Epupa Falls, Namibia, Travelling

Self-Drive or Public Transport?

I often get asked the question; can you arrange for public transport? The answer is a resounding ‘No’. But why?

It is a known fact that Namibia has the unsafest roads in the world – per capita that is. Most of these accidents involve Namibia’s biggest source of public transport – Taxis. These are not the Yellow Taxis of New York or the stately cabs of London. These are 16 and 32 seater buses traveling up and down between the north of Namibia and Windhoek and between Windhoek and the coast. These Taxi Buses are often carrying more people than the law allows and are sadly more often than not, not road worthy.

So why are they still allowed on the road? Well, that is a debate for a whole different Blog, but mostly because if you take the Taxis off the road, thousands of people will be stranded. Buses and Trains take too long, though infinitely safer, and planes are too expensive.

Would I take a Taxi? No. Not only do you entrust your life to a driver that may or may not have driver’s license, chances are you will have to share your seat with 2 other people also trying to get to the next stop.

But doesn’t a self-driver use the same roads and are therefor also then unsafe?

Yes and no. By driving your own vehicle, you get to decide what time of the day you want to travel. Early mornings are usually the quietest. Also, self-drivers touring the country will mostly drive the back roads of Namibia – the more scenic gravel roads. These roads do not carry high volumes of traffic and you will be much safer on them. When you do have to drive the B1, alertness is key. And try, if at all possible, to be off the main roads during rush hour (7 – 8am and 16 – 18pm and Sundays). Driving after dark is also not save. Not because of people, but because of the prolific wild life in Namibia.

Considering all of the above, Namibia is a fantastic country to self-drive as long as one remains on the back roads and only use the B1 when absolutely necessary.

Safe drive!