Today: Top 10 best luxury lodges & hotels in Namibia
The Namib, a sea of red sand along the Atlantic coastline, and the oldest desert on the planet, lends its name to the Southern African nation of Namibia. A country of astonishing contrasts, Namibia is celebrated for its immense landscapes, desert adapted wildlife, infinite blue skies and starry nights. Over the years, a number of cultural influences have contributed to the unique atmosphere of Namibia. At various times Germany, Great Britain and South Africa governed the territory, but it was with the eventual independence of Namibia in 1990 that the country was able to develop its multicultural character and reinvent itself. There is a distinctive Namibian character that freely blends African styles with European influences on architecture, food, customs and art.
Namibia is also one of Africa’s most spectacular travel destinations. The country’s many national parks and game reserves boast a huge variety of wildlife in a kaleidoscope of differing environments: dazzling white saltpans in Etosha National Park; towering red dunes at Sossusvlei; isolated Skeleton Coast beaches and the uninhabited wilderness of the Kunene Region. Astonishing contrasts are everywhere for the visitor to savor, enjoy and photograph. Over the past decade, a number of ultraluxe lodges have opened in the country, attracting discerning travelers from all over the world. Here’s my selection of the 10 most fabulous luxury lodges & hotels in Namibia, some of them ranking among the most spectacular wilderness hotels I’ve ever stayed at.
There is more information (with YouTube videos & reviews) below the slideshow. What’s your favorite hotel in Namibia? Leave a comment below.
Designed for privacy, luxury and an intimacy with the land, Little Ongava is perched on the crest of a hill commanding magnificent vistas of the plains stretching for miles towards Etosha National Park. This intimate camp has only three spacious suites each with its own plunge pool, en-suite bathroom, “sala”, and outdoor shower. The lounge and dining areas have wonderful views of a productive waterhole below the camp, the open deck allowing for relaxed, stylish dining under the African sky. Guests at Little Ongava share a dedicated guide and vehicle, ensuring the best possible nature experience at one of Africa’s great wildlife destinations. Day and night wildlife-viewing drives, visiting hides overlooking waterholes, walks and rhino approach with experienced guides can all be enjoyed exclusively on this reserve. Game drives and day trips into nearby Etosha National Park are also offered.
- Hotel website: Little Ongava
Perched on top of a dune plateau, overlooking the ever-changing vistas of the vast desert, is the secluded Wolwedans Dunes Lodge. The building style is a combination of wooden structures and canvas blinds, opening up to the desert beyond. The lodge reflects the ambience of a tented camp, but provides the comfort and protection of a permanent building. Each of the nine spacious chalets with en-suite bathrooms has a private verandah, which connects guests to vast stretches of untouched sand. Guests can tuck into mouth-watering meals accompanied by fine wines in the elegant dining room. Those in need of relaxing spots can unwind in one of the inviting sitting rooms, enjoy a cool soak in the swimming pool or lounge around the wide sundowner decks. Adventures include nature walks through the NamibRand Nature Reserve and scenic flights to the Diamond Coast.
- Hotel website: Wolwedans Dunes Lodge
With a Moroccan architecture and Indian design touches, Onguma The Fort breaks the traditional safari camp mould, although it still retains a classic African feel. The safari lodge is situated on a private game reserve on the eastern side of Etosha National Park, near the entrance from the Von Lindquist gate, making it an ideal base to visit Etosha. The stunning fort-styled lodge features massive walls, stone clad features, and water channels in the main guest area, providing natural air conditioning. A huge central tower boasts stunning views toward Etosha and Fishers Pan and guests at the Fort can experience some of the best sunset views in Namibia. Accommodation at Onguma The Fort consists of 11 bush suites, 1 sultan suite, and 1 honeymoon suite, built in the style of mini forts and offering magical views across the plains from private wooden decks.
Located in the famous Skeleton Coast concession between the Hoarusib and Hoanib rivers in the Skeleton Coast National Park, Shipwreck Lodge is a short drive from Möwe Bay. Guests here can look forward to appreciate the harshness of the desert and the beauty of these solitary landscapes filled with geological history, and to learn about the fauna and flora adapted to survive in these harsh conditions. The design of the lodge was inspired by the many ships that have been wrecked on the Skeleton Coast. There are 10 chalets, spread out along the sand dunes: eight cabins come with double or twin beds while two cabins are designed as family units. All cabins are equipped with a wood-burning stove and have decks to enjoy the serene scenery. It’s the perfect place to take up to spectacular desert views with the sound of waves crashing in the distance and to fall asleep to a crackling fire in the stove.
- Hotel website: Shipwreck Lodge
Zannier Hotels Omaanda is a boutique lodge set in the heart of the Zannier Reserve, a 22,000-acre wildlife conservancy located half an hour from Windhoek. A seamless sense of place resonates at the property through traditional Owambo architecture and elevated views stretching across soul-stirring savannas to the distant Khomas Hochland plateau. Accommodation consists of 10 individual thatch and clay huts, each with their own sunken bathtub and panoramic terrace. Relaxation at the lodge is balanced by adventures throughOmaanda’s partnership with N/a’an ku sê, a foundation dedicated to the conservancy of Namibia’s wildlife, land and cultures. Breakfast with meerkats at sunrise; track a rhino or a herd of elephants going for a swim; spy a leopard climbing a Jackleberry tree or simply experience the nocturnal beauty of the savanna – all with your own private guide.
Damaraland Camp is situated in the Huab River Valley, one of Namibia’s most dramatic wilderness areas: a harsh land full of geological wonders and fascinating desert-adapted wildlife. Simply beautiful, relaxed, and open to the desert, the camp has been a model for community-based conservation initiatives since 1996 – an award-winning partnership between Wilderness Safaris and the Torra Conservancy. Displaced in the early twentieth century from the local area, and relocated back to their homeland from South Africa in 1973, today the Torra community farmers thrive, largely through the partnership. The camp is comprised of ten elevated adobe-style thatched rooms, each with a large deck where you can contemplate the desert. Off the main area are a pool, open campfire, and outdoor boma – canopied with countless stars in crystal-clear night skies.
Little Kulala’s home is the 27 000-hectare Kulala Wilderness Reserve, a pristine wilderness sited in Namibia’s Namib, nicknamed ‘The Living Desert’. A welcome oasis, the camp lies along the dry Auab riverbed. You can’t get much closer to the renowned dunes of Sossusvlei and the haunting panoramas of Dead Vlei, accessible through an exclusive-use gate. Recently refurbished, Little Kulala entices with its adventures, its landscapes, its peace. Totally solar-powered, the new camp has cleaner, more modern lines than its predecessor, opening out more to the desert. Its 11 climate-controlled suites – each with its own plunge pool – honor the local geology, reflecting the surrounding grey and pink limestone in color and texture. Each suite’s rooftop invites private sundowners and suppers, and a roll-out bed on a shaded sala is perfect for an afternoon siesta or starry sleep-out.
The opulence and finesse of Zannier Hotels Sonop, set in Namibia’s southwest corner, immediately recalls the 1920’s era of British explorers. Constructed on top of granite boulders, the tented camp enjoys a remote and unspoilt setting in 13,800 acres (5,600 hectares) of untouched wilderness. Every object and antique in the lodge’s ten spacious tents are carefully selected – binoculars and maps, travelers’ tales, telescopes, antique desks and handmade stationary – to ensure that every moment turns into a unique experience. The lodge captures the restorative essence of the desert landscape with a spectacular open-air infinity pool, spa, fitness center and daily yoga. Guided excursions include horse-riding from our own stables, private dining atop of the sand dunes, electric fat-bike or walking trails, and private sunset safaris. The magic continues after dark with a nightly gala-style dinner, open-air cinema and stargazing under the endless African skies.
Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is located in Namibia’s ancient Namib Desert’s famed Kaokoveld, an otherworldly and remote landscape hewn over the ages into immense dunes and rocky mountains. The lodge’s eight luxury tented suites peak like whitecaps on an ocean of sand. Totally solar-powered, Hoanib has a fresh, contemporary design, with a color palette reflecting the surrounding desert. The camp (suites, common areas, pool) looks out on a wide, rugged valley that slopes down to the usually dry Hoanib River. Highlights include a spectacular dry-and-fly excursion to the Skeleton Coast and dining under impossibly starry skies, perhaps at the firepit as a jackal cries or a lion roars, punctuating the stillness of the inky night. The property also doubles as a center for research and conservation of the desert-adapted predators of this harsh region: the desert-adapted lion and brown hyaena.
- Hotel website: Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp
- Review: read my review of Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp here.
Set amidst an ocean of towering dunes, rocky outcrops and endless gravel plains, &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is one of Africa’s most exclusive hotels. 10 beautifully appointed stone and glass suites, spread out along the curve of the escarpment, open onto ever-changing outlooks. Each spacious air conditioned suite offers a secluded, shaded veranda complete with private plunge pool, a living room with a fireplace, a large retractable skylight above the bed, and an ensuite bathroom with a glass-encased rain shower offering 180º desert views. The main split-level guest area – which houses a lounge, bar, dining room, gym and spa – is an inspired masterpiece of glass, rock and steel, with large glass panels folding away to reveal unobstructed desert vistas. To ensure you get the most out of your desert adventure, the &Beyond team will assist you in planning a range of exciting, specialist-guided experiences for the duration of your stay.
- Hotel website: &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge
- Review: read my review of &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge here.