Ongava Lodge

Reviews of Ongava Lodge

Good(88%) From 66 travellers
Excellent
34
Good
26
Average
4
Poor
2
Terrible
0
Below are independent comments from 66 of our travellers who have visited Ongava Lodge, and have kindly agreed to share their thoughts.

They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Mr R & Mrs E - Wiltshire
Arrived on: 23-Oct-2010 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Average
Average
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Average
Average
Service:
Poor
Poor
Food:
Poor
Poor

Ongava Lodge review

The problem here is that the central facilities are at the top of a very sttep hill and all of the chalets were at the bottom. The steps were very very sttep (mountain goats would have had difficulty) and this had to be negotiated twice a day. After 7.30 we we had to have a member of staff to show us the way with a torch. Apparently we were in danger from lion!!!. If so we would have been at risk of attack all night. I think this was a grat over-reaction.

Timekkeping of torch bearers was appauling.--1/2 hour late.
Food was cold and poor quality.

Please take this off your list, especially for older clients.

Air con hardly worked, partly because rooms faced the sun for most of the day.

Read more about the whole safari
Mr & Mrs C - Woking
Arrived on: 14-Oct-2010 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

My favourite

This lodge was my favourite - the room (5) very luxurious with a great terrace (although no view of the waterhole), the food excellent.

We had a late afternoon game drive on the Ongava reserve where we saw lions and white rhinos at close quarters and then a morning (5-6 hours) in Etosha, both with Michael who was the best and most knowledgeable guide we came across by some margin. Once we got used to his driving!

He also gave us good advice on how to get the most out of our next stay at the east end of Etosha when we planned to do our own driving.

Read more about the whole safari
Mr & Mrs E - Coulsdon
Arrived on: 18-Jun-2010 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Good
Good
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Good
Good

Wildlife galore at Ongava Lodge

This lodge was a little disappointing; we felt that the management were not up to the standard we experienced elsewhere and this resulted in less than perfect service. It started when we were shown to the wrong lodge (one already occupied!) and then the one we did have had a broken glass pane in the door. A promise to fix it did not materialise and we had the impression they really had no intention of fixing it; we turned down an offer to move us as we had already unpacked and the lodge did have an excellent view of the waterhole. The accommodation was otherwise very good with lots of space and probably the best shower we experienced on our trip.

Food was good, only slightly below the excellent standards of other lodges. The service was not so good, especially in the dining room where the staff were much too interested in the football!

Our guide, Hennock, was excellent, well up to the superb standard we found everywhere - even if he did not find the lions! The trip into Etosha was great with lots of wildlife.

Read more about the whole safari
Ms G from Luxembourg
Arrived on: 18-May-2010 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Very professional lodge

Ongava Lodge is run very professionaly and smoothly, although it does not have the personal and cosy atmosphere of some other lodges we visited. The activities were planned in a way so that not much time was left between drives and meals and we felt a bit overwhelmed with the programme sometimes.

The activities itself were neverthless great, both Ongava reserve and Etosha park have plenty of animals and each drive is an excellent opportunity to watch them.

The room was very spacious and well-equipped and we had a great view of the waterholes from the terrace. We really appreciated our guide Abder, who was one of the best guides we met during the trip.

Read more about the whole safari
Mr & Mrs H - Surrey
Arrived on: 17-May-2010 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Ongava Lodge review

We thoroughly enjoyed our 3 nights here.....unfortunately we were in Room 11 which has no view.

We would recommend the game drives on the property rather than in Etosha. The water holes at the Lodge and the Tented Camp are visited by lots of interesting game.

Read more about the whole safari

Expert Africa comments

Subsequent to these travellers comments Wilderness Safaris have written a letter of apology. They acknowledge that they definitely advised the camp of the room request, however unfortunately the manager on duty neglected to arrange the room allocation as requested and for that they are sincerely sorry. The concession manager has looked into this matter to avoid any special requests being unattended to in future.

Mr L & Mr L - Kent
Arrived on: 14-May-2010 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Average
Average
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Average
Average
Food:
Poor
Poor
Activities:
Poor
Poor
Facilities:
Good
Good

Ongava Lodge

We felt a little ''captive'' staying here, particularly after dark when we had to be escorted everywhere. We were troubled by this fact and that yet the rooms could not be locked, a contradiction ? We were told everything was really safe, several times, but were not really sure what we needed to be wary of.

Accommodation was fine, as were the facilities, with a great view of a waterhole from the main lodge. The service was variable and the food basic.

We had one game drive in the reserve, which went from an afternoon into the evening. The standard of guiding seemed to show a lack of respect to the animals, and the level of knowledge limited when prompted.

We were concerned to be so close to some animals at dusk and after dark, to the point where they were visibly stressed and seemingly threatened by our presence. The use of bright white spot lights and allowing some guests to use flash photography at extremely close range surprised us.

Not an enjoyable way to watch the wildlife for us. The next day we decided to visit Etosha on our own rather than take another guided trip, and felt better for it.

Read more about the whole safari

Expert Africa comments

We are sorry that these travellers had some problems at Ongava, as are Wilderness Safaris (who own the lodge). As such they have responded at length to points raised.

Wilderness wanted to apologise to the guests for the fact that they had the impression of being held captive and wanted to explain clearly why various rules are in place. As a responsible safari company all safety procedures are in force at Ongava with their guest’s best interests at heart. Like many lodges in dangerous big game areas, Ongava is unfenced. This means that animals can freely wander through the camp. Meeting an elephant or a lion after dinner can be not only surprising, but also dangerous, if you don’t have an experienced person with you. Because of this, Ongava insists on having its guests escorted after dark when they move around the camp. Wilderness Safaris is sorry if this wasn’t clearly explained.

Like many isolated lodges in private game areas, the lions (which frequent this camp fairly regularly) and other dangerous wildlife deter potential burglars (!), and so there is a very low security risk from other humans here. Hence the rooms have no locks.

Because animals can't usually open doors, as long as your room door is closed (with a simple catch of some sort) there's no significant risk of big animals entering the rooms. Ongava Lodge's manager has informed us that there were occasions in the past were guests locked their rooms at night and then couldn't find the keys quickly enough in an emergency situation. As guest safety is a priority, cabin hooks have now been added to all rooms, however at the time that of these travellers stay their room did not have a hook. This has since been added and all rooms in Ongava Lodge now have these hooks installed.

The guides at Ongava are trained to adhere to very strict safety rules & regulations and to behave appropriately towards wildlife. At no time should guides conduct themselves in such a way that the animals feel agitated. The manager of Ongava Lodge assures us that this is not the usual way the game drives are conducted here and this issue is being addressed with the guide concerned. However, it is normal to use spotlights on night drives, though research is being put into place to find more suitable techniques of finding the animals in the dark.

Mr A and Ms W - London
Arrived on: 3-Jan-2010 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Ongava Lodge review

Staff, food, guides etc were all excellent. However the level of accommodation was not quite as high standard as Camp Kipwe or Mushara Outpost. However, the Rhino tracking here vwas one of the hi-lights of the holiday.

Read more about the whole safari
Mr and Mrs F - London
Arrived on: 26-Dec-2009 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Ongava Lodge review

Excellent guide (Michael) who really knew his stuff - very professional

Read more about the whole safari
Mr G & Mrs S - Wincanton
Arrived on: 3-Nov-2009 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent

Ongava Lodge review

Great location, very convenient for Etosha, plus game of its own. We missed the panoramic views and sense of privacy we'd enjoyed so much elsewhere because our room was in the second row. {Particularly felt exposed at wash hand basins}

Seeing & getting so close to white rhino with baby was the highlight. Enjoyed the different species coming and going at the waterhole.

Beware the Dassies!

Read more about the whole safari
Ms J & Dr S - London
Arrived on: 15-Oct-2009 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Good
Good

Ongava Lodge review

Certainly the place to go and see lions. We had about 7 encounters (excl water hole visits), including coming across a group of 13 in a row across the road at sundown. There were six cubs, three of which were just 3 months old, who kept having to run to catch up with the others.

It rained both nights we were there: the second night was a torrential storm, with amazing lightening & 22mm of rain. The downside of this is that it plays havoc with animal viewing (it being the dry season) as suddenly water is plentiful and the water holes less alluring. This impacted on the trip to Etosha, where the water holes were practically deserted. But animal viewing is often down to luck, and I was very happy with what we did see, which included white rhino & calf, a baboon (unusual there), a tortoise (!) and a python (in addition to lions, zebra, giraffes, elephants etc). We were also treated to the lions roaring during the night.

Read more about the whole safari