Planning A Trip To Namibia!

Filed Under: Travel

We just recently went on our first safari in South Africa, which was incredible. As I explained, we’re excited to go on safari again, though we’d like to do a different kind of safari, meaning going to an area with different animals and/or different landscape.

That brings us to the trip we’ve just booked for my birthday next year. I’m still working on finalizing some details of the trip, which is why I’d love some tips from you guys on what you recommend.

We’re Going To AndBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge

Namibia is a country that has long fascinated me, as I’ve seen so many pictures of the incredible landscape. AndBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is opening in a few weeks, and is excellent based on what I’ve heard.

AndBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge

Much like Singita, andBeyond is all inclusive, though it’s a fraction of the price (though still expensive in absolute terms). I love the fact that it’s desert landscape. This time around we’ll only be going there for three days, because we want to be excited about each of the game drives, rather than being slightly bored by the end of it.

What Else Should We Do In Namibia?

While we’re not huge city people, we do plan on spending a couple of nights in Windhoek, both to adjust to the timezone, and also to see the city. Having never been to Namibia before:

  • Any recommendations on where to stay in Windhoek (is the Hilton the best option as a Diamond member, or are there properties worth kicking my points addiction over)?
  • How is Windhoek/is it relatively safe if you’re careful/don’t do stupid things, or…?
  • Is there another part of the country we absolutely should visit if in Namibia, and where should we stay there?

Hilton Windhoek

The Flights

While Ford is excited about visiting Namibia, I’m of course also really excited about the flight opportunities that this represents. I’ve already booked our outbound, and am trying to decide on the return.

The Outbound

For the outbound I managed to book South African Airways from New York to Johannesburg to Windhoek using miles.

While this flight has historically been operated by an A340-600, South African Airways is getting two A350-900s soon, which they’ll use for flights between New York and Johannesburg. So that will make an awesome review, I think (if that doesn’t happen, for whatever reason, I’ll find another way to get there, since I’ve reviewed their A340 business class).

South African Airways’ A340 business class

I managed to book this for 78,000 LifeMiles per person, which is a heck of a deal, in my opinion.

The Return

My goal is to get a fun review out of the flights, rather than just flying the most comfortable way to & from Windhoek, which would probably be on Qatar Airways.

Air Namibia has long interested me (like many airlines in the region, they’re in big financial trouble), and their one long haul flight is to Frankfurt. They don’t belong to any alliance, but their paid fares are reasonable, and boy do I wonder what their product is like. We also don’t mind that this “just” gets us to Europe (rather than back to the US), since we could spend some time there.

At the same time, that review is probably of fairly limited use, given that not that many people are flying with them.

The other option is to redeem miles for Ethiopian Airlines all the way back to the US. Ethiopian flies 787-8s between Windhoek and Addis Ababa, which either feature angled or fully flat seats (I’ve reviewed the angled seats), depending on whether you win the plane lottery with them.

Ethiopian’s angled 787 business class

To mix things up we could then fly one of their 777s to North America, either to Toronto or Washington. I believe both versions of the plane have fully flat seats, though they’re in a 2-3-2 configuration. These are 16-17 hour flights with stops in Dublin, so it’s not necessarily a terribly appealing option, on the surface.

Also, this is a 24 hour journey just from Windhoek to the North American gateway, and that doesn’t even get us all the way back to Miami.

I’m also open to any other fun return options I may not be thinking of, so please let me know!

Bottom Line

This trip is still many months off, but given award availability to & from Africa, it makes sense to lock in flights ASAP. If anyone has been to Namibia and has tips on where to stay in Windhoek, or any other part of the country that is a “must visit,” please let me know.

As far as the return goes, let me know if you guys would rather read about Air Namibia, Ethiopian Airlines, or something else!

  1. I was in Sossusvlei in March and it’s gorgeous. We were at the Wilderness Safaris properties which are the best located for accessing the actual national park. It was stunning and I loved it. that said, three nights in Sossusvlei is WAY too much. There is very very little wildlife to see there. You’re there for the dunes and the landscape. Most people fly in for 2 nights. And have 3-4 excursions. The main excursion you’ll go on is to see and climb the dunes. Dune 45 and big daddy are the two main ones. After that, there’s not much left to do. There’s no wildlife. The excursions will be nothing like what you did in South Africa. Two nights max in Sossusvlei. Don’t spend much time in Windhoek. It’s fine and safe it’s jus boring. Perhaps go out to Walvis Bay or for a total craz thing go to the seaside tow on Swampkomund. Stay at the Strand hotel on the beach. Great food. Very very very popular with German tourists. For wildlife, if you want wildlife, do an excursion up to Etosha National Park. Wilderness Safaris has lodges there and their airline will fly you to and from. Or perhaps do a skeleton coast safari tour. Those are good too. Sossusvlei is great but going all the way to Namibia just for that and not going to Etosha or not going to Botswana would be a waste. You’ll see no wildlife if you don’t go to Etosha at the very least.

  2. Also see Etosha national park, Skeleton coast, and Walvis bay.

    I also took a 3 day cruise on the Zambezi queen which is pretty nice. It’s considered a river safari – you’ll see lots of crocodiles.

  3. I don’t know if timings align, but maybe try out AF’s A350 from ABJ ? Although you might want to try it out on a longer flight eventually. Alternatively, maybe try to see if you can get a retrofitted A330 ?

  4. Windhoek is relatively safe and plenty boring. You may want to skip the place on the way out or way back and stay some time in Swakopmund instead. With your German heritage you may well appreciate the place.

    Windhoek International airport is on the trans-kalahari highway, so one can self-drive all the way to Swakopmund or Walvisbaai. It’s an easy drive, with only four or five towns along the road while crossing the Namib desert, and perhaps one or two police roadblocks in the capital area. Count on 5.5 hours to cover the distance.

    As for getting to/from Windhoek you could consider to fly to Joburg (and finally visit the place rather than staying at an airport hotel) and connect on one of the many daily flights to Windhoek, either by Comair (I guess most of their international flights are ticketed both as BA and, Air Namibia, or SAA.

  5. Eurowings fly Windhoek to Frankfurt direct. You’d have to endure premium economy best I can tell (horror) but would be of broader interest than Air Namibia…

  6. I stayed at Urban Camp near Joe’s which was a pretty cool vibe. It’s definitely something different to go glamping in the middle of the city.

  7. I vote for:
    – Air Namibia to Frankfurt
    – either SQ F to JFK
    – or Air Europa via Madrid to Miami

  8. A couple of notes:

    1. I went to Namibia this summer only for a couple of days; we was supposed to stay there longer, but our flight there on Air Namibia was cancelled so we had to be rebooked, which meant that our time there got cut in half (this was during the time where half their fleet was grounded due to financial issues). We were only able to see Windhoek, which was amazing. There is a lot of poverty there due to refugees, but the culture and landscape is great. We also stayed at the Hilton, which is extremely clean, has a fantastic rooftop terrance, and also has great food.

    2. In terms of flights, Air Namibia seems to use the Safran Aura seat, similar to the ones on LOT. I also have been curious of their long-haul business class product, so this review would probably be the most interesting. Also, I believe that Ethiopian’s business class seats on the 777-200LR are angled (like the ones on their older 787s), while their seats on their 777-300s are fully flat (also the same seats as on LOT). If South African doesn’t start their JFK – JNB service on the A350 by the time you fly, you could always take their new A330 business class out of Dulles.

  9. Joe’s Beerhouse is quite a scene. Urbancamp ( is a short distance from Joe’s and has a cool bar area. I’d guess you can go there even if you aren’t staying there. I stayed one night there 3 years ago with a Dragoman trip and there was either a robbery or car theft (I can’t remember which) during the wee hours so you will want to be on your toes.

  10. Hi Ben
    I recently came back from a incredible trip to Nambia.We visited Souvlesi as well,however there are barely any animals living there.The reason people go to Souvlesi is for the sand dunes,there is some wildlife but not enough to call it a safari.If you want to do a proper safari I would recommend going to Etosha National Park.Also you need to visit Dammarland,out of all the places we visited in Namibia Dammarland was our favorite.It is extremely scenic with a lot of hiking,most people including us found it to be more scenic than souvlesi.Also in terms Windoehk we found it very safe to visit even during night,still be careful while visiting but it is safe for the most part.

  11. Namibia is great. Windhoek Hilton is a fine choice. We stayed for one night before setting off on our road trip. Etosha is amazing for animal spotting. Swakopmund is a gorgeous little coastal getaway. Soussevli is stunning. The skeleton coast is surreal. Namibia is extremely safe and the people are very hospitable and willing to engage. It is near the top of my list of favorite countries. Have a wonderful trip.

  12. 1. Hilton Windhoek is a nice property. Windhoek is a charming laid-back African capital with nice colonial architecture and fascinating revolutionary-history museum.
    2. Swakopmund on the coast is totally worth a visit.
    3. If you can get to the remote Fish River Canyon it’s incredible. And there are also a handful of nice high-end properties not far away.
    4. Lüderitz on the coast in combination with Fish River Canyon is great. The German colonial architecture is extraordinary, and the drive through the desert to get there is unforgettable.
    5. Etosha National Park in the north is beautiful, though if you’ve done other safaris it can be omitted from your itinerary.

  13. I would say a couple of night in Windhoek is more than enough. IMO the Hilton is as good as it gets in town. And yes, it’s relatively safe in the city center. I second the recommendation for a visit to swakopmund (The Strand is the hotel to stay at). Etosha is wonderful of course, but if you’ve had enough safari maybe a trip along the Skelton Coast is in order. Im not sure how you plan to get around but I hired a car and driver and thought this best. If you have the time you should consider driving east, visiting Botswana for a couple of nights, and ending the trip in Victoria Falls. There’s nothing quite like it!

  14. I forgot to mention that for a truly unique experience one could take a Starline overnight train from Windhoek to Swakopmund/Walvisbaai. They’re plenty slow (they actually add a coach to a freight train), but the business class section has late 1980-edition reclining business class seats from Air Namibia.

  15. The Hilton in Windhoek is solid, the city felt very safe to me when I was there 7 years ago but not really a whole lot to see and do. The Namib desert is incredible and you’ll likely see some wildlife travelling between Windhoek and the lodge.
    If you had enough time the skeleton coast and Etosha are both supposed to be great places but I did not have a chance to go to either place.
    I personally prefer Namibia over South Africa.

  16. Air Namibia business class review will be FAR more useful than TAAG Angola first class review. Just saying.

  17. Definitely go to Etosha National Park in the north you can actually drive your own car through the park. Plenty of great lodges and sites in and around the park to stay overnight. Also swakopmund is a beautiful colonial German town on the coast, stay at the Grand Hotel. Definitely do the skeleton coast drive it’ll blow you away. Stop at henties baii easily the strangest but most amazing little town I’ve seen. It’s basically a whole town built on a sand dune. 1 night in Windhoek is more than enough, it’s safe but quite boring.

  18. I loved Namibia and am planning another trip there as well! I highly recommend Walvis Bay for the many fun things to do like kayaking with a fur seal colony, atv-ing on an educational nature/history tour, 4x4ing down the dunes and on the beach, etc. You might like Swakopmund for its German-ness. Spitzkoppe is not far from there and worth a look. There are also many other things to see and do Spread out all over the country. Petroglyphs, geological oddities, a meteorite, etc. Go, have fun!

  19. I have been to Namibia a few times. Great country and lots of things to see.
    My recommendation is to rent a 4WD (lots of reasonably priced places at the airport or in town).
    Windhoek itself is safe, but a few hours there are enough. Hilton is ok, there are nicer Bed and Breakfasts.
    Then drive down to Sossusvlei, spend a night there or two, the drive up to Swakopmund (Hansa Hotel is nice, German street names and lots of German food from 100 years back. Make your way up to Etosha and stop once or twice.
    Driving is easy, but most roads are unpaved and you need to go slow.

  20. Namibia is a fantastic trip. I highly recommend getting a fully kitted out 4 x 4 with all camping gear and rooftop tent(s) and taking at least 10 days to drive all over the country (3 weeks would be even better). The camping is fantastic, but you can always self drive and stay in hotels. The country is stunningly beautiful, and even though we drove an average of 250Km per day we never grew bored driving through the constantly changing scenery.

    Our 10 day itinerary

    Windhoek > Quiver Tree Forest (camping/lodging onsite)

    -> Fish River Canyon (camp/lodge at Canyon Roadhouse)

    -> Aus (stay/lodge at desorthorse camp, drive to sea wild horses and to the coastal town of Luderitz visiting the ghost town on the way )

    -> Sossusvlei (camp at desert camp, hit the excellent buffet at the walking distance Sossuvlei lodge, visit Deadvlei and go hot air ballooning)

    -> Swakopmund

    -> Skeleton Coast (stay at Terrace Bay if there is availability –

    -> Etosha (stay/lodge at Etosha Safari Campsite, self drive safari in Etosha)

    -> Windhoek – Go to Joe’s beer house, eat the Eisbein, the smaller version is plenty of food

    The Gondwana collection of hotels and campsites is excellent:

    Many options for self-drive car hire. After much research we were very happy with our rental from Aloe –

  21. We did a trip to Namibia 2 years ago and loved it! We flew Air Namibia business class out of curiosity after flying Condor from PDX to FRA. Air Namibia was nice with comfortable and roomy seats. Service wasn’t the most friendly. We learned that Condor also flew to WND and should have used them to earn Alaska miles. If they still fly the route, that’s an option.

    Sossusvlei was wonderful. I believe we spent 3 nights there and thoroughly enjoyed it. One highlight is that it’s a dark sky reserve. They have an astronomer on sight with a powerful telescope. I really enjoyed going up to the observatory after dinner each night.

    In Windhoek we used Hilton points and stayed there. The location was great and room nice. I agree that Windhoek isn’t worth much time when there are so many other places to see.

    Etosha Park is a must. I don’t recall the name of the place we stayed, maybe an And Beyond property, but it had an amazing nighttime rhino viewing spot right next to the lodge.

    One final place to recommend worth visiting is the Cheetah Conservation Fund property. They do amazing work and now have some rooms to rent.

    Enjoy this beautiful country!

    PS it’s safe to drive on your own there if you like

  22. The Hilton at Windhoek is brilliant.

    I would highly recommend going to Walvis Bay and experience the Namib Desert. One of the most spectacular places on earth in my opinion.

    Not too sure about hotels and that but I do believe it’s worth it forking out the cash

  23. Would love to see a review of the SAA A350 when they start flying them!
    Namibia is safe enough, have never had an issue.

  24. Try Ethiopian’s Boeing 787 to Addis Ababa and from there, take Ethiopian’s Airbus A350 to Paris. From there, take Air Canada’s Boeing 777 to Toronto and from there, take Air Canada Rouge to Miami.

  25. A National Geographic writer once visited Namibia and spoke with a tribal leader. The leader asked where the writer was from. The leader said he never heard of a country called “United States”, “USA”, or “America”.

    Face it, you come from an obscure country.

  26. I would highly recommend Pelican Point Lodge just outside of Walvis Bay.

    I’ve stayed and it was an awesome experience; totally unique in the world. Stay at least 2 nights… 1 is too short.

    I would have the owner come and collect you from land. I tried driving it and got stuck just outside of the front of the lighthouse.

  27. I’d love to read a review of EgyptAir’s new business class. If you routed an award ticket (availability is excellent) through JNB and CAI, you could have good connection possibilities for JFK.

  28. Namibia is a very safe place to travel and live in,u can visit the coast,dunes 7 adventures,quad biking,on your way to walvis bay from swakopmund,camel riding,for casino lovers we have an entertainment centre in swakopmund with a beautiful beach,catamarine caterers at the yacht club in walvis bay and lot more.we have spitzkoppe area which has a beautiful scenery,brandberg in khorixas area with all extras,etosha national park,fish river canyon,sosusvlei,crocodile park in otjiwarongo much more in

  29. @Lucky,

    I’m not sure what your goals are for the return, but some options I didn’t see were TK and KLM. Not glamorous and probably been done many times, but it will get you to MIA, or even TPA on DL. There’s also QR.

    Via TK you could use Star Alliance for:
    WDH to ADD on ET
    ADD to IST on ET/TK
    IST to MIA on TK

    WDH to AMS via LAD on KLM
    AMS to MIA on KLM OR AMS to TPA on DL

    WDH to DOH
    DOH to MIA

    CHOICE of airline from WDH to JNB
    JNB to ATL on DL
    ATL to MIA/TPA on DL

  30. Went to Windhoek two years ago on a business trip. Although I never managed to visit any other places in the country, I heard good things about Lüderitz and those (beautiful yet dangerous) rides on the Namib desert along the coast.

    Tried to go to Lüteritz on a day trip (or overnight), but Air Namibia only flew there every other day or two. Add in the high fares and I was a bit skeptic about the whole trip (which I kind of regret not taking).

  31. In June this year, we drove from Cape Town, South Africa, to and through Namibia. Although the trip from the border of South Africa to Windhoek was extremely long, it was nevertheless an enjoyable one because the landscapes that you see along the way are like those out of a magazine of the moon! Unfortunately we were only in Windhoek for one day, but It’s not a big city so we got to see almost all her iconic features (including the very cute warthog on the outskirts). I suggest staying there for no more than two-three days. And once you’re done with the city, make your way to Etosha Pan. Try to spend a few days there to explore the area and to see the animals; there are plenty, and the setting is unlike any other place on earth. I also suggest you do the west coast of Namibia, as there is plenty to see and do, like the Skeleton Coast, Henties Bay (famous for its fish), Darob National Park, Swakopmund (spend a lot of time here as you will want to explore the town’s restaurants, old German-style buildings, and markets; go visit the dunes; take a hot air balloon ride; etc), and Walvis Bay. Then from this side of Namibia you can branch off into Sossusvei, where I suggest you also spend a bit of time to gain the full experience. Be sure to camp somewhere as you will practically be camping in the desert! After that you can also hike in a canyon and visit Quiver Tree Forest before making your way home. A few tips: 1) Always wear you seat belt or else you will be harassed by the police, who you can’t bribe; 2) Be sure to fill up on petrol whenever you can and even carry petrol with you in your car (Namibia is sparsely populated and towns are far apart); 3) Always carry cash to pay at petrol stations 4) South African Rand is accepted everywhere and you will get change in both Rands and Namibian Dollars. However, be sure to use all your Namibian Dollars before you leave as that currency is non-exchangeable, only South African Rand is. 5) Pick a good 4 by 4 car as the roads are quite bad around Sossusvei. 6) Don’t expect an environment you’re used to!

  32. I spent two weeks in Namibia last May. Beautiful country, friendly people. Some amazing, unique sights.
    Some thoughts: Almost all the roads in the southern half of country are poor (if recently graded) or terrible (if not). Fish River Canyon , for example, is lovely, and I believe is second only to the Grand Canyon in depth(!) but requires many hours on those roads to get there, through not especially scenic, arid countryside. The canyon lacks the spectacular colors and vistas of the GC.
    I loved our arrival in Swapkomund coming from the hot interior. We were met by a lovely coast, cool air, and a flock of flamingos on the beach! A mountain bike ride into the dunes east of town was a unique experience.
    One full day at Soussvlei is probably enough to see the dunes(perhaps climb #45, and Big Daddy if you’re a super jock), and hike to Deadvlei to see the ethereal salt pan there.
    If you haven’t done safari on the trip, Etosha will give you a good chance to see a lot of animals, though maybe not lions or leopards. The viewing is mostly oriented towards the various waterholes, which made it a different, and less immersive experience than what we had at Krueger NP in South Africa. The roads to Etosha are good.

  33. I concur with the majority of the comments here. Windhoek is safe, but unless you have a reason to be there there isn’t much to see or do (the good activities are outside of the city). One day when you arrive in Namibia and an overnight before you leave Namibia are probably sufficient for your time in Windhoek. The Hilton there will do just fine.

    I only ask that you not judge Windhoek and Namibia as a whole based solely on the Windhoek airport, because the airport can be a let down. There are a couple Priority Pass lounges at WDH. Neither of them are going to impress you, but the WDH departure hall is even worse (small, gets really crowded if there is a widebody flight is departing, only has one restaurant post-security, aircon is ineffective/nonexistent). If you’re leaving WDH in the early afternoon, expect a long queue for security–it regularly snakes around past the Avis/Budget desk (one time I was there it snaked all the way around and then outside). So take that for what it’s worth.

    I love Swakopmund and Walvisbaai, and is always a must visit when I’m in Namibia. Etosha up north is a must see as well. There’s something special about Luderitz. As you’ll probably notice, there aren’t that many chain hotels in the country.

    As many have alluded to, the country is RURAL! It’s about 20% larger than the state of Texas but only has a population of 2.5 million. Driving distances between towns can be far and long, and many roads outside of the major towns are unpaved (which means slower driving). A 4×4 vehicle is highly recommended to take full advantage of the country. The people are friendly and helpful.

    Finally, you’ll want to consider getting a local SIM card since Namibia isn’t one of the roaming countries for Google Fi or T-Mobile. The country’s two mobile providers MTC and Telecom Namibia have booths at WDH — I’d recommend MTC.

  34. Agree with others and you are probably hearing some common threads here.

    1) You cannot compare your Sabi and Kruger safari’s to what you’ll see in Namibia in terms of numbers of animals. Namibia is not a 2 game drive per day type of location, completely different experience.

    2) 1 night in Windhoek is more than enough

    3) Most important part of your plan is to map out which stops you want to hit in Namibia and how you will get between those stop, 5 hours + is fairly common between the top spots which are all mentioned above.

    4) So again very important part of a Namibia plan is which stops to hit and what is travel plan (days per stop and travel time between spots) from starting point to ending point. We found flying into Windhoek and out of Vic Falls allowed for a great route throughout Namibia and allowed us to hit the top spots, plus allowed us to visit Botswana area extremely close to Vic Falls for massive heards that you don’t see in Sabi or Kruger.

    Very much loved Namibia (and also Sabi & Kruger) but they are really not something you would really compare, they are just different kinds of places. Both outstanding!

  35. Hi Ben I stay in Windhoek and can help you out with accomodation, as well as some recommendations for your bucket list in Nam. Being a local here my entire life you can say i’m somewhat of an expert. Make contact at [email protected] and we’ll sort you out 🙂

  36. Been in the area for a 4 week road trip last year – Johannesburg, Okavango Delta, Savuti, Kasane, Vic Falls, Etosha, Walvis Bay, Windhoek, Sossusvlei, Lüderitz, Sperrgebiet, Fish River Canyon and back to Johannesburg -all by 4×4.
    As others pointed out already there’s no classic safari to be had in Sossuvlei – no animals. However climbing the dunes at sunset or doing a ballon ride at sunrise is spectacular. Best safari opportunities in Namibia are in Etosha. However heading over to Botswana and doing for example a Mokoro (local type of canoe) trip in the Okavango delta or a fly-in safari there with some walking safaris will give a whole new perspective of how amazing that part of the world is.
    Namibia is all about the landscapes, Botswana about the animals.
    Hope this helped.

  37. You can take TAAG Angola Windhoek-Luanda-Sao Paulo, and then LATAM, Delta, United, etc from GRU to USA. Or just take Windhoek-Joburg by Air Namibia, and then JNB – GRU – JFK by Latam.

  38. I would fly from ADD to GRU on Ethiopian and then transfer to VCP and fly Azul to FLL.
    Azul’s business class is a great value!

  39. Mostly agree with comments above, with a couple caveats:

    1) Skip Etosha, its too far out of the way (10+ hour drive round trip) and has very few animals compared to Kruger or Serengeti.

    2) Windhoek is boring. Limit your time there.

    3) Three days in Sossusvlei is too many, should really be max two days to avoid boredom.

    4) Highly recommend a dune buggy tour of Sandwich Harbor where the sand dunes meet the sea. Highlight of my trip.

    5) Rental car insurance is a MUST. Many roads (even major ones) are gravel and you will get rocks in your windshield from oncoming traffic.

  40. Its really nice to hear and read about people keen to see Namibia. If you really want to experience the land, why not use a local tour operating company that can put together a nice customised itinerary for you. Contact them at [email protected]

  41. Ben, I’ve been planning a trip to Namibia but will probably do Rwanda this summer instead. That said, my number 1 choice for Namibia was Shipwreck Lodge on the skeleton Coast. Check it out, right up your alley.

  42. Tour operator here. My advice:
    1. 2 nights in Windhoek is more than enough.

    2. Hilton is good, the Olive Exclusive is nice but not worth paying if you can do Hilton on points.

    3. 2 nights in Sossusvlei is perfect. More than that may get boring. The new andBeyond is going to be incredible.

    3. Swakopmund is only necessary if you aren’t going to the true Skeleton Coast. Otherwise nothing to see. Fly from Sossusvlei to either Shipwreck Lodge or Hoanib Skeleton Coast. You won’t regret it.

    4. Etosha is only necessary if you are interested in desert adapted animals. Otherwise it will underwhelm you versus your Singita experience. If you do stay there though, stay at Andersson’s.

    5. I personally love the charm and warmth of Damaraland, which geographically speaking is very similar to Arizona. Damaraland Camp by Wilderness is the best option.

  43. Hi Lucky we combined Namibia with an extension up to the border on an adjoining river with Angola. Both Sossusvlei & Beyond camp is beautiful and we stayed 3 nights as you need it as it’s remote and the other was a Widerness lodge called
    Serra Cafema camp which is also remote . Here is the link to Serra Cafema. We have been to Africa now 7 times all different countries and always book through Rhino Africa who are based in Cape Town Here you will also meet the Himban tribe of people if you go to Serra Cafema.

    For a great place to stay in Windhoek we stayed at the Olive Exclusive .. rooms are amazing as is the food. It’s very boutique and romantic and not as plastic as the Hiltons.

    Namibia was once called German West Africa pre Independence so many Germans still have holiday houses along the coast and visit there often . In fact on our flight from Joburg we heard more Deutsch than Africans spoken

    The Sand Dunes are amazing .. we didn’t like Etosha that much as it’s also a public game reserve and the traffic is horrendous .Its more like a public Zoo than a Game Reserve.

  44. Stay in Windhoek long enough to visit, most amazing place for wildlife. North of the city is Africat, awesome place to stay and see the cats. At Swakopmund I did a tandum jump from a plane, freaking awesome (I was 65 at the time), so recommend it. I did 2 weeks on my own camping and loved it. I wish I could’ve stayed longer on the Skeleton Coast.

  45. Second Air Namibia if not for anything else than an interesting review!! Also when else will you have such a great chance to review them

  46. Don’t take flights all around the country – make sure that you do at least one drive yourself. I flew into Walvis Bay and drove to the Namib-Naukluft National Park and then back to Windhoek. It was easy… something very cool about seeing four or five cars over four hours on a national highway made of gravel, and then pulling off the road to get pictures by the ‘Tropic of Capricorn’ sign. The hot air balloon was incredible.

    Etosha was enjoyable, but the park itself is somewhat similar to the public area of Kruger, and all vehicles stay on the roads. We stayed at a place called Onguma that directly abutted Etosha – it was a private game reserve, felt far less travelled, good service etc.

    Swakopmund was fun for a day and overnight – cute town with clear German roots (and good apfelstrudel). Felt very safe.

    I wish we would have made the Skeleton Coast.

  47. Great point on rental insurance. Windshield coverage is usually in addition – and make sure you have it.

  48. Loved Namibia more than words can describe.

    Stayed at the Hilton Windhoek which was a pleasant surprise. However, we had dinner at the Hotel Heinitzburg and regretted not staying there. If you want different, I think it will check your boxes!

    After Sossusvlei we flew from Windhoek to Cape Town on Air Namibia (2 hours on an A319) which was cheap and pleasant, if unremarkable. From there we flew Turkish back to the US.

  49. I lived in Namibia in 1991-92 and visited for a month in ’93, but haven’t been back since. Lots has changed, I know, in a long time (for example there was no Hilton in Windhoek then!), but I largely agree there’s not a lot to do in Windhoek unless you’re working there. Swakopmund/Walvis Bay is nice and interesting. The north is interesting culturally (Tsumeb, Oshakati, and the Caprivi Strip) but unless you’re pretty familiar you’d want to hire a local guide, not due to safety but because you’ll want the local knowledge to get to know the people and cultures. (Smallest plane I ever flew on, BTW, was a 3-seater single-engine Cessna from ERS to TSB. Pilot had me “take control” so he could have a smoke.)

    At that time SW had a nonstop between FRA and WDH, and AF did CDG-WDH. SW’s was on a 744 leased from Lufthansa. They also had a 737 bought from Midway that they used for trips to JNB, CPT, HRE, GBE, and LUN, and a Dash-8 that did a “mail run” among the northern and western towns, ERS, and CPT. And the 744 went to JNB periodically as well, I assume for maintenance; I took it once and had three entire rows in economy to myself.

    Etosha is a don’t-miss destination. When I was there one could rent a cabin in the park for very little money — maybe at the accommodation level of a state park in the US. It was great to hang out there, grill out for dinner at night, and drive around Etosha on my own. (Make sure you come back inside the camp for the night though – a German tourist was mauled by a lion while he slept not long after one of my visits!)

    Enjoy your trip, and thanks for the opportunity to reminisce.

  50. like others pointed out, FOR SURE fly back home via BRAZIL and try Azul’s Business Class to FLL. It’s about time!!!!!! 🙂

  51. Rent a 4WD with high clearance, and swing by Walvis Bay and the Skeleton Coast besides Swakopmund. The road via Swakopmund is a lot better that the direct option on Google maps.

  52. Swakopmund with a very unique German influence is quite something and desert in background.

    Nearby Walvis Bay is also worth visiting with a side trip to Sandwich Harbour, where massive sand dunes meet Atlantic Ocean. You’ll need to join a 4WD tour for this.

  53. +1 for a SW review – I’ve heard good things about Air Namibia; I’d recommend giving them a shot. ET is well reviewed already, would not be as useful.

  54. Windhoek is safe, even if you’re a complete moron. Most things are to see and do around the center (well, not that many actually), so the Hilton should be ok. Don’t expect a Disneyland of a downtown, though. It’s peaceful and quiet, maybe even boring for a capital.

    Make sure that you also include a domestic flight to Walvisbaai (have a window seat) and visit Swakopmund from there as well. Walvisbaai wasn’t too spectacular, Swakop is much nicer. And of course the Skeleton Coast. There’s helicopter tours over that coast if you’re interested, which ca be arranged on short notice.

    Another options is to take a domestic flight to Ondangwa airport and take a safari trip to Etosha national park from there.

    People are generally very friendly there and I experienced zero to no petty crime (pickpocketing and so) when I was there. The only harassment, if you can even call it that, is that some of the native girls might be a bit overeager to sell you their (handmade?) souvenirs.

    If you drive: have a 4×4 and make sure that you have basic knowledge of car mechanics, as there may be no one to help you within miles.

    Hope it helps. 🙂

  55. @Ben – excellent advice from the posters above. I agree with most of what was said. Unless you have friends or family in Windhoek 1 night in the Hilton is enough. You must go to Swakopmund, it is unique in so many ways you can’t not go there when you visit Namibia. Stay at the Strand Hotel. I would suggest taking a scenic flight from Swakopmund south down the coast, you will see places that are not accessible any other way. Please don’t judge Namibia or Windhoek based on your airport experience. Windhoek airport is terrible but keep in mind that it serves a huge country with a very small population. There is nothing fancy, impressive or memorable but it will get you in and out of one of the most unique countries on earth.

  56. Ben, lots of great suggestions here. Apologies if these have already been mentioned, but a few ideas from a couple of years ago when I was there.

    Windhoek – not a great city and not worth spending any real time in

    Swakopmund – really great little town, worth visiting the dunes nearby. Also has (or had) a great restaurant called the Tug Boat (or similar), which is an old boat which has been pulled ashore, food wasn’t anything extraordinary, but a quirky venue

    Walvis Bay and Etosha as well as the Skeleton Coast are all essentials.

    We actually flew into Windhoek and then spent 2 weeks driving round the country, the roads were very good and it feels a safe place. Personally I would highly recommend that if you have the time. Remember driving through the salt desert with flock of Ostriches running alongside the vehicle!

    Whatever you do its’ a great country.

  57. Ben, if you did travel via Joburg try staying at the The Saxon hotel in Sandton. It’s where Nelson Mandela stayed after his release from prison. It’s ridiculously nice but pricey even considering the horrible Rand

  58. As a Namibian I would avoid Namibian Airways. Flights are cancelled to Offen for them to be reliable. Swakopmund or long beach is amazing or the skeleton coast. The white lady Lodge on the Ugab river is amazing for spotting wild elephants (not like park elephents) Windhoek I think is the safest city in Africa but you still need to be aware of where you are. Joe’s beer house in Eros Windhoek is a must to all who travel to Namibia. The Hilton is great if you want a hotel experience but there are many amazing travel lodges run by locals that are better if you want a more homelike experience. Sadly Veigo a drink has been disscontinued but if you manage to find some I would try it. Windhoek larger and beer is very good. I would spend weekdays outside Windhoek but then a weekend in whindhoek so you can go to the whindhoek market. Lots of people are recommending etoshia and I agree it’s one of the most stunning places in the world but I would stay at a lodge outside the park its self rather then one inside as the quality has fallen alot in recent years. If you want a real one of a kind experience I would recomend the Okonjima Lodge witch is a cheetah and leopard sanctuary. But have so much fun. Desert I think is the most amazing landscape in the world and allways draws you back. Also lookout for fairy circles.

  59. Etosha is fantastic and the wildlife experience is different – most of the sightings are at waterholes.bits very relaxed and you are not “chasing after” sightings…
    Okaukuejo Camp is a great place to stay – they have cabins with direct view of the warehouse from your balcony – order dinner, grab a drink and wait for all the wildlife to come by in the course of the evening…
    I’d keep Windhoek short, Swakopmund and Fish River Canyon are good, also sights in Botswana, like the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park are worth it.
    I did a 3-4 week trip from Cape Town to Victoria Falls and wrote about it here:

  60. Swakopmund – wish I’d stayed more than 1night
    Kayaking with the seals in Walvis Bay
    Yes Etosha is worth it IMO. On the very last day at the very last hour before sunset and the park closing, we saw a black rhino at a watering hole…..simply the highlight for me

  61. How about this option:
    Windhoek to Johannesburg Air Namibia
    Johannesburg to Lomé on ASKY Airlines
    Lomé to Newark/Houston on Ethiopian

    This option then allows you to test multiple business class products.

  62. I spent a couple of nights in Swakopmund in March. I stayed at a newer hotel called the Strand. The rates were reasonable, it’s fairly new, and right on the ocean. It seemed like the best full service option in Swakopmund and a good place to explore the town and take a tour down to Sandwich Harbor.

  63. A few unique memories from a trip to Namibia 2 years ago…
    We stayed at a Portia hotel,( Marriot points guy here ) but Im thinking Hilton is nicer.
    visiting Penduka in Windhoek. It is a women’s cooperative just outside of the city. Local women making crafts with a modern feel. Plus the setting is neat, on a river with some traditional houses scattered about. There is a nice gift shop.

    Joes Beerhouse in Windhoek is easy & fun for lunch or dinner.

    Renting a car & driving to Swakopmund & Walvis Bay. .. very easy, one road, straight line, about 4 hours. Cool scenery.

    We stayed at a Portia Hotel in Walvis Bay, ocean front. There was a flock of Pink Flamingos on the bay.
    We ate at the Raft , good food, GREAT views. It was within easy walking distance of the hotel.

    We felt very safe, especially in Walvis Bay & Swakopmund.

  64. I am sure that you are going to enjoy your trip to Namibia.

    If you do consider a self-drive safari through Namibia, contact Oryx Off-road Car Rental for fully equipped 4×4 vehicle. They are very professional and you can be sure to receive personal service. Contact Rian at [email protected] for a quote.

  65. Funny, I just booked JFK-JNB using Aeroplan (moved pts from Marriott to Aeroplan using the 30% bonus recently). Am similarly hoping/praying that the SAA flight gets moved to A350. I’m now planning 4-5 weeks in Namibia/Botswana/South Africa. Found many of the tips here helpful so will keep checking back for more insights, especially for some of the suggestions beyond Namibia (Botswana and South Africa). For our return flight, I’m doing JNB-CAI on the new Egyptair biz class product and staying 4-5 days in Egypt. Then from CAI, catching the Egyptair 777 flight to LHR and connecting to United to IAD (seems to be the nice Polaris product).

  66. I vote for Air Namibia too & would very much like to see how their long haul soft product to Frankfurt is. This particular flight has intrigued me for years.

  67. Just booked our Kruger safari, and looking to spend a long layover in ADD (in June, 2pm to 8am) flying business using an United award on ET on the way back to EWR – seems lots of long layover afternoon tours offered, just have to choose one.

    Also booked on the the nonstop SAA flight JFK to JNB on the way down, 8am to 7pm layover – also will do a day tour there before my flight to CPT. Also hoping for the A350-900 “upgrade” (better happen by next June!). Getting that flight was great (not much availability even for my UA *G) but still tempted to fly Air Egypt for the long layover on the way down to see pyramids, but especially the wife did not like two red-eyes (even in business) in a row.

  68. Wow, thanks so much for all of the amazing tips, folks. Clearly we need to visit more places in Namibia than just Windhoek and Soussevli.

    We’re now looking at both Shipwreck Lodge and Pelican Point Lodge — thanks for all the recommendations. The logistics of getting to Pelican Point Lodge seem easy enough, though I’m being quoted $7K+ for a private charter flight from andBeyond to Shipwreck Lodge, and I’m being told that’s the only way to go. We’d of course be happy to fly to Windhoek and then to Shipwreck Lodge, but I’m still being told there’s no cheaper option.

    Anyone have any other ideas? I know there are lots of places where charter flight logistics are complicated, but I’ve never seen prices like this before.

    So anyone know of a more reasonably priced way to get to Shipwreck Lodge?


  69. Ben, are you sure the quotation of chartered flight is based in USD and not NAD (Namibian Dollar)? 1 USD is roughly 15 NAD, so that’ll make more sense. Otherwise, that sounds exorbitant…

  70. I spent 10 days n Namibia 4-5 years ago. Windhoek, yes, a couple of days. I stayed in a wonderful small German-run sort-of hotel/guest house that was fabulous with really good food. It’s not right downtown so you need a rental car (which I got at the airport with no problem). I am surprised that no one mentioned Luderitz on the south coast (diamons are still harvested there). Luderitz is more German than anyplace else in the country, and the amount of German history in the buldings and institutions is amazing. I am not German but lved in Germany for years and feel German, and Namibia was a real treat. Sossussvlei is as you know a must; I had thee nights, and I’m not much of a go-go traveler so that was fine. Best thing of the whole trip: a ride in as hot-air balloon at 6:00 a.m. viewing animals and listening to the “pilot” who knows every nook and cranny! I’d say Walvis Bay, Luederitz, Swakopmund, Windhoek, and Sossussvlei are the places you should see.

  71. We did namibia 2 years ago

    Fish river canyon is amazing, but not many great losging options around.
    Same for Luderitz with kolsmankop, but no good hotels in town.

    Not to far away from sossusvlei, the Wolwedans lodges are amazing and were the highlight of the trip.

    In Swakopmund we liked the strand hotel. Also Some great restaurants .

    In damaraland the camp kopse is great.

    Etosha is Nice for a zelf drive safari.

    If you like big CAT’s, you should the okonjima bush camp at the africht foundation.

    Hilton Windhoek was solid. Joe’s beer house has a great vibe for dinner.

  72. Hi Ben, I suggested Shipwreck above and have done some recent research on the &beyond Sossusvlei to Shipwreck route. Hilarious – I also got a quote of 2.5k per person for me and my partner and just about died. The agent keeps telling me part of the itin is scenic flights but can’t get a more direct route, even going back to Windhoek. I also reached out to one of the air charter companies to get an independent quote but that landed me a slightly lower rate but some additional conditions – must pay for crew meals and accommodations. Not sure how this would work out on the skeleton coast???!!! Anyway, feel free to shoot me an email if you want to exchange a few more ideas. I am still waffling between Rwanda and Namibia paired with Zimbabwe for August.

  73. I am Namibian and grew up on a farm there. I think the 3 nights at Sossusvle can be shortened as it’s all about the dunes there. I would suggest (If you really want to get very close to nature) to spend some time at Etendeka Mountain Camp in Northwest Namibia for example. It is not luxurious (personally I think the environmetal foot print of these super luxurious places is very high) but very comfortable and you will leave with good memories. You should rent a car and drive yourself. Driving in Namibia is part of the fun. Namibia is definitely much safer than SA and you will be just fine in Windhoek. In Windhoek better options than the Hilton are Olive Grove Guesthouse or Am Weinberg Boutique Hotel. Spend some time in Swakopmund as well as it has cute coffee shops and good restaurants. There are numerous hotels or guest houses to chose from. For me, personally, Damaraland and Kaokoland are the most scenic and some of the wildest places in Africa.

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