I believe that the best way to truly get to know, understand, feel, and experience a country is to drive through it. This belief has led me to do exactly this over the next three months, as we plan to explore Namibia.
My chosen destination, Namibia, has been a long fascination of mine; and I, along with my husband and two children, have set off on the road to experience first-hand what travelling is like in the almost Post-COVID world.
Namibia is famed for its well-maintained roads and is very well geared up towards the self-drive camping market. We decided that it would be best to start at the bottom of the country and drive all the way to the top – making sure we try and get to all the well-known destinations along the way.
The major question for us was what to pack? As a person who generally travels to, and understands the luxury lodge market, I couldn’t answer this question – and so left this to my husband Neil – who has grown up camping. But with two kids in tow, it took a lot more effort…
- Tent & Sleeping Gear. Long pegs are a must, and you need a rubber mallet.
- Excellent lighting (Rechargeable is preferable – Solar rechargeable even better). Should include one powerful flashlight, head torches for everyone, and at least two good ambient lights)
- Camera (something with good diversity and quality of lenses)
- Emergency Recovery Kit. My husband had a full toolbox, a number of vehicle and trailer spares already in hand due to our remote living conditions in Botswana, which made this a lot easier to pack for. He also has a compressor and can plug holes in our tyres as needed, which is very useful – final thing is to have a spade and Tow Rope. I would also highly recommend buying some cable ties and a decent quality role of Duct Tape – these two things are very handy.
- First Aid Kit – This we made sure was comprehensive, mostly because we were travelling with children.
- Fuel Jerry Cans – Always good to have at least 40L of extra fuel. Some fuel stations run out in the more remote areas.
- Cooking Items – we had a small two-burner gas stove and a cooking top attached to the gas bottle. We have really mostly used the single cooking top. Need full cutlery and durable crockery sets – along with BBQ Tongs, serving items etc. A Grid for cooking is great to have – as you can keep it clean. There are grids at most sites – but these are often very grimy and dirty.
- Fridge – There are several good fridges for camping. We opted to go for two fridges – one was a 220V/12V & the other a GAS/220V/12V. These have been exceptionally useful as can use them in most situations where we leave one plugged into the car – and the other at the campsite and connected to Gas. BUT – These have taken up a massive amount of space, and are heavy and difficult to move. We used one fridge to freeze goods and make ice (a lovely luxury) and the other for pure refrigeration.
- Tables & Chairs – we had a comfortable sitting chair for all of us – and then opted for a large prep table and another “dining table” – a compact table that folds out with bench seats attached. Useful with kids – but wouldn’t have had this if it was just us two adults.
- Food – we bought neatly stacking and well-sealed containers that could contain all our dry food and cereal – which packs away neatly into a crate. Because we are travelling for 3 Months – we brought a lot of dry food with us. After having had to haul this out at each spot – we would pack much smaller quantities next time and buy smaller containers for the goods.
- Cleaning items – Dishwashing soap, Sponge & Cloth. A brush and Pan for cleaning the tent is needed.
- Insect Repellant & Sun Cream
- Clothes – I took charge of this, and we decided to go for a 7-day wardrobe for us all. I still had a considerable amount of bags for us – because of the cold vs Hot weather clothing. We decreased the volume, but even so, took too much with us. There are Laundry facilities at most destinations – or keeping on top of clothes by cleaning them daily also works well. It was important to note that in August / October – the weather was a lot colder than it was hot. Icy cold winds chilled us to the bone, so make sure you have at least one good Jacket, warm pants and warm sleeping gear.
- Optional Extra’s when you explore Namibia-
- We bought a water filter jug, and although the water seems to have been good everywhere – this was a nice thing for peace of mind. Important to bring a drinking bottle you can refill – much better than buying plastic bottles. An insulated bottle is even better.
- Satellite Phone – an optional extra – but chose to travel with this as we made sure we took down essential contacts in the various countries.
- Kindle / E-reader – much lighter than books and great for trips. Also useful to download bird / mammal books onto your phone & tablet.
- Maps – hard copies are nice to have, just in case. There are many good GPS apps available these days, which are also great to have.
Explore Namibia and Covid
PCR Tests – We planned this quite carefully to ensure we knew what to do. When we entered Namibia – they had testing facilities at the Border, but we believe it is still safer to get this done beforehand. Most countries are moving towards accepting internationally recognised testing facilities – and these places issue tests with a QR code on them. It is wise to ensure you utilise a reputable testing facility and ensure you work out how long tests are valid for.
Namibia’s PCR test requirements (at the time of writing this) is only required within seven days, which was wonderful for us and allowed for a little travel in South Africa beforehand.
The list is extensive, I know, but I think this should help anyone thinking about what to pack for a trip in a country that lends itself to some of the best overland travels Africa has to offer!
My family and I love the sheer beauty and sense of freedom of travelling in Namibia – and I cannot wait to share this with you in the next post.