Okaukuejo Camp

Okaukuejo Camp: Our full report

Rooms
104 units
Traveller's rating
Good (85%) From 431 reviews
Children
Best for 8+
Open
All year

Okaukuejo Camp (formerly known as Okakwiju), meaning a woman who bore a child each year, stands at the western end of the famous Etosha Pan, about a half-hour drive from the Andersson Gate, the southern entrance into Etosha National Park. 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 in Etosha – the other two being Halali Camp and Namutoni Camp. All three camps are now operated by the para-statal Namibia Wildlife Resorts.

Okaukuejo's main attraction is a large, floodlit waterhole, which receives exceedingly regular visits from a wide diversity of wildlife. This includes 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 a number of individuals often 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 the distant mountains.

Okaukuejo Camp boasts a total of 102 chalets in five different types, which vary according to location, size and facilities. All are equipped with fridges and tea stations, and prices are reasonable.

  • Five Premier Waterhole chalets are set in close proximity to the waterhole (chalet 34 affords the best view). On the ground floor, the double-storey buildings have an en-suite bedroom with two single beds, a small lounge area and the tea/coffee station and fridge. Stairs lead to the main bedroom, where a queen-size bed in the middle of the room faces wide glass doors that open out onto a private patio with twin sunloungers. From here, or from the bed, you have partial views of the waterhole and its wildlife activity. This bedroom has his and hers washbasins, a flush toilet, a shower and a wardrobe situated behind the bedroom area. Note that these rooms are usually booked on a half-board basis.

  • 30 double en-suite Waterhole chalets at Okaukuejo are somewhat misnamed, as only numbers 1w, 2w, 9w and 10w have views of the waterhole. These four are considerably smaller than the rest, however, and do not have a private living area. Conversely, while the other waterhole chalets have no view of the waterhole, they are situated close by and they are considerably more spacious, each with its own private living area.

  • Two self-catering Family chalets are very spacious with a large living area with plenty of seating space, two en-suite twin bedrooms and a well-equipped kitchenette with a stove (with four hotplates and an oven), a large fridge, tea station, cutlery, crockery, pots and pans, kitchen knives, water jug and braai (barbecue) utensils. Each has a braai area adjacent to a shaded veranda with outdoor tables and chairs.

  • 25 Bush chalets have one double bedroom, a bathroom, a lounge area and barbecue facilities.

  • 40 double rooms are simple, but comfortable, with armchairs and a coffee table, a tea and coffee station and en-suite bathrooms. Two of these rooms, set close to the waterhole, offer disabled access, and have spacious double bedrooms with wide doorways suitable for wheelchair access. The toilet and shower have handrails, and the shower also has a pull-down seat.

The extensive main facilities at Okaukuejo are typical of a Namibian restcamp and include a restaurant serving buffet meals, a bar and a kiosk where light meals and drinks are available during the day. 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.

Three swimming pools include two large pools and a smaller, shallower pool for children. Okaukuejo also has a tourist shop, selling basic food items, a curio shop, a post office, a fuel station, and a tourist centre, displaying the ongoing park research.

Etosha National Park was set up as a reserve for visitors to drive themselves, with a network of very well-marked and signposted roads.The vast majority of guests at Okaukuejo come in their own cars, and drive themselves around the park. Okaukuejo does, however, offer a range of guided activities in the form of morning and afternoon game drives and – a recent introduction – night drives. A significant advantage of the morning and night drives is that they allow access to the park before/after the gates are closed to the public, when even those staying within the park are not allowed to drive. The morning drives leave around an hour before 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 view

As a large, formerly government-run camp, Okaukuejo still has rather a corporate feel and 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 consideration, and its prices are reasonable.

Finding space at Okaukuejo

The 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.

Geographics

Location: Etosha National Park, Namibia

Ideal length of stay: 2-3 nights

Directions: From Windhoek, take the B1 and turn onto the C38 from Otjiwarongo through to the Andersson Gate into Etosha National Park (about 400km). Okaukuejo is situated 17km from the gate.

Accessible by: Self-drive

Key personnel

Owner: Namibia Wildlife Resorts

Food & drink

Usual board basis: B&B

Food quality: Okaukuejo Camp has a restaurant, providing buffets for breakfast (5,30–9.00am during winter, 6.00–10.00am in summer), lunch (midday–2.00pm), and dinner (6.00–9:00pm in winter, 7.00–10.00pm in summer). On our last visit, in June 2014, we felt that the food left a little room for improvement.

Okaukuejo's Family chalets are self-catering and have well-equipped kitchenettes and braai (barbecue) areas. The Bush chalets have barbecue facilities as well.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £5-10

Drinks included: No drinks are included.

Special interests

Wildlife safaris: Okaukuejo Camp's large permanent waterhole is floodlit at night, and attracts vast numbers of animals coming to quench their thirst. Black rhinos, zebra, lion and herds of elephant are frequent visitors in the evenings, and guests staying here have stunning opportunities to observe them at close range.

See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Namibia

Children

Attitude towards children: Children are welcome at Okaukuejo Camp, but children under the age of six are not permitted on game drives.

Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions.

Special activities & services: With three swimming pools, Okaukuejo offers space for children to let off steam.

Notes: The presence of dangerous wildlife, and the unfenced swimming pools mean that parents must keep their children under constant supervision.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Mains Electricity

Communications: Cellphone reception is available throughout the camp, and there's a phone in the main area.

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.

Extras

Disabled access: In Place

Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service – Extra Charge

Accepted payment on location: Visa cards are accepted but it is much faster and easier to pay in cash. Payments may be made in Namibian dollars, South African rand, GB pounds and US dollars.