Namibia is a country in southern Africa, located on the west coast. It has only been independent since 1990 as it was ruled by Germany and South Africa before that. The capital is Windhoek, which is located in the middle of the country. Namibia is gaining popularity and most people visit it to go on safari in the national parks and for the incredible nature in many different parts of the country. Namibia is not as cheap as you might expect, but it is still possible to go there on a budget. The currency they use is Namibian dollar, but you can also use South African rand everywhere.
Namibia is not an easy country to get around in if you don’t have your own car. Busses are rare, so if you don’t want to hitchhike or have a rental car to get to and from your hostels, your best bet is to book an organized tour. Most of these tours are offered by hostels in Windhoek.
Hostels are quite common in the cities in Namibia. Every large city has at least one hostel, or maybe a few. Since Namibia is an up and coming destination, new hostels are opening all the time. The quality of the hostels in Namibia is generally good. Bed linen is almost always included, and most hostels offer a kitchen and free internet. Sometimes a private double room is cheaper or the same price as two dorm beds, so if you travel with several people, this is worth checking before you book. A lot of hostels also offer organized tours to the main tourist attractions in the region. Hostels in Windhoek often offer longer tours around the country. Outside of the bigger cities, hostels are still not common and it will be hard to find any hostels in some areas.
Windhoek is a nice city for a few days, but it is not the reason for any tourist to come to Namibia. It makes a good base to plan your trip, but after that, it’s best to get out and explore the rest of the country.
Etosha is the number one national park in Namibia and definitely worth a visit. Most of the park is covered by a huge salt pan and the nature in the park is amazing. You can spot many different animals here, including the big five. There are no hostels in the park, but you can look for options just outside the park. In addition to government-run Etosha, there are several privately owned safari parks. These parks are a more upmarket and offer only luxury accommodation.
There are a few coastal towns in Namibia that are popular among backpackers, including Swakopmund, Walvis Bay, and Lüderitz. All three cities have a German feel to them and with plenty of German architecture, restaurants, and more. There are several hostels in each city. Look for one that is close to the town center. In Swakopmund and Walvis Bay it is very popular to explore the dunes. In Lüderitz you can visit the ghost town of Kolmanskop.
The northeast coast of Namibia is called the Skeleton Coast, after the many shipwrecks along the coast. This is an interesting area to explore, but that can only be done with a 4x4. Hostel accommodation is not common in this part of the country.
Maybe the most famous attraction in Namibia is Sossusvlei. It's located in the middle of the dunes and there are no buses to this part of Namibia. Tours are available from Windhoek, and this might be the best budget option if you don’t have a car.
Another must-visit is the Fish River Canyon, located in the southern part of Namibia. It's the biggest canyon in Africa and there are a few viewpoints that give amazing views over the canyon.
Hi, I'm Paulien,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Namibia hostels. Welcome.
I visited Swakopmund in September 2008. It is a lovely place but because I was a single female there was no nightlife (I was too scared). Nobody speaks to you unless you reach out first. I'm doing it again in September 2009 with hubby, and hoping it will be more fun.