iMedia Tours

Namibia the land of dreams...

1. GRAVEL ROADS Namibia's excellent infrastructure includes a major road system of which only 5% are tarred or sealed road surfaces. The rest is made up of excellent gravel roads. Most of the country's attractions can only be reached by gravel road. Gravel roads are made, not like everyone thinks by just scraping the road surface, but in fact by taking a graded strip of road and compacting stones (gravel) onto this surface. Speed
Experience has taught us that a maximum safe speed on gravel is 60km/h. At this speed, in most cases, you will be able to control any dangerous situation that you could get into. Remember you are on holiday and at this speed you can take in the surrounding countryside and see many things that you might miss at a higher speed. You should plan your daily routing to be no further than 400 km per day, this distance would take you around 8 hours to complete. As our roads are fairly deserted you may not encounter oncoming traffic for a long time. This fact increases your confidence and quickly causes your speed to increase. Be very aware of this, as this is the number one killer on our roads. The increase in speed is dangerous due to the fact that the road surface can and does change rapidly from a hard surface to soft sand on which it becomes very difficult to control a vehicle that is travelling fast. Although you may encounter locals who are carrying on their normal day-to-day business life on these roads and are thus travelling at much higher speeds than the recommended speed, don' t get drawn into going faster because they are driving faster than you. Do not assume that local drivers know the safe speed to travel at. Local accidents statistics in Namibia are horrendous (deaths per number of vehicles are well over fifty times higher than European statistics). Please keep in mind when other drivers overtake you: Their driving builds up those statistics. MOST IMPORTANTLY, REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE HERE ON HOLIDAY TO SEE NAMIBIA, you are not on a racetrack to get to your destination. Stones (Gravel)
The compacting of stones on gravel roads does not last and as a result you will see tracks forming where the vehicles drive. On the edges of these tracks is where you would find stones, which can cause damage to the vehicle's tyre. There are also stones in the tracks, but in most cases these are small and would not cause damage to tyres. They could, however, be thrown up by a car in front of you and damage the windscreen, so keep a good distance from the vehicle in front of you. Remember, a stone that is thrown up by a vehicle in front of you could be thrown a distance of up to 100 meters. You will not be able to see these stones being thrown up due to the dust cloud of the vehicle in front of you. Generally good advice would be to stay clear of these dust clouds. Resistance
Gravel roads offers three times the resistance of other road surface. It is this resistance that causes the vehicle to roll in the event of it starting to spin. If you lose control of the vehicle, hold the steering, but do not try to counteract the spin. Let the vehicle go its course, even if it goes off the road and through a fence. If there are no cliffs or trees the damage to yourself and the vehicle will be a lot less severe than if the vehicle rolls. Do not brake, but take your foot off the accelerator and once the vehicle has slowed sufficiently for you to take control start steering again. Dust
It is dangerous to travel following in a vehicle's dust cloud for various reasons, the most obvious being that you cannot see. The dust cloud could obscure corners, oncoming traffic, animals and a variety of other obstacles. So just slow down and let the other vehicle go until you can see.
We know that all these comments are a bit daunting but in conclusion all we are really saying is make sure you drive slowly and have plenty of time to enjoy the drive, SPEED IS THE ENEMY!!