Namibia’s 4x4 off road trails are a veritable utopian playground of 4x4 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 infested Etosha National Park there is literally a trail for every 4x4 driver skill level and interest.
Here are Drive South Africa’s 5 top 4x4 off-roading trails in Namibia.
4x4 off road trails in Namibia
1. Namib Naukluft Park Trail
The Namib Naukluft 4x4 Adventure Trail is ideal for the off road enthusiast. Photo: Marko Samastur
The gem of the Namibian 4x4 off road trail and off-roading routes is the Namib Naukluft 4x4 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 4x4 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
Gaub River nearby the Isabis 4x4 Trail. Photo: Awardbhcs
Aptly named ‘beautiful to the eye’ by the Nama people, the ISABIS 4x4 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 4x4 off road adventure route with optional black routes for those off-roaders up for more of a challenge. Only one 4x4 car is allowed on the trail at a time so you have to book in advance.
3. Messum Crater 4x4 Trail
The Kalahari Namib Eco 4x4 off road trails through the Fish River Canyon. Photo:Natalieandryan
The Messum Crater 4x4 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 4x4 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 4x4 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 4x4 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 4x4 Route
The Kalahari-Namib Eco off-road trail is a dream for the crazier 4x4 adventurers. Photo: Tamzyn Degoumois
The Kalahari-Namib Eco off-road trail is a dream for the crazier 4x4 adventurers. The tour is an open route which can last anything from 2 to 10 days with many 4x4 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 4x4 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 4x4 Route
The longest and most insane of Namibia’s 4x4 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 4x4 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 4x4 routes for the avid off-roader to choose from. So whether you are looking for a quick 4x4 adventure into the desert to hold your wanderlust at bay for a little longer or are looking to set out on an epic 4x4 safari Namibia is the 2011 4x4 off-roading holiday hotspot. For all accomodation, a list of destinations and activities or more information about Namibia visit Namibia Tourism.
7. Ugab Menhir 4x4 Trail
The Omaruru River 4x4 Trail is a 270 kilometer drive to Spitzkoppe Mountain. Photo: Davefellows
The Ugab Menhir is a beautiful 312 kilometer 4x4 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 4x4 Trail, along route on the Skeleton Coast at Durissa Bay the 1970 shipwreck of South African vessel Winston can be seen. Ugab Menhir 4x4 is the opportunity to off road trip back in time.
8. Omaruru River 4x4 Trail
This visually thrilling trail is an added pleasure to drive with a variety of terrains to challenge your skills. The Omaruru River 4x4 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 4x4 Trail is dotted with remarkable rock formations and significant rock is one of the country’s most popular 4x4 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 are planning an adventurous off roading 4x4 adventure and looking to rent a vehicle see our 4x4 hire page.
Planning a 4x4 trip and need to hire a 4x4 vehicle locally here are some popular options below;
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