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Namibia was the most expensive trip we’ve ever taken, but we don’t regret it at all. In two weeks we saw cheetahs, leopards, and rhinos; climbed a giant sand dune; snorkelled with seal pups; and drove for hours through the most remote wilderness we’ve ever experienced.
Read our Namibia road trip itinerary for all the details of what we did and where we stayed.
We saved up for our Namibia trip, so we didn’t try to stick to a particular budget, although we avoided the very expensive ($500+ a night) lodges. We stayed in mid-range lodges, usually with breakfast and dinner included, rented an SUV, and did whatever activities we wanted.
You could travel in Namibia for less by camping and self-catering or choosing cheaper hotels.
As always, we tracked our expenses with our travel budget Trail Wallet (update: after 10 years, the app is sadly no longer available), which allows us to enter our expenses in the local currency (Namibian dollars) and see how much we’re spending in our home currency (British pounds). The summary screen displays our trip costs in pounds and, with a tap of the screen, converts to Namibian dollars as well as US dollars.
Here’s our total Namibia budget for two people for a 15 night Namibia road trip in April 2017:
Our average daily spend was £287/ $365 which is £144/ $183 per person. Here’s what we spent it on:
Note: The current exchange rate is approximately 1 GBP = 17 NAD and 1 USD = 13 NAD. Namibian dollars are equivalent to South African rand and can be used interchangeably.
22% of total. £64/ $81 a day
Car hire is expensive in Namibia, but it’s the only way to get around unless you join a tour.
The biggest decision we had to make was whether to rent a normal sedan or a 4WD. Most of the roads in Namibia are gravel, but it is possible to drive on them in a regular car.
We decided to risk it and used Kayak to search for the cheapest rental. We originally booked a Toyota Corolla for £421 ($556) for 15 days, but when our friends visited Namibia the month before us, they ended up losing a piece of the underside of their car from all the rocks bouncing around.
We decided it would be safer and more comfortable to rent a higher clearance SUV. So we changed our booking (again we searched with Kayak and booked with Argus for a Thrifty car) to a Nissan X-Trail at a painful almost double the price of £810 ($1069). In the end we were happy with our decision.
A 4WD would have cost even more, plus they have higher excesses and fuel costs.
We have a separate annual car hire insurance policy which covered the excess.
Petrol cost us 2197 NAD ($170) for the whole trip of 2658km (1652 miles). Petrol was around 11 NAD ($0.85) a litre and our costs include a tip for the petrol station attendant who fills up for you.
The only other transport cost was 300 NAD ($23) for two return trips on the 4WD taxi to get to Sossusvlei as the last section is deep sand.
Our Namibia budget doesn’t include our flights to Namibia as these will be different for everyone depending on where you come from. Our flights there cost 1799 ZAR ($139) from Cape Town to Windhoek on Air Namibia and from Windhoek to Johannesburg on British Airways was 1494 NAD ($116).
58% of total. £166/ $211 a day
Accommodation was by far our biggest expense. Most of the attractions are away from towns so you stay in remote lodges. We chose nicer lodges in Namibia as we wanted pleasant places to relax between long drives and activities. We did not stay anywhere super luxurious—many lodges cost way more.
Almost everywhere we stayed included a large breakfast, three-course dinner, and sometimes afternoon cake and coffee.
Accommodation in Namibia is less expensive in the towns of Windhoek and Swakopmund as there’s more choice and you don’t have to eat at your accommodation.
Here are the places we stayed with the cost per night for two people from cheapest to most expensive. All include breakfast and dinner unless noted:
- Caothinha Guesthouse, Windhoek 1079 NAD ($83) breakfast only – A simple but comfortable and friendly guesthouse with a small pool.
- Swakopmund Luxury Suites, Swakopmund 1845 NAD ($143) breakfast only – A beautiful, modern room with all conveniences a few minutes walk from the beach.
- The Elegant Farmstead (north of Windhoek) 2546 NAD ($197) – A friendly lodge in beautiful grounds with a pool. Our room was simple but comfortable.
- Mushara Lodge, Etosha 2775 NAD ($215) – The most luxurious place we stayed with lovely rooms, pool, and an attractive lounge/bar. A 10-minute drive from the Etosha gate.
- Moon Mountain Lodge, Solitaire 3474 NAD ($269) – A spectacular setting fairly near the Sossusvlei dunes. The tents aren’t fancy but they have proper beds, bathrooms, and a plunge pool.
- Huab Lodge, Damaraland 3978 NAD ($308) – Everywhere in Damaraland was really expensive as it’s so remote. Pleasant eco-friendly rooms (no A/C) with a view, tranquil setting, pool and hot springs.
- Okonjima Plains Camp 4050 NAD ($313) – The cheetah and leopard safari drives (extra fee) are the highlight. Our standard room was large and comfortable with a bush view—you can sometimes see animals and can certainly hear them at night.
If you want to save on accommodation, look on Booking.com for cheaper lodges and farm stays. You could also camp and self-cater.
Accommodation prices will be lower during the low-season. While April isn’t usually high season, we were travelling during the Easter holidays.
10% of total. £28/ $36 a day
This includes our eating out and food shopping budgets. Most of our meals were included in the Accommodation budget. This category covers our lunches and drinks at lodges, and lunches and dinners in Halali, Swakopmund, and Windhoek.
Eating out in towns is not that expensive. We paid from 200 to 350 NAD ($15 – $27) for two people.
We stocked up at the supermarket with snacks for the long drives (there is rarely anywhere to stop for lunch).
Tap water is drinkable so we didn’t spend anything on water.
8% of total. £23/ $29 a day
Our Namibia activities included (with the cost per person):
- Entrance fees to Namib-Naukluft and Etosha National Parks – 85 NAD ($7) per day (three days in total)
- Sundowner drive at The Elegant Farmstead – 180 NAD ($14)
- Sundowner drive at Huab Lodge – 450 NAD ($35)
- Kayaking with seals – 650 NAD ($50)
- Two cheetah and leopard safari drives at Okonjima – 670 NAD ($52) per drive
2% of total. £6/ $7 a day
This consisted of tips for lodge staff, an Etosha map, and lip balm. A load of laundry at Huab Lodge cost us 130 NAD ($10). Our MTC SIM card and 3GB data plan cost us 402 NAD ($31) at the airport.
Namibia Expenses Not Included Above
I recommend the Bradt Namibia guidebook, which is the best guide for Namibia.
Travel insurance is essential in case anything goes wrong. We have an annual policy with True Traveller, which is excellent value for UK and EU citizens. World Nomads is another well-respected company who we’ve used in the past.
Most car hire companies in Namibia have high excess amounts that you have to cover if you have an accident. They will offer expensive insurance to reduce the excess, but it’s much cheaper to buy a separate policy. Our annual worldwide policy with Questor cost us £52 ($67).
Other Namibia Travel Budgets
You can travel Namibia for less than we did:
- Lauren of Never Ending Footsteps spent $132 a day on a similar trip to ours but travelling in a regular car in the March low season.
- Bold Travel also spent $132 per person per day renting a 4WD and camping in their rooftop tent.
Namibia was a lot more expensive than South Africa where accommodation and car hire prices are much lower (see our South Africa travel costs). If you are on a tight budget, South Africa might be a better option, but if you are looking for a more remote, wilder experience, Namibia is worth the splurge.
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