(FYI… lots of practical information on how to rent a 4×4 in Namibia can be found at the bottom of this page…)
thank you bucky!
you’ve been a very dear friend.
together we’ve travelled far and wide
3,223 km in 18 days to be exact
to the ends of the earth and back
well, maybe not that far, but definitely all over namibia
and you really crushed it too
you didn’t pop a tire
no broken windshields either
just an ass-kicking attitude
and a diesel guzzling smile the whole time
you warmed my heart every time I revved up the gas
and kept me cool in the cab with your abundant A/C
and chilled my beverages in the fridge (sometimes…)
and kept my girlfriend feeling safe in your rooftop tent
you brought a big smile to my heart each day
as I drove windows down into the sunset
across savannah plains and desert dunes
(sorry for getting you stuck in the sand that one time,
turns out I actually suck at all-wheel drive)
but you understood and forgave me
venturing on without holding a grudge
so here’s to the open roads we travelled
and the wild nights under the endless african sky
and the unbelievable landscapes
and that herd of 100+ elephants we tracked down on our last night together
you were a great companion
you were a real star
you were more than just a rental truck
you were my friend.
thanks bucky! until next time…
(see bottom of page for a massive amount of practical info regarding 4×4 rentals in Namibia…)
PRACTICAL INFO //
Renting a 4×4 vehicle is absolutely the best way to see Namibia. There are very few paved roads in the country, so a truck will be your all-access-pass. Most rental companies will also rent camping equipment and rooftop mounted tents if you require this. The rooftop tent was awesome… it takes about 5 minutes to setup each evening and it’s elevated position ensures happiness at night when you hear wild animals scurrying about on the ground below. Our truck also came with a fridge which was essential.
Our trip through Namibia was 18 days and 17 nights. We camped each of those nights. And although we love camping, we were very happy to sleep in a real bed in a hotel at the end. Namibia is ideal for a lovely camping adventure, see Katie’s post all about it.
ADVANCED 4×4 CAR HIRE //
We rented our truck (or as South Africans & Namibians call it, a ‘bakkie’ … sounds like ‘bucky’, hence the nickname for our truck, wink wink) from Advanced 4×4 Car Hire in Windhoek. They were just amazing from start to end. I couldn’t recommend them highly enough. The rental went without a hitch. Most of the contact was with Carla in their office. She was very patient, answering all questions I had and very professional in her correspondence. She helped me work through the various rental options until I got a price that I felt great about (more on pricing below). No disclaimers needed here, they didn’t pay me to say any of this lol. Just delivered a great experience for me, so I couldn’t recommend them enough. Some relevant links I found when researching them here here here here here and finally here
OTHER RENTAL COMPANIES //
When I was searching for a 4×4 rental company, I must have researched and contacted 6 or 7 companies. You want to make sure they respond to your first message quite quickly. Reasons for this… when you are out in the middle of no where in Namibia or elsewhere, you want to feel confident they will help you work through any breakdowns or other problems you very likely could encounter. You want them to answer the phone when this happens. Asking for a price quote is the first test of their responsiveness.
There are so many of these 4×4 rental companies in Southern Africa that you shouldn’t have trouble finding something that works for you. Brtiz 4×4 Rentals Southern Africa was highly recommended to me by a very trusted safari guide friend. They have multiple office locations in Southern Africa.
Some other companies I either contacted or researched: Southern Off-Road 4×4 Hire, African Getaway 4×4 Rental, Berg 4×4 Rental, Bushlore, Kea Campers… the list goes on. Do your own research online and find something that works for you. TripAdvisor was a great site for reviews (duh). Here are some articles that helped me… here here here and here
WHAT TO ASK //
After you get a quote, you’ll want to get on the phone (I guess you could use email too) and get into the nitty gritty of what’s included. Here are some good things you’ll want to ask about…
1) Insurance. Ask for them to send you the policy terms & conditions. Insurance for these vehicles doesn’t work the same as a regular vehicle rental through Hertz or Avis. You’ll want to review the policy terms and familiarize yourself with what’s included. Also, your credit card’s auto insurance CDW will most likely not cover 4×4 vehicles.
2) Camping equipment. Ask them to send you an equipment list. They can also provide bedding or sleeping bags if needed (might be additional cost)
3) What kind of roadside service is offered if you have a breakdown or other problem? How long will it take to get the vehicle back up and running? Advanced Car Hire guaranteed that we would be back up and running within 24hrs if there was a problem. They would either repair our vehicle or drive out to meet us with a new one. They have relationships with mechanics throughout Namibia, so can respond to problems quickly. This was good for peace of mind.
4) How many spare tires are included? It’s best to have 2 spares. Also, tire and glass insurance is not included with the primary insurance policy, it’s extra. We opted for this insurance, but didn’t need to use it. Apparently, popped tires and shattered windshields are the most common problems along the way, but we had issues with neither.
5) How old is the vehicle / how much mileage does the vehicle have? These trucks take a lot of beating from the gravel roads and incredible distances they will travel. Some people recommend only renting newer vehicles. Our truck was actually a bit older… we were able to get a lower price and we had no issues along the way. It was a 2010/2011 Toyota Hilux and was in great condition with about 150,000 kilometers. Advanced Car Hire employs all their own mechanics who have taken great care of their vehicles.
6) Does the rental include unlimited kilometers?
7) Is there an extra fee for an additional drivers?
8) Are border crossing papers included in the price? Some rental companies offer this.
9) Are the cars unmarked? Meaning, best if you can avoid large logos on the side of the vehicle. Just makes it completely obvious that you are a traveler and might make you more prone to a break-in. From our experience, Namibia is much safer than surrounding countries, there is definitely less theft. And there are lots of these rental trucks being driven throughout the country so they are very common to see. Might be more of an issue when traveling in surrounding countries like South Africa. Related to this issue…
10) Are there windows in the back of the truck? Our truck camper had metal doors so bags and other belonging stored in the back were hidden from sight. If the back has windows, you can always cover these up with a sheet or cardboard if you are concerned.
11) Does the rental include airport pickup and drop-off? Ours did, and it was a huge help. The Windhoek airport is about 40km from the city center where most rental agencies are found.
OUR PRICING //
Here is a breakdown of the price we paid for our vehicle. This was for a 2011/2012 Toyota Hilux Single Cab manual transmission truck rented in March 2016 (during the low season.) Includes zero excess insurance, tire and glass insurance, camping equipment, bedding, and a fridge. US Dollar amounts are quoted as of March 2016 (exchange rate was roughly 1 USD to 16 Namibian dollars or NAD as abbreviated.)
650 NAD (41 USD) / day – Truck with Unlimited Kilometers and Camping Equipment
200 NAD (13 USD) / day – Zero Excess Liability Insurance
100 NAD (6 USD) / day – Tire and Glass Insurance
50 NAD (3 USD) / day – Fridge rental
20 NAD (1 USD) / day – Bedding for 2 people
1020 NAD (64 USD) / day – TOTAL. Not bad at all.
THAT’S IT //
Hope this helps. Namibia is an amazing country and the 4×4 rental is just fun fun fun. Go there before they pave their roads, before you’ll be able to get around in a small Volkswagen or something else equally as lame. It will probably be a while before this happens though, the country is the size of Texas and there are only 2 million people that live there. That’s the end of the post… seems weird to end talking about Texas but I guess there are a few things Namibia and Texas have in common. Their size being one thing. Lots of pickup trucks in both as well. Texans love to BBQ and Namibians do too (although they call it braai). Lots of deserts/plains in both places. Texas doesn’t have any elephants or zebras though, except for in the zoos maybe. You should probably stop reading this now…