With over 42 000 kilometres of road, Namibia provides endless opportunities for self-drive holidays, allowing families to get out and explore the vastness of the country, and fall for the charm and fascination of the geographic variety of the landscape.
Over 190 000 South Africans visit Namibia by road each year. The infrastructure in the country is good, and roads are well maintained and clearly sign-posted, making driving options safe and convenient, whether in a 4WD or family car. Major arterial routes link Namibia with South Africa, allowing access to all regions of the country.
The Cape-Namibia Tourism Route is being developed to package a driving route for tourists travelling between Namibia and South Africa. With an expected launch in 2007, routes are planned to encourage and facilitate an easy and pleasant experience when travelling into Namibia by road, highlighting the unique and exciting sightseeing options along the route.
A full range of sub-routes are being considered along themes that will appeal to visitors interested in the natural and built environment covered by the tour, for instance a desert driving tour, activity driving tours and historical driving tours. It is anticipated that tour operators will be packaging self-drive itineraries along the route.
Moreover, the initiative will have significant spin-off benefits for international tourists that combine South Africa and Namibia on their itineraries.
A range of accommodation is on offer throughout Namibia, enabling visitors to find an establishment that suits their pockets. Self-catering options are a popular choice, allowing flexibility in meal times and choice of food, while an extensive selection of hotels and guesthouses offers flexibility for travellers along the route and throughout the rest of the country.
For convenience and cost saving, the Free & Easy accommodation voucher pass system has been introduced in Namibia, with the explicit aim of offering the independent traveller to Namibia the maximum flexibility and financial savings possible.
The Free & Easy voucher pass system allows visitors to explore the country at their leisure and without fixed itineraries. With Free & Easy vouchers, visitors can select from a range of quality stopovers from hotels to guest houses, pensions and lodges. Visitors can book accommodation between 24 and 72 hours (three days) prior to arrival at Free & Easy selected accommodation options. There are no minimum or maximum length-of-stay restrictions, so depending on availability, clients may choose the duration of their stay at the selected accommodation provider. A full list of establishments is available on request.
Namibia has a vast selection of malaria-free nature reserves, an important factor to consider by families planning a wildlife and nature holiday with their children. Tailored bush walks ensure that the terrain covered is safe, easy to explore and sufficiently varied, and many are easily accessible for visitors wishing to extend their stay to Namibia’s capital city, Windhoek, or for those without adequate time, to reach Etosha or other parks to the north.
A holiday is not a holiday without time at the beach and Namibia has no shortage of these, with easy access via main routes direct to coastal resorts. The sandcastle playgrounds of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay have a charm all of their own, and exploring the mysterious Kolmanskop houses half hidden in sand reaffirms the fact that you are in the oldest living desert in the world.
A walk along the breathtaking Skeleton Coast, where stories of pirates and shipwrecks come to life, is not to be missed. For the best views of these shipwrecks you would need to visit the Skeleton Coast Park, either on one of the fly-in safaris or on the Skeleton Coast scenic flight from Swakopmund.
This article appeared in the April ‘07 edition of Travel News Namibia.