Windhoek, Namibia, is a springboard of a city, with many people spending a night here en route to the Sossusvlei dunes or Etosha National Park. However, quick turnarounds don’t do the city justice. Here, the hotels are worthy of extended stays, too, with features such as sky lounges, lagoon pools and wildlife-viewing decks. From safari-style lodges to chic B&Bs, here’s our pick – bookable on Culture Trip.
Pairing concrete bedheads with wrought-iron furniture, Moroccan-style lights and silverware, and textured throws and cushions, the 11 ensuite rooms at the Olive Grove Guesthouse have a chic one-of-a-kind look. Take a dip in the plunge pool flanked by loungers if you stay here in the warmer months, and don’t skip breakfast – the menu is themed around different countries. Think Canadian pancakes, full English fry-ups and Scottish porridge – served with a shot of whisky and a wink.
In southern Windhoek, the smart Windhoek Country Club Resort backs onto an 18-hole golf course. There’s plenty for non-golfers here, too, such as a lagoon-style pool with a cave-style pool bar and the Kokerboom restaurant, where you can help yourself to buffet dishes such as game carpaccio and steaks cooked to order. In the warmer months, visit the outdoor deck to enjoy your meal, accompanied by views of the river-like water feature.
Accommodation takes the form of glamping tents and sheltered camping pitches at UrbanCamp on the western edge of Windhoek. Bathrooms are shared, and the set-up includes a few bijoux outdoor showers for the warmer months. The hotel’s pool area is a highlight, overlooked by the restaurant and beer garden, where the menu features German dishes, such as schnitzel, with a Namibian twist – think oryx meat instead of pork.
Deep within 3,200ha (7,907 acres) of a nature reserve, this lodge is a 45-minute drive northeast of Windhoek. There’s a choice of bespoke chalets and holiday homes here. In some rooms, free-standing baths are set next to floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the wilderness. Don’t miss the opportunity to join local San people around the campfire and ask them about their traditions and way of life.
This red-roofed hotel sits on top of a lofty hill overlooking Windhoek. The best place to appreciate the setting is at the On the Edge Restaurant. It has floor-to-ceiling windows that serve up bird’s-eye views of the Namibian capital. The menu mixes European and Namibian dishes; try the kapana (flame-grilled beef) followed by the malva (a South African baked dessert). The indulgence can be worked off in the outdoor pool the morning after.
The lodges, bungalows and suites of Onjala are set within 1,700ha (4,201 acres) of a nature reserve, about 90km (56mi) northeast of Windhoek. Zebras, antelopes, giraffes and ostriches roam freely around the tranquil site. To get a bit closer to the animals and to have a chance of spotting a leopard, you can get in on the daily 4pm game drive. Later, you can swap wildlife spotting for stargazing in the lodge’s observatory.
A 20-minute drive north of the city centre, Windhoek Game Camp is home to eight luxury safari-style self-catering lodges. Each one has a kitchen, a dining area, an outdoor braai (barbecue) area and a wooden deck overlooking the mountains. The whole place is enveloped by countryside, where giraffes, oryxes, springbucks, waterbucks, impalas, nyalas and warthogs roam freely. A breakfast buffet is included in the room price and served in the communal open-sided safari lodge overlooking the pool.
Set within three traditional thatched buildings, the rooms at Immanuel Wilderness Lodge, 20 minutes from Windhoek, come with stone floors, dark wood furniture and mosquito nets over the beds. Each one has a private patio overlooking the beautiful wilderness too. The property also has a watering hole, where springboks and guinea fowl come to drink. Meanwhile, you can enjoy food and drinks in an open-sided thatched restaurant that puts on four-course menus, with dishes such as hartebeest steak, every evening.
This distinctive blue-and-white hotel is a 15-minute walk from the National Botanic Garden of Namibia in Windhoek. Despite being in the city centre, the rooms have a beachy look, with lots of wood and sea- and sand-coloured fabrics. Each room has a coffee machine, a fridge and a microwave for in-room breakfasts. For something more substantial, head to Krisjans Bistro, with its vintage scooter at the entrance; it serves up dishes such as bacon french toast and waffle towers.