Ongava Lodge stands on a hill within a game reserve, adjacent to Etosha National Park.
Ongava Lodge: Our full report
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 ViewOngava 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!
Ideal length of stay: 2 or 3 nights
Owner: Wilderness Safaris
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Birdwatching: Birdlife in Ongava Reserve and neighboring Etosha is prolific. With over 340 species to be seen, amongst them 10 of Namibia's 14 endemic bird species most 'twitchers' will be kept busy here. 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 Ongava reserve. The focus of these walks are often the white rhino found on the reserve, although you will also often see the reserve's wide variety of other game species, big and small.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
Generally recommended for children: We'd recommend the lodges only for older children (say above around 12 years old) who are interested in the wildlife.
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 area: Yes
Medical care: Nearest doctor in Outjo
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Included