Reviews of Ongava Tented Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Ongava great lions and rhino
We arrived at the reserve gate to be asked what sundowner drinks we wanted on the evening game drive: a good start! We could not get to the camp because the road was blocked by a pride of lions lazing on the sand; eventually rescued by a safari jeep. 30 minutes later we were seeing our first rhino! We saw 10 white rhino in all, all close up and including 4 when we went on a early morning walk.
Expert guides Leon and Festus. Nothing seemed to much for them or camp manager Elizabeth. They also had Wilderness Safari staff inspecting while we were there, also very friendly.
Fantastic location overlooking well frequented waterhole, although with lions close to camp we had to be escorted at pre-arrranged times after dark and once in your tent you did not open the door.
Comfortable accommodation but our donkey boiler had sprung a leak so our room had no hot water for the 2 days which they did not seem to have noticed. It would be good if they could use solar power rather than burning wood. A very sociable camp where we all ate together at large table overlooking waterhole. The animals made this another highlight.
Ongava Tented Camp Review
We had an incredible experience at Ongava Tented Camp.
Accomodations were well-appointed tents--simple safair luxury right in the bush. And the service here was unsurpassed. We dined each night with the charismatic manager Festus and spent our days with our knowledgable and attentive guide Bono. One night we even had the entire camp to ourselves--a rare treat!
If you want to be close to game, stay at Ongava! The first animal we saw was an alpha male lion no more than 10 feet from our vehicle. And we went on to see more than 20 lions at close range, white rhinos, and a plethora of other animals.
Travelers should beware that the tented camp is not fenced. You are escorted to your tent each night by a guide with a rifle, and two of our three nights we were awoken by lions roaring right outside of our tent! That said, we never felt unsafe. To the contrary, we knew we were in expert hands and our experience was all the more memorable for being that close to the animals.
Ongava Tented Camp review
Compared to the previous camps this felt a little different. I can't really put my finger on what it was - the atmosphere between management and staff was not as "close" as in the other camps.Read more about the whole safari
Ongava Tented Camp review
Wonderful camp, loved the waterhole and all the passing animals. We were lucky enough to hear a lion roar very close to the tent one night.
Excellent service, guide very knowledgeable and enthusiastic, we would have missed so much without him
Sleeping in the wild
Ongava Tented Camp is a true wildlife experience. The waterhole is very active and we had lions in the camp the first night right after finishing dinner. We all quickly got back to our tents and listened as a male lion walked back and forth roaring for about 20 minutes. The performance was repeated again in the middle of the night.
We liked this camp a lot. The overall feel is very relaxed and friendly. It reminded us of our favorite camps in Bostwana. Our guide, Momo, was the best we had throughout the trip. We saw several white rhino on the reserve, and, of course lots of animals in Etosha. But what we enjoyed most was sitting on our deck in the afternoons watching the animals at the waterhole.
Ongava Tented Camp
Ongava was excellent- wonderful waterhole and animals on our door stepRead more about the whole safari
Ongava Tented Camp
Camp was excellent. Again, management and staff were charming and very helpful and efficient.
Corne, in particular, helped us in many extra little ways and took us out on the only walk we managed in the whole two weeks - a rare and much desired treat. Hermine was a delight.
Our guide, Leon, really pulled out all the stops, giving us a twelve-hour day out when we drove into Etosha on our own and even coming home via the scenic route and giving us the usual evening game drive after a full day out. He also took us to visit the local primary school inside Etosha which was fascinating and will benefit the school as we're sending them a donation - everyone should have this included !
Only slight disappointment here (for one of us more than the other) was that Etosha was so commercialised and touristy. It was the only location of our four that we felt was not as unspoilt and remote as we'd hoped. Probably inevitable but it might have helped if we'd been expecting it. But the game was amazing and the second day there, when we went out on our own for the whole day and were able to get further away from the ghastly lodges, was much better.
One tiny point about the camp itself, very difficult to get out of the sun in the heat of the afternoon. Our veranda was in full sun, as was most of the seating in the main areas. A bit more shade needed.
Ongava Tented Camp review
We didn't anticipate the degree to which we were in the midst of African game! Our tent was beautifully appointed and comfortable but, after dark, a safety-enclosed spot from which we couldn't move without supervision (and having no phone meant staying put). After dark, all movement was accompanied but someone with a gun, for good reason -- lions were growling at night all around our tent.
Our last night a pride of 14 lions came and encamped at the water hole some 100 ft. from our dining table (an incredible spectacle), and then some of them moved to our tent's front 'lawn.' At first the staff insisted after dinner that we couldn't return to our tent even with the gun-toting guard but that we'd have to be driven there (somehow); eventually we did walk back with the guard, encountering lions at rest maybe 50 ft. from our door. It was an exciting venture. The weak spot, however, given the camp's cost, was the very mediocre food (by far the worst we encountered at our hotels), served buffet style and not much better than a cafeteria's.
Expert Africa comments
After receiving the feedback from these travellers Ongava Tented Camp informed us that they have put together a new chef training course. Their aim is to raise the standard of the meals offered to a much higher level. The camp management is also discussing the possibility of moving away from buffet style meals, although they are still working through the logistical issues of how to best transport the food from the kitchen to the dining area whilst keeping it fresh and warm.
Truly remarkable! Festus and his staff made this an adventure to never forget.Read more about the whole safari
Wildest part of our trip!
Very exciting camp!
Again, the food was excellent, the rooms were super comfortable and cozy. The waterhole is great to check out animals after dark.
The game drives were great and this private reserve has no shortage of big game to watch (we saw a group of a female lioness and three cubs on our first outing and a group of 6 adolescents on our second, a white rhino stopped by the waterhole in front of the camp during dinnertime on our first night there).
The staff is a particular strong point of this lodge. Very friendly and with a high standard of service quality.
I wouldn't recommend this camp for families travelling with small children as you find yourself much more in the middle of the reserve and can feel much more exposed to the wildlife, but that makes it ever more so thrilling!