Best hotels and hostels in Botswana & Namibia

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Okavango Delta

    Vumbura Plains Camp

    One of Wilderness Safaris' flagship properties, this regally luxurious twin camp is on the Duba Plains in the transition zone between the savannahs and swamps north of the delta. Although divided into north and south sections, with separate eating and other common areas, this is essentially a single lodge. It inhabits the Kwedi Concession and the wildlife viewing is superlative. The rooms, arrayed along the shores of an expansive floodplain that has water for most of the year, are supremely luxurious and represent a refreshing change from the traditional safari look – everything here has a stylish contemporary feel and the massive, split-level rooms are simply gorgeous. They are some of the largest rooms in the delta. Gloriously comfortable beds, open-sided showers (as well as outdoor showers), wooden floors, a sunken sitting area with plush cushions and wildlife field guides, and large terraces right by the water are just some of the highlights. Floor-to-ceiling glass on three sides creates a wonderful sense of light and space without compromising on privacy. Rooms also have their own private plunge pools. This is one of few camps to offer both full water-based activities (including mokoros and motorboats, although availability depends on water levels) and wildlife drives. When it comes to the latter, there are good chances of sighting leopards, lions, African wild dogs, red lechwes and abundant birdlife over the course of your stay. Other activities include scenic helicopter flights (30/45/60 minutes per person US$445/565/695) and hot-air balloon rides (one hour US$430 per person). The public areas – the restaurant, bar and cushioned seating areas – face the setting sun across the water, and even the 'public' loo has a view. Whenever you visit, and whichever part of the camp you find yourself in, you may never want to leave.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Okavango Delta

    Sandibe Safari Lodge

    This riverine forest retreat is the architectural jewel of the Okavango Delta, as well as one of the premier safari camps anywhere in Southern Africa. Service is warm and welcoming, the accommodation is exceptional in its style and comfort, and the location (next to the famed Chitabe concession) is one of the best anywhere in the delta. The newly built main lodge building rises from the water's edge like an apparition. Built to resemble a pangolin in pine and cedar, its effect is utterly breathtaking, feeling at once a part of the surrounding woodland (the main building is open-sided and a magnificent place to relax) and utterly indulgent. When we had dinner here, a spotted hyena wandered past just metres from where we sat. Attached to the main building is one of the delta's best gift shops. There's also a spa and massage area, and a gym. The rooms, too, have a style all their own. Built to resemble golden weaver nests, they are curvaceous things of beauty. Open fires are just the ticket in winter, and everything is beautifully designed – we loved the copper washbasins and playful sense of perspective. Expansive private terraces with plunge pools overlook the water, and there's plenty of space to spend an afternoon just taking it all in while your private butler brings you the drink of your choice…yes, every room has its own designated 'butler' who will cater to your every whim. This sense of elevated levels of very personal service is something of an &Beyond hallmark. The wildlife watching here is first-rate – we saw lions and leopards alone on just an overnight stay. There's also wi-fi in both communal areas and the rooms.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Okavango Delta

    Jao Camp

    Part of Wilderness Safaris' portfolio of premier camps, Jao is a special place that combines Asian style (the public areas and the rooms were inspired by a Balinese longhouse) with a very African feel (jackalberry and mangosteen trees, liberal use of thatch). Rooms are uberluxurious and the staff are extremely professional and attentive to your every need. This place is an experience as much as it is a lodge and it does things that no other lodges do – it has a first-class wine cellar you're welcome to browse, a small gym, arguably the best gift shop we saw in the delta, a real tree-house feel that comes from an award-winning design that incorporates elevated walkways, and a high vantage point overlooking the water. The rooms, with perfectly sited outdoor day beds on the long terraces, feel like your own extremely large delta hideaway. Wooden furnishings, nightly hot-water bottles placed in your bed while you're at dinner, marvellous beds, yoga mats, a mini library in your room – this is one place where you'll almost certainly want to spend an afternoon or morning in camp. If you do so, you might be really lucky and have the elusive Pel's fishing owl perch right outside your window. Calling you out are the activities, from mokoro or motorboat excursions on the skein of waterways, to wildlife drives led by expert guides in search of lions, leopards and even sitatungas, not to mention rich birdlife. Unusually, there is a small entertainment room with wi-fi connectivity for those who really must stay in touch with the outside world.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Okavango Delta

    Kwetsani Camp

    This highly recommended camp has the usual high levels of comfort, but there are some very special selling points. The recently overhauled rooms, elevated high above the water, are simply stunning, while the camp manager, Dan Myburg, is a top-class photographer who can help elevate your photography above the usual even in just a few days. The five rooms sport a striking, contemporary look, with whites and steely greys making a refreshing change from wood and wicker. Of all the camps in Wilderness Safaris' classic portfolio, those here come the closest to getting an upgrade into the premium class. The public areas sport a modern bar alongside the wooden terrace, and safari prints and throws beneath the shady sausage tree. Like the rooms, these public areas are places to linger. The pool sits down at floodplain level, while Dan can proffer advice on photographic techniques or postprocessing down in his studio. You'll also find a good mix here of water- and land-based activities.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Chobe National Park

    Zarafa Camp

    Make no mistake: this is one of the premier properties anywhere in Africa. As ecofriendly as it's possible to be out here, Zarafa's tented villas are utterly gorgeous – and as we've come to expect from Great Plains, the attention to detail is exemplary. Zarafa has as its focal point a splendid ebony tree that once provided shelter for the respected wildlife-documentary film-makers Dereck and Beverley Joubert. The wildlife watching out here is like immersing yourself in a National Geographic wildlife film (indeed, this is where many were filmed), and the massive rooms feel like the ultimate safari experience brought to life.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Botswana

    Woodlands Stop Over

    A wonderfully tranquil place, 15km north of town off the road to Maun, Woodlands is easily the pick of places to stay around Francistown if you have your own wheels. The budget chalets are tidy, the bungalows are nicely appointed and come with loads of space, while the immaculate campsites are Botswana's cleanest and a wonderful respite from dusty trails. Anne and Mike are welcoming hosts and the grounds are filled with birdsong. There's no restaurant, but there are prepackaged meals available as well as braai packs for use on the barbecue areas.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Okavango Delta

    Mombo Camp

    Ask anyone in Botswana for the country’s most exclusive camp and they’re likely to nominate Mombo. The surrounding delta scenery is some of the finest in the Okavango and the wildlife watching is almost unrivalled. The rooms are enormous and the entire package – from the service to the comfort levels and attention to detail – never misses a beat. It's situated (with its sister camp, Little Mombo) on the northwest corner of Chief’s Island.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Botswana

    Kalahari Plains Camp

    If we could choose one place to stay in the CKGR, this would be it. These lovely solar-powered tents inhabit a gorgeous location southeast of Deception Valley and face the setting sun with stunning views. The spacious tents have wooden floors, extremely comfortable beds, 24-hour electricity, yoga mats and a roof terrace (for those wishing to sleep under the stars). Activities include excellent San nature walks (an estimated 90% of staff come from the area) and wildlife drives on which the chances of seeing lions, leopards or cheetahs are good; there were two lion prides in the area when we were last here. The food is excellent, Mama B is the perfect camp host, the gift shop is rather lovely and the whole camp is oriented towards vast Kalahari views across the grasslands. Nights can be cold, which is why you'll appreciate the hot-water bottles that are placed in your bed while you're at dinner – don't, as one tourist did in a similar camp, mistake it for an animal and stab it with a knife… And when it's high season in the Okavango Delta, it's usually low season down here, enabling a nice break from crowds and high-season prices. To get here if you're driving, you can either follow the fence line south from Matswere Gate and arrange for a guide to meet you, or drive through the heart of the reserve en route. If doing the latter, the Tracks4Africa GPS system was strangely unhelpful when we visited, so we suggest you do the following. From Matswere Gate, follow the sandy track all the way into the CKGR to Deception Valley (37km). Turn left (south) and drive along the valley for 12.7km, ignoring all turn-offs along the way. After the last turn-off to the left to Deception Pan, an unsigned track leaves the main track, heading east. Some 11.5km after taking this track, another track joins from the left – ignore it and veer right. After another 7.2km, you will reach another junction at the entrance to a large grassy pan – take the right fork and follow the track for 6km into camp.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Okavango Delta

    Nxabega Okavango Camp

    In a grove of ebony trees on the flats near the Boro River, this exquisitely designed tented camp has sweeping views of the delta floodplains. The rooms are magnificent – the private terraces in each are large with lovely swing chairs, each built around water's-edge termite mounds or trees, lending a real sense of intimacy with the landscape. Inside the nine tents, every comfort is catered for, while the standards of service here are as exemplary as we have come to expect from &Beyond's camps. The rooms are also designed so that you wake up and you're instantly immersed in the landscape. The main lodge area, which includes the bar, restaurant, sitting area and swimming pool, is undergoing a major overhaul as of early 2017. Unlike the rooms, which sport a daring contemporary look, the main lodge will remain old-school, classic-safari in aesthetics. There's also wi-fi in communal areas and, unlike other lodges around the delta, meals are taken at your own table, not communally with other guests. The whole property overlooks a wide floodplain – classic Okavango views – that is home to a resident hippo and is a precursor to excellent game drives. Like all of &Beyond's camps, your vehicle will have both a driver and a tracker, and on a single afternoon's drive here, we drew near to a pride of nine lions and a coalition of five cheetahs.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Botswana

    Deception Valley Lodge

    Just outside the CKGR's northeastern boundary, this exclusive bush retreat inhabits 150 sq km of privately owned Kalahari bush and has a much more personal feel than many of Botswana's luxury lodges. The eight large chalets (two can be combined into family accommodation) are swathed in lovely earthen hues, while the food is as memorable as the warm, attentive service. The soothing rooms blend Victorian and African design elements, which are never overdone, and feature a private lounge and outdoor shower. There's also a swimming pool. Activities, which are included in the room rates, include wildlife drives both into the CKGR and the private concession (because this is private land, not within the game-reserve boundaries, night drives are possible) and excellent Bushmen walks. The surrounding concession is known for being particularly good for lions. Travellers rave about their experience here. The lodge is about 120km south of Maun, and most visitors fly into the airstrip from Maun. If driving, you'll need a 4WD and the lodge's detailed directions from its website.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Okavango Delta

    Chitabe Lediba

    One of the more intimate camps run by Wilderness Safaris, Chitabe Lediba has just five tents (including two family ones) and a warm and intimate atmosphere. The larger-than-usual tents here are supremely comfortable, and the whole place is also distinguished by the warm service and brilliant game drives. Nice touches in the tents include fine black-and-white photographic prints, antique African maps, alongside classic safari furnishings, although such is the size of the tents that they never feel overdone; and yes, there are the usual indoor and outdoor shower options. The broad private terraces are the place to watch as passing elephants or buffaloes wander past. Chitabe concession, which this camp shares with Chitabe, is prime wildlife country – we saw lion cubs and leopards here, with wild dogs sometimes a possibility – but the landscapes too are exceptionally beautiful here, from the acacia woodlands to the ghostly forests of dead leadwood trees on the way in from the air strip.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Chobe National Park

    Duma Tau

    This 10-room camp was rebuilt completely in 2012 with a commitment to sustainability; all of the camp’s power comes from solar energy, and waste disposal is state of the art. The raised tents overlook the hippo-filled Zibadianja Lagoon from a mangosteen grove. The lagoon can be explored by boat when the water levels are high, or you can kick back in a luxury tent under thatch. The tents are, as you'd expect, large and luxurious and, like the public areas that extend out over the water, make maximum use of the location – you can lie in bed and look out over the waters of the delta without moving. The look is understated safari chic, with plenty of replica safari nostalgia to go with the soothing earth tones and linens. When it comes to wildlife, there's a decent chance you'll see the big cats here (Duma Tau means 'Roar of the Lion'). You'll certainly see elephants, and red lechwe and African wild dogs are also possible here.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Namibia

    Waterberg Wilderness Lodge

    Waterberg Wilderness occupies a vast private concession within the park and is a wonderful upmarket choice. The Rust family has painstakingly transformed the property (formerly a cattle farm) by repopulating game animals and allowing nature to return to its pregrazed state. The main lodge rests in a sun-drenched, jacaranda-strewn meadow at the end of a valley, where you’ll find red-sandstone chalets adorned with rich hardwood furniture. But there's so much more here. Arrive before 3pm so as to join the rhino wildlife drives. It has other accommodation around the valley: Plateau Camp (a handful of more secluded chalets perched high on a rock terrace deeper in the concession), a tented camp (Meru-style safari tents facing down the valley with fine views), or you can pitch your own tent in the high-lying Andersson Camp. To reach Waterberg Wilderness Lodge, take the D2512 gravel road around 100km from Otjiwarongo and follow the signs.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Skeleton Coast

    Cape Cross Lodge

    Cape Cross Lodge has an odd but strangely appealing architecture, which is self-described as a cross between Cape Dutch and fishing-village style. The nicer rooms have spacious outdoor patios that overlook the coastline, though you really can’t choose a bad room at this all-around stunner of a lodge, conveniently located just before the official reserve entrance. It’s a superb, isolated spot right on a sweeping bend of the bay overlooking blue seas and rollers lolling in and crashing over white-sand beaches. There are also 20 excellent campsites, although they're separated from the seafront by the main lodge building. There's even a nice little museum which focuses on the seafaring history of this stretch of coast. The restaurant (mains N$60 to N$110) dishes out plenty of seafood including a fish sandwich (with admittedly weird mayo) and a seafood platter for N$215.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Damaraland

    Erongo Wilderness Lodge

    This highly acclaimed wilderness retreat combines spectacular mountain scenery, wildlife viewing, birdwatching and environmentally sensitive architecture to create one of Namibia’s most memorable lodges. Accommodation is in one of 10 tented bungalows, which are built on wooden stilts among towering granite pillars crawling with rock hyraxes. The restaurant overlooks a water hole where you might see kudus or genets. When you’re not lounging in front of the fireplace in the main lodge, you can take a guided walk (cost included in the full-board price) or a nature drive (N$485). Birders will enjoy the fact that rosy-faced lovebirds, Hartlaub's francolin and freckled nightjars are often seen in the area. To get to the lodge, go to Omaruru, turn west on the D2315 (off the Karibib road 2km south of town) and continue for 10km.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Kavango

    N’Kwazi Lodge

    On the banks of the Okavango, about 20km from Rundu’s town centre, this is a tranquil and good-value riverside retreat where relaxation is a by-product of the owners' laid-back approach. The entire property blends naturally into the surrounding riverine forest, while the rooms are beautifully laid out, with personal touches; there’s a great campsite, although it’s sometimes overrun by safari trucks. The lodge represents incredibly good value, with no surcharge for singles and a justifiably famous buffet dinner for N$260. The lodge’s owners, Valerie and Weynand Peyper, are active in promoting responsible travel and work closely with the local community. They also have many other ongoing projects, including supporting orphans in the area. Guests can visit local villages (N$50 for a village walk).

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Namibia

    Opuwo Country Lodge

    Far and away the area’s swankiest accommodation option with lovely rooms, the hilltop Opuwo Country Lodge is an enormous thatched building (reportedly the largest in Namibia) that elegantly lords it over the town below. The hotel faces across a valley towards the Angolan foothills, and most of your time here will be spent soaking your cares away in the infinity-edge pool. If the standard rooms are taken and you can’t afford a luxury version, consider pitching a tent in the secluded campsite, which grants you complete access to the lodge’s amenities, including a fully stocked wine bar and a regal dining hall. The turn-off leading up to the lodge is a bit tricky to find, but there are signs posted throughout the town. Activities include excursions to Himba villages and/or the Epupa Falls.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Namibia

    Tsauchab River Camp

    If you’re an avid hiker (or just love excellent settings!), you’re in for a treat. The scattered campsites here sit beside the Tsauchab riverbed – one occupies a huge hollow tree – and each has a private shower block, a sink and braai area. The stone-built chalets grow in number with each passing year; also down in the riverbed, they're lovely and quiet. Johan and Nicky are warm and welcoming hosts and Johan's eclectic sculptures, mostly from old car engine parts, are a real feature of this place. Activities include self-guided hikes and 4WD trails. The 6km Kudu Hiking Trail climbs to the summit of Rooikop. Beside a spring 11km away from the main site is the 4WD exclusive site, which is the starting point for the wonderful 21km Mountain Zebra Hiking Trail.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Damaraland

    Camp Kipwe

    Brilliantly located amongst the boulders and rocks littered throughout its premises, Kipwe is languidly draped over the stunning landscape in very unobtrusive large rondavels (round huts) with thatched roofs that blend in beautifully with their surrounds and have lovely views. There are nine standard rooms and one honeymoon suite (rooms 3 and 4 are family rooms with kids’ tents); all come with outdoor bathrooms so you can stargaze while you wash. There are great views from the dining/lounge area – catch the breeze with your cocktail. The lodge also runs nature drives (N$650) and excursions to the rock art. The entrance to Kipwe is just across the road (D2612) from the entrance to Mowani Mountain Camp.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Etosha National Park

    Onkoshi Camp

    Upon arrival at Onkoshi (from Namutoni), you'll be chauffeured to a secluded peninsula on the pan's rim and given the keys to one of 15 thatch-and-canvas chalets resting on elevated wooden decks and occupying exclusive locations well beyond the standard tourist route. The opulent interiors blend rich hardwoods, delicate bamboo, elaborate metal flourishes, finely crafted furniture, hand-painted artwork and fine porcelain fixtures. While the temptation certainly exists to spend your days lounging about such regal settings, guests are treated to personalised wildlife drives (from N$500 per person) conducted by Etosha’s finest guides, and dinners are multi-course affairs illuminated by candlelight.