Reviews of Ongava Tented Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Ongava Tented Camp review
A very warm welcome from Cameron, Wendy and staff. Excellent activities although the 6 hour safaris were a little too long but very informative. We had an amazing bonus by watching the final of the rugby world cup in the garden of one of the owners of the Ongava reserve with a back drop of a waterhole with a black rhino, lioness and cubs.
A memorable experience - shame about the result of the match!!
Surrounded at Ongava Tented Camp
Comfortable tents with great showers and a view of the waterhole. Animals wander around most of the day - mostly Waterbuck (introduced from Okavango and flourishing), Oryx, Kudu, Springbok, Zebra, and there is a resident Porcupine.
We had a game drive on the property with Binius, and saw lots, including Giraffe, White Rhino and a pride of Lions under a tree. The night drive was also good, and although we did not see specifically nocturnal animals, we did see plenty of game including herds of different antelope resting, their eyes reflecting our spotlight. It was lovely to be out in the soft night air with stars shining so brightly in the clear African sky.
The highlight was our day in Etosha, and we had an excellent guide in Elaine. Stopping at the different waterholes provided breathtaking sights of huge herds of mixed animals, and many more spread out over the surrounding plains. We found, as always, being close to wild animals is a moving and highly emotional experience. Game viewing in Etosha was quite different from our previous safaris: we had seen plenty of large herds of individual animals, particularly in Botswana, but not these huge mixed herds with different animals interacting and taking their place in the scheme of things. it did come to mind that this, perhaps, is how the world once was.
No matter how many safaris you have done, Etosha should not be missed.
I do have 2 comments, both concerning this day. Firstly, it is far too long a time from 6 a.m. (very light) breakfast until 2 p.m. or later (fairly light) lunch. A snack to have with the cold drinks would have been welcome. Or better still, a packed lunch, like we had on the dune drive from Wilderness Camp, thus allowing us to stay out as long as possible. After all, most of us will pass this way but once.
My second point is that, only after we were underway, did we learn that we would stop at a complex which (as well as toilets) had gift shops selling postcards, information on the Park, and a Post Office. None of our group had brought any money and thus the one couple who had their credit card were the only ones able to buy anything, including a very useful small book illustrating the animals and birds we were about to see. We did have with us the Wildlife Guide from Chris McIntyre's excellent Brandt Guide to Namibia whcih was of some help - though not with the birds - and owing to luggage restrictions, we did not bring along our other reference books. I do feel information about this stop en-route should be made available ahead of time.
A great centre-piece to a fab vacation
Ongava was the focal point of our visit to Namibia in many respects and we were not disappointed.
First, it is a very well-appointed camp. Cameron and Wendy have created a great family atmosphere - helped by two of their daughters being around for some of our time there - and are to be highly commended for the warmth of their welcome and general hospitality: they are great hosts. The waterhole is a real draw to the animals at least in October and the regular visiting porcupine, Charlie, is a bonus.
Second, the camp has excellent guides. We saw a very wide range of animals including frequent white rhino sightings and lions, as well as many species of herbivores. Our guide for most of the time we were there was Rio and he was outstanding both as a guide and as a man: we really enjoyed our outings with him.
Within that context we were able to persuade Cam and Wendy to let Rio take us out on a couple of night drives - without any difficulty though it seems not to be a normal service notwithstanding what the brochures say. These were certainly the highlight of our holiday: even though we had to work hard to find animals we were very well rewarded, especially by the rare sighting of an aardvark - but also by an excellent leopard spot, frequent African wildcats, a cape fox and a genet.
We'd recommend that Ongava offers night drives as a matter of course especially now that Rio has identified some key spots for the nocturnal animals - at least for guests who are staying for a few days and have time and patience to indulge in activities which might not bring instant gratification.
While we saw half-a-dozen or so not previously seen species when we moved into Etosha - notably black rhinos and elephants - the vast majority of the 32 mammal species we saw during our vacation were in Ongava, which says much for both the range of animals and the quality of the guides.
I guess if we have one other suggestion for improvement, as noted below it would be the food which was a little inconsistent in quality. The best was very good indeed; but there was the odd dip or two in quality, especially (but not exclusively) when we were having early dinner before our two night drives. A slightly better white house wine would also be welcome (but the red was very good).
That said, we'd have no hesitation in recommending Ongava to all-comers and suggesting a four night stay there to take in the full range of its offering, including a trip or two into Etosha itself (we did one half-day trip).
Ongava tented camp
Cameron and Wendy said the camp was a home and they definitely created a homely atmosphere, which we enjoyed.
The gap between morning visits to Etosha and the start of the afternoon drive was very short. I think it could be extended.
A porcupine joined us for tea!
Another Wilderness Safari camp, so high standards expected and we were not disappointed.
Our hosts, Wendy and Cameron were superb, meeting us promptly on arrival with welcome cold flannels, followed by a soft drink. The tents were beautifully furnished and the outdoor shower, whilst enclosed to preserve modesty, allowed us a stunning view of the clear night sky. We were met and escorted promptly to and from our tents after dark and our luggage was delivered to the tents. Hot water bottles again.
We went on an afternoon game drive and viewed a number of different types of antelope and our guide, Binius, went to great lengths to ensure we saw white rhino up close and personal. We, along with others from the main camp, were able to track on foot for a short distance.
Cameron's knowledge of the stars and his after dinner anecdotes made you feel more like a member of the family than a short term visitor. We were also able to view a porcupine at close quarters since there is a semi tame one which visits in the evenings.
One night was not enough here.
The next morning we had a game drive into Etosha for several hours. Again Binius, through radio contact with colleagues, enabled us to get a good view of two lionesses at a watering hole.
To ensure we used our time to the best possible advantage, Wendy and Cameron arranged for us to take a packed lunch with us that day. There was plenty to eat and a good choice of food.
ongava Tented Camp
We really loved it here and we would liked to have stayed longer.Read more about the whole safari
A small oasis on the edge of the Etosha
These were the first real tents we stayed in and were excellent. The welcome from Cameron and Wendy was superb and they remianed fully engaged with us throughout. Nothing was too much trouble. We had hoped to stay longer here but it was fully booked so only one night.
The water hole right outside the main building was a never ending facination and plenty of scope for photographs. The description of the night sky by Cameron was real fun and I can now find the Southern Cross quite easliy, except of course we are now back in the northern hemisphere!
Ongava Tented Camp
Were made to feel very welcome. The guides were knowledgable & helpful.Read more about the whole safari