#10 Dune Driving in Namibia

Latitude and Longitude: 22°30'S/15°0'E

A desert can be many things to many people. For most, it is a place of death, where nothing grows or lives; but for a few, it is a place to travel to and explore.

The Namib Desert in Namibia, Africa is one of the most extraordinary places on the planet. It contains dunes that are stories high that bound and fade into the Atlantic Ocean. It feels like another planet, and this otherworldly quality is only intensified when you set your eyes on the scores of dead ships that are slowly being reclaimed by time along the edge of this place.

We realize that our first stop on the “Top 10 Road Trips” doesn’t even feature a road to be traveled over. If you find this to be odd, just hang in there, we promise that tarmac paths are not the only kinds of roads you will encounter out there in the wide world; as this series will demonstrate in future articles.


The Spice Must 
Flow 

Dune driving is a completely different experience from mud, gravel or even rock crawling. When you’re deep in the Namib Desert, you will be driving over mostly sand with an occasional sharp rock to cause trouble. This is why it is illegal for anyone to set out into the desert alone because if you get stuck, it’s game over man.

If you are feeling pensive or perhaps even a tiny bit intimidated, you can hire guides who will ride with you and your party. They can give you driving tips and even suggest starting locations like Divorce Pass in Kaokoland, Namibia.
Even if you have a guide, be aware of the following before setting off:

  • Make sure the pressure in your tires is around 15-20 PSI. The wider surface area effectively allows the tire to ‘float’ over the surface of the sand.
  • Do not make sharp turns, because of the lower tire pressure, if you take a sharp turn you can rip the tire off its wheel and possibly flip over.
  • If you can’t power over a dune, always back up in a straight line and follow the path you made. This will help with not getting stuck.
  • Lastly, when you over the edge of a dune, approach slowly and allow the weight of your vehicle to coast over the surface of the sand toward the bottom.
  • Cresting over dunes is an experience unlike any other, just make sure you don’t go bounding over an edge you can’t see the other side of.

 

 

Take Only What You Need

To make sure you survive long enough to not only enjoy your time in the Namibia Desert but also make it
home, we do recommend the following gear:


SL
IMLINE II ROOF RACK
You will need the extra space, and our lightweight rack will save fuel while hauling what you need.

Double Jerry Can Holder
In the Namib, there are 0 fueling stations.

42l Water Tank With Mounting System and Hose Kit
It is warm to hot in the Namib Desert. Water is an important piece of the ‘I don’t want to die’ puzzle.

Ratcheting Spade/Shovel & Paddle Mount
This will be your best friend when the sand tries to eat your car.

Hi-Lift Jack / 1.2mHi-Lift Jack Bracket and Hi-Lift Jack Base Plate
This jack will get you out of most of the problems you will run into out there. The mount helps with space inside and the base plate helps to keep the jack in place.

Potjie Pot/Dutch Oven & Carrier and ADJUSTABLE RACK BRACKETS
It isn’t a matter of if, but when, you get stuck in the sand. The Potjie Pot/Dutch Oven & Carrier and SAND LIZARD RESCUE TRACKS can be easily mounted to our rack and make getting stuck a mild annoyance rather than a life or death situation.

The Namib Desert is one of the most stunning places in the world and holds an experience you will not find anywhere else.

This is the first stop in our “Top 10 Road Trips Around the World” series if you want to find out what the other 9 will be, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.

 

 

By: Nick Mazmanian