Self-drive holidays are now a really popular, easy and affordable way to discover the natural beauty of Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Roll down the window, enjoy the open road and immerse yourself whist exploring these wonderful countries safe in the knowledge that Tracks Safaris works with finest ground handlers in each country ensuring you complete peace of mind.
Depart at your leisure, stop when photo opportunities arise and meet the local people on a one to one basis. All the while, safe in the knowledge that you have the backup and support when you need it.
The lodges you will stay in and the route you take will all be part of a carefully prepared and planned itinerary. Drawing on the expert advice of Tracks Safaris highly experienced and well-travelled consultants, combined with your personal interests, preferences and budget, we can together plan the perfect safari for you – from just a couple of days to as long as you want!
Namibia, more than any other African country, lends itself to self-drive holidays; the roads, even the gravel ones, are well maintained and easy to navigate. Tracks Safaris representatives are on the ground in Namibia's capital city, Windhoek. We have gone the extra mile to ensure your comfort and safety. Quality time is spent with each and every client, talking over the route, providing marked road maps, further information, advice and vouchers. We insist that clients take delivery of the hire vehicle in the presence of our staff, to double check everything and ensure it is in perfect condition. We also include two spare tyres as standard and incorporate the most inclusive insurance cover available.
Worried about jumping into a strange vehicle in a strange country after a long haul overnight flight? Some guests prefer to just ‘get going’ and we can arrange a shorter day for you on your first day in Namibia. Alternatively, let us transfer you to your first night’s accommodation and we will arrange for a visit to your guesthouse to conduct your full briefing and the car delivery. This allows you to relax on arrival knowing that you are in experienced hands and to enjoy a freshen up before your briefing.
To ensure peace of mind we always advise the lodges of our client's routing and estimated time of arrival. Should you be running late the lodges immediately inform our representatives. During the briefing you will be supplied with a mobile phone, which has been pre-programmed with the direct number of each lodge plus our 24 emergency contact details. Safety is at the fore of all our planning, but should the unthinkable happen you would find that our inclusive first call EVAC medical evacuation and treatment policy will be there to help you. This is a unique initiative in the Namibian self-drive market and is inclusive to all our clients.
Self-driving through Botswana is an exciting safari experience enjoyed by our more adventurous clients who wish to experience the country in their own time and at their own pace. Again it is strongly advised that guests should be confident with driving a 4-wheel drive vehicle, as most of the terrain requires 4x4 driving. It is further recommended that drivers also have an understanding of the basic mechanics of such a vehicle, as well as changing of tyres in case needed.
When we tailor your self-drive route we always calculate the road conditions, distances between destinations and stops for game viewing along the way. All your campsites in the National Parks are prebooked as the number of campsites is limited – especially during peak season.
On arrival into Maun you will be met and taken through a full briefing of the vehicle, your planned journey and your equipment. Our 4 x 4 vehicles are fully and comprehensively equipped with rooftop tents or ground dome tents, mattresses, sleeping bags, blankets, pillows and towels. The kit includes:
Camping Equipment including BBQ grill, table and chairs, cool box, fridge freezer etc., camping utensils, cooking box, cutlery container, canvas bag with camping crockery, thermos, tablecloth and tea towels, fire extinguisher, spare types, yellow safety vest, 12v – 220v power supply, GPS navigation, 12v compressor and a satellite phone – a full list can be supplied.
We recommend a night in Maun to familiarize yourself with the equipment, set up your tents and buy supplied for your journey – including wood and food supplies.
Do remember that you should stick to your itinerary and only camp in designated campsites. Most campsites are not fenced and are within wildlife areas. You should take the necessary safety precautions when walking around the campsite. You should also be aware that you are not allowed drive at night, drive off road, and you are not allowed to engage in walking safaris without a qualified guide. It is illegal to collect wood in National Parks.
An alternative option if you are not a confident 4x4 driver is to hire a driver or guide for your journey or to rent a 2 wheel drive vehicle and plan a route via the main tar roads. We can arrange for game drives at all the stops for you in 4 x 4 vehicles. There are a number of good value accommodation options on these routes for those who would prefer not to camp.
However you plan your journey through Botswana you will enjoy the freedom, the remoteness, the wildlife and everything nature has to offer. An experience not to be missed!
Zimbabwe offers incredibly diverse scenery and some of Southern Africa’s best driving conditions. With the mighty Victoria Falls, huge lakes, iconic rivers, lush forests, dry savannahs and exceptional game this is the perfect safari destination and one of the best and easiest ways to see it all is definitely by car. The country has an extensive network of good tar roads, friendly people, a wide range of accommodation, readily available fuel and good cell phone coverage… which means that you can confidently explore all that is on offer in Zimbabwe!
Our partners on the ground in Victoria Falls and Harare will prepare trip notes on the nuances of road travel in Zimbabwe and mean you can be confident in their knowledge. They are a mere phone call away should you need advice or assistance.
A Zimbabwean road trip also combines perfectly with many regional destinations- try pairing it with Namibia, South Africa or Botswana for a real adventure. Talk to us about how you can experience Zimbabwe’s wildlife, culture, spectacular natural beauty and friendly people by car.
TOP TIPS FOR SELF-DRIVING:
SPEED - on any road surface other than tar, never exceed 80km/hour. Normal range is 60km – 80km/h
BREAKING ON DIRT ROADS - never break hard, especially going into a corner
SALT ROADS - north of Swakopmund tend to dissolve in mist and get slippery
DUST - it is advisable to always drive with your headlights on
DUSK/NIGHT - never drive on unlit gravel roads after dark
SAND ROADS - stop car, engage 4x4, drive. Disengage after crossing.
ROAD SIGNS - observe road traffic signs, particularly those that indicate gentle or sharp curve ahead.
ANIMALS - always look out for animals, especially warthog on the side of the road
LIGHTS - drive with your lights on
TROPICAL DOWNPOURS - pull well off the road, keep lights on and wait
RIVERS - Ephemeral rivers spring up quickly, wait until the flow subsides
TYRE PRESSURE - Toyota 4x4 hi-lux double cab: Tar roads 2.2 bar, gravel roads 1.8 bar
PUNCTURES - always use the safety triangle provided and find a flat place to change a tyre
LEFT HAND SIDE - drive on the left hand side of the road
SEAT BELTS - the driver, as well as all passengers in the vehicle need to wear their seat belts
DRIVE TIMES - ensure that daily average drive time don't exceed 5 hours
FUEL - please carry enough cash to pay for your fuel
POLICE ROAD BLOCK – always stop. If fined for any offence, insist on a receipt
We would be delighted to assist you with your self drive adventure to Namibia, Botswana, South Africa or Zimbabwe - call us on 01386 830264 or email [email protected] to start planning your journey!