7 Essential Tips to Safely Rent a Car in Namibia

If you are dreaming about going on a road trip to Namibia and you want to rent a car to drive around, here you find all the important tips to help your search for how to rent a car in Namibia, that will perfectly fit your needs and style.

Renting a car in Namibia is the best way to explore and experience the country. All you need is to dive into these 7 tips, and also, make sure you understand the essential tips on how to self-drive in Namibia.

Namibia is considered one of the best destinations on the planet for a road trip. Here you can find long, straight roads slice through scenic arid spaces luring you onward to an abundance of attractions and activities. All kinds of travelers are attracted to these vast panoramas and infinite fascinations. There are those that choose to make the most of their trip by roughing it camping-style, while others prefer the creature comforts offered by luxury accommodations at top destinations.

Either way, renting a car in Namibia is one of the most important considerations for any trip to Namibia and these 7 essential tips are all you need to know about Namibia Car Rental. So, without any further ado, let’s review this very important list before you go on visit the most beautiful places in Namibia.

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renting a car in Namibia

Read More: 20 Tips you need to know before you self-drive in Namibia

Renting a Car in Namibia Overview

Before we jump into the 7 essential tips on how how to rent a car in Namibia, let me share with you a very important overview. But I really recommend you also read the 20 tips on how to drive in Namibia.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: If you don’t feel comfortable driving a 4X4 vehicle, driving off-road, driving a manual car, and most importantly, driving on the left side of the road, I would strongly encourage you to hire a private driver like this one.

First thing first: You drive on the left in Namibia, which is the same as in neighboring South AfricaBotswana, and Zambia. 

What you must know when you rent a car n Namibia: You will need to have a 4×4 vehicle to go on your Namibia road trip. Keep in mind that most of your options will be a manual transmission. If you need an automatic, you will pay more and have fewer options to choose from.

Since there are different providers, offering different rental car options. Therefore, you will need to decide if you will rent a 4×4 truck or a 4×4 truck with a tent on top (if you are planning to camp around the country).

The good news is that you can get a 15% off your rental car when you book through this site. I use and recommend RentalCar because it is the most reliable rental car source, and it allows you to compare the prices of different places.

If you choose any of the car rentals below, you can pick up your car at the Windhoek International Airport.

touring Namibia self-drive

7 Essential Tips for Renting a Car in Namibia

1. You Will Need a 4×4 Rental Car in Namibia:

Let’s start this list of how to rent a car in Namibia with the number one question: Do I need a 4×4 car to drive in Namibia? the answer is YES, you do need to rent a 4×4 car for a road trip in Namibia.

While you may be able to drive the major roads with a sedan car, the rule of thumb is that you are not visiting Namibia to drive around the urban areas. You will be visiting and driving in challenging terrains, from the desert to safaris.

Beyond the city limits, the going can get rough in Namibia, and most of the roads are gravel and slippery when wet. A 4WD car rental in Namibia will get you where you want to go and ensure you get the most out of your trip.

As you may know, a 4WD car will have sturdier tires than a sedan. These sturdy tires will be the difference between spending time dealing with flat tires from gravel roads or being stuck in the sand, and being able to travel and make the most of your time in Namibia.

Read More: Ultimate Itinerary Road Trip in Namibia

Renting a car in Namibia

2. How To Choose the Right Rental Car Namibia Company:

When renting a car in Namibia, it’s important to know that the vehicle you choose is safe and roadworthy. Ask to see the service records of any vehicle that you hire before signing the rental agreement. Also, make sure to read reviews to see what other travelers have to say about the 4×4 rental company you are considering.

You have the option to rent your vehicle with one of the large international car companies, and compare prices, check their customer service in case of urgency with the car and their insurance policy.

Or you can rent a car in Namibia with one of the local car companies, such as the one I used and recommend. I am a big supporter of local businesses, and also, no one better than a local rental car to be able to provide expert advice on your particular trip and make recommendations tailored to you.

Renting a car in Namibia

3. Namibia Rental Car: The Agency Rules

All of the Namibia rental car agencies have their own rules for the safety of the car and your safety as well. Take note of these rules when you pick up your car because oftentimes they are absolutely in your best interest.

Some of the rules included:

  • Don’t exceed 70 km/hour on gravel or salt roads: exceeding this speed on non-paved roads can easily lead to losing control of the car and an accident (not to mention a longer stopping distance due to decreased traction)
  • Don’t exceed 30 km/hour when the 4WD low gear is engaged: this creates greater wear and tear and increases the likelihood of breaking down
  • Do not drive after sunset: The roads are free for animals to roam, and it is dangerous to have an accident

Rental car agencies may also specify where you are not allowed to drive, such as along the beach (Skeleton Coast) or areas that require a lot of skill due to inherent risks, like Sandwich Harbor. Most cars are fitted with a GPS tracker, so the company will know where your car is if you get stuck, or if you go to a restricted area.

Read More: 15 Incredible Places you Need to Visit in Namibia

Renting a car in Namibia

4. How to Choose the Right Car Rental for your needs:

Decide if you want to rent a car with automatic or manual transmission. Keep in mind that automatic transmissions are less common and may limit the cars you can choose from. Automatic transmission cars will also be more expensive.

Manual transmissions are more common for a reason, they are more practical. A manual car will be more economical to rent, but more importantly, will be much more effective to drive in difficult conditions. If you get into deep sand or mud (both are likely), you will be grateful for the manual transmission.

Spare tires and knowing how to change them are essential survival skills while traveling in Namibia. There’s a slim chance someone will be along to help you if you get a flat on an isolated road. Be sure to rent a vehicle with AT LEAST 2 spare tires if you’re traveling away from the city centers.

Gas stations in Namibia are few and far between. Be sure to choose a 4WD rental that’s fuel-efficient and has a long-range fuel tank. The 4WD that I rented had 2 fuel tanks, and I was happy about it. When you do arrive at a service station, fill up! Every time.

Finally, one last insider tip is to choose a white vehicle – they’re a lot cooler to drive in the African heat. 

renting a car in namibia

5. Consider a Camper In Namibia: 4 X4 with Tent On Top

On the subject of traveling prepared, choosing a 4WD rental that comes ready-equipped with camping gear is an excellent way to tour the country. A common option is to rent a 4WD with a collapsible tent on top. When you arrive at your campsite you can easily pop up the tent and drop the ladder. It is actually a cozy, and safe way to spend the night. Most rooftop pop-up tents are big enough for 2 adults.

Since camping is a popular activity in Namibia, you’ll come across many campsites scattered all over the country. When you have all the gear with you, you can overnight more often. It’s also much cheaper to rent a campsite for the night than a self-catering chalet.

When renting a camper 4WD, you may need to rent some bedding or buy it after you pick up your car (sheets and pillows). A camper 4WD should also come with all the accessories you need to cook and live from campsite to campsite. This camping gear should include:

  • Pots, pans, and kettle
  • Plates and eating and cooking utensils
  • A propane stove
  • A lantern
  • Folding chairs and a table

Read More: 20 Tips you need to know before you self-drive in Namibia

How to rent a car in Namibia

6. You Should Have Travel Insurance in Namibia

For auto insurance, make sure you consider getting covered. Anything can happen when you are driving in unfamiliar territory or in unfamiliar conditions. Read the policy carefully beforehand and understand what is covered and not covered. For example, most policies will not cover tires and windshield damage.

Driving in Namibia means you will be spending a lot of time driving n gravel roads and through terrains. It doesn’t matter how carefully you drive your vehicle, expects to have some scratches and at least small damages to the car. I recommend paying for comprehensive insurance when you go on your Namibia self-drive adventure.

car rental in Namibia

7. Be Prepared When Renting a Car in Namibia

Note that you will need to read contracts and sign several multi-page agreements before you start your driving n Namibia, and it can take up to one hour before your departure. Be aware of the basic rules and make sure you are prepared by following the below tips:

  1. Like any rental car, make sure to revise the car and take photos in case of any scratches or damages and mark down any damages and have a copy of the agreement before you leave the agency.
  2. Check all the camping gear and make sure they are in good condition and clean, and that nothing is missing. Do this whole process with the person in charge of the agency.
  3. You will need to pay for any damages to the vehicle, it is in your contract! I had a couple of damages and at the end of my trip, I had to pay extra – so be prepared!
  4. Check all the spare tires, and make sure you know how to use them. There’s a slim chance someone will be along to help you if you pick up a flat on an isolated road. Be sure to hire a vehicle with at least 2 spare wheels if you’re traveling away from the city centers
  5. Be sure to choose a 4WD rental that’s fuel efficient and has a long-range fuel tank. When you do arrive at a service station, fill her up
  6. Finally, if you are wondering why the rental cars in Namibia are in majority-white color, this is because they are cooler to a diver in the African heat – so make sure you rent a white vehicle.

Read More: 150+ Inspiring Road Trip Captions (with Sharable Images)

What else to Pack for a Road Trip in Namibia

You want to pack light….but at the same time, you will be so remote for many days that you will want to pack heavy. So, let me help you PACK SMART! 

Namibia road trip self-drive itinerary
4×4 fully equipped with a tent on top is a great way to explore Namibia for adventure and budget-friendly

Renting a Car in Namibia Conclusion

Renting a car in Namibia Conclusion: keep in mind that when renting a car in Namibia it is very important that the vehicle is safe and roadworthy. Make sure you do your research, and also, ask for the service records of any vehicle you rent before you sign the rental agreement.

Read customer reviews to make sure what others have to say about the rental car company you are considering using. This is a very powerful tool that you should use in any instance.

I hope you found this guide on how to rent a car in Namibia useful, and make sure you read the other posts if you are planning a trip to Namibia. If you have any additional questions, just leave me a comment below.

If you are planning a trip to Namibia, these articles are very helpful for you:

Namibia rental car Pinterest

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6 thoughts on “7 Essential Tips to Safely Rent a Car in Namibia”

  1. What frightens me is that if you have a genuine accident where you are deemed to beat fault (have made a mistake) the insurance is void and you could be liable for the tens of thousands of Euros to replace the car.

    I wanted to travel to Namibia but to be frank you would be crazy to take such a risk.

    Reply
    • Hello Paul, unfortunately anytime we travel, especially to remote places we need to be prepared that unexpected things will happen – I always travel with that mindset. Honestly, I did have issues with my rental car in Namibia where a couple of parts needed to be replaced (I drove off-road for a month) and I had to pay for the parts which added an additional US$1,000 to my rental cost. But I don’t regret taking this incredible trip to Namibia and all the experience I gained, and the memories I collected.

      Reply
  2. Hi Paula,

    Thanks for all the great info! We feel confident that we can actually plan this trip too thanks to your thorough itineraries and advice. Really appreciate it!

    What rental car company did you use?

    Cheers from Australia,
    Rachel

    Reply
  3. Hi Paula,

    Thank you for all these precious information.
    I have one question, hope you can help me. You did have a full covered inssurence? If so, why you had to pay for some scratches on returning the car…

    Thank you!
    Dori

    Reply
    • Hello Dori,
      I am so glad you found my article helpful. I did have travel insurance, but as I said in my article if any damage occurs to the vehicle (on my tip #7, under paragraph 3) you will need to pay for damages as it is in your contract. I had a broken mirror and some scratches on the car, mostly due to driving in Botswana. I rented my car in Namibia for my road trip and continued my trip to Botswana with the same car. Botswana is pretty rough to drive and it is easy to damage a vehicle.

      Reply

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