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Self Drive Questions on SA and Namibia

This is a discussion on Self Drive Questions on SA and Namibia within the Before & After the Hunt forums, part of the HUNT AFRICA category; Need answers from those over there! We are considering a self-drive trip the next time after or before the hunt. ...

  1. #1
    Cliffy's Avatar
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    Default Self Drive Questions on SA and Namibia

    Need answers from those over there!

    We are considering a self-drive trip the next time after or before the hunt. I would consider both Namibia (first) and South Africa as places we would consider driving. I'm more comfortable with Namibia and would like some first hand information from SA residents about driving there say between Cape Town and PE and then up to JoBerg.
    1. How does one plan over night accommodations along the road (Safety in mind and dinner)?
    2. Obviously from what I have seen in riding with PHs, night time driving has its own set of safety procedures (like a red robot or STOP sign is only a goal and not a requirement to stop)? What precautions are necessary if caught out after dark?
    3. Stopping for gas and/or cold drinks and lunch what does one look for in a good safe place for this if we're not locally in the know?
    4. Goes along with 3 above, how do you pick a restaurant along the road and how do you protect the vehicle as we won't have trackers along riding on top of the packed vehicle like we have had when traveling with a PH :-)
    IF YOU GO ONCE-YOU WILL GO AGAIN-DEAL WITH IT

  2. #2
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    I'll go for some answers to question #1.
    At least these are some resources I use to make a plan when I self drive.

    Always have a GPS with local Topo data.
    Local Cell Access
    Internet Stick and computer, internet access.
    I can look stuff up on the run, call ahead, make the booking. (if I need to)


    Namibia Tourism Board

    About Namibia | Namibia Africa | Information/Facts on Namibia


    Ministry of Environment & Tourism

    MET Namibia - Home


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    Namibia Bed and Breakfast: Reviews of 195 B&Bs ?


    Bed & Breakfast Association

    Welcome to the B&B Association of Namibia - Welcome to the Bed & Breakfast Association of Namibia
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliffy View Post
    2. Obviously from what I have seen in riding with PHs, night time driving has its own set of safety procedures (like a red robot or STOP sign is only a goal and not a requirement to stop)? What precautions are necessary if caught out after dark?
    While driving in the city/town, especially late at night, look for oncoming traffic at robots/traffic lights before going through the intersection, even if the light is green, slow down considerably. Watch out for people walking or crossing roads at night, it is not always easy to see them.

    While cross country driving, especially at dusk, dawn and night, be more vigilant and reduce your speed due to game and live stock crossing roads. Sometimes it is better to hit the animal rather than putting yourself in the lower embankment (3 to 6 feet is typical) and roll your vehicle. If you hit a tall animal head on it will more than likely come over the hood of the vehicle and go through the windshield, very often killing the people inside. If this happens try ducking into the vehicle lower than the dash board to avoid the impact with the animal inside of the vehicle. Be cautious while passing vehicles at night, you won't see what will be happening ahead for some time. Watch out for oncoming passing vehicles, for exhausted/sleepy, drunk and texting drivers, head on collision is a big issue in Africa. Some vehicles are equipped with very strong high beams, if blinded reduce your speed considerably. The main thing is to stay alert at all time while traveling these long boring straight roads. Also always wear your seatbelt.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cliffy View Post
    3. Stopping for gas and/or cold drinks and lunch what does one look for in a good safe place for this if we're not locally in the know?
    When at a gas station, if two or more people are traveling together, one should preferably stay with the vehicle at all times. If not, you can have the gas station attendant pump your gas but close all windows and lock the vehicle before going for that cols drink inside... If you intend to eat there, fill up and go park close to the entrance of the gas station building and lock everything.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cliffy View Post
    4. Goes along with 3 above, how do you pick a restaurant along the road and how do you protect the vehicle as we won't have trackers along riding on top of the packed vehicle like we have had when traveling with a PH :-)
    Try choosing a restaurant place which has a privately guarded or enclosed parking lot, otherwise choose a place where you can see your vehicle at all time while eating. Do not leave your passport and important documents in the vehicle. If your vehicle has an enclosed trunk, try putting as much in there as possible starting with anything of value. Do not leave what appears or is of value sitting in plain view on the seats of the vehicles. Do not rely solely on the street security guard while leaving your vehicle parked. Do not hesitate to bring in the restaurant your luggage and rifle(s)...

    If need be, very often a hotel, even if not staying there, will take all of your luggage for the day or part of it for a small fee, allowing you more freedom while leaving your car behind empty.

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  4. #4
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    thanks guys for the info so far.
    Having done a lot of driving in areas with wildlife at night I'm aware of the consequences of hitting them. Ducking lower than the windshield has been my option for many years. Swerving to miss an animals usually does not work out well. I am not planning on driving at night but I might get caught at it sometime.
    I have driven in areas where I thought it necessary to disable the vehicle while I was inside eating. Your ideas are well received.

    I guess my one real question that remains is How do you decide on which hotel/B&B to use for the best security?
    Brick I'm going to look at all the stuff you showed Thanks
    IF YOU GO ONCE-YOU WILL GO AGAIN-DEAL WITH IT

  5. #5
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    Can anyone chime in with info for South Africa, specifically Cape Town to PE or Durban (Garden Route)?
    Thanks!
    IF YOU GO ONCE-YOU WILL GO AGAIN-DEAL WITH IT

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliffy View Post
    I guess my one real question that remains is How do you decide on which hotel/B&B to use for the best security?
    As BRICKBURN, I will mention www.tripadvisor.com as a reliable source in my opinion to find a hotel or B&B to stay at in Southern Africa, even a good place to find a descent restaurant...

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  7. #7
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    WOW Thank you Jerome My wife says she uses tripadvisor so I''ll get her on it
    IF YOU GO ONCE-YOU WILL GO AGAIN-DEAL WITH IT

  8. #8
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    Accommodation in South Africa - Where To Stay is a good website to look at accommodation options. Our lodge, Haaspoort Bushcamp, is listed on both Where to Stay and Tripadvisor and they're both excellent sites. You're probably going to find it easier to select accommodation from Where to Stay and then use Tripadvisor to get guest reviews and choose from the best available options.

    The trip from Cape Twon to PE is an easy and safe one. You have two options

    1. Along the Garden Route / Coast N2
    2. Through the Little Karoo N1 and then R62

    Both routes are scenic and safe although the Little Karoo route is safer in my opinion. The small karoo towns are less likely to attract criminal elements as the bigger coastal ones but don't let that be a factor in your decision. It's one of the safest areas in South Africa to travel through. Lock your car whenever you're not with it, choose a guesthouse with secure parking, don't trust anyone of the street and you will be absolutely fine. Watch for speedtraps on the N2, there are plenty sneaky ones entering and leaving the towns and they can add up quickly.


    Quote Originally Posted by Cliffy View Post
    Need answers from those over there!

    We are considering a self-drive trip the next time after or before the hunt. I would consider both Namibia (first) and South Africa as places we would consider driving. I'm more comfortable with Namibia and would like some first hand information from SA residents about driving there say between Cape Town and PE and then up to JoBerg.
    1. How does one plan over night accommodations along the road (Safety in mind and dinner)?
    2. Obviously from what I have seen in riding with PHs, night time driving has its own set of safety procedures (like a red robot or STOP sign is only a goal and not a requirement to stop)? What precautions are necessary if caught out after dark?
    3. Stopping for gas and/or cold drinks and lunch what does one look for in a good safe place for this if we're not locally in the know?
    4. Goes along with 3 above, how do you pick a restaurant along the road and how do you protect the vehicle as we won't have trackers along riding on top of the packed vehicle like we have had when traveling with a PH :-)
    Victor Watson
    Karoo Wild Safaris - South Africa
    info@karoowildsafaris.co.za
    www.karoowildsafaris.co.za
    (+27) 049 8380042

  9. #9
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    I'm putting all this stuff in a folder to save

    Thanks guys!
    IF YOU GO ONCE-YOU WILL GO AGAIN-DEAL WITH IT

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    Hi Cliffy,
    I've had quite a few hunters do a self drive trip, either before or after they were done with their hunting. My opinion is that the outfitter you are interested in hunting with, should be advising you and planning your entire trip for you. You tell him what you are interested in, or he should know his area well enough and make suggestions of places to see, good restaurants etc. As outfitters we are in the service industry, so let them provide you with a service. It costs nothing to make a couple of phone calls to set up the entire self drive trip.
    Hope you have blast!

    Take Care,
    Marius Goosen
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  11. #11
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    Hey Cliffy, We were in SA for 8 weeks last year. Drove our rental from Cape to PE a BUNCH of times. Had my wife and three kids along for that trip. (Hunted some private farms in the Karoo.) We never ONCE felt threatened by ANYONE at ANYTIME, EVER! We rented a home on the beach in Plettenberg Bay. If you need any suggestions about where to stay, hook up with some of my local friends or anything of the like let me know.
    We are headed back in 2015 for at least 9 months. (Being a full time gunsmith I can shut the joint down and be gone for a time.)

    One should always be alert and what I would refer to as mildly suspicious all of the time. (I've been a cop before so it comes natural )

    You really need to be more suspicious of the rental car company than the locals! Avis will rip you off faster than the locals! I can personally recommend several places to stay, some owned by friends. Food is excellent in most places....look for the spots between Capetown and George that say Farmstahl...great food. The Garden route along the coast is fabulous. The inland through the wine country is great too. If you head that way you HAVE to stop at Ronnie's Sex Shoppe. I'm not going to say more cause it would spoil the surprise....(Remember to pet the dog while you're there...but NEVER touch him with your foot. (Just an insider tip)

    Really ...just do it and think security and you'll be fine. Everything ALWAYS locked up in the trunk. One guy at the gas pumps is the money guy, everyone else has a different job. Tips are always expected.....you will be remembered for them....in my experience. If your headed up the coast.....Tsitsikamma has a bunch of great BB's, small hotels and a cool little restaurant. The canopy tour is worth it.

    Anything to help let me know....

    Cheers, Bill

  12. #12
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    Marius- we are just thinking of doing a drive thru of SA maybe along the Garden Route for our fun and not be tied to any place to hunt for the trip. We may hunt and we may not Mostly we just want to tour. We've done some driving with PHs but we'd like to do it on our own this time.

    ornery- you did what we are thinking of doing. We just want to tour for few weeks and then we'll probably go up to Namibia and spend some time with Jamy Traut at Panorama. Having seen some of SA we want to see more and maybe make arrangements to stop at a few hunting outfits for a day or 2 just to look around (probably not even hunt if we can arrange it) We just want to see the area and meet the people. We know a few folks up in the Limpopo area and we may or may not get up to see them. Might have to stop and see Marius in the EC.:-) BTW, my head is always on a swivel when I'm out in public. Having been a commercial pilot and flown all over the world I too tend to keep my eyes open.
    I've added this to my driving SA folder.
    IF YOU GO ONCE-YOU WILL GO AGAIN-DEAL WITH IT

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    Cliffy,
    Well the garden route is right up my alley and the route that I recommend to my guests. Beautiful area of the country. Let me know what your two main destinations are( probably Cape Town and Port Elizabeth?), and over how many days you want to stretch the drive. I can forward you places and activities that I would recommend you see and stay at on that road. But, great choice, and a pretty safe drive.

    Take Care,
    Marius Goosen
    KMG Hunting Safaris - South Africa, Namibia, Zambia
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