Best 4x4 off road trails in Namibia
Namibia’s 4×4 off-road trails are a veritable utopian playground of 4×4 adventures for off-road enthusiasts and lovers alike. From the insanely steep rocky plateau climbs of the Namib Naukluft Park to the monstrously fun sand dunes of the Kalahari and the slip-sliding mud tracks through the wildlife-infestedEtosha National Park, there is literally a trail for every 4×4 driver skill level and interest.
Here are Drive South Africa’s 5 top 4×4 off-roading trails in Namibia.
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4×4 off road trails in Namibia
1. Namib Naukluft Park Trail
The Namib Naukluft 4×4 Adventure Trail is ideal for the off road enthusiast. Photo: Marko Samastur
The gem of the Namibian 4×4 off road trail and off-roading routes is the Namib Naukluft 4×4 Adventure Trail. Blazed by the early pioneers the trail is designed to push your off-roading skills to the maximum and is said to be one of the most difficult unguided 4×4 routes in the world. The 73 km, 2 day Namibian adventure stretches from Luderitz transporting you through the spectacular beauty of the National Namib Naukluft Park whilst traversing some seriously steep mountain terrain on the narrowest of rocky tracks. The overnight campsite, Tjeriktit is a welcomed sight at the end of the day and a rest for weary bones and bruised buttocks.
2. Isabis 4x 4 Trail
Aptly named ‘beautiful to the eye’ by the Nama people, the ISABIS 4×4 trail is Namibia’s most scenic off-roading route. Situated in the rugged Gamsberg region the tour traverses the steep plateau with views of the spectacular mountain expanses, sheer gorges and uninterrupted Namibian panorama’s. The off-road trail is 130 km spanning the farms of ISABIS and Hornkranz near the beautiful Gaub River and includes a beautiful natural rock pool.
Isabis is an easy beginner 4×4 off road adventure route with optional black routes for those off-roaders up for more of a challenge. Only one 4×4 car is allowed on the trail at a time so you have to book in advance.
3. Messum Crater 4×4 Trail
The Messum Crater 4×4 Trail is a 250 kilometer trail that traces along the C34 past the Cape Cross and Lagunen Mountain. You drive along the coastline road which changes direction going north-east to the southern part of the Messum Crater. Here you can explore rock paintings, visit the slat pan and ancient village settlement. The trail joins with the Messum River if you follow the D2303 joining the C34 and also follows through to the picturesque and charming Henties Bay.
In addition to incredible scenery and breathtaking views, the Messum Crater 4×4 Trail is home to significant archaeological sites left behind by ancient Damara nomadic tribes. Drive through and under some of the awesome rock formations and prehistoric walls of the Messum River twisted and turned through millions of years into what are arches like truly spectacular natural art installations.
4. Topnaar 4×4 Trail
If sliding down the steep slip faces and sharp dune crescents of some of Namibia’s epic sand dunes sounds like more of your kind of off-road safari then the Topnaar 4×4 trail will be a blast. The 6 day off-roading adventure takes you from Luderitz winding up and over monstrous dunes and past the dramatic wrecks of the gorgeous Namibian Skeleton Coast and eventually delivering you to Walvis Bay. Unfortunately, the challenge of Namibia’s dunes can only be enjoyed joining a guided tour, but the good company just adds to the hilarity of the ride.
5. Kalahari-Namib Eco 4×4 Route
The Kalahari-Namib Eco off-road trail is a dream for the crazier 4×4 adventurers. The tour is an open route which can last anything from 2 to 10 days with many 4×4 trails to choose from depending on the level of terrain difficulty you want to conquer. The route spans two of the most beautiful deserts in the world, the Kalahari and the Namib, covering the awe-inspiring Great and Small Karas Mountains, the Fish River Canyon, Ai-Ais and Tiras Mountains in between. The 4×4 tour offers up a host of different wildlife and environments with the great campsite facilities providing the perfect opportunity to share the days experiences round the campfire.
6. Dorsland Trek 4×4 Route
The longest and most insane of Namibia’s 4×4 trails or off-road adventures is the monstrous Dorsland (roughly translated to thirsty land) Trek. The 2000 km route stretches from the Marico region of the Transvaal in South Africa up through South Western Namibia and ending in Humpata Angola. Tracing the historical 1878 route of the Dorsland Voortrekkers, the off-road trail navigates through Namibia’s most dramatic landscapes and culturally vibrant villages and towns. A 4×4 trip takes a minimum of eight days and the staggered tour passes through the dramatic Epupa Falls, Mahango Game Reserve, Omuramba Omatako and the gorgeous Etosha National Park before ending Kaokoland.
There are plenty more Namibian off-road trails and 4×4 routes for the avid off-roader to choose from. So whether you are looking for a quick 4×4 adventure into the desert to hold your wanderlust at bay for a little longer or are looking to set out on an epic 4×4 safari Namibia is the 2011 4×4 off-roading holiday hotspot. For all accommodation, a list of destinations and activities or more information about Namibia visit Namibia Tourism.
The Ugab Menhir is a beautiful 312 kilometer 4×4 trail exploring the south of the Ugab River. Around 700 to 900 million years ago a raging river once ran though creating amazing water ridges made up of mud and with the collision of the continents 100 million years later, these mud deposits were compressed and eroded over millions of years with the result being today’s stunning scenery.
Adding to the prehistoric past, enigmatic mystery and more recent history of Namibia’s magnificent Ugab Menhir 4×4 Trail, along a route on the Skeleton Coast at Durissa Bay the 1970 shipwreck of South African vessel Winston can be seen. Ugab Menhir 4×4 is the opportunity to off road trip back in time.
8. Omaruru River 4×4 Trail
This visually thrilling trail is an added pleasure to drive with a variety of terrains to challenge your skills. The Omaruru River 4×4 Trail is a 270 kilometer drive to Spitzkoppe Mountain and through onto Lewater and following the Omaruru River to Skoenklip and routed to pass the Omdel Dam, where floodwaters are temporarily captured and stored for the dry season and filtered into natural underground reservoirs.
The Omaruru River 4×4 Trail is dotted with remarkable rock formations and significant rock is one of the country’s most popular 4×4 off road trails attracting local off-roading enthusiasts, those from across the Namibian boarders from South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Angola along with international visitors from around the world who are keen to explore and discover the wonder of this terrific trail.
If you plan on going on a adventure to this majestic location from another part of the country, you might want to use a smaller vehicle to get there first. Car rental South Africa would be a great place to start looking for the best wheels to get you there.