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Exploring Africa
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How to Navigate Transport In Namibia

Picture of Netumbo Nekomba
Journalist
Updated: 24 April 2018
Namibia is known for its luscious and vast environment, and is indeed a traveler’s dream. But depending on where you go, you can either walk around town or take a road trip and explore the country. Here are some easy ways to find your way around Namibia and enjoy yourself to the fullest.

Private transport

One of the easiest ways to get around Namibia is to hire your own vehicle. You’ll have a better experience of how the Namibian road works, and you can take your time or stop along one of the many designated resting areas when you’re tired. It’s the best thing to do when you trust your driving skills. Whether you’re in the city or roughing it out in the wild, a good recommendation is Namibia Car Rental, which provides you with 4x4s, minibuses and other vehicles that are perfect for the Namibian terrain. Drive SA, which also operates in Windhoek, also has a high rating, so do check them out.

Local tip: Never leave your belongings in your car, especially when it is parked. Also, keep emergency numbers in your phone, including that of a breakdown service in case things go wrong.

Cars are often hired as private transport for those who want to get around the country by themselves
Cars are often hired as private transport for those who want to get around the country by themselves | © Netumbo Nekomba / Culture Trip

Shuttle services

Don’t fret if you’re not in the mood to take the wheel. Several shuttle services are available around the country. And the more the merrier—shuttle services often come up with group discounts for those who are traveling with a large number of people. Usually the driver is your guide, so while you’re sitting back and relaxing on the way to your preferred choice of accommodation, you can get an interesting take on Namibian history from a local’s perspective. Services such as Windhoek Airport Transfer, Tours and Rentals makes a good addition to your list. Not interested in a guide but eager to travel anyway? McClune’s Transport might just be one of your best bets.

Local tip: Keep a map handy if you’re not sure where you’re going. Don’t be afraid to ask the driver about the tourist attractions in the area—they’re quite informative and are always willing to share indigenous knowledge. If you can, tip your driver at the end of the ride for his effort.

Shuttles are common for long-distance travel among tourists and locals
Shuttles are common for long-distance travel among tourists and locals | © Netumbo Nekomba / Culture Trip

Taxis

It’s as easy as standing on the sidewalk and hailing a taxi with your hand, if they don’t flash their lights or hoot at you first. Taxis are everywhere and are not only cheap, but quite fast. Some taxis (or cabs) offer wifi or the chance for you to plug in your phone and play music yourself. Registered taxis are usually marked with huge numbers on the side of the vehicle and the back window, so be sure you get into a good one.

Local tip: Unfortunately, you can’t negotiate taxi prices, however drivers may try to overcharge you. Never pay a driver more than 30 Namibian dollars, although the standard is 10. Also, take note of which taxi you’re in and don’t show off your valuable items.

A taxi passing by a creative bottle of Windhoek’s premium beer
A taxi passing by a creative bottle of Windhoek’s premium beer | © Jonathan Solomons

Bus

Although it may be slower if you’re heading from one town to another, buses are quite comfortable, with some including mini televisions to help you relax when you’re done watching the savannah. Although it can be considerably pricy, one of the safest and best services to use is Intercape. However, they do not travel to all parts of the country—they mainly operate around major towns. If you do end up with a bus, make sure you book a driver once you arrive and always stay in communication with them in case there are delays (which can happen).

Local tip: Not all of the locals are willing to talk to you during a bus trip. Always read the environment. This is also a good time to grab a book, read as much as you can or listen to your music on your electronic devices. Can’t sit still for too long? Take along a pillow and a blanket.

An Intercape bus is a safe mode of transport to major towns in Namibia
An Intercape bus is a safe mode of transport to major towns in Namibia | © Bob Adams / Flickr

Minibuses

It’s one of the most popular forms of long-distance travel in Namibia. Always remember to ask locals where you intend to grab a bus. Several areas in the city—such as Monte Carlo Service Station in Katutura or the main bus station next to Wernhill Park, for example—offer rides to various parts of the country, so always know where you’re going. Luggage is usually stored in a trailer at the back of the vehicle, giving everyone ample space. However, it’s best to know which belongings are yours.

Local tip: Drivers can be really desperate for customers. So keep your luggage as close to you as possible, otherwise five different drivers could carry your things to their bus. You might also be in for a wait as drivers await customers.

Transportation apps

Recently, an Uber-like app called Lefa Transportation Services launched in the capital city of Windhoek. All you have to do is sign in, request a driver and someone will show up at your doorstep soon enough. It’s quite convenient and a safe mode of transportation, because no one will be allowed inside except you and your friends. Impressively enough, more wome have been employed as drivers as well, so expect an awesome ride.

Local tip: Ask the drivers for recommendations of great restaurants, hiking trails or other spots in the city. They’ll be friendly enough to share what they know.