This story was updated on 3 September 2019.
Namibia is a wild and wonderful place with a landscape that is so vastly different to anywhere else on the planet.
If you’re looking for places to stay in this neighbouring country of ours, then you’ve come to the right place. Take a look at our list of tried-and-tested accommodation in Namibia.
1. Chobe Princesses
It’s one of Africa’s great rivers, winding through superb game viewing and birding territory, and seeing the Chobe River and its wildlife from one of the three Chobe Princesses is an unforgettable experience. These luxury boats cruise the river, docking on the Namibian side. Each has a plunge pool, a lounge and bar on the upper deck. That’s also where chef-prepared meals are served. One Princess has five suites and the others have four each. The front of each suite is ceiling-to-floor glass for panoramic game viewing. It was a treat for us to lie on our kingsize bed and watch elephant swimming in the river, just beyond our feet. Wildlife isn’t threatened by these boats, and goes about its business as if you aren’t there. We spotted elephant, buffalo, lechwe, tiny puku, hyena, sable and lion and many birds. There are tender boats so you can enjoy private activities en route with a guide. For us it was a thrill catching a tenacious tiger fish that put up the fight of its life, only to be released back into the river. The sunsets over the Chobe are incredible, as is hearing the roar of lions across the water as you drift off to sleep.
+27 (0) 21 715 2412; [email protected]
Words Keri Harvey
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2. The Quivertree Forest Rest Camp
Ever stayed in an igloo? But not the Eskimo kind (we are talking desert here), rather one made of fibreglass, apparently once used to accommodate railway workers. The Quivertree Forest Rest Camp on the farm Gariganus just 13 kilometres north-east of Keetmanshoop on road M29, offers tourists this unusual accommodation in the middle of a beautiful Namibian landscape, surrounded by a natural quiver-tree forest. Stepping into one of the five igloos, I was immediately aware of the pleasant and surprising coolness inside – a relief from the outside heat. Walking down tiled steps I found an elegantly decorated bedroom with three single beds and a fully equipped kitchen, as well as a bathroom and aircon. Each igloo has its own patio and there is a communal braai area, boma and swimming pool. There are also two guest houses for larger groups. The quiver-tree forest provides endless photo opportunities, as well as the chance to capture the classic tree/star shot night, while the dolerite-rock formations at the Giants Playground on this working farm provide intriguing viewing. In the middle of nowhere, this comfortable igloo oasis was an unusual and pleasant surprise.
+264 (0) 83 768 3421; [email protected]
Words Ann Gadd
3. Alte Kalköfen Lodge
If you’re taking the family to the epic Fish River Canyon and are looking for an isolated yet convenient place to stay, look no further. Alte Kalköfen is a little African oasis in the middle of nowhere that offers five-star amenities and then some. Stay in one of the luxury bungalows, or multi-bedroom family options.
Each unit offers an uninterrupted vista of the Namibian landscape. It’s the perfect opportunity for family bonding over board games, but Wi-Fi connectivity is available at the restaurant, should the teenagers suffer from withdrawal symptoms. The lodge is also famous for its collection of lithops, better known as ‘flowering stones’, and Alte Kalköfen has the largest privately owned collection of flowering stones in the world.
Owner Frikkie Mouton is a charming host and sat with my family on the stoep while sharing the colourful stories the people of Namibia are known for.
+264 81 170 0004; [email protected]
Words Gerhard Horn
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4. Le Mirage Desert Lodge and Spa
This stone and mustard-coloured castle rose out of the desert plains more like a German/Moroccan fantasy than a mirage. But we were captivated by its rounded turrets, Moorish arches, massive fan palms and fountain-filled interior courtyards. Giant carved Namibian masks contrast with glass mosaics, filigree lanterns and spangled gauze drapes.
Le Mirage is the epitome of romance – far-flung vistas of desert and sky from large airy rooms with giant four-poster beds made it hard to tear ourselves away, but then dinner was just as romantic, with white linen and silver laid out in a high-ceilinged room, lit by enormous candelabras.
The lodge is 21km from the Sesriem gate to Sossusvlei and, once you venture out, a drive to the highest dunes in the world is recommended. We were tempted by a massage at the spa (from Thai, hot-stone therapy or a sand-dune scrub to a coconut wrap) but instead, we threw all (monetary) caution to the wind and opted for a hot-air balloon ride over rippled dunes, which sealed our sublime Moroccan fantasy.
+264 (0)61 224712, [email protected]
Words Mariëlle Renssen
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5. Kaza Safari Lodge
I was never a great birder. But a visit to Kaza Safari Lodge on the Zambezi River changed all that.
On our short boat transfer from the Namibian border post we spotted six African Fish Eagles, one swooping down to catch a fish, along with three African Skimmers nesting on a sandbank. With their long red beaks and elegant slow flight, they were eye-catchingly graceful.
Squadrons of Squacco Herons from the nearby breeding colony cruised past and we ticked off another nine heron species on the sunset cruise, along with numerous egrets, lapwings and African Jacanas. Perhaps most enthralling were the Malachite Kingfishers, the little jewels of the river, and there were Pied- and Giant Kingfishers in abundance.
If you’re looking for an easy birding (or fishing) escape, Kaza Safari Lodge is hard to beat. The wood and thatch chalets are simply decorated, with raised decks overlooking the rapids, channels and reeds, where you can sit with your binos. Twice daily birding and fishing cruises are included in the price, as are guided birding walks and various other activities.
Kaza Safari Lodge
031 762 2424; [email protected]
Words Fiona McIntosh