Planning & preparation
Until 1990, most of Namibia's tourists were from South Africa. They came in their own vehicles, for the sea fishing and the game parks – which still have well-organised facilities. Following independence, greater number of visitors have arrived from overseas every year, many using the restcamp facilities which were developed for the South Africans. Generally, the overseas visitors have more money to spend; they want small lodges rather than large camps, and restaurants rather than self-catering facilities.
Thus Namibia is seeing a real boom in lodges and bush-camps, and many economically marginal farms are thriving again as guest farms. Such small, individual places don't suit large tours or high-volume tour operators, who use only large hotels for their big groups. Thus the future for Namibia, the way that tourism is growing, is in self-drive trips by independent visitors who visit the smaller lodges and farms with their own vehicle, and don't rely on being part of a large touring group. Even those who first visit as part of a large group often return for their own individual self-drive trip.
Namibia is fortunate: its roads are good, its attractions well-signposted, and its national parks well-managed. Even the centralised booking system for the parks, based at Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) in Windhoek, generally works well for advance bookings.
Despite its phenomenal growth, tourism to Namibia is still on a very small scale, a fraction of that found in, say, South Africa or Kenya. So the feeling of wilderness has not been lost; you will still be the only visitors in many corners of the country.