Hostel Review: Chameleon Backpacker’s Lodge, Windhoek, Namibia

Chameleon Backpacker’s Lodge is a mainstay on the Southern African tourist trail.  Moreover, much like Jollyboy’s in Zambia, it is much more than a simple hostel.  Chameleon Backpacker’s is part hostel and part lodge.  Rooms range from typical backpacker dorms to luxury suites full of character.  Beyond the rooms, Chameleon is also a tour operator and offers budget small group tours to places like Etosha National Park and Sossusvlei.  In many ways, Chameleon is a one-stop shop for backpackers in Namibia.

To review the hostel, I’ll go through my usual analysis and scoring.

Chamelon Backpacker's

Rooms

I got a nice look at all of the rooms at Chameleon, they range from luxury to dorms and everything in between.  The thing I like about the rooms is that they have a little bit of a unique identity to each of them.  Rooms are named after different animals and are all completely different.  They all have their own character.

Score: 10/10

Chamelon Backpacker's room

Chamelon Backpacker’s

Facilities

The facilities at Chamelon are good.  They basically have everything one would need.  There’s a nice pool in the main area with a nearby bar, a beautiful kitchen, and a TV room.  There is no restaurant on site, which is a bit of a shame, but they’ll order delivery for you if you’d like, or there are some places nearby.  My only gripe is that the internet is pay-for.  How important is internet to some people?  I’d pay a couple dollars more for a lower quality hostel if I knew I didn’t have to pay for the wifi.

Score: 8/10

Chamelon Backpacker's pool

Location

When I did my review for Jollyboys Backpackers in Livingstone, I noted how it was possible to have a good location in a city that has no bad location.  While, in the case of Windhoek, Chameleon is a hostel with a good location in a city with no good locations.  In Windhoek, there’s not a massive tourist center, so it’s not like you’ll find museums, restaurants, and sights all within walking distance.  Still, the location here is about as good as it gets as you’re near groceries, a couple restaurants and the main traffic arteries.

Score: 8/10

Atmosphere and Fun

The atmosphere at Chameleon is great.  I love the vibe and how they’ve encorporated not only the African flavour to things, but also the natural world.  In the middle of the city, Chameleon doesn’t feel surrounded by buildings, it feels like a lodge.  As for fun, it’s a good place.  The bar always has a fair share of people near it, and the poolside area is a bit of a hangout zone.  Don’t expect it to get wild and crazy here either though.

Score: 8/10

Chamelon Backpacker's

Staff

The staff is awesome.  I found each and every one of them to be incredibly helpful and really pleasant.  All of them were willing to go beyond to make sure you got what you need.  Moreover, they all seemed to have a bit of a sense of humour that they weren’t afraid to show off.  Really good people here.

Score: 10/10

Overall Score: 44/50

I’d definitely recommend Chameleon to you if you’re heading to Windhoek.  And if you do head that way, be sure to say hi to all the staff for me. Enjoy!


Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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3 Comments

  1. Great backpacking hostel and very good location with lots of facilities.

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  2. Hello Brenden!

    I am working on entering the hostel industry by first setting up my own website thehostelgroup.com.

    The premise of the website is to produce quality hostel feedback to the world and to travellers that are deciding which hostel to stay at. I believe that a lot of people will like your reviews and I hope thehostelgroup can expand your audience with brendansadventures.com.

    This is not an OTA, but an exciting non-profit idea to connect travellers with other travellers, and to connect travellers directly to hostels.

    Please check out the site (Be advised that I am still working on it and the only way to make it better is by reaching out to more travellers and travel bloggers like yourself!

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    Please tell me what you think, and if you have any questions or concerns! This is all still new to me!

    Kind Regards,

    Hayden

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  3. Two months ago, my three female friends and I visited the Chameleon hostel. First of all, one of the two staff members touched my friend’s but twice. Accordingly, two male older guests started shouting at us that they wanted to take us out to dance, and bring us to NYC. Moreover, a mentally disturbed drunk guy was disturbing the hostel. He was shouting at guests, and the staff members told him to leave but didn’t do anything. In the end, this disturbed guest started shouting about grabbing my friend in the ass.
    We obviously refused to stay in this hostel, also because the dorms were mixed, something that was not anounced on the website. We simply felt unsafe as four young women, staying in this extremely female unfriendly hostel. We asked for a money refund as we’d already paid for three nights. We were happy to be informed that the manager was willing to talk to us the next day. She watched the video tapes that were recorded in the room where my friend was touched by one of the staff members. Unfortunately, she denied to have seen something of this event on the video. Instead, she suggested that my friend misinterpreted the situation. In the end, we got our money back for the last two nights but not for the first night.

    Briefly stated: this was by far our worst hostel experience ever. I would like to recommend to all female visitors of Windhoek to never sleep in this hostel.

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