We have no fewer than seven favorite properties in the Namibia private group category, situated in Etosha National Park, Damaraland, Swakopmund, and Sossusvlei. There are plenty of other options too, so just get in touch if you would like to find out more!
Starting in Etosha, we have two top properties here and both are located in private reserves. First, there is Ongava Lodge, in Ongava Reserve, next to the National Park’s southern border. The stone, wood, and thatch main areas are spacious and include a dining deck with amazing views of a nearby waterhole and the plains beyond. Some of the private verandas belonging to the 14 guest cottages have views of the waterhole too! The accommodation is very comfortable, featuring air conditioning and mosquito nets in addition to indoor and outdoor showers. You can also cool off in the Lodge’s lovely swimming pool. Guests enjoy game drives in both Ongava and Etosha, which guarantees access to a real wealth of wildlife! Walking safaris and night drives are possible in Ongava, which is particularly renowned for its rhino.
The second property we love in Etosha, is Onguma Bush Camp. Onguma is another private reserve. This authentic camp lies on the eastern border of the National Park and boasts breathtaking views of Fischer’s Pan, which is choc-a-bloc with wildlife! The communal spaces are housed in an open-sided thatched lapa – as at Ongava Lodge, there are wonderful vistas of a waterhole close to camp. There is a swimming pool here too. Onguma has five categories of accommodation. Unless your group includes children, we would recommend the relatively new Waterview Room option, as these rooms are nearest to the waterhole. Unlike the rest of the camp, they are unfenced, so you feel truly at one with nature. Activities at Onguma focus on game drives (Etosha and Onguma), as well as walking safaris and night drives (Onguma only).
Heading south within Namibia, our next stop is Damaraland. This area is not as game rich as Etosha, but its combination of wildlife and scenery makes it well worth a visit! Wilderness Damaraland Camp has always been popular with YZ. Situated halfway up one side of the Huab River Valley, within a private reserve, the Camp has awesome views over seemingly endless grasslands punctuated with low hills. The lounge and dining spaces have been positioned to maximize those views. Both are spacious and comfy, with the lounge featuring a fireplace and very well padded sofas! Each of the ten chalets is spacious too, and neutrally decorated so the colors of nature are really enhanced. The property also has an unusual oval swimming pool. Activities include game drives and nature walks, with the local desert elephant playing a starring role! Additionally, guests can take a trip to see the rock art at nearby Twyfelfontein.
Mowani Mountain Camp gets a big thumbs-up from YZ too! This property is located between two rivers – the Huab and the Ugab – in the southern region of Damaraland. Occupying a high rocky outcrop, the Camp boasts magnificent vistas over gravel plains sprawling as far as the mountains on the horizon. Its lounge and dining areas are housed in architecturally intriguing rondavels, each with a charming thatched roof. There is also a swimming pool, so you can relax while you marvel at the surrounding landscape! Guest accommodation consists of various types of well-appointed rooms and suites – perhaps unsurprisingly, our top choice is the Superior View Room. The desert elephant are a feature of activities here too, often viewed on game drives. Guests can enjoy guided nature walks and the rock art at Twyfelfontein.
We journey farther south again to arrive at Swakopmund, on the Atlantic coast. Here our top tip for private groups is a B&B. Cornerstone Guesthouse is conveniently positioned between the old town center and the ocean shoreline. The property is owner run and the service is excellent. There is a spacious breakfast room and a smaller yet very comfortable lounge area. Each of the seven rooms includes a flatscreen television, fridge, tea- and coffee-making facilities, well-equipped en-suite, and a private patio! Cornerstone is a brilliant base for exploring Swakopmund and farther afield.
The final part of Namibia in our tour is Sossusvlei, famous for its iconic orange dunes that scrape the sky! Here, we love Wilderness Kulala Desert Lodge. Situated in a private concession, this property boasts the only private entrance into Sossusvlei! So if you are keen on avoiding the crowds, Kulala will work really well for you. The communal areas, easy on the eye in a dunes-inspired palette of red, oranges, and browns, are both chic and comfortable. A cozy fireplace in the lounge area is perfect for gathering around during the chillier months, while the property’s swimming pool keeps guests cool when the weather turns hot! Each of Kulala’s 23 chalets is actually known as a ‘kulala’, a word from the Oshiwambo language that means ‘to sleep’. We are confident you will sleep well here, in a nicely made bed and with plenty of little comforts to ensure an enjoyable stay. Activities focus on seeing the dunes on drives, and you can also go on walks and hot air balloon rides!
Desert Homestead Lodge is very comfortable as well – and very good value too! This property is set in a beautiful valley and boasts panoramic vistas of the surrounding desert and majestic Naukluft Mountains. The main areas include a relaxing lounge area, a rustic bar, and an elegant dining room that is the setting for candlelit dinners! Al fresco dining is also available. Desert Homestead contains 19 twin chalets, all with comfy beds, ceiling fans, ample storage space, and, at the front, a private veranda. The Sossusvlei dunes are about 30 kilometers away, but easily accessed for a day trip. You can enjoy guided walks and hot air balloon rides too. In addition, the Lodge offers horse riding and quad biking!
Namibia really is great for private group safaris and vacations, or even a mixture of the two! Just get in touch with us to start planning a vacation in this thrilling part of the world.