Where to stay in Namibia
Hotels in Namibia range from unimaginably luxurious to basic in the extreme. Safari lodges tend to dominate the luxe side of the market, with everything from private pools to personal butler service included as part of the deal. Others meanwhile offer the bare minimum with nothing more than a comfy bed and possibly breakfast thrown in. Campsites are everywhere but youth hostels and other budget accommodation are limited. The big international chains are represented in the capital but the majority of hotels are locally run affairs.
Namibia's hotels can be of good quality, some with conference facilities, in Windhoek, Swakopmund and thinly scattered throughout the country. As accommodation is limited and demand in the most popular areas is high, visitors are advised to book hotels in Namibia well in advance.
Grading: Hotels are graded on a scale of 1 to 5 stars.
Bed and breakfast:
B&B’s aren’t particularly widespread in Namibia and nearly all are concentrated in the main hubs of Windhoek, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, although Outjo and Okahandja each have one. Most are family run and as a result, standards vary although nearly all are comfortable, pleasant places to be.
Namibia is often referred to as a camper’s dream, and there are well-equipped campsites in several of the national parks, notably Etosha. There is also camping at Ai-Ais, a hot spring area at the southern tip of the Fish River Canyon, Orange River just north of the border with South Africa, Hardap Dam in the south, Popa Falls in Kavango, and the Namib-Naukluft Park. Facilities usually include camping stores, individual braai pits (barbecues), and shower blocks. Campers can generally just turn up and find a pitch, although bookings are essential in Etosha National Park (and a Plan B is always wise).
Lodges: In Etosha National Park and other game reserves, there are rustic rest camps and luxury lodges with comfortable accommodation in cabins or ensuite safari tents. Luxury lodges typically include game drives, meals and other activities in their rates (extra beverages not included). Games lodges tend to fill up quick, so it’s best to book early. Reservations for the national parks can be made directly with Namibia Wildlife Resorts Ltd.
Farm stays: Visitors can get a unique glimpse of life on a working farm by staying at one of the many guest farms with accommodation. Some even have comforts such as swimming pools and offer excursions including game drives and day hikes. Many rural family run farms also offer camping pitches to travellers.
Eco accommodation: Namibia is fast becoming an eco-warriors dream with plenty of upmarket eco-lodges relying on solar power to choose from. Wilderness Safaris (www.wilderness-safaris.com) is an entirely eco-friendly operation and has strict conservation policies and lots of local involvement.
Resorts: Most resorts are concentrated around Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, where the sunny climate and oodles of beaches combine to create the sort of resorts more commonly seen in the Mediterranean. The Burning Shore, near Walvis Bay, is especially good and played host to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in 2006.
Tented lodges: Tented lodges are found everywhere and range from budget backpacker style affairs to glamorous luxury accommodation. Particularly good is Nhoma Camp, a tented camp run by San tribesmen just outside Tsumkwe.