is quite common – and you need to make this in cash. It is also necessary to carry food and water, in case you get stuck with a breakdown. On lesser travelled roads it can take days (!) for another vehicle to pass through.
Namibia has some of the worst road accident statistics in the world per head of population. The speed limit on tarred roads is 120 km/h but few drivers adhere to it. There is an unbelievable amount of head-on collisions due to overtaking at unsuitable spots. Self-driving tourists “score” mostly in the ‘no other party involved’ accident category, losing control of their cars for no apparent reason but speed. Driving on dirt roads is unlike any other driving experience that Europeans or North Americans can gain at home, and the 100 km/h speed limit does not mean you should, or even can, drive safely at that speed. This farmer overtaking you at breakneck speed knows every rock and every puddle on this road, has a better suitable car, and likely a few hundred thousand kilometers of experience on his belt.
Namibians often estimate the time to drive between places according to their own vast experience driving quickly on dirt (untarred) roads. Add a third and you will arrive alive with kidneys intact!
Before you reserve a car let the rental company send you a copy of its rental agreement. Most of them have many (and sometimes absolutely ridiculous) restrictions. Take your time to compare them according to your needs. Small damage to tires, windscreens, and the vehicle front is almost unavoidable on gravel roads. The rental company will charge you for that, or will try to sell expensive add-ons to the contract. When picking up your car, check that the spare wheel is of the same type as the regular wheels, and that the tools for changing it are complete. Consider comprehensive travel insurance from your home country that may cover all damage.
Blood alcohol limit in Namibia is 0.08.
- Drive South Africa (Car and 4X4 Hire), +27 21 423 6957, firstname.lastname@example.org. Rental branches’ pick-up and drop-off locations are offered in eight locations throughout the country, including Namibia’s airports and major cities.
- Europcar Car Hire (Car Hire), +264 61-227103, email@example.com. Car rentals in Namibia.
- Kalahari Car Hire (Car hire Windhoek), 109 Daan Bekker Street, Windhoek, +264 61 252 690, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- CABS Car Hire Namibia (Car hire Windhoek), 282 Independence Ave, Windhoek, +264 61 305 912, email@example.com.
- Windhoek Car Hire (Windhoek Car hire), 124 Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo Street, Windhoek, +264 61 306 553, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Thrifty Car Rental, +264 61 220 738. Offers 24 hour car rental service for a scenic drive through Namibia
- AAA Car Hire, +264 811 246 286, fax: +264 61 244558, email@example.com. Sedan, 4WD and bus rentals in Namibia.
There are two types of taxi services in Namibia: shared taxis and dedicated taxis, often called “radio taxis” or “call-a cab”. The shared taxis have a license restricting their movement, either to within a town, or between a set of towns. Taxi fares of shared taxis are regulated by government and cannot be bargained on. However, taxi drivers might nevertheless overcharge tourists who do not know what the standard fares are. Radio taxis have no such restriction but charge between 5 and 10 times for the same ride.
Shared taxis are seldom roadworthy – any car in Namibia must pass the roadworthy test only upon change of ownership. It is not uncommon to see bonnets tied by steel wire, emergency spare tyres, broken screens, and the like. Drivers habitually jump red lights (in Namibia: “robots”) and stop signs and will let passengers embark wherever they find them, including on highways and in the middle of an intersection. Be considerate to other drivers by not waving at a taxi where it is not safe to stop.
It is quite easy to get around towns by long-distance shared taxis. They are fast, sometimes scarily so, and they are cheap. Just ask around to find out where the taxi rank is (sometimes there are several taxi ranks, each one with departures to different areas of the country). None of these will take you to tourist destinations, though, as those are almost always away from the larger settlements. For taxis that operate within a town it is expected that you, instead of waving at them, point into the direction you wish to travel.
A lot of companies offer affordable shuttle services between most towns like Windhoek, Swakopmund, Walvis Bay, Tsumeb, Otjiwarongo etc. These services are perfectly safe but more expensive than taxis.
- TransNamib. Operates air-conditioned buses (and trains) to destinations all over Namibia via their StarLine service.
Several tour companies operate in Namibia. Each is unique in services offered but most operate with safety in mind.
- Okutembuka Safaris. A company that specialises in private guided day tours, multi-day tours or self-drive safaris.