4×4 car rental
Having own 4×4 is probably the best way of travelling in Namibia and other countries in Southern Africa. There is no doubts that plenty attractions are available by common 2WD cars, and the tour operators’ offer is quite wide, but if you decide to have so called self-drive safari and to keep all the logistics in your hands you will be given much more taste of freedom and adventure.
Car rental is rather easy thing in Namibia – at least a few reliable rental companies operate there. The popular solution is choosing car rental companies in SA where this market is much wider. In Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique you can find a few rental companies but their offer and prices make them less attractive. Anyway, the offer is limited and you shouldn’t wait to the last minute. During the high season even booking in two months advance could be not enough. It’s not cheap. 100$ USD per day is a real budget for well equipped 4×4 car with all the camping stuff and so called ‘stress free’ insurance. 2WD cars are much cheaper but you need to calculate accommodation costs or choose a ground tent. Be advised to analyse in full the terms of an insurance policy you are going to choose, because it works far different from European standards.
Well maintained and equipped vehicle is essential. In good rental companies their employee will assist you during pick up procedures, checking all the things together with you and presenting how to use them. The equipment range varies widely and its usefulness depends on the planned route. Below we have described all the important stuff. We use to take the checklist with us not to forget anything in fever of coming adventure.
- on-time maintenances, exchanged fluids etc.
- tyres condition
- differential lock – it is often connected with electronics. Check indicator light and so on…
- compressor – usually powered directly from the battery or from the cigarette lighter socket. Check the hose and the tip as well as correctness of manometer indications
- jack with pad – ensure you know how to use it
- hi-lift jack – not really necessary but it can be useful if you are going to choose more difficult terrain. If you are not experienced with it ask for instructions
- tracks – in case you are stuck in sand or mud
- winch – rarely useful. Can be dangerous for inexperienced. User should be instructed before using
- towing rope, tow straps and hooks/carabineers etc.
- spare wheels (2x) and a repairing kit
- fridge and its charging system. A fridge is not a gadget it this climate. Learn as much as possible: which battery is responsible for it, which device switches charging for this battery and how it works all together. Most of problems we had during our journeys concerned these elements
- spare fuel jerries. Depending on a fuel tank capacity it is recommended to have some
- ropes, bungee cords, ratchet straps, nets etc. for fixing your cargo
- snorkel – unnecessary unless you cross over deep water
- roof tent – great solution, giving you much more feeling of safety than a ground tent. For the first time be instructed how to fold and unfold it.
- mattresses and bedding – usually provided with a tent. If you choose good rental company they will be clean and tidy – you don’t need to take anything from home
- gas cylinder and stove – the nozzle often clogs because of dust. Check if it works, and keep your stove in a clean plastic bag during the trip.
- folded table and chairs
- camping lamps – charged directly from a battery or from a cigarette lighter socket
- pots, cups, cutlery etc.
- braai accessories (BBQ)
- water container
- boxes for keeping food and other cargo
- first aid kit
Boring but important. Read and ask a lot. Ensure twice if you have everything what is necessary to travel inside the country and to cross its borders (if you are going to). Check plate, engine and body numbers. You will feel more self-confident facing The Police control or talking with a border officer. International driving licence is required but nobody asks about it.
If you checked it all probably you are well prepared. Wide road!
Maybe there is something else we forget about? Put your comments and questions, please!