Onguma Etosha Aoba

Onguma Etosha Aoba: Our full report

Rooms
11 Thatched bungalows
Traveller's rating
Excellent (90%) From 25 reviews
Open
All year

Just 15 minutes' drive from Etosha's eastern entrance gate, and about 12–13km from the main road, the established and comfortable Onguma Etosha Aoba (formerly known as Etosha Aoba Lodge) stands in a tamboti forest on the private Onguma Reserve.This reserve dates back to 1998, when one farm here was proclaimed as 'Fischer's Pan Private Nature Reserve'. Other farms were added in 2007, and more than 200km of internal fences have been removed – so that it now covers 340km² and shares a boundary with Etosha National Park.

Etosha Aoba Lodge was opened in 1994, making it the second oldest lodge in the area. However it’s entrance has moved in recent years, and it now shares a gate with the other four Onguma properties: Onguma Bush Camp, Onguma Tented Camp, Onguma Tree Tops, and Onguma Plains . Thus the driving time from Etosha Aoba to Etosha National Park is now considerably shorter.

Following a makeover during 2012, Onguma Etosha Aoba now has 11 thatched bungalows in four different styles:

  • Three bush suites (formally known as comfort bungalows)
  • Four Heritage bungalows (formally known as luxury bungalows)
  • One honeymoon room
  • Three Explorer bungalows

Many of these have private verandas overlook the Omuramba Ovambo – a dry riverbed. Each en-suite bungalow is furnished with twin beds and a writing desk, and has a mosquito net, air conditioning/ceiling fan, tea/coffee station, electronic safe, and a coolbox (a bush minibar!), which is filled with whichever drinks on request. As a bonus, the noisy whirring sound of a fridge, which can be disturbing at night, is avoided. Each room also has a small garden with a couple of chairs to sit back in after a long day’s safari.

The main area of Onguma Etosha Aoba focuses on a large open-sided restaurant, partly under thatch, with a bar to one side and a terrace overlooking a small waterhole. We thought this area was a bit plain and felt it could do with a splash of colour or a few more paintings on the wall. In one corner is the wine cellar where guests can taste the wines and choose a bottle to enjoy with dinner. A small curio shop and a library complete the indoor facilities, while outside is a swimming pool.

Most visitors use Onguma Etosha Aoba as a base for their own drives into Etosha National Park. If you don't want to drive yourself, then Onguma Etosha Aoba can organise game drives in an open vehicle with a professional guide. These drives usually last about 4.5 hours and are offered in the mornings only. In the evening, guests can join a sundowner drive on the Onguma Reserve, which offers good birding, although the game usually pales in comparison with that in the national park. A two-hour nature drive into the reserve is also offered from the lodge in the mornings.

The staff at the lodge comes from a variety of different backgrounds, and although English is the language most often spoken here, you will also here a mix of Owambo, Damara, San, Afrikaans and German.

Our view
Onguma Etosha Aoba Lodge offers comfortable accommodation in an unfenced environment and has a great bush feel to it. Despite the rather uninspiring décor, we enjoyed the rustic feel of lodge, which can be a good base to spend a couple of nights in order to explore Etosha National Park.

Geographics

Location: Etosha National Park, Namibia

Ideal length of stay: Two nights are ideal here.

Directions: The entrance to Onguma Etosha Aoba is next to the Von Lindequist Gate, on the eastern aside of Etosha National Park. The lodge lies about 12–13km from the main road. It's easy to reach, about 12-13km from the main road, and the turnoff is right next to the Von Lindequist Gate, on the eastern aside of Etosha National Park.

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

Key personnel

Owner: Onguma Etosha Aoba Lodge is part of the Onguma properties.

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Half Board

Food quality: A buffet breakfast includes homemade croissants (rather small!), as well as cereals, fruit, yoghurt, jams and spreads with a choice of tea, coffee or juice. A hot breakfast is also cooked to order.

Lunch is a set menu which usually involves salads, toasted sandwiches or light hot lunches.

Dinner is a three-course set menu. On our recent visit in May 2013 we had stuffed mushrooms with coleslaw and tartare sauce as a starter. For the main course we had chicken stuffed with feta cheese and spinach, served with rice, beetroot and gem squash and sage sauce. Dessert was a poached pear and peach with a ginger cream sauce.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £5-10

Drinks included: Drinks are not included here.

Further dining info: No

Children

Attitude towards children: Onguma Etosha Aoba is not fenced, and does not normally accept children under seven.

Equipment: The lodge has three bungalows suitable for families with older children.

Notes: Children over ten can join the guided game drives into the Children over the age of 10 can join the guided game drives into the Etosha National Park; families with younger children will need to book a private vehicle and guide if they wish to take a guided trip.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Mains Electricity

Communications: There is a central phone and internet access in the main area, with free WiFi available. Cellphone reception is good.

TV & radio: None

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: The nearest doctor is in Tsumeb, an hour's drive away. The lodge also has a basic first-aid kit on site.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: The main entrance gate is locked at night.

Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in all of the rooms and also strategically placed around the main area.

Extras

Disabled access: Not Possible

Laundry facilities: There is a laundry service provided at an extra charge.

Money: Each bungalow is fitted with an electronic safe. Currency exchange here is not possible.

Accepted payment on location: Accepted methods of payments are cash in South African Rand or Namibian Dollar and Visa, MasterCard and Amex.