Accommodation guide
Issue 2 (May 2008) So you know when you want to go and what you want to see. But where will you stay in Namibia? Do you fancy camping in the wilderness, the warm welcome of a family-run guest farm or wallowing in the luxury of a top lodge? Chris McIntyre, author of The Bradt Guide to Namibia, runs through what’s available.


• Hotels, Pensions, Lodges and Camps
The hotels here are without exception fairly clean and safe. Unless you choose a really run-down old-style place in one of the smaller towns, you’re unlikely to find anywhere that’s dirty.

Establishments are licensed by the local authority as hotels, lodges, restcamps, etc, according to their facilities, though the distinction between a hotel and a lodge depends on its location – a hotel must fall within a municipal area; a lodge will be outside. Similarly, a guest farm must be a working farm, otherwise it will be classified as a lodge. They are also graded by stars, from one to five, but the system is more a guide to their facilities and size than the quality or service. The ‘T’ that appears alongside the star rating indicates that the place has been judged suitable for tourists, while the number of ‘Y’s reflects the type of licence to serve alcohol (three ‘Y’s being a full licence).

Most bush camps and lodges are of a high standard, though their prices – and atmosphere – vary wildly. Price is a guide to quality here, though not a reliable one. Often the places that have better marketing (ie: you’ve heard of them) cost more than their less famous neighbours which are equally good.

• Guest farms

These are private farms which host small numbers of guests, usually arranged in advance. They are often very personal and you’ll eat all your meals with the hosts and be taken on excursions by them during the day.

Most have some game animals on their land and conduct their own game drives. One or two have interesting rock formations, or cave paintings to visit. The prices at guest farms vary, but are rarely less than N$450 per person – and usually nearer N$750. They generally include all your meals, and often some trips around their farm.

• Camping  

Wherever you are in Namibia, you can usually find a campsite nearby. In the more remote areas, far from settlements, nobody bothers if you just sleep by the road. The campsites which are dotted all over the country generally have good ablution blocks, which vary from a concrete shed with toilets and cold shower, to an immaculately fitted-out set of changing rooms with toilets and hot showers. Prices are frequently per site, which theoretically allows for ‘a maximum of eight persons, two vehicles and one caravan/tent’. In practice, if you’ve a couple of small tents you will not often be charged for two sites, so travelling in a small group can cut costs considerably.

• Children

Many of Namibia’s hotels, lodges and camps offer special rates for children, which can range from discounts to free accommodation to those sharing a room with their parents. Some go out of their way to cater for children, too, perhaps with a family room that has loft accommodation. Conversely, a few venues are not suitable for youngsters. It’s always worth checking for any special deals when making your initial enquiries, as well as ensuring that your chosen location is safe for your family.
Chris McIntyre is also managing director of Namibia specialists Expert Africa.


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