Best luxury safaris in Namibia

Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 03.06.2024

Private personalised game drives in the company of the best local guides. Fine dining under the stars. Bedding down in elegant lodges. Who said safaris meant roughing it?! In fact, as revealed in this feature on the best luxury safaris in Namibia, with the right research and input from a local expert, you can walk on the wilder side in lavish style, without compromising on adventure, and certainly not compromising on comfort.

Best luxury safaris in Namibia — general tips

Before digging deeper into where you can enjoy the best luxury safaris in Namibia, here’s a rundown of ways to add more than a touch of lux to the experience, no matter where you decide to focus your trip.

Book private guided game drives

Opt for a private guide and vehicle for your game drives. 

Offering a more personal flexible experience that can be tailored to your interests and schedule, the private option is also likely to be more comfortable than joining a group tour. 

Enjoy exclusive immersive experiences

To make your trip all the most magical — and memorable — research exclusive activities that can be enjoyed throughout your itinerary.

We’re talking everything from hot-air balloon rides over the Namib Desert, and private dinners under the stars, to conservation activities that offer hands-on immersion.

And, given how awe-inspiring Namibia’s landscapes are, you could book an exclusive photography safari. 

We also recommend checking out lodges that offer guided cultural tours that offer insights into local history and traditions. 

Check out spa and wellness facilities

When deciding where to stay, consider lodges that offer spa treatments and wellness activities, among them massages and yoga sessions.

Given that you’ll most likely spend a lot of time on thrilling game drives, having these facilities to hand will ensure you’re well rested ahead of the next adventure. 

Consider fine dining offerings

Look for lodges that emphasise gourmet dining experiences. 

Many luxury lodges employ top chefs to prepare high-quality meals paired with premium South African wines.

Take scenic flights

Providing a unique perspective on the vastness and beauty of Namibia’s terrain, be sure to include a scenic flight in your itinerary.

Editor’s tip: covering everywhere from from Sossusvlei's immense dunes and rugged Damaraland, to the remote beauty of Kaokoveld, our Wilderness Safari by Flight itinerary will see you experience epic views, and stay in luxury lodges


Private excursions are a memorable part of the best luxury safaris in Namibia © Shutterstock

Etosha National Park

One of Africa's premier wildlife destinations, Etosha National Park is best-known for its huge salt pan – it can be seen from space — and home to an equally huge range of wildlife. This includes lions, elephants, giraffes, rhinos and hundreds of bird species. 

When it comes to experiencing Etosha in luxurious style, in addition to heeding our tips above and booking private game drives, consider a fly-in safari to one of the private airstrips located near or within Etosha. 

First up, it’ll save you time. Secondly, you’ll  be wowed by incredible aerial views as you approach, setting you up for a remarkable experience before you've even hit the ground (so to speak) and checked-in to your luxury accommodation Talking of which...

Exclusive lodges and tented camps

When it comes to choosing where to stay in in luxurious style, we suggest choosing a luxury lodge or tented camp on the immediate outskirts of the park, or right within it.

Alongside saving you time, such accommodation typically gives guests exclusive access to thrilling guided night drives to see nocturnal wildlife that isn't active during the day — truly a special experience you're likely to talk about for years.

Here are a few recommended places to stay in Etosha in luxury:

  • Onkoshi Camp: scenically-sited on the edge of the Etosha Pan, this exclusive, eco-friendly option offers unparalleled views of the pan, and outstanidng access to wildlife-viewing opportunities.
  • Ongava Lodge: located on the boundary of Etosha National Park, Ongava Lodge offers private game drives in both Ongava Reserve and Etosha National Park.
  • Little Ongava: with a mere three luxurious villas, and top-notch service, this is even more exclusive than its stunning sister property, which is really saying something.

Exclusive activities

  • Fly-in safaris: so special, they deserve a second mention! Scenic, and providing speedy access to remote areas of the park, a fly-in safari will save you time, and up the ante when it comes to arriving in exhilarating style.
  • Exclusive bush walks: while it goes without saying you’ll want to book guided game drives, bush walks offer an even more intimate connection with nature, and opportunities to learn about smaller flora and fauna that might be missed during vehicular drives.
  • Nocturnal game drives: exploring the park and nocturnal wildlife on a guided night-time game drive under the stars offers a more exclusive, more magical experience.
  • Sunset and sunrise experiences: for breath-taking views, optimal lighting for photography, and increased wildlife activity, booking private breakfasts and sundowner experiences with fine food and wine is hard to beat.
Sunset in Etosha, Namibia © Lottie Gross

Sunset in Etosha, Namibia © Lottie Gross

Namib-Naukluft Park

One of Africa’s largest protected areas — it’s larger than Switzerland — the Namib-Naukluft Park offers some of the most stunning desert landscapes in the world.

Home to the iconic Sossusvlei dunes, which are among the largest in the world, this region is loaded with opportunities for extra-special experiences.

Exclusive lodges and tented camps

  • Little Kulala lodge: included in our Wilderness Safaris by Flight itinerary, this stunning solar-powered is known for its stylish design and private access to the dunes. In short, it's friendly to the environment, and elegantly luxurious. 
  • Sossusvlei Desert Lodge: located right in the Namib Desert, this charmer offers sophisticated architecture, and amenities like a private observatory for stargazing.

Exclusive activities

  • Hot-air balloon safari: take to the skies on a private hot-air balloon safari. Best done at dawn, you could enjoy a champagne breakfast before soaring over truly awe-inspiring landscapes. 
  • Uncover hidden gems on private tours: engage a local guide to discover hidden gems of the park on private, personalised tours, including Sesriem Canyon and secret waterholes.
  • Dine under the stars: enjoy a fine dining experience in the desert under the stars. Given that this is one of the world’s least light-polluted areas, you could also book a guided star-gazing session. 


Deadvlei, Namib-Naukluft National Park in Namibia © evenfh/Shutterstock

 Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia © evenfh/Shutterstock

Skeleton Coast

Known for its rugged, remote landscapes, Namibia’s Skeleton Coast is named for the whale bones and ship skeletons that speckle its beaches — the wild Atlantic waters around these parts have claimed many lives over the centuries.

These days, though, the Skeleton Coast is a place of stark beauty and solitude, with a hauntingly beautiful landscape that’s ripe for unforgettable experiences. 

Exclusive lodges and tented camps

  • Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp: another highlight of our Wilderness Safaris by Flight itinerary, this luxury desert camp is only accessible by light aircraft, and offers encounters with desert-adapted wildlife, plus exclusive access to some of the region’s most remote areas.
  • Shipwreck Lodge: offering shipshape, shipwreck-shaped cabins, this stunning lodge serves a blend of adventure and luxury in one of Namibia’s most atmospheric locations.

Exclusive activities

  • Take to the skies: book a scenic private flight to take in the area’s vast, rugged landscapes, plus shipwrecks, seal colonies and otherworldly dune formations.
  • Take a private guided tour of Skeleton Coast National Park: though arid, the area is home to a surprising amount of wildlife, most notably unique desert-adapted wildlife, including desert elephants and desert lions, along with hyenas, giraffes, oryx and springbok.
  • Explore Cape Cross Seal Reserve: located north of Swakopmund, this is one of the largest breeding colonies of Cape fur seals in the world. If you visit during the November-December breeding season, you’ll get to see over 100,000 seals.
  • Private dune-boarding and quad-biking trips: be exhilarated by exclusive dune boarding and quad biking excursions on the vast sand dunes of the Skeleton Coast.
  • Go stargazing: take advantage of the clear desert skies for stargazing experiences, with minimal light pollution providing exceptional views of celestial wonders. Some lodges and camps offer guided stargazing sessions with on-site telescopes and expert astronomers.
Skeleton Coast in Namibia. The shipwreck was stranded or grounded at the coastline of the Atlantic close to Swakopmund © gg-foto/Shutterstock

Skeleton Coast, Namibia © gg-foto/Shutterstock

Best luxury safari accommodation

From intimate tented camps and exclusive game reserves, to high-end lodges and boutique, here’s an overview of luxury accommodation types in Namibia.

Luxury lodges

Luxury lodges in Namibia are known for high-end amenities, exceptional service, and prime locations — they’re often situated within or near national parks and nature reserves. 

What to expect

  • Spacious and elegantly furnished rooms or suites.
  • Private decks or patios with stunning views.
  • En-suite bathrooms, often with outdoor showers or bathtubs.
  • Fine dining with gourmet cuisine and extensive wine lists.
  • Swimming pools, spas, and wellness facilities.
  • Game drives, guided walks, and other activities led by expert guides.

Tented camps

Blending luxury and adventure, tented camps offer a closer connection to nature, while still providing high levels of comfort. 

What to expect

  • Spacious canvas tents with comfortable beds and en-suite bathrooms.
  • Private verandas with scenic views.
  • Fine dining experiences, often served in a comfortable communal dining area or under the stars.
  • Activities such as game drives, guided nature walks, and cultural tours.

Private game reserves

Private game reserves offer exclusive wildlife experiences with a focus on conservation and personalized service. If that wasn’t enough, they also feature luxurious tooms and suites, with a sense of exclusivity and privacy.

What to expect

  • Exclusive lodges or tented camps with limited guest numbers.
  • Private game drives and guided activities tailored to guests' interests.
  • High levels of service with dedicated staff and experienced guides.
  • Opportunities for close-up wildlife encounters and photography.
  • Conservation-focused experiences, such as visiting research centers or participating in conservation projects.

Boutique hotels and guesthouses

Often located in scenic or historically significant areas, boutique hotels and guesthouses in Namibia often combine luxury with local charm and character.

What to expect

  • Stylish individually decorated rooms or suites.
  • Personalized service, with a focus on guest comfort and satisfaction.
  • Unique architectural and interior design elements.
  • Gourmet dining options with a focus on local cuisine and ingredients.


First Namibian President monument and Lutheran Christ Church in the centre of Windhoek, Namibia

Windhoek, Namibia © Vadim Nefedoff/Shutterstock

The best luxury safari experiences

Covering hot-air balloon trips and champagne breakfasts, and bespoke boat safaris, here’s an overview of some of the best  luxury safari experiences in Namibia.

  • Arrive in style on a fly-in safari: providing access to remote and exclusive areas that are otherwise difficult to reach, fly-in safaris ensure a more excusive experience.
  • Enjoy a champagne breakfast on a hot-air ballooning trip: excursions don’t come more special than soaring above the iconic red dunes of Sossusvlei in a hot air balloon at sunrise, not least if you opt for a post-flight champagne breakfast in the desert.
  • Take a rhino tracking trip: guided by experienced trackers who provide insights into these magnificent creatures and their conservation, nature-lovers won’t want to miss rhino tracking on foot in areas like Damaraland and Ongava Game Reserve.
  • Private desert-adapted wildlife tours: discover the fascinating adaptations of local unique desert-dwelling elephants, lions, and oryx in the company of an expert guide.
  • Enjoy exclusive adventure activities: guided quad biking and sandboarding tours will take you through scenic and less-visited parts of the desert.
  • Go stargazing:  Namibia is renowned for its clear night skies and minimal light pollution, making it an ideal destination for stargazing. Many luxurious lodges offer guided stargazing sessions with telescopes.
  • Bespoke boat safaris: to see a variety of bird species, hippos, and crocodiles, explore the waterways of the Caprivi Strip on a bespoke boat safari.

Ready to plan your trip? Get The Rough Guide to Namibia, and discover unforgettable things to do in Namibia

Not fond of planning? See our customisable Namibia itineraries, or talk to our local experts

Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 03.06.2024

Joanne is a Pembrokeshire-born writer with a passion for the nature, cultures and histories of the Caribbean region, especially Dominica. Also passionate about inspiring a love of adventure in young people, she’s the author of several books for children and young adults, hosts international writing workshops, and has written articles on the Caribbean and inspirational community initiatives for Rough Guides. Follow her @JoanneOwen on Twitter and @joanneowenwrites on Instagram.

Planning your own trip? Prepare for your trip

Use Rough Guides' trusted partners for great rates

Ready to travel and discover

Get support from our local experts for
stress-free planning & worry-free travels

Plan my trip ⤍