Namibia is a truly majestic country to behold; full of wild scenery, vast deserts and colourful landscapes. If you’re looking for Namibia lodges and hotels that will really knock your socks off, then this country has plenty to choose from - whether you’re looking for a full luxury itinerary or just an upgraded hotel for part of your trip. I’ve been fortunate enough to stay at some of the most luxurious accommodations in Namibia, so I’ve put together my recommendations for lodgings that will make your trip one to remember.
Close to the rolling red dunes of Sossusvlei is the beautiful Kulala Desert Lodge, encircled by desert just outside the national park. Even after you turn off the main road towards the lodge, the road winds through the Namib desert for half an hour before you stumble across the 23 thatched and canvas ‘kulalas’ (kulala meaning “to sleep”) that dot the rocky ground.
This luxury lodge offers isolation at its best; it blends seamlessly into the desert landscape in every way, from the soft neutral furnishings in the cosy bar to the twinkling lights of the dining area. Each ‘unit’ has its own small veranda with a short ladder so that you can climb on to the roof to a space deck where you can slumber beneath the stars. One of the most vivid and magical memories of my trip to Namibia is watching the shimmering Milky Way above me as I fell asleep on the roof at Kulala. It was truly breathtaking - I can’t recommend this lodge enough!
Moving further away from Sossusvlei but well worth the drive is the Moon Mountain Lodge - perched on the mountainside with panoramic views out over the Namib Desert. Each individual tent clings to the edge of the ridge and with turquoise plunge pools in every room, you have ample opportunity to admire the views in comfort!
Close by are lots of walking trails which will help you explore the area on a hike, in the knowledge that when you return from the heat, you can be relaxing on the main deck with a cocktail in hand in minutes. If you want to visit Sossusvlei for sunrise, do be aware that you’ll need to set off an hour earlier than if you are staying at Kulala as Mountain Moon Lodge is further out. However, the views from Moon Mountain are so spectacular that the lodge is almost a destination in itself - well worth an overnight stop in between Sossusvlei and Swakopmund if you have more time to enjoy the area.
If you’re heading to Swakopmund and looking for luxury, The Strand is definitely the hotel for you. When you arrive, you’ll encounter the cavernous lobby which opens out into an ocean-side bar serving cocktails whilst you enjoy the seaside atmosphere.
The hotel has 3 restaurants which I recommend trying out; try delicious sushi at the Ocean Cellar, grab a homemade sandwich from Little Farmhouse Deli or go beer tasting at Brewer and Butcher where a micro-brewery churns out craft ales and you can try Namibia’s famous game meats. The rooms here are modern and classy with decor that is slick with historical photos and artwork that compliments the very European ambience. Set right on the beach is the best place to be – hence why this is my top recommendation if you’re visiting Swakopmund.
Driving north from Swakopmund you’ll enter Damaraland, where the wild landscape is punctured by the tallest mountain in Namibia, Mount Brandberg. Built into the hills with panoramic vistas over the mountains is Sorris Sorris Lodge, one of the most luxurious hotels in Namibia.
The rooms here are on another level of luxury, modern and sleek with huge windows that slide open to reveal the Brandberg Massif. I was lucky enough to spend plenty of time relaxing beside the turquoise waters of the infinity pool, enjoying a delicious meal of mushroom risotto and chocolate mousse - before keeping warm around the fire pit beneath the endless dark and starry skies.
Beyond the hotel, my favourite activity is taking a late afternoon drive through the lowlands, looking for wildlife and passing by local villages before settling down for sundowners in the desert and watching the sunset split open the sky in a splash of scarlet and orange. This hotel is expensive but is so worth it if you want to really experience Namibia in luxury.
Heading right up towards northern Namibia, Etosha National Park is huge and an excellent place to spot wildlife. I’d recommend you spend at least one night on either side of the salt pan, or 3 nights total to really be able to enjoy the park and your lodge. The best accommodation is situated just outside the park, often in a private game reserve.
On the western side of the park, Ongava Lodge is set in its own reserve, with a restaurant perched on a huge verandah overlooking the grasslands. The rooms are rustic and boutique with great bathrooms and really comfortable beds with spectacular views over the park where you can watch the sun set or the storms roll in from miles away.
Directly below the verandah is a small waterhole where the animals come to take a drink. I can certainly say that watching a white rhino quietly drinking beneath us whilst we tucked into a delicious meal was a wonderful way to spend the first night in the region. In fact, rhino tracking on foot is a popular activity here, but you could even just sit in the hide down by the waterhole and peer out whilst the rhinos rustle around in the grass - a beautiful memory to take home with you.
To the eastern side of the park is the Onguma Game Reserve, right by the Von Lindequist Gate as you leave Etosha National Park. There are several different camps, but my favourites are Bush Camp, Tented Camp and the beautiful Fort.
Bush Camp is great for families as it's the only camp allowing kids under 7, with large air-conditioned family rooms set throughout the property. It has a beautiful waterhole so you can look out for wildlife while you dine and they also run walking tours through the reserve which are perfect for excited kids to be able to discover the wildlife of Etosha.
Tented Camp is definitely my favourite; just 7 luxury, canvas tents overlooking a natural waterhole. Can you imagine what it’s like to be waking up to the sounds of some giraffes taking a drink right outside your room? I think this camp is utterly magical; a wonderful place to stay, especially for honeymooners.
Finally, the Fort is a Moroccan-themed building, with beautiful individual suites, definitely the best spot if you prefer a proper brick room rather than the canvas tents. It’s more luxurious and a great place to really soak in the views out towards Fishers Pan.
For many people, the Namibian capital Windhoek is simply a jumping off point for a self-drive trip through Namibia. But don’t overlook it as some of the little hotels here are well worth staying a couple of nights to relax at the end of your busy trip.
I think my favourite hotel in Windhoek is The Olive, where each of the seven suites is styled on different areas of Namibia. It has modern furnishings in soft desert colours and a glorious turquoise pool where you can laze in the afternoon sun. Four of the suites each have small plunge pools, but all of them have little fires you can light to keep the room warm and cosy on the colder evenings. Every room has a completely different feel, but each is extremely private with its own entrance – it almost feels like you’re staying in a small private villa. The staff will look after you very well and you can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner at the impressive restaurant, either dining inside, amongst modern African art or on balmy evenings, outside on the small terrace outside under twinkling lights and dark skies.
For a completely different feel, Hotel Heinitzburg sits on top of a hill with spectacular views from its terrace. The building itself is over 100 years old and has been owned by the same family for nearly 25 years, and is now run by a mother and son team who keep the place running beautifully.
There are 16 rooms, all decorated in a classy, European style, blending in well with the German decor of the main hotel. There’s a pretty swimming pool that keeps the rooms private from the more public restaurant area. The adjoining restaurant is wonderful; we enjoyed a fantastic meal of slow-cooked kudu (antelope) and colourful risotto whilst listening to a local band and enjoying views out over the sparkling city. Inside there is an elegant dining room with a wine cellar downstairs with one of the finest collections of South African wines in the country.
If you’re interested in visiting Namibia or creating a luxury itinerary, we can help. Whether you want to explore the country in total luxury or just add a luxury Namibia lodge or hotel stay onto the end of your trip, we can tailor make the trip to suit your wishes and make sure it’s a holiday you’ll never forget. We can also show you how to include Namibia in a round the world ticket or Africa multi-stop itinerary.
See our Namibia trip ideas (excluding flights) or Namibia tailor-made holiday ideas (including flights) for more ideas – or see our top 10 things to do in Namibia. To start planning your trip, call Travel Nation on +44 1273320580 or request a quote by email.