We rented a car to drive all over Namibia but had no idea what to expect. Would we be ambushed by lions? Would terrible roads cause us to change tires multiple times? It turns out that driving in Namibia is easy, even easier than driving in New York City. The roads are generally well maintained, and apart from a few potholes in the game reserves, or when off-roading, one can keep a speed of 120 km/h or 75 mph on the major roads.
Driving on the right side was the biggest adjustment Sandeep had to make, although he had some practice with that in India. Other than that, we had to be careful of all sorts of things we never had to worry about in other parts of the world, such as warthog, springbuck, and cow crossings.
The highways have rest stops, which are literally a picnic table and two garbage drums under a tree, as the picture indicates. These came in handy when Ava’s car sickness kicked in or Kayan needed a diaper change.
Despite spending about 25 hours driving through Namibia, there were some signs that we never figured out.
The claustrophobia of being in a car is balanced by Namibia’s scenery. The road from Windhoek to Etosha passes through winding hills before entering the grasslands.
Getting into Swakopmund takes you through the oldest desert in the world, the Namib, and mountains before seeing the blue Atlantic pressing against the red sand dunes. Even driving in the capital of Windhoek was entertaining.
After driving through India, Turkey, Greece and Namibia, Sandeep feels empowered to get behind the wheel anywhere in the world. In his opinion, a drive down New York City’s Canal Street or to JFK airport from Manhattan are the best training grounds for driving abroad. Both are great due to tight lanes, potholes, clueless tourists, quirky road designs, cars merging from all directions and heavy jams. The driving styles of people from all over the world, from suicidal cabbies to double parked trucks, are good tests. The training made him prepared for defensive driving in India, speed racing on tight roads in Greece and watching out for animals in Namibia. Next week we’ll rent a car in South Africa, where the worst danger is car jacking. That’s an experience we plan to avoid.