Hotels, pensions, lodges and camps
The hotels here are without exception fairly clean and safe. Unless you choose a really run-down old-style hotel in one of the smaller towns, you're unlikely to find anywhere that's dirty. Generally you'll get what you pay for, and only in Windhoek and Swakopmund will you find a real choice.
Establishments are graded by stars, from one to five, but the system is more a guide to their facilities and size than the quality or service. The 'T' that appears alongside the star rating indicates that the place has been judged suitable for tourists, while the number of Ys reflects the type of licence to serve alcohol (three Ys being a full licence).
Most bush camps and lodges are of a high standard, though their prices – and atmosphere – vary wildly. Price is a guide to quality here, though not a reliable one. Often the places that have better marketing (ie: you've heard of them) cost more than their less famous neighbours which are equally good.
These are private farms which host small numbers of guests, usually arranged in advance. They are often very personal and you'll eat all your meals with the hosts and be taken on excursions by them during the day.
Most have some game animals on their land and conduct their own game drives. One or two have interesting rock formations, or cave paintings to visit. Some encourage mainly 'photographic' visitors – that is visitors with a more general interest in the place and its wildlife. Most of these guest farms have been included in this guide. Others, which concentrate mainly on hunters coming to shoot trophy animals, have generally not been included.
Many guest farms concentrate on German-speaking visitors, though those mentioned in this guide also welcome English-speaking guests (and many will make enormous efforts to make you feel at home).
Their prices vary, but are rarely less than N$450 per person – and usually nearer N$650. They generally include all your meals, and often some trips around their farm.
Wherever you are in Namibia, you can usually find a campsite nearby. In the more remote areas, far from settlements, nobody bothers if you just sleep by the road. The campsites which are dotted all over the country generally have good ablution blocks, which vary from a concrete shed with toilets and cold shower, to an immaculately fitted-out set of changing rooms with toilets and hot showers. The more organised ones will also have facilities for washing clothes.
Prices are frequently per site, which theoretically allows for 'a maximum of eight persons, two vehicles and one caravan/tent'. In practice, if you've a couple of small tents you will not often be charged for two sites, so travelling in a small group can cut costs considerably.