Ongava Lodge

Ongava Lodge: Our full report

14 rooms
Traveller's rating
Good (89%) From 70 reviews
All year

Perched on the top of a small kopje (rocky outcrop), overlooking the plains below, Ongava Lodge was the original 'luxury game lodge' near Etosha. It stands on the private Ongava Game Reserve, which borders the southern side of Etosha National Park near Andersson's Gate, south of Okaukuejo.

The hub of Ongava is the main lounge, bar and dining area, which has great views down to the waterhole below, and across to the unpronounceable Ondundozonanandana hill range. Meals are served either here or, under the stars on the dining deck. There is also a welcoming swimming pool next to this central area.

Ongava Lodge has fourteen large, stone and thatch chalets. Each stylish room has air-conditioning and an over-head fan, 24-hour 220V electricity, and large mosquito nets around the beds. The en-suite bathroom has a shower and a bath, and the selection of complementary toiletries included insect repellent, soap and shampoo. Each chalet has a private wooden veranda, and most have great views across the plains below.

As the Ongava Reserve borders Etosha National Park, and it is a wildlife reserve of note in its own right. There's a fence between Etosha and Ongava, but smaller game can usually move between the two – and there are plenty of instances of larger game breaking through. Most native plains game occurs on the property including springbok, gemsbok, blue wildebeest, zebra, red hartebeest, giraffe, eland, Damara dik-dik, steenbok and klipspringer. Ongava has what's said to be the largest population of black-faced impala outside of Etosha, plus a healthy population of predators, including lion, leopard, hyena and black-backed jackal.

Both black and white rhino have been successfully reintroduced onto Ongava and on our last visit here, we stopped at the end of an afternoon nature drive for a relaxing 'sundowner' drink. With drink and nibbles in hand, we were fortunate to see two white rhino walk out of the bush ahead and join us!

Bird-watching in this reserve can also be very good, with 10 out of Namibia's 14 endemic (or almost endemic) species to be found locally, including the bare-cheeked babbler, violet wood-hoopoe, carp's tit and red-necked falcon.

Activities at Ongava focus firmly on game safaris. As well as guided 4WD game safaris in open 4WDs, Ongava Lodge offers guided walking safaris, including tracking white rhino on foot, which aren't available in Etosha itself; also night game drives which are not possible for many properties in the Etosha area.

Its activities vary; some game drives stay on the Ongava Reserve, whilst other half- and (especially) full-day game venture around the Okaukuejo area of Etosha National Park. All use open-topped vehicles, which are a relatively unusual sight within the national park itself. In our experience over many years, the lodge's guides here are generally excellent. Ongava also has a hide near the camp which is good for photographers.

Our view

Ongava Lodge is a luxurious places to stay near Etosha with good guiding which makes walking safaris and night drives easily possible. If you take advantage of all the activities here, then note that only some of our game drives will be spent in the park. That said, the game on Ongava Reserve is generally excellent.

You can also use Ongava Lodge as a base for your own self-drive trip around Etosha National Park., although it's one of the more costly places to use like this!


Location: Etosha National Park, Namibia

Ideal length of stay: 2 or 3 nights

Accessible by: Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Wilderness Safaris

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Further dining info: Yes

Special interests

Birdwatching: Birdlife in Ongava Reserve and neighboring Etosha is prolific. There are over 340 species; local specials include the Namaqua sandgrouse, short-toed rock thrush, acacia pied barbet, double-banded courser and yellow-bellied eremomela.

See more ideas for Birdwatching in Namibia

Walking safaris: Ongava Lodge is a great place for walking safaris; expertly-trained and armed guides lead you through the reserve. The focus of these walks is often on the white rhino found on the reserve, although you will also see the reserve's wide variety of other game species.

See more ideas for Walking safaris in Namibia

Wildlife safaris: Located on the border of Etosha National Park, Ongava Lodge offers fantastic game viewing both within the park and on its own reserve. An added bonus is the opportunity to track white rhino on foot whilst staying here, and to enjoy the night drives back to the lodge after the afternoon game drive.

See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Namibia


Attitude towards children: Good with older children

Property’s age restrictions: No children under 8 years of age.

Notes: Big and dangerous game will often wander through the lodge's grounds – and there are no fences so vigilance is essential. All children will need constant supervision by their parents.


Power supply: Generator

Communications: Phone and Internet access in central facilities.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: Nearest doctor in Outjo

Dangerous animals: High Risk


Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: Included

Accepted payment on location: Accepted payments are local currency (N$), US$, GB£ and € as well as credit card and traveler's cheques.