Are you planning a self-drive safari roadtrip through Namibia or Botswana? Then look no further! In this article, we share our experiences with Asco Car Hire, a 4x4 car rental service from Windhuk, Namibia. In total, we traveled around Namibia and Botswana for 7 weeks with a trusty Toyota Hilux from Asco. Read our full review below.
We did a barter deal with Asco Car Hire. For featuring them in our adventure travel documentary, we received a discount on our rental fee.
The Website and Booking Process The website gives you a very good overview of Asco Car Hire, its vehicles, its services, and so on. One thing that is missing is a live booking function. You do not know which vehicles are available or not at your intended dates of travel. However, Asco is fast to answer any email you will send them. Once you know your dates you can send them an email through the booking form and they will get back with a quote to you.
The Pick-up We were picked up directly at the airport by an Asco Car Hire employee. We had to wait about 20mins in the arrivals hall for some more travelers before we all headed towards the Asco office. The drive from the airport to the office took about 45mins, as the airport was built a fair bit from the city of Windhuk. (Don‘t ask us why. There was mostly desert along the way.)
The Instructions Once we arrived at the Asco offices we went into a little back office, where all the paperwork was taken care of. After filling out all the necessary forms, we also watched a driving safety video, informing us about the road conditions and safety measures throughout Namibia. The entire process took around 30-40mins.
After that, we were led to our car and received a thorough introduction to all the gear. A friendly employee showed us how to put up the rooftop tent, how to set up the gas cooker, take out the camping table (it's locked on the interior ceiling), and so on. We also got a short introduction to four-wheel driving and the different modes of the vehicle. We would recommend you do some thorough research into four-wheel driving before your trip though.
The Car We picked a Toyota Hilux Double Cab. The car was very spacious and would easily seat four for a trip. However, keep in mind that you have to store your luggage somewhere as well. The back of the car has a large trunk box, where you store all your gear, however, it quickly gets dirty in there. We would recommend bringing backpacks, as they are easier to store than suitcases. If you travel with four people, make sure to only pack the absolute necessary gear.
The car was in great condition and only had about 9000 km on the clock. The double fuel tank allowed us to store 140l of fuel, which was extremely useful when venturing into the more remote areas of Namibia and Botswana.
The Rooftop Tent The tent was fairly easy to put up, after a couple of days it only took us about 2 mins. The inside is spacious enough for two people. If you are traveling as a family, you’ll need two rooftop tents. The tent comes equipped with a mattress, so you do not need to bring any of your own. Additionally, Asco Car Hire provides you with all the bedding and all the bed linen. Be aware that it can get surprisingly cold in Namibia and that the blanket supplied might be too thin. We bought an additional blanket for the very cold nights.
The Equipment The car comes with camping chairs, a camping table, two gas cookers, a water container, a fridge, pots, pans, and cutlery among other things. The fridge is very useful for storing your perishable foods, especially as temperatures can rise above 40 degrees Celsius. A big box in the trunk also allows you to store plenty of non-perishable food, which you will need to carry if you want to venture into the wild.
Be aware that the equipment is basic and used - don’t expect non-stick pots and pans.
Communications during the Trip Asco will share a 24h emergency phone number. This can be helpful should you require swift help. Be aware that you won‘t have cell phone reception everywhere in the country. Lots of areas are too remote. We had to call Asco once during our trip (see “Problems”) and were swiftly helped.
Our trip We traveled around Namibia and Botswana for a total of seven weeks, driving 13.000 km. If you would like to learn more about our trip make sure to watch our adventure travel documentaries on Namibia and Botswana on YouTube.
The Drop-off We dropped off the car after seven weeks at the Asco Car Hire office again. After the care was checked for any damage, an employee of Asco brought us back to our hotel in a company van.
Problems After several weeks of traveling, we encountered a weird, rattling noise coming from the engine room. We could not quite place it and figure out what it was ourselves. Before we embarked on another remote adventure into the south of Botswana, we gave Asco Car Hire a call, who told us to visit the local Toyota garage in Maun. As the car was brand new it was still completely covered under warranty. The mechanics took almost a day to work on the car, but couldn‘t really find any issue. However, after they tested some things, the noise was gone and we continued our travels with the knowledge that everything important was in order.
Talking about service - Should the issue with the car have been serious, Asco offered to bring us a new vehicle within a day. Mind you, Maun is not around the corner from their office but a decent 800 km drive.
Summary For us, Asco Car Hire was an excellent choice for our self-drive safari roadtrip. We took the car through remote deserts, along sandy trails, through water crossings, and across salt pans. It held up perfectly fine without any real problems. The staff is friendly and the service was excellent. We can therefore highly recommend Asco Car Hire.
Make sure to watch our full Namibia travel documentary on YouTube: