Author Topic: Namibia  (Read 5614 times)

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Offline vkalia

« on: March 21, 2009, 10:44:02 am »
Hi all - I am planning a 4 week cycling trip through Namibia in July or thereabouts.   Am starting the planning process.  I see there is one trip report on CGOAB covering Namibia/S Africa but a search of this forum didnt reveal much.

So - anyone cycled through Namibia and care to share some info: useful routes, issues to be aware of, etc?  I have a few guidbooks and will be putting together an itinerary from there but pretty much any tidbit would be useful.

This will be my first extended tour, FWIW... however, I am a reasonably well-seasoned Africa hand, having spent about 6 months in various parts of southern and eastern Africa on all sorts of budgets ($25/day to $400/day). 


Offline Westinghouse

Re: Namibia
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2009, 07:36:24 am »
You might want to look up your country's  state department on the internet, and check to see if there are any travel adviseries about Namibia, Southwest Africa. Nice tourist venues can change to violent hell holes pretty quick. If any threats against Americans or others have been coming through lately, you would want to be aware of it. Know before you go.

Offline Nokka

Re: Namibia
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2009, 07:46:01 am »
Namibia is as violent a place as the Dalai Lama's study.

You'll have a wonderful time there. Your biggest concern are weather extremes (July is winter time, and in the dry and desert areas it can get pretty cold) and endless gravel roads. But that's part of the adventure of the country, I suppose.

The scenery is beautiful. Think of it as the Alaska of South Africa, though just the opposite weather wise. The population is very low, and the towns few and far spread out. So, plan carefully to stock up on water and food. In their wintertime the easterly winds are prevalent, long and continuous. On gravel roads you'd want to keep that in mind.

Another thing to remember, is that the few tarred highways linking the major towns are 60's built by South Africa, and in true African spirit never since liberalisation rebuilt. Which means the roads are narrow, deteriorating and still without a shoulder to safely bike on.

The landscape though is stunning and the people friendly.

Before I forget, thanks to climate change I presume there's been floods last week in the extreme north east of the Caprivi strip.


Offline vkalia

Re: Namibia
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2009, 04:13:31 pm »
Thanks for the responses so far.

Westinghouse - appreciate the safety headsup.  I will be traveling with >$10k worth of camera gear, so I take safety very seriously.  But while new to bike touring, I consider myself a pretty seasoned traveller (50+ countries), and I do visit Africa every couple of years.  So a, not too fussed about safety... (being non-Caucasian and non-American helps in some places :) ).

Nokka - yeah, it was a tradeoff for me:  wait till it gets a bit warmer and then suffer in mid-day, or go in winter and risk freezing early.  Actually, I may avoid July simply to not be anywhere during school holidays and go in August instead.

I was hoping to do a CC type of tour, as I will be carrying a lot of camera gear with me (am a wildlife photographer), so would like to avoid carrying cooking utensils, etc. with me.  I'll probably pack a tent but for food spares, it is likely going to be tinned stuff.

Are most of the roads tarred or graded ashpalt?  If the latter, think the LHT will hold up if I put fatter tires on it?  I may bring the bike over without tires and then purchase fatties in country.

« Last Edit: March 22, 2009, 04:17:00 pm by vkalia »

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Namibia
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2009, 10:59:18 pm »

World : Africa : Namibia

Google Namibia, Southwest Africa. I would not want to be anywhere near the Dhali Lama's Study area. Namibia had and may still have a high rate of crimes you would be most vulnerable to.

There is a lot more to this article.


The crime rate in Namibia is high for murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and burglary, but very low for larceny and auto theft compared to industrialized countries, resulting in a low rate of crime overall. An analysis was done using INTERPOL data for Namibia. For purpose of comparison, data were drawn for the seven offenses used to compute the United States FBI's index of crime. Index offenses include murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. The combined total of these offenses constitutes the Index used for trend calculation purposes. Namibia will be compared with Japan (country with a low crime rate) and USA (country with a high crime rate). According to the INTERPOL data, for murder, the rate in 1999 was 26.32 per 100,000 population for Namibia, 1.00 for Japan, and 4.55 for USA. For rape, the rate in 1999 was 36.89 for Namibia, compared with 1.47 for Japan and 32.05 for USA. For robbery, the rate in 1999 was 90.83 for Namibia, 3.34 for Japan, and 147.36 for USA. For aggravated assault, the rate in 1999 was 533.60 for Namibia, 15.97 for Japan, and 329.63 for USA. For burglary, the rate in 1999 was 602 for Namibia, 206.01 for Japan, and 755.29 for USA. The rate of larceny for 1999 was 179.55 for Namibia, 1267.95 for Japan, and 2502.66 for USA. The rate for motor vehicle theft in 1999 was 65.81 for Namibia, compared with 34.01 for Japan and 412.70 for USA. The rate for all index offenses combined was 1535 for Namibia, compared with 1529.75 for Japan and 4184.24 for USA. (Note: data were not reported to INTERPOL by the USA for 1999, but were derived from data reported to the United Nations for 1999) It may be observed that, using the FBI Index, Namibia appears to have a low rate of crime despite the extremely high rate of violent crime, owed to the relative weight of larceny and motor vehicle theft in the index.

« Last Edit: March 22, 2009, 11:01:38 pm by Westinghouse »

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Namibia
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2009, 08:08:38 am »
Namibia today according to Wikitravel.

Namibia is a peaceful country and is not involved in any wars. With the end of the Angolan civil war in May 2002, the violence that spilled over into north-eastern Namibia is no longer an issue.

Namibia has relatively high crime rate. See the warning for ATMs above, in the Buy section. For men it is not prudent to walk or ride taxis alone in Windhoek or Oshakati after midnight. For women, it is not prudent after 9pm. Pickpockets can be a problem. All these warnings should be taken in context, because the threat is not as serious as it might sound. If you are alert and take some common sense precautions then you will have no problems.

Travellers should have no problem visiting the townships, though it's advisable not to visit the townships alone unless you're familiar with the area. If you have been travelling in Southern Africa for a few months, you probably know what you're doing.

Namibia has a serious problem with driving under the influence of alcohol. The problem is aggravated because most people don't consider it a problem. When driving/walking on weekend evenings, be extra alert.


The fact is wherever you find large human populations you find the same problems. Some places are worse than others. Some are absolutely terrible. Keep your eyes open and stay alert.

Offline Nokka

Re: Namibia
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2009, 09:38:42 am »
Westinghouse *sigh*

if you're this paranoid about Namibia, then 1) you've clearly never been there, and 2) you shouldn't brave it to cross a road.


the roads are mostly gravel, but smooth and well often graded. Only the main highways (identified with the B names on a map) between the cities are tarred. But the problem is that they are old roads, thus they are still narrow and often without shoulders. Which means that once a truck comes along from behind, there's no room for both of you.

Knobbly tires would be best, but the fatter the slower and more hard going it would be to bike. I would try and get 2.0's or even narrower. Also, remember to bring 26's and not 700C's. You'll be able to buy fairly good bikes in Windhoek.


Offline Westinghouse

Re: Namibia
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2009, 11:18:22 pm »
I am not paranoid about anything. Those are official reports on crime rates in Namibia, and about high rates of drinking and driving, which is an issue of concern for a person who is cycling. I already know why you people need to move issues to the personal level. It is because you cannot deal with issues on the factual level. I cut and pasted official reports about Namibia for someone who plans on cycling there. If you have a problem with that, contact the organizations that collected the data and published it.