There aren’t many places in the world with as interesting and unique a story as Namibia. A huge country with a low population density, it presents some of the most beautiful natural landmarks and national parks in the world, in combination with authentic Art Nouveau German architecture in its main cities.
If you want to hear the reasons why it is so, as well as find out where to stay in Namibia, this guide is here to help you.
The 4 Best Places to Stay in Namibia
Namibia may not be a famous tourist destination like Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa, but this charming country still offers one of the most interesting and safest stories in Africa.
It has a developed infrastructure, durable institutions, and a lot of different accommodation options. There are at least five or six towns in Namibia that are more than ready to receive visitors from all around the world.
The four cities in our guide are simply the most interesting and attractive:
- Windhoek: The capital of Namibia is definitely the best choice for first-time visitors, offering interesting architecture, plenty of historical establishments, and a rich cultural program.
- Swakopmund: This small German-looking town on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean is probably the coolest place in the country, boasting an uncanny and quite unique atmosphere and architecture.
- Etosha National Park: Located in the northern part of the country and surrounded by numerous small cities, camps, and villages, the most famous national park in Namibia is the best option for “green” tourists and animal lovers.
- Lüderitz: Another German-looking town on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, it offers an unconventional and interesting historical story and plenty of very cheap hotels.
Where to Stay in Namibia: Best Areas & Hotels
You won’t have significant problems with finding accommodation options in Namibia. It may not be, as we said earlier, a prime tourist destination, but it still has a developed tourist infrastructure and plenty of things to offer.
Every city in our guide is great for a potential vacation. All of them offer plenty of hotels and apartments, no matter the size, the quality, or the price range. Nominally, Lüderitz has the cheapest hotels, but you can find budget option accommodation in any part of Namibia.
Most of the hotels in the country can be considered mid-range and are quite average in price.
The only place where you may struggle a bit is the area around Etosha National Park, which, in fact, is the most visited and attractive place in the country. Together with Windhoek, it also offers some of the best and most unique hotels in this part of Africa.
1. Best Area for First-Timers: Windhoek
Windhoek is a city that was born twice: first, around 1840, founded by Jonker Afrikaner, the strong-willed leader of the Orlam People; the second time was in 1890 when colonial Windhoek was expanded by Curt von François, an imperial army major.
In between those two dates, Windhoek was destroyed as a consequence of a series of inter-tribal conflicts, but it was rebuilt again by the German colonizers.
The two births and Windhoek symbolize its double heritage and culture — the authentic and autochthonous African origins and the colonial and European-German influences. Both of them, combined in an interesting way, give Windhoek its unique sense of style and identity.
As the capital of Namibia and its largest city, Windhoek boasts a population of around 430,000 people. It’s the administrative, political, economic, and artistic center of the country and probably the best choice for the first-time visitor to Namibia.
The most interesting and attractive parts for tourists are its unique, colonial and German-inspired architecture, the numerous cultural institutions, and the large number of interesting restaurants and reliable hotels.
When colonial Windhoek was established at the end of the 19th century, the German administrators built some of the most interesting buildings in the city.
For one, the Germans constructed the Alte Feste (also known as the old fortress), which, today, is the seat of the famous National Museum of Namibia, one of the most popular establishments in the city.
After 1907, when Windhoek started to grow, the architect Wilhelm Sander built no less than three castles: Heinitzburg (now a restaurant and a hotel), Sanderburg (the smallest of the three), and Schwerinsburg (today the residence of the Italian ambassador).
Aside from the architecture, the capital of Namibia has a lot in the realms of art and culture, standing side by side with many older, more established cities on the continent. For instance, there’s the 100-year-old Christ Church (or Christuskirche), the National Theater, the National Art Gallery, The National Library of Namibia, and the Independence Memorial Museum.
All of them are great choices if you want to find out more about the specific cultural atmosphere of this interesting southwestern African state.
Windhoek Budget Hotels
- Freedom Plaza Windhoek is a very cheap but quite decent two-star hotel near the center of the city. Some of the units in the accommodation offer satellite TV, a small kitchen, and a private bathroom with a hot tub. The hotel also offers a restaurant on the premises and a small bar.
- Holike’s Place is a three-star accommodation located further away from the city center. A particularly suitable accommodation for couples, it has a nice balcony with a view, private parking, free Wi-Fi, and a private bathroom with a washing machine. It’s a great choice if you’re planning to stay in Windhoek for a longer time.
Windhoek Mid-Range Hotels
- Hotel Thuringerhof is a beautiful yet quite affordable three-star hotel located in the heart of the business district of Windhoek. A perfect choice for either a two-person trip or for business travelers, the hotel offers a restaurant and bar on the premises but also quick room service and a free airport shuttle.
- Safari Court Hotel Managed By Accor is definitely the best and most beautiful mid-range option in the city. It’s a four-star hotel with a swimming pool that comes at a relatively affordable price. Safari Court also offers two restaurants, a bar, and a spa and wellness center on the premises.
Windhoek Luxury Hotels
- Hilton Windhoek is a gorgeous and quite expensive five-star hotel located in the absolute center of the city. The hotel has a fabulous swimming pool on the rooftop, presenting all of Windhoek in the palm of your hand. Every room is decorated in a stylish way and has a flat-screen TV, a mini-bar, and air-conditioning.
- The Weinberg Windhoek is probably the most expensive and most luxurious hotel in the capital of Namibia, located on the eastern outskirts of the city. The rooms in the hotel are specifically furnished to have “an old charm” while having all the modern amenities. The restaurant on the premises is very famous and respected.
2. The Coolest Area: Swakopmund
There aren’t many places in Africa that give you the sense of being “more German than Germany” or having the dislocating feel of a Baltic Sea resort set in the tropics.
Swakopmund is a small city on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, around 220 miles to the west of Windhoek. It’s a unique and quite conventional resort town, very popular with tourists from all around the world, mainly because of the nearby ocean and the uncanny German architectural and cultural influences.
Namely, a lot of residents of Swakopmund speak German fluently.
As Swakopmund is a relatively small city, with no more than 45,000 people, the first thing you should do is to stroll its German-named streets and see the exciting architecture left from the times of the colonizers.
Every major landmark in the city is close to each other, and there are plenty of shops, coffees, and restaurants along the way.
There are a few highlights you just have to visit:
- Prinzessin Rupprecht, a former military hospital, and today, a fancy B&B.
- Woermannhaus, built in 1894 and served many purposes, but today, it’s an art center and a library.
- Hohenzollernhaus was a famous Baroque hotel built in 1906, but today, it’s a condominium.
As you stroll throughout the city, you’ll surely start getting closer to the ocean and probably the most beautiful place in the city — the Swakopmund Jetty.
The sunsets in Swakopmund are simply magical, and walks by the coastline and the beach — although the ocean is too cold and the waves are too strong for swimming — unforgettable.
Finally, lovers of nature shouldn’t forget they’re still in Africa and that they’re surrounded by places you can’t find anywhere in the world. The city itself boasts an interesting snake farm and an unconventional camel farm, but most importantly, Swakopmund is located near the Namib-Naukluft National Park.
Swakopmund Budget Hotels
- The Residence at Villa Wiese is a slightly more expensive three-star hotel, which is definitely worth every penny. It offers finely decorated premises and a beautiful lush garden. The rooms are furnished with a private bathroom and a wardrobe, and there’s free Wi-Fi, free parking, free airport shuttles, and a nice breakfast in the morning.
- Huisie Langs Die See is a very cheap complex of apartments located very close to the beachfront of the city. If you want to save money but you still want to stay near the ocean, this is the right place for you. Every apartment on the premises has a terrace, a sitting area, a TV, and a fully equipped kitchen.
Swakopmund Mid-Range Hotels
- Hotel Deutsches Haus Swakopmund is a gorgeous three-star hotel at a five-minute drive from the famous Palm Beach. Boasting great, spacious rooms with all amenities and a restaurant and a bar on the premises, the hotel is perfect for couples who are looking for a mid-range accommodation option.
- Swakopmund Plaza Hotel is another beautiful three-star hotel that’s close to the beachfront, which also comes at a really low price. Every room has a flat-screen TV with satellite channels and a private bathroom, and some of them even have a large sitting area. Finally, there’s a fabulous breakfast in the morning and a nice bar on the premises.
Swakopmund Luxury Hotels
- Swakopmund Hotel & Entertainment Centre is a beautiful four-star hotel located in an old German building. Aside from the large outdoor swimming pool, the hotel provides a cinema, a casino, a restaurant, and a bar on the premises. The hotel also provides an airport shuttle and professional room service.
- Beach Hotel Swakopmund is a gorgeous and quite expensive three-star hotel located a stone’s throw away from the beachfront of Swakopmund. It’s the perfect choice for visitors who are looking for a typical vacation close to the ocean. The hotel also boasts an outdoor swimming pool, classically furnished rooms, a restaurant, and a bar on the premises.
3. Best Area for Nature: Etosha National Park
Etosha National Park provides one of the easiest ways to spot big game. The only thing you have to do is to locate one of the many so-called “water holes” — the primary life-giver of the fauna in the park — and wait for some animals to show up. It’s as easy as that!
The reason for that is quite simple yet interesting. It comes down to the specific climate and flora of the park. Namely, almost a quarter of its space is covered by the famous Etosha Pan, an endorheic salt pan that shines in the sun and looks like a boundless ocean.
Although it may get covered with a small layer of water during natural flooding, most of the time, it’s completely dry and salty.
That’s where the water holes come into play: they are the only reliable source of water for the numerous animals that inhabit the space of the park.
The second largest national park in Namibia (after the Namib-Naukluft National Park) has a rich animal life. It’s home to more than 110 mammals — including lions, leopards, elephants, and rhinos — 340 birds, 110 reptiles, and 16 types of amphibians.
Unfortunately, the buffalos disappeared in the 1950s. If it wasn’t for that, Etosha National Park would be one of those places — like Serengeti in Kenya — that could boast the famous Big Five.
The real celebrities of Etosha National Parks are the black rhinos. Endangered across the continent, here, amidst the water holes and the salt pan, they’ve found a real home, and their population is growing exponentially.
They are very easy to spot since the well-known Okaukuejo waterhole, for example, attracts them almost every night.
The area around (and even inside) the park is packed with numerous camps, villages, and accommodation options. Here, you can find everything — from very cheap two-star hotels to very luxurious five-star resorts with numerous swimming pools.
Etosha National Park Budget Hotels
- Tarentaal Guest Farm is probably the cheapest accommodation you’ll find near Etosha National Park. This two-star hotel has an outdoor swimming pool, free Wi-Fi, and free parking. The rooms are equipped with private bathrooms, and there’s a bar on the premises. The breakfast is also great.
- Minen Hotel is another very cheap but decent two-star hotel located in Tsumeb, very close to the Tsumeb Airport. The hotel may be cheap, but it still has an outdoor swimming pool, a children’s playground, a restaurant, and a bar on the premises. It’s usually recommended for couples or families with small children.
Etosha National Park Mid-Range Hotels
- Etosha Village is a great three-star hotel with two swimming pools on its premises. Located less than a mile from one of the entrances to Etosha National Park, the hotel offers an interesting combination of an authentic African style and decoration and modern comfort and amenities. The restaurant, with its signature breakfast, is very good.
- Mondjila Safari Camp is a great option if you’re more of an outdoor person who wants to have numerous hiking and biking options around your accommodation. This beautiful safari camp in Okaukuejo has an outdoor swimming pool and a nice restaurant on the premises. It offers all the amenities usually present in a mid-range accommodation.
Etosha National Park Luxury Hotels
- Epacha Game Lodge & Spa is probably the best and most luxurious five-star hotel available in the region around Etosha National Park. A perfect choice for a couple on a romantic trip in Africa, the hotel boasts an outdoor swimming pool, beautifully decorated and equipped rooms, a restaurant, a spa and wellness center, and a bar on the premises.
- Gondwana Etosha Safari Lodge is a gorgeous four-star hotel located in Okaukuejo, around 6 miles from Anderson’s Gate. Offering excellent views of the African savannah bush, the hotel also offers luxury of the highest level: fully equipped rooms, no less than three swimming pools, an on-site bar and a restaurant, and a fabulous breakfast in the morning.
4. Most Historic Area: Lüderitz
This small town in the southwestern parts of Namibia has a rich and interesting history. Although it was founded in 1883 and named after a famous German merchant named Franz Adolf Eduard Lüderitz, its beginning dates back to the 15th century, when Bartolomeu Dias sailed the area.
It had a tumultuous history as a major German colonial town, particularly useful for mining diamonds.
Today, Lüderitz boasts a population of no more than 12,500 and is mostly famous for its colonial German buildings, interesting historical landmarks, a museum, and some of the best and freshest seafood (including oysters) in Namibia.
It may be a little off from the main tourist route that covers places like the capital Windhoek, the coastal Swakopmund, and the Etosha National Park, but it’s definitely worth the detour, not least because of the low prices of the accommodation and the restaurants.
Lüderitz is one of those Namibian-German cities that look really unique — and even uncanny. The small Bavarian or fairy-tale villages of Germany were somehow teleported into the middle of an African desert.
It’s packed with interesting buildings that are definitely worth your attention.
We can recommend only a few, like the Deutsche Afrika Bank from 1907, the Felsenkirche (or the Rock Church), which is one of the oldest Lutheran churches in Namibia, and Glück Auf building, built by the diamond companies that operated in Lüderitz.
Lüderitz is still a coastal African city, which means that it has a couple of beaches and plenty of natural landmarks. Agate Beach, for example, is nearby, and it’s very beautiful. Just keep in mind that the water is very cold and not up to everybody’s taste.
If you feel more adventurous, join one of the many off-road excursions organized by the city and discover the unique natural beauty of this part of Africa.
Lüderitz Budget Hotels
- Wildhorses B&B and Self Catering is a very cheap but decent three-star complex of apartments that’s a great choice for every visitor to the city who wants to save as much money as they can. The B&B boasts an a la carte breakfast in the morning and rooms with balconies, sea views, and fully equipped kitchens.
- 2FiftySix on Second is another very cheap complex of apartments located close to the coastline of Lüderitz. The accommodation offers a free airport shuttle, free parking, and free Wi-Fi, rooms equipped with a private bathroom, a terrace, and a fully equipped kitchen. There are also barbeque facilities and a garden on the premises.
Lüderitz Mid-Range Hotels
- Sea-View Zum Sperrgebiet is a three-star hotel with a perfect location, located between the city center and the beach of Lüderitz. Its premier quality is the floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a gorgeous view of both the garden of the hotel and the ocean. The restaurant on the premises serves meat and fish in all kinds of ways.
- Shark Island Airbnb is a three-star complex of apartments particularly suitable for couples or families with children. The accommodation has its own private beach and large family rooms with all the amenities, including a wardrobe, flat-screen TV, and a private bathroom.
Lüderitz Luxury Hotels
- Lüderitz Nest Hotel is definitely the best hotel in this small coastal Namibian city. It’s located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and has its own beach and its own jetty. Aside from that, it offers a gorgeous indoor swimming pool, luxurious rooms with all the amenities and excellent views of the ocean, and a wonderful bar on the premises.
- Alte Villa Gästehaus is another gorgeous four-star accommodation near the coast of Lüderitz and a great option if you’re looking for something more upscale and luxurious. Every room in the hotel is individually decorated and has a private bathroom, a desk, and a wardrobe. There’s also free Wi-Fi, free parking, facilities for disabled guests, and even a small bar on the premises.
Why You Should Visit Namibia in 2023
One of the first things you’ll notice in Namibia is that a lot of places, streets, and establishments have German names and the plenty of Alpine- or Bavarian-looking buildings — if not whole cities.
There’s no place for confusion: Namibia is a former German colony and formerly a part of South Africa. Finally, in 1990 — after a huge armed conflict — it gained its independence and became an autonomous country.
Almost a million tourists visit Namibia every year, most of them being either from South Africa or Europe (countries like Germany, England or France).
Suffice it to say that tourism is a major business in Namibia, despite what you might’ve initially thought. One fact will give you a picture: Namibia has more than 10 national parks located in almost every part of the country.
Most visitors come to the country generally for two things: the fantastic nature and the beautiful, large national parks. The interesting mix of the authentic African culture and the influences (mainly architectural) of the German colonizers are an additional nuance to the complexity of this dynamic country.
In regard to its urbanity, Namibia provides a perfect combination of relatively small but developed cities and fantastic natural landmarks scattered in all parts of the country.
Don’t be surprised if you see some of the largest sand dunes that you’ve seen in your life, and a couple of hours later, you get to see a real-life German Gothic church. These things go together in Namibia. Some of the cities, like Swakopmund and Lüderitz, are real-life German cities in the middle of an African desert.
One last thing: Namibia is a peaceful country with a stable parliamentary democracy and no active wars or political insurgencies. It’s also relatively safe to travel: the only problems are the occasional muggings, pickpocketing, and theft.
So, Where Should You Stay in Namibia?
Now, as we come close to the end of our guide’s journey, it’s time to embark on your own. Before you set off for Namibia, let’s do a quick recap of the four best cities in Namibia:
|🏆 Best for First Timers||Windhoek|
|😎 Country's Coolest Place||Swakopmund|
|🌳 Best for Nature||Etosha National Park|
|🏰 Most Historic||Lüderitz|
So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Namibia has to offer. Happy travels!