Okaukuejo Camp is found inside the Etosha National Park.
Okaukuejo Camp: Our full report
Okaukuejo Camp (formerly known as Okakwiju), meaning a woman who bore a child each year, stands near the public southern entrance of Etosha National Park, at the western end of the famous Etosha Pan. Although a larger camp than most we feature, it is a popular choice due to its well-established waterhole, which attracts a variety of game in large numbers.
Okaukuejo officially opened for visitors in 1957, and is the oldest and largest of the three former government-run rest camps (the other two are Halali Camp and Namutoni Camp).
Okaukuejo's main attraction is the large, flood-lit waterhole, which receives exceedingly regular visits from a wide diversity of wildlife. These animals include herds of antelope, lion, family groups of elephant and black rhino, which are seen remarkably frequently. It's not an over-statement to say that this is probably the best place in Africa to observe black rhino in the wild – as there are often a number of individuals that come down to this waterhole to drink at night.
The spectacle starts at dawn and continues throughout the day, with visits from herds of zebras and springbok during the afternoon. It's especially fun to sit back after dinner with a bottle of wine, watching the water's nocturnal visitors and their interactions. Beside this, the landmark stone tower at the heart of Okaukuejo rest camp is an excellent spot to relax and watch the sun go down behind distant mountains.
Okaukuejo Camp boasts a total of 104 chalets, They are all equipped with fridges and tea-stations, and come in six different types, depending on their location and size:
- There are five Premier Waterhole Chalets set in close proximity to the waterhole. Chalet 34 affords the best view of the waterhole. The double-storey buildings have an en-suite bedroom (with two single beds), a small lounge area and the tea/coffee station and fridge downstairs. Stairs lead to the main bedroom, with a queen-size bed in the middle of the room facing wide glass doors which open out onto a private patio. The upstairs bedroom has his and hers wash basins, a flush loo, a wardrobe and shower situated behind the bedroom area. From the bed you have partial views of the waterhole or you can lie out on twin sun loungers and enjoy the views from your private patio overlooking the waterhole and its wildlife activity. Note that these rooms are usually booked on a half board basis.
- Of the 30 Waterhole Chalets at Okaukuejo, bungalows only chalets 1w + 2w and 9w + 10w have views of the waterhole, but these are considerably smaller than the rest and do not have a private living area. Although the rest of the waterhole chalets do not have views of the waterhole, they are situated close by and are considerably more spacious, each with their own private living area.
- The two self-catering Family Chalets are very spacious with a large living area with plenty of seating space, two en-suite bedrooms each with twin beds and a well-equipped kitchenette. (Equipped with a stove with four hot plates and an oven, a large fridge, tea station, cutlery, crockery, teapots, pots, saucepan, kitchen knives, water jug and braai utensils.) Each has a braai area adjacent to a shaded veranda with outdoor tables and chairs.
- There are also 20 Bush Chalets at Okaukuejo Camp. Each has one double bedroom, a bathroom, a lounge area and barbeque facilities.
- In addition, Okaukuejo Camp has 45 en-suite Double Rooms, with two Disabled Access Chalets. The former are simple, but comfortable, with armchairs and a coffee table, a tea and coffee station and ensuite bathrooms. The latter are set close to the waterhole, and have spacious double bedrooms, with wide doorways for wheelchair access. The loo and shower have handrails; the shower also has a pull down seat.
The main facilities at Okaukuejo are typical of a rest camp and include a restaurant, where all the meals are served as a buffet, a bar, a kiosk where light meals and drinks are available during the day, a curio shop, a post office, as well as a fuel station and three swimming pools. Two large pools are for adults and there's a smaller, shallower pool for children. There's also a tourist shop, selling basic food items, and a tourist centre, displaying the ongoing park research.
Okaukuejo is now operated by the para-statal Namibia Wildlife Resorts. When we were last here in June 2014, we found the service attentive and very friendly, but the food left a little room for improvement.
Whilst staying at Okaukuejo, activities mainly consist of wildlife viewing – and the vast majority of visitors come in their own cars, and drive themselves around the park. Etosha was set up as a reserve for visitors to drive themselves, with a network of very well-marked and signposted roads. However, Okaukuejo does offer morning, afternoon and evening game drives. The advantage of taking the morning or the night drive is that they give you access to the park before/after the gates are closed to the public. The morning drives leave around an hour earlier than the park gates open to the public, and the night drive is entirely after the park closes for the day – so you will have the park to yourself. In June 2014, we went on an afternoon game drive from Okaukuejo, and were pleasantly surprised by the guiding. Although we visited waterholes we could have driven to ourselves, we enjoyed the expertise and explanations from our knowledgeable guide.
Our viewBeing a larger, government run camp, Okaukuejo does not reach the same standards as the smaller, private camps outside the park. However, its excellent waterhole and convenient location inside the park make it well worth staying at, and its prices are reasonable.
Finding space at OkaukuejoThe fantastic waterhole makes Okaukuejo a very popular choice for travellers to Etosha, and it can get very booked up, especially from July to October. Expert Africa holds several rooms throughout this period – usually two-person chalets – reserving them for travellers who visit Okaukuejo as part of a fly-drive holiday with us. This means that sometimes we have space, even when the camp will tell you that they are 'full'.
Take a look at Okaukuejo's live availability page for more information – and remember that these rooms are only for travellers who book their whole fly-drive itinerary with us.
Ideal length of stay: 2-3 nights
Directions: From Windhoek, take the B1 and turn onto the C38 from Otjiwarongo through Outjo to Anderson Gate (about 400 km; 114 lm from Outjo). Okaukuejo is situated another 17 km from the southern entrance of Etosha National Park.
Accessible by: Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Okaukuejo Camp is run by Namibia Wildlife Resorts.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: B&B
Food quality: Okaukuejo Camp has a restaurant, providing buffets for breakfast (05:30 to 9:00 during winter, 06:00 to 10:00 in summer), lunch (12:00 to14:00), and dinner (18:00 to 21:00 in winter, 19:00 to 22:00 in summer).
Okaukuejo's two Family Chalets are self-catering and have well-equipped kitchenettes and braai areas. The 25 Bush Chalets have barbeque facilities as well, and guests staying on one of the 26 camping sites have access to three field kitchens and communal braai areas.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: No drinks are included.
Wildlife safaris: Okaukuejo Camp's large permanent waterhole is flood-lit at night, and attracts vast numbers of wild animals, coming to quench their thirst. Black rhinos, zebra, lion, and herds of elephant are frequent visitors in the evenings, and whilst staying here, guests have most stunning opportunities to observe them at close range.See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Namibia
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome at Okaukuejo Camp.
Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions.
Generally recommended for children: Yes, but children must be supervised at all times. It is especially important that they are quiet at the waterhole.
Notes: 6 to 12 year old children are charged at half price for game drives, children under the age of 6 are not permitted on game drives.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: There's a phone in the main area. Mobile reception is available throughout the camp.
TV & radio: There are no radios or TVs in any of the chalets and rooms.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: There's a basic clinic on-site with two nurses. A first aid box is available at reception.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: There's a low fence and a wall in-between the flood-lit waterhole and the chalets, to reduce the chances of dangerous animals from entering the camp.
Fire safety: There is a fire extinguisher in each room.
Disabled access: In Place
Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service – Extra Charge
Money: Pounds and US dollars are accepted.
Accepted payment on location: Visa is accepted but it is much faster and easier to pay in cash.