We just met with Paula Olivier, guest relations officer for the Namibia Tourism Board, who shared a few updates on what’s happening in the country.
Several new hotels have opened recently, or are slated for renovations. Here are a few:
The De Duine Hotel, a historical landmark in Henties Bay, will receive a $20 million facelift. The hotel sits on a high sand dune for top views over the beach and sea (a pedestrian ramp will bring guests right to the beach).
Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, a Wilderness Safaris property, has just opened in a valley at the confluence of two tributaries of the Hoanib River in the northern part of the private Palmwag Concession. This is a good pick for maximum privacy: It is right at the Palmwag area and the iconic Skeleton Coast National Park, in one of the most remote areas of the Kaokoveld. Even better, the camp is only accessible by plane. The camp consists of seven twin-bedded tents and one family unit.
Popa Falls Camp reopened in November 2013 after being closed for refurbishment since March 2013. Situated on the Kavango River, this Namibia Wildlife Resorts property has ten chalets, three family/double units, four luxury units, and 10 campsites. Families and groups will want to book the three-room private house. The new restaurant has a fully equipped kitchen with a full service bar. The property’s river jetty has a bar facility ideal for sundowners and is the departure point for river boat cruises. Good for business retreats: A new conference facility is available for 40 to 100 people.
Pelican Point Lodge recently opened near Walvis Bay on Namibia’s coastline where the desert sand dunes meet the Atlantic Ocean. It has nine suites—all of which are located at the foot of a working lighthouse that, during high tide, is cut off from the mainland. (Again, good for privacy.)
Strand Hotel, Swakopmund (pictured above) is set to be redeveloped in April 2015. The refurbished hotel will have 135 rooms, three restaurants, three bars, a conference center, a micro-brewery, a deli shop, a beach kiosk as well as a spa and fitness center with a heated swimming pool.
What to Do
There are plenty of ways of seeing the country, and the Tourism Board is promoting several sightseeing options. The Desert Express, a luxury train, can be bought out for groups of up to 48 guests. The train goes from Windhoek to Swakopmund (and back again) and can stop to see the sights along the way. (One of the stops can include Oropoko, a small game park where guides will escort guests to lions.) All 24 suites onboard have two beds, private shower and panoramic windows for sightseeing. Good to know: The two-day one-night trips are the most popular, but groups can book itineraries of up to 11 days.
While there are several regularly scheduled flights that cover the country, Olivier suggested booking a sightseeing plane to get a bird’s-eye view (literally) of areas that are inaccessible by car, train or boat. (African Profile Safaris is a popular choice.) www.profilenamibia.com
Namibia has also launched three new driving routes for self-guided or small-group tours: The Arid Eden route, the Four Rivers route and the Omulunga Palm route, all of which offer up-close-and-personal access to local people, vistas and wildlife. (
While there are no nonstop flights from U.S. gateways to Namibia, several airlines offer access. South African Airways flies nonstop from New York and Washington, D.C. to Johannesburg, where visitors can transfer to a flight to Windhoek. British Airways, meanwhile, flies from London and Joburg via their Comair partner.
Air Namibia recently announced a new interline agreement with Lufthansa, making it easy to get to Windhoek with one stop in Frankfurt from North American destinations served by the German airline. Good to know: bookings must be made with Lufthansa through Windhoek (WDH). Passengers transfer onto Air Namibia’s new Airbus A330-200 in Frankfurt.