One of the best ways to take in the vast amounts of natural beauty Namibia has to offer is by road tripping. Without some proper planning though, that road trip bill can become quite pricey. A breakfast here, lunch there, and stayover at the lodge, all these can start adding up to a rather large bill. It’s not all gloomy though, with some planning and some admittedly simple items, you can save money whilst road tripping through Namibia and spend the rest of your budget on those things that will bring you closer to this incredible country.
(like game-drives, hot air ballooning, or some adrenaline-pumping activities in Swakopmund for example, find out more here.)
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This is not just handy for boiling water for your morning coffee. You can fry up breakfast or cook a warm meal without needing any external electricity. All this whilst taking in an amazing view and fresh Namibian air.
A great option is this ‘Screw-Top’ Stove. Just needing to be screwed onto the top of a canister of Isobutane, it is ultra-portable. Check it out on Amazon here.
Get your isobutane stocked up in Windhoek.
Compact Kettle &/or Pots
This is a must for anyone that needs a coffee/tea to kick-start their day. Like me. With a compact set of pots, you’ll even be able to prepare your own meals in the remote wilderness.
For small & compact pots, this compact set is great, it fits into a small carrying bag and weighs in under 1kg. Get yours here.
For those of you that just need a cup of coffee, a compact kettle like this one should fit the bill. Get it here.
Braai Grill & Tongs
Probably best to source this BBQ grill when you’re in Namibia, whilst preparing to begin your road trip. Better known in Namibia as a Braai Grill, braai-ing could be considered a national past-time. If you’re not a vegetarian, braai-ing is a must, just don’t forget to pick up a pair of tongs!
Remember only to make a fire in designated areas & to always extinguish your fires when you’re finished. Most camping areas have fireplaces/pits on the premises with some having fireplaces at each campsite.
P.s. if you’re unfamiliar with braai-ing, ask someone at the campsite. They’ll probably be happy to help, whilst sharing a tjoppie & a dop.
Compact Mugs &/or Thermos
Another must-have for those java lovers out there.
These carabiner mugs are great for hikes or when space in your bag is running low. Check them out on Amazon here.
A utensil set is probably the simplest way of cutting costs. Instead of buying snacks, you can put together a sandwich or other DIY creations pretty quickly on the road.
Not to mention it helps the rest of your prep work. Ideally, your set will come with a case, like this one, which has the added benefit of a carabiner. #CarabinerLove
Cutting Board & Knife
Like the utensil set, a compact cutting board & knife (with a sheath) will help a ton for your food prep on the go.
Another item to source in Namibia. You should be able to hire a large one at one of the many camping rental companies in Windhoek. Generally, they’ll also be available from the car/4×4 rental company. You’re going to want one of these filled about a third full with ice/ice packs, to keep any temperature sensitive items from spoiling on your trip, like meat for those braais!
Alternatively, you can also get a 4×4 refrigerator.
Most 4×4 rentals should come with the option of at least one jerry can at the least. If not, you can rent/buy one in Windhoek.
As filling stations are found few and far between. Basically, only in the towns, and with the towns being 100’s of km’s apart, one or 2 jerry cans are definitely recommended.
Spare Wheel & Compact Compressor
Another item best to collect whilst in Windhoek (or South Africa if you’re going on a longer trip). A lot of the roads in Namibia are not tarred.
This is especially true for those roads outside of the cities or highways. Making a spare wheel a necessity.
Most of the car rental companies should include a spare wheel, but just confirm this when making your booking.
Ask for a compact tire compressor or rent/buy one in Windhoek. This way you can regulate the tire pressure of your 4×4, especially useful when tackling difficult terrains and sand.
Car Charger &/or Solar Charger
A charger is an important tool to keep your devices charged throughout your trip. Some campsites or lodges may not provide power points though. A car charger is great for your smartphone, tablet & even some cameras. Whilst a solar charger is good when you’re carrying a lot of gear and will be camping in remote locations for a bit longer. This one even has an AC outlet. Click here to see it on Amazon.
Pro tip: Make sure to get a travel adapter if your gear doesn’t have a South African Adapter.
GPS (& a map!)
Of course, no road trip is complete if you do not know where you’re going. With the Namibian phone signal patchy at best, a dedicated GPS is a must! Check if your rental comes with a GPS, otherwise, you can pick one up in Windhoek for around €/$ 130-170 or download maps for your smartphone.
It’s always best to carry a map of the country though, a best practice precaution.
An Auxiliary Cable
Remember that patchy phone signal I mentioned? Well, the radio signal can be just as bad when you’re out in the wilderness. This makes an auxiliary cable something that can really keep your sanity in check. As long as the car has a headphone jack, which most modern cars have (once again, check the rental beforehand), you can enjoy your favorite songs on the road.
Plenty of Water
With convenience stores being inconveniently far apart… Pun intended. 😉 You’ll need to carry plenty of water with you. At least 3 or 4 liters per day per person.
You can purchase bottled water, mostly in 5-liter containers, or fill up a large 20-liter water container or 2, depending on how long you plan on being out of the city and the size of your travel group.
Tent & Sleeping Bag
This one is for those that are looking to camp out. Camping spots can be 5-30% the price of a room in some places, and with most of the attractions having camping areas nearby (if not at the attraction itself), this can be a great saving when road tripping through Namibia.
Tents & Sleeping Bags can be rented in Windhoek from one of the many camping gear rental companies, like this one, along with a variety of additional items like folding tables, camp beds, gazebos, etc. You will probably not need a portable shower, as these can generally be found at the campsites. Check with the individual sites to make sure though before your trip.
Some bonus tips:
- Book in advance, as some places have fluctuating rates and can become very requested during the busy season. This way you won’t be left hanging without a rental or a campsite.
- Consider a rental with a roof tent. You may save in the long run and feel more security with your tent off of the ground.
- If you’re not planning on spending too much time on gravel, a compact eco car may be a possibility. These are generally cheaper to rent and run. You won’t be able to drive up the Skeleton coast or tackle any difficult roads, but they will be able to take you to some of Namibia’s most amazing places, like Etosha, Swakopmund, etc.
- Plan your meals. I can’t stress this enough, make a list of the meals for each day and then before your trips make a thorough grocery run. Plan for quick meals using a few staple foods, like pasta, couscous, canned foods, fruit & veg, wraps, bread, etc.
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Have you gone on a road trip through this incredible country? Let us know about your trip in the comments down below. 😊
David & Maike