Reviews of Okonjima Plains Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Real privilege to get this close to wildlife
We found Okonjima well run by enthusiastic, mostly young, staff.
We went cheetah tracking in the afternoon - and were amazed by how close we were able to get to the cats (including some around a kill).
We also saw a whole host of other wildlife - including a leopard tortoise on the cheetah drive! and a porcupine from the night hide.
Our guides were very knowledgeable.
The food was excellent - definitely make sure you arrive in time for cake in the afternoon, and the room was spacious and well fitted.
Wonderful stay, fabulous experiences
This was our third stay at Okonjima and it was as good as ever.
We had fantastic sightings of cheetah, leopard and wild dogs. Staff were very friendly and helpful and we had a wonderful group of guides who shared their knowledge and love for the animals and catered for our requests. We are never disappointed by the quality of the guides at Okonjima and this year was no exception.
A wonderful stay and we will be going back for a fourth time.
Luxury at Okonjima Bush Camp
Informed at the gate that we had been upgraded from the main camp to bush camp, who were we to argue?
This camp was a highlight of the trip for us and a wonderful way to round off our travels before returning to Windhoek. Our chalet was superb, with views of the bush and it's own mini waterhole plus bird feeder. A night visit to the hide was included and we were lucky enough to see the honey badger as well as a bunch of very stroppy porcupines!
A morning cheetah tracking expedition by truck and on foot gave us sight of no less than six cheetahs plus a leopard. Our only regret was that we were spending only one night here.
Okonjima - with a walk on the wildside.
We had chosen Okonjima as our final camp in Namibia having seen and heard so much of this place famous for re-introducing cheetah into the wild, we were looking forward to this.
Our start was not a good one though as we'd been placed in garden room 1, the closest to the restaurant/lappa with no terrace or balcony and overlooked by all in camp. It was not the best of rooms as there was absolutely no privacy unless we closed our doors and curtains, After dinner smokers would gather outside of our room which was not pleasant. We felt imprissoned somewhat so expressed our views and thankfully were upgraded to a view room for our second night which was lovely.
If Expert Africa are sending clients here I would definetly insist that you do not want Garden Rooms 1 & 2, the other rooms in this area have much more space and some degree of privacy. Rooms aside we had some wonderful wildlife sightings and game drives allowing us to trek cheetah and wild dog "on foot".
The staff were pleasant and the food was good, so it all ended very well.
Okonjima Main Camp review
Overnight stop instead of Windhoek. In that respect obviously better than a B+B. However, I am not convinced about the conservation aspect of this endeavour. It seemed very much a make money from tourists scheme.
Wouldn't have wanted to stay more than one night
The most annoying part was that we were placed with others for dinner with no warning (and when there were tables for two). We expect this on safari, especially when groups will be sharing vehicles and need to get to know each other, but on our last night, we were looking for a bit of alone time and it would have been nice if someone had asked if we minded
Okonjima Main Camp review
This was all and more than I expected. VERY experienced and knowledgable guides. Leopard,and Cheetah all over the place. We were lucky, but this was almost the highlight of a fascinating tripRead more about the whole safari
Cheetahs on a kill
Our first day in Etosha included two black-backed jackals on a freshly dead springbok, and our last day in Namibia at Okonjima included seeing three cheetah devouring a young oryx they had killed an hour or so previously...and we got to see them on foot within 20 yards!
There was no room for us at Main Camp so we got an upgrade to Bush Camp!
Animals and luxury at Okonjima
We were lucky enough to be upgraded to Bush Camp at Okonjima - more luxurious, smaller and an even better setting. The lovely rooms were secluded and felt as though they were truly in the bush - we bumped into warthogs and oryx on the way to the lapa. The food (quantity and quality) was fantastic, and the staff were brilliant. Great pool too.
We tracked cheetahs by vehicle, then on foot, and not only got close to several, but also saw giraffes, zebras, oryx, impala, springboks, eland, warthogs, steenboks, and much more on the same trip. We watched porcupines scrap over the remains of our dinner from the night hide, and the next morning found a leopard who posed obligingly on a termite mound. Wonderful!
In fact I was upgraded to Okonjima Bush Camp on my arrival.
The experience of tracking and finding cheetahs that had just made a kill on the first day, and a leopard on the second was one which I will long remember. My room was the best I stayed in on the whole trip (and there was some stiff competition), and the food was delicious.
My arrangements only included activities in the price for the day after I arrived, and the cost of those which I did on the first day was very reasonable. Finally, both my guides, Roan and Albert, were very good.
Cats' whiskers at Okonjima
Okonjima Main Camp provided a splendid end to our holiday.
We were upgraded to a “View” chalet - spacious, with two double beds, panoramic windows, table and chairs, superior en-suite facilities and a porch looking at the adjacent patch of veld and its grazing warthogs. With a tin roof, the interior became hot as the day wore on. The internal electric fans were sufficient to relieve while we were there (in Spring), but the chalet might, we thought, become uncomfortable in Summer. During our second evening one of the beds was visited by some small ants so we transferred to the other.
On arrival, we were given an introduction to the facilities by one of the staff. She spoke engagingly, but obviously thought that we knew more of the Camp's style and its activities than we did. We felt as though we were being pushed into “activities”, whose agendas were not apparent to us. When we asked as to the latter, she said that our “guide” would decide – not very illuminating at the time, though she did say there would be either cheetah and leopard tracking, at the discretion of the guide. We would have preferred to have been provided with a written outline of the Camp's programmes and the modus operandi (with, by all means, a supplementary talk to bring it all to life).
As it turned out, we enjoyed it all. We found that we were, in effect, allocated a guide and personal sponsor for our stay. He ascertained our preferences and made arrangements accordingly. Normally, these entailed joining an excursion which he would lead (for which one would be billed on account – unless there under an all-inclusive tariff). A side-effect of this approach was that we were seated with other members of our excursion parties at dinner. We got on well with these fellow-guests and we enjoyed the company. We presumed – but never checked - that we could vary the seating arrangements, had this not been the case.
Our first “activity” started at around 4pm on the day of our arrival. It was a tour by 4WD shuttle of the AfriCat facilities, including the large enclosures for certain orphaned cheetah, leopard and caracal. While interesting – and an eye-opener for anyone who had not previously seen such cats – it was not, in our opinion the best activity available.
The next day we went on a leopard “hunt” after breakfast and a cheetah “hunt” around 4pm (after complimentary tea and cakes). Each excursion lasted approximately 3 hours, giving us the middle of the day to relax and to do our own thing (we initially contemplated one of the self-guided hikes at this time - but it was too hot for us). Our guide drove our parties of 4-6 persons in 4WD shuttles (with capacity for 8 guests) around the much larger expanse of Okonjima's bush terrain. Here roamed the cats and other wildlife, constrained only by many miles of outer perimeter fencing, encompassing hills, ridges and plains.
The cats were collared and traceable through radio receivers deployed by our guide. In this respect there was a degree of artificiality. However, the imprecision of the tracing equipment, the density of much of the bush, the off-roading and the distances involved combined to provide real prospects of failure and a thrill of hunt.
We were lucky. On our morning excursion, after much double-backing and circling through the thick bush, we tracked down a leopard still eating a fresh kill – a steenbok which she had dragged up a tree. In the afternoon, we quickly located a lone cheetah, loftily surveying its surrounds from a termite mound. Then, after a couple of hours (during which we saw giraffe and other plains-game, but no cats), we ran to ground three cheetah who had freshly killed a young zebra. Initially, all three cats stayed together at the kill. However, the routine changed as we watched. As one ate, the other two moved off a small distance to peer intently in another direction – prepared, as it turned out, to fend off the attentions of an approaching leopard who had smelled the kill.
In normal circumstances guests are permitted to disembark the shuttle in order to get closer to cheetah (but not leopard). In this case we were forced to get back into the vehicle hastily, after we heard the cough of the encroaching leopard and our guide was radioed by a colleague (who was tracking the leopard for his party from Okonjima Bush Camp). We found that the guides confer and collaborate during their respective excursions, in order to share discoveries and to improve the experiences of their parties. They were careful to avoid crowding. Thus, after we had finished with watching the three cheetah, we moved on to see the frustrated leopard (some 60m away through the bush, in the gathering dusk), while the party from Bush Camp moved from their primary “target” to view the cheetah.
On each evening, after a satisfying dinner, we opted to join a party to walk some 15 minutes via torchlight to the Camp's porcupine hide. Here the guide tossed down a basketful of vegetable remains into a floodlit area outside the hide, in order to lure the animals. On the first evening nothing showed up, except a jackal which quickly took fright and fled. A German guest asked if the porcupines existed. She had done the walk twice the previous year and this was the third occasion on which she had drawn a blank. However, the next night we went again (German girl too) and, within minutes, two large porcupines emerged from the bush to chomp their way steadily through the assorted chunks and peelings on offer.