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Self-drive in Namibia, unfair practices you must be aware

We have just arrived from a wonderful 8-day self-drive and camping in Namibia. It is a beautiful ride, full of adventures, and worth it. However, there are a few hurdles we learned while there, which are essential to share.

First, to decide who to rent for, we tried some recommendations from Brazilian blogs, but most of them were fully booked. Some of the contacted agencies recommended us to use this association list:, so we contacted almost all of those in the list. We got 4 proposals which were enough to understand standard practices of their contracting model.

  1. Most of them charge a 15.000 NAD excess refund as insurance. You can pay a higher day rate to zero it. It is complex, as it is not a credit card deposit as rental car agencies do worldwide. You do transfer the full amount and at the end, they transfer you back the amount. But, you know, there is a risk behind this.

  2. Tires and windscreens are not in this coverage and we learned from other experienced travelers we met there, who warned us that flat tires are quite common and hardly managed by the agencies. We didn't get into the details of what they experienced with the agencies, but we got our heads up.

  3. To fix one flat tire in Solitaire we paid 200 NAD, and there we also learned that our tires were not off-road (gravel), but for paved roads, for this reason, a flat tire is common. I am not sure if this would be the regular price Namibians would pay to fix a tire, but for us still expensive.

  4. Our second flat tire time was on a Saturday afternoon and we would have paid 700 NAD for an after-hours fix of our tire. (Yes, everything closes very early in Namibia and you will be charged for this "after-hours" service). We decided to drive back to Windhoek with the spare tire and fix it there. Before returning the car, we stopped at a gas station to fill the tank and again, there we were informed that our tire could be fixed by the same 200 NAD as Solitaire. But the agency, already aware of our flat tire pushed us to return the car as is. We had plenty of time to fix it and return the car before going to the airport, but they insisted we return it earlier.

  5. Finally, 3 days after we came back from Namibia, we received the bill. They informed us they couldn't fix the tire and charged us a new tire (2900 NAD), they simply deduct from you 15.000 NAD, and that's it.

  6. I also read about similar issues with windscreens, you rent a car already with wrinkles in the windscreen, it breaks with you and you are the one who pays the bill. Check your windscreens carefully during the pick-up and always take pictures.

  7. Another essential tip: Some agencies would charge you 250NAD per person for an airport pick-up or drop-off, which for us, as a family of four, would cost 1000NAD. Download the app YANGO (the UBER they use in Namibia) and an airport ride from Windhoek south cost us 330 NAD on a Sunday afternoon.

  8. The agency we rented also counted the days not as 24 hours from rental time-return time, as most rental agencies do around the world, but they counted the dates, we rented on a Sunday and returned the following Sunday and charged us 8 days.

  9. After one month of pledge, involving the association CARAN to assure its quality standards, they returned us the full 15000 amount, but to our surprise again, they deducted almost 500NAD of transaction fees, which obviously should have been taken by them.

It is sad. If it wasn't for this situation, we would have had one of the most memorable trips, but our memories now associate Namibia with the country we were ripped off by the car rental agent. Indeed we always get tough situations in car-hires around the globe, but this one was, by far the toughest we have faced so far with already more than 90 countries in our travel roads...


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