With wide open spaces to traverse and amazing things to see, cycling in Namibia takes on a new dimension. There are several quick and easy routes to follow while visiting the country, but many adventure seekers agree that an extended overland trip is the best way to explore the soul of these stark spaces and discover an endurance you never knew you had.
A typical trip takes about 2 weeks and you can get in touch with an official tour operator to tailor-make a route for you. Alternatively, and particularly if you are traveling solo, you could join one of their prearranged tours with vehicle support, meals and accommodation to your specifications.
However if time is the dictator, there is nothing to stop you from setting up your own cycling adventure or visiting any one of Namibia’s scenic landscapes and peddling around for a few hours before returning to the comfort of your luxury accommodation. You can even hire a bike from KatuTours for a ‘pumping pedals through the hood’ self-guided cycle around the capital while staying in your Windhoek accommodation.
Some of Namibia’s best places to spin a cog include:
The Auas Mountains around Windhoek
Take a daytrip exploring the wild mountainous scenery of Klein Au. Clearly marked trails for intermediate to advanced riders will reveal the impressive biodiversity and geology sites of these hills and dales surrounding the capital city.
The Fish River Canyon area
Cycling the roads along the rim of the canyon is a wonderful way to experience these lovely vistas at sunset. Load a picnic into your backpack and settle down for a sundowner at a scenic spot before heading back in the twilight to your accommodation at Namibian Parks’ Hobas campsite.
The Namib coastal desert plains and Blutkoppe
Travel among the desert expanses and dune seas of the Namib Desert towards Sesriem and Sossusvlei, taking in Elim Dune and Sesriem Canyon. Explore the ancient Gaub and Kuiseb Canyons and negotiate the desolate gravel plains and sparse grasslands of the Namib Naukluft Park to the Blutkoppe inselberg, surrounded by a stone desert dotted with boulders and quiver trees.
Spitzkoppe and Brandberg
Travel inland to these iconic granite massifs, some of Namibia’s highest peaks where you may come across rare creatures such as the black mongoose among the more familiar rock hyraxes and abundant birdlife.
The plains of Damaraland
This route is awash with unique desert-adapted flora including the Welwitschia, and some of the highlights along this route include the Spitzkoppe, Gai-ais spring, petrified dune landscapes, Twyfelfontein and the chance to cycle among Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra, Springbok, Gemsbok and Ostriches.
Kaokoland and Skeleton Coast
Travel in the Palmwag Concession, the Etendeka Plateau, the northern dune sea, the Hoanib, Hoarusib and Khumib rivers. This is the stomping ground of desert-adapted elephants, black rhino and lions as well as the friendly Himba people.
Gamsberg Pass and Rooisand
One of Namibia’s highest points, Gamsberg Pass is a good starting point for a 20km jaunt to Rooisand where you can camp over or book in to the guest house for the night. Hartmans Mountain zebra and Gemsbok may be seen on this route.
Apart from tourist rides, Namibia also hosts a number of races every year for the competitive cyclist, such as the 24-hour FNB Desert Dash, the strenuous 2-day Otjihavera Xperience, Nedbank Cycle Challenge and the NamibGrens Marathon.
Take to the wide open road as part of your next Namibian safari experience.