The absolute highlight of Namibia was to us camping. With our 4WD with rooftop tent we drove about 5,000 km around the country. Every single evening we set up our rooftop tent in the most beautiful spots! We slept on a volcano, woke up with the sound of monkeys and springboks and enjoyed the most beautiful sunrises from our tent. Camping in Namibia was a dream and we believe it is a big must for your trip to Namibia.
How to pick the right car and tent for your camping trip
Your trip starts with the choice for either a rooftop tent or a separate tent. We would for sure go for the rooftop tent a second tent. This tent on the roof of your car is set up and folded back in no time. You sleep safe and dry up there. And we also found it a big advantage that your tent would stay nice and clean during our trip. The underside is not covered in mud, there is no dust blowing in and you don’t bring in dirt with your shoes. Perfect! We actually saw very few seperate tents and most travellers were on the road with a rooftop tent as well.
Once you choose a rooftop tent, there are not many types or sizes to choose between. A rooftop tent offers sleeping space for two people and a maximum of two roof tents fit on a car. The difference is mainly in the car. When there are two rooftop tents on the car, there is of course also a back seat in the car for two extra passengers. This does not always apply to a car with one rooftop tent. We rented a car with only a driver and passenger seat. This was fine for us, but a next time we would definitely go for a back seat – thus: a double cab. That would be the ideal place to transport our backpacks. Clean and always at hand.
What is included in your camping equipment and what should you bring yourself?
It differs per car rental company what is exactly included with the rent of your rooftop tent. So make sure to check with your rental company what is included with the rent of your car and rooftop tent. What is usually included?
- A rooftop tent with mattress.
- Cookware, gas bottles, pans and crockery.
- Gas bottles.
- Chairs, table and lamp.
In addition, you will usually want to rent bed linen and an electric cooler box. You could also rent useful tools for the car. Such as a navigation system, satellite phone or even wifi for the car.
Tip: you might not expect it in an African country, but camping in Namibia can be a cold affair in the winter months – so in June-August. It can get pretty cold during the nights in these months. So make sure you bring or rent good sleeping bags.
Check also how the trunk of your 4WD is set up. In our case, the trunk was just one big and dusty open space. Our backpacks, camping equipment, spare tyres, etc. were all in there. So it could be quite a climbing exercise to get to our dusty chairs, table, backpacks and everything. Not that convenient. But on the campsites we also saw beautiful cars with roll-out bins and a practical layout. Is that important to you? Make sure to check out the pictures of the rental car or ask your rental company how the trunk of the car is arranged.
What does a car and camping equipment cost?
We will be honest: camping in Namibia is not cheap. And the biggest part of your expenses will be for your rental car and equipment. Rental prices differ greatly from each other. What affects the price of your rental car?
- Is it high or low season? The prices during high season (winter, June-August) can be double the prices during low season (summer, December-February).
- Is it a 2WD or 4WD? You usually don’t have a choice, when you pick a rooftop tent. Cars with a roof tent are usually a 4WD. If you’re travelling with a seperate tent, you could opt for a (cheaper) 2WD.
- What do you want to pay for your insurance? We opted for the most comprehensive option because we were warned over and over again for the bad roads in Namibia. In the end, we actually didn’t make any use of the expensive insurance and the spare tyres. We were happy to have it though.
- How many tyres do you want to bring with you? The car tyres are usually not included in the insurance, so you can buy them seperately. We choose to do so, especially since our specific car tyres wouldn’t be easy to get at any other repair shop.
- Construction year of the car. The older, the cheaper. But also a higher risk of problems with the car of course. And the newer cars usually come with a practically organised trunk as well.
- Single cab or double cab. There is not always a price difference between the two options, but usually a double cab is a bit more expensive.
- Any extras in the equipment. So the costs for your bed linen and that handy electric cooler. Especially if you rent the car for a long time, it can be cheaper to just buy your linen or other stuff on the spot.
We paid – converted to our currancy – a little more than € 1,400 for the rent of our car for exactly 3 weeks in January. That price included 2 nights in a hotel in Windhoek, full camping equipment with bed linen and a cooler, extended insurance and extra car tires.
The campsites in Namibia
You can go wild camping in Namibia. Just check the rules first. Your car rental company can always help you with that. It is also recommended to read in advance about safe wild camping. We cannot give you any advice on this, as we almost always chose campsites.
The only place we wild camped was at the Brukkaros volcano. Because it once had a campsite, there are still some facilities of the abandoned campsite. A kind of toilet – a hole in the ground with a wooden construction to sit on, in a small building for some privacy – and stone shower cubicles with a hook to hang your bucket with water. Want to know more about this amazing camping experience? Check out this blog!
Most campsites have electricity, a braai and water at the camp spots. There is often also a kind of concrete seat, but don’t count on it and bring your own chairs. We once slept at a campsite with only a few spots and a private toilet building for each one! That’s only an exception. Usually there are some main toilet buildings on the campsites.
Tip: you can pick up the book Where to stay for free at pretty much all campsites and information points. All campsites in the country are included and described in it.
In the national parks, all campsites are run by the Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR). So in Etosha, at the Fish River Canyon and in Sossusvlei. Read more about camping in Etosha in this blog and more about a camping trip in the Namib Park in this one. Download the NWR app in advance. It has all the NWR campsites, including the rates, and it can direct you to the website of NWR to book a place.
We travelled in Namibia during low season and in January, so we didn’t have to book anything in advance. This is however recommended during high season.
A packing list for your camping trip
- A flashlight and headlight.
- Your own sleeping bag or a sleeping big liner.
- Quick-drying travel towels or a thin hamam towel.
- Mosquito repellent. Especially in Etosha, the campsites are often near water holes which is unfortunately a great place for mosquitoes as well.
- A travel power plug.
- A power car plug to charge your phone and perhaps a music box in your car.
- Flipflops for the showers on the campsite.
- Download the NWR app for their campsites and lodges. And the offline maps of maps.me and Google Maps to navigate.
- Earplugs and an eye mask, if you are a light sleeper.
Travelling through Namibia without camping?
Is camping a bit too uncomfortable or too adventurous for you? Then you’ll be able to sleep in the most beautiful safari lodges, often also on the same properties as the campsites. We have listed our favourite sleeping places in Namibia in this blog!