Fly-in vs. Self-drive?

A straight comparison of prices between a self-drive tour and a fly-in might appear as a no-brainer. But it's not that simple.

Namibia is an exhilarating and memorable place to visit, offering a variety of captivating and enchanting attractions, with something for everyone.

When deciding on your Namibian travel itinerary, one of your first choices is whether to opt for driving (self-drive or guided) or fly-in. Your preference will usually depend on time and cost factors, but there are other elements which should be considered when deciding on your holiday in Namibia, most importantly of course, is which parts of the country you want to visit.

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Namibia is 825,400 km² in size and has many attractions, such as Etosha National Park, Fish River Canyon, the Skeleton Coast, the Sossusvlei dunes, the Namib Desert (known as the oldest and most extreme on earth) and more. If you are booking your trip with a travel company or tour operator, they will offer different packages based on duration and which areas you want to visit and explore, and also on whether or not they are self-drive, fly-in, or a combination of the two.

Self-drive Tours of Namibia
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Namibia has an excellent road network, and a self-drive safari is ideal for the adventure seeker. The distances between attractions are vast, with beautiful scenery along the way, so you will need to allow yourself enough time for this method of travel through the country.

You will be able to make your way unhurriedly along mostly empty roads, with complete flexibility as to which destinations you decide to visit. Most of your driving will be done along gravel roads which are generally well graded, but you need to travel slowly and carefully, so your travel time needs to be factored in carefully. Driving at night is not recommended because of the increased risk of animals crossing the road, and the limited visibility due to no street lights.

Many self-drive visitors to Namibia combine their trip with a camping element as well as lodge stays, for a more versatile and interesting tour, enabling you to explore various destinations at your own pace. That being said, your trip does need to be planned quite sensibly, especially when it comes to issues like fuel planning. Make sure that you are well informed about where the petrol stations are on your route, and it's advisable to fuel up whenever possible, even if your tank is still half full.

Your vehicle should be properly equipped should you need to change a tyre, some knowledge of the basics of vehicle maintenance would also come in handy. You need to ensure that you carry enough water with you for your own consumption and in the event of your vehicle overheating – temperatures in Namibia can reach into the high 40's which can play havoc with your vehicle.

The roads are very well sign-posted and excellent maps are available, so with good planning you will be able to enjoy a comprehensive self-drive tour through Namibia.

Fly-in Safaris in Namibia and Botswana
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Fly-in safaris are generally more expensive, but you don't need as much travelling time, which allows you to spend more time at each destination, or if you do have time-constraints, short overnight stays. You are treated to magnificent aerial views, with rapid transfers between your chosen highlights, and interesting adventures on the ground.

You also have a variety of options and destinations to choose from on a fly-in safari, and the landscapes are equally spectacular from the air, although quite different to what you would see on a self-drive tour.

A minimum of seven days should be factored in when considering a fly-in tour of Namibia or Botswana, so that you get to see a good selection of the highlights the country has to offer. Your overnight stays will be dependent on the number of attractions in each particular area, which makes this option more about each place and less about the journey.

There are also fly-in camping safari options, rather than staying at lodges, and if your budget is limited, you usually have the option of replacing some of the flights with land transfers.

Adventures on the ground include guided nature walks, game drives and game viewing, excursions to various highlights at each overnight stop, quad bike trails where applicable, picnic lunches, exploring historical towns, and more.

Fly-in safaris operate on a scheduled basis, with a minimum of two passengers, and usually a maximum of four or sometimes six passengers. This is a truly unique way of experiencing Namibia.

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“I highly recommend you use Namibia Tours & Safaris if you're planning a visit to this country. Great logistics, great value, really personal service. Very fun to work with!”

“I feel that Edward is honest, extremely helpful, and a true professional. I will recommend this company and Edward's expertise to anyone heading to Africa. A perfect trip!!”

“We had an 18-day private guided tour (Namibia, Botswana and Vic Falls) organised by the NTS team. Our consultant Wilmari was amazing both in preparation to and during our travel. Responsive, personable and diligent she put together an excellent itinerary.”

“Our fly-in safari was a life experience we treasure. The scenery, people and arrangements were all outstanding. Bianca of Namibia Tours & Safaris put together the trip of our dreams. We highly recommend her!”

“Namibia Tours and Safaris and their consultants are the best. Ulrike, our consultant, helped us over a 2 year period to plan our 4x4 Safari details. She had the patience of a saint and the insight and knowledge of a true local.”

“Chantelle did a fantastic job in organizing our self-drive trip through Namibia. Nothing was too much hassle and Chantelle was so helpful and responsive throughout the whole process.”

“Having tried to organise this trip myself I was very appreciative of the knowledge and support given by Ashlee who could not have been more supportive.”

“The organisation and response from the initial contact was fast and flawless thanks to Bonique our tour consultant. Her recommendations were perfectly tailored to our needs with a lot of foresight and local knowledge.”

“The service and help we got from Tessa was fantastic, as a result we had a tremendous trip and loved everything in Namibia.”

“Janine from NTS proposed us a great trip that suited our needs and wishes finding the right accommodation and great places. We had a wonderful stay and it was nice to meet with her in Swakop. Definitely recommend!”

“I have no words to express my gratitude to Carmen Scott and all the NTS team for their excellent work. Keep it up and all the best!”

“I cannot find any hassle or negative point for the organisation of this trip. Outstanding material, good accommodation, simply perfect. What a great company!”