by Matthew Sterne
on November 2, 2012
7 min read

Namibia is a land of startling contrasts and stunning visual feasts. Though not Africa’s largest country, it is certainly the most sparsely populated. Vast open landscapes stretch from the Namib Desert in the west to the expansive Kalahari Desert in the east. With a terrain so boundless, it may be difficult to know where to begin your exploration. To make your travels to Namibia a little easier, we’ve put together a list of our favourite, most luxurious locations, spanning the length and breadth of this seemingly illimitable land. We’ve covered the sand dunes of Sossusvlei, the game-rich plains of Etosha National Park and the ruggedly exotic Skeleton Coast.

Take a look at Rhino Africa’s Top 10 Lodges in Namibia 2012 and let’s start planning today!

Sossusvlei

Sossusvlei is undoubtedly one of Namibia’s greatest and most spectacular attractions – and with good reason! Mountainous sand dunes dominate the area, creating a magnificent prism of colour and texture as the merciless desert sun plays across the sand dunes.The name “Sossusvlei” refers specifically to the salt and clay pan in the centre of these spectacular giants. The “vlei”, which means “marsh” in Afrikaans, is actually a circular, hard-surfaced depression in the desert, beyond which lies a formidable ocean of rolling, sun-heated sands.

Where? Located in the 21,000ha Kulala Wilderness Reserve, the focal point of which is the Sesriem Canyon and Sossusvlei area.
Why? Ever heard that dynamite comes in small packages? Well, this certainly applies to Little Kulala. Instead of TNT however, you’ll get the kind luxury and comfort you’d never expect from a such a diminutively named camp.

Find out more about Little Kulala Camp here.


Where? Access to Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is by charter flight to the private airstrip or by two-wheel drive vehicle on good gravel roads (Swakopmund – 380km/236 miles, Windhoek – 360km/224 miles).
Why? Situated at the craggy foot of a mountain, this lodge offers spectacular views of the arid expanse. This is also the site of Africa’s first International Dark Sky Reserve! This means that there is no light pollution to come between you and the mysteries of the Namibian sky.

Find out more about Sossusvlei Desert Lodge here.


Etosha National Park

Etosha National Park is the place to go for your wildlife fix. Etosha boasts a diverse landscape, rich with wildlife. The central piece of this picturesque jigsaw is the Etosha Pan – which for most of the year is a blanket of scorched white earth. Animals come from far and wide in search of the water found at the edges of the pan. You may be lucky enough to spot the elusive black rhino among the 114 mammal species found in the park.

Where? Situated on the edge of the Etosha Pan, on a secluded peninsula – guests are required to report to reception in Namutoni, where they will leave their vehicles and be transported to Onkoshi.
Why? With rustic rooms built on elevated wooden decks and a crystal clear view of the surrounding pan, where animals roam freely, Onkoshi offers a once in a lifetime experience in the Namibian wild. The camp also boasts a gorgeous infinity pool, perfect for unwinding after a long day of game-drives.

Find out more about Onkoshi Camp here.


 Swakopmund

Picture a seaside town with palm-lined streets, charming corner cafés, art galleries and museums. Swakopmund is the perfect contrast to the isolated plains of the Namibian desert. With its atmospheric German architecture and pristine beaches, the town has become something of a holiday haven over the past few years. Here, tourists can relax and enjoy the more social aspects of Namibia. Adrenaline junkies are also taken into account – sandboarding, quad biking, dune carting, parachuting, hot air ballooning and shark fishing are just a few of the activities on offer.

Where? The Burning Shore is in a small holiday village called Longbeach, which is about a 10 minutes drive south of Swakopmund.
Why? Well, we’re not ones to name drop, but wouldn’t you want to stay in the hotel chosen by the Jolie-Pitts during their Namibian sojourn in 2006? This elegant hotel offers you the best of Swakopmund and its surrounds.

Read more about The Burning Shore Hotel here.


Skeleton Coast and Damaraland

The sailors who travelled this barren, esoteric coastline in the early 1500s named it Skeleton Coast. Perhaps the name referred to the strange and unforgiving landscape, perhaps it was something more sinister – either way, this widely unchartered area of Namibia remains one of the most interesting and most recklessly beautiful of  its locations.

Approximately 100 kilometres north of the Brandeberg Mountains, you’ll find Damaraland – an almost alien landscape, as diverse as it is beautiful. Here, you can track members of the largest free-ranging rhino population in the world, hike up the Brandberg Mountain and watch the sky painted spectacular hues at sunrise and sunset.

Where? Twyfelfontein Country Lodge is located approximately 100 km west of the small town of Khorixas.
Why? Thuis area is renowned for some of the best examples of Bushman paintings and rock engravings in Southern Africa. After a day of playing with rocks, you can kick back in the lodge’s restaurant and unwind.

Read more about Twyfelfontein here.


 The NamibRand Nature Reserve

The NamibRand Nature Reserve is one of Southern Africa’s largest private nature reserves, located in Southwestern Namibia in the Namib Desert. The reserve was established to help protect and conserve the unique ecology and wildlife of the south-west Namib Desert and this is an ideal location for those looking for something more remote and unique with an environmental conscience, while still enjoying the modern conveniences of luxury lodges.

Where? Situated in the NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namibia
Why? The panoramic views of this vast landscape are exquisite  enough to make you consider setting up permanent camp under the starry sky. The camp does its best to make you feel at home in the desert.

Find out more about Boulders Camp here.


Where? Situated in the NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namibia
Why? Charming, elegant and the epitome of comfort. To truly experience nature at its best, try sleeping under the stars on the spacious deck.

Read more about Wolwedans Dune Camp here.


Where? Situated in the NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namibia
Why? You won’t know whether to spend more time inside or out. You have the choice of exploring the desert and its secrets or lounging on the deck with a sundowner in hand, or perhaps you’d prefer a glass of wine from the lodge’s very own cellar?

Read more about Dunes Lodge here.


 Windhoek

It may be the world’s smallest capital city but Windhoek has it all. A cultural hub, the city is home to an impressive mix of Herero, Owambo, Damara, Kavango, Buster, Nama, San, Afrikaans, and German people. The decidedly German architecture in this little city speaks of its history and makes for a wonderful museum hopping experience. The town itself is compact and you’ll find all your daily comforts at the conveniently located Maerua Shopping Mall. Since most tours and safaris start or end in Windhoek, we thought it a good idea to give you a look at our favourite spot.

Where? Located in Windhoek, Namibia.
Why? This is a hotel with a difference. There are only seven suites, each  individually decorated to reflect a different region of the country.

Read more about the Olive Exclusive Boutique Hotel here.


 Kaokoland and Kunene River

Home to the nomadic Himba people, Kaokoland (pronounced Coco-land) is rugged and majestic. Kaokoland stretches from the Hoanib River northward to the Kunene. If bird-watching is your thing, then you’ll be pleased to know that two of Southern Africa’s rarest birds – the cinderella waxbill and the rufous-tailed palm thrush – live in the tropical belt of vegetation along the river. If your head’s more focused on the ground than in the clouds, the area is home to a number of animals, including giraffe, mountain zebra, gemsbok, black-faced impala and springbok.

Where? Serra Cafema is on the Kunene River which marks the northern border of  Namibia with Angola.
Why? The most beautiful place on earth? Remote and rugged – prepare to be surrounded by mountainous dunes of ever-changing colour. Situated under gigantic Albida trees, you’ll fall asleep to the silence of the desert echoing in your ears.

Read more about Serra Cafema Camp here.


Rhino Africa can tailor-make a Namibian holiday of a lifetime to suit your budget, needs and style. One of our discerning and experienced consultants can give you all the inside information to ensure that you get the best experience and the best value for money possible. So contact us today and let’s start planning! Africa awaits.