Onguma Etosha Aoba is located on the eastern side of Etosha National Park.
Onguma Etosha Aoba: Our full report
Just 15 minutes' drive from Etosha's eastern entrance gate, and about 12-13km from the main road, Onguma Etosha Aoba (formerly known as Etosha Aoba Lodge) stands on a private nature reserve. This reserve dates back to May 1998, when one farm here was proclaimed as 'Fischer's Pan Private Nature Reserve'. Other farms were added to this in 2007, and more than 200km of internal fences have been removed – so that it now covers 360km² and shares a boundary with Etosha National Park. Etosha Aoba Lodge was opened in 1994, making it the second oldest lodge in the area.
The entrance gate to Onguma Etosha Aoba has recently changed. It now shares the entrance gate with all the Onguma properties which is just a few metres from the entrance to Etosha National Park. This has reduced the amount of time taken to drive from the lodge to the National Park.
The lodge itself stands in a tamboti forest and its central 'Lapa' (a thatched, open-sided dining area) has a terrace which over-looks a water hole. There's also a swimming pool; a bar/restaurant, a small curio shop, a small library – and facilities for guests to access the internet.
Onguma Etosha Aoba has 10 thatched bungalows, many of whose verandas overlook the "Omuramba Ovambo" – a dry river bed. Each is furnished with large twin beds (topped by a mosquito net) and a private en-suite bathroom. Each has a mosquito net, a 24-hour, 220V electricity supply, as well as a ceiling fan, a tea/coffee machine and a coolbox. This box is filled with whichever drinks guests request for the evening. That way, the noisy whirring sound of a fridge, which can be disturbing at night, is avoided..
There are two room types here – the comfort bungalow and the luxury bungalow. These two rooms are very similar, with a few small differences. The comfort bungalows are joined together in pairs, whereas the luxury bungalows are all individual. Luxury bungalows also have air conditioning, outside showers and a small courtyard with a couple of chairs to sit back in after a long day's game viewing.
The main area of the lodge includes a large restaurant, part of which is under thatch, with a bar at one side. In one corner of the restaurant is the wine cellar where guests can taste the wines and choose a bottle to enjoy with dinner. Next to the main entrance is a small curio shop.
Activities at the lodge focus on wildlife viewing. Most visitors use Onguma Etosha Aoba as a base for their own drives into Etosha National Park. Although there is some game, and good birding, on the lodge's own reserve, it usually pales in comparison with that in the national park.
That said, there are a some game hides positioned near waterholes on the property, within a short walk of the lodge, and a botanical trail, including details of more than 50 different trees & plants.
If you don't want to drive yourself around the national park, then Onguma Etosha Aoba can organise an open vehicle and professional guide to take you around the national park. In the evening guests can participate in a sundowner drive down to the attractive Fischer's Pan, where game can sometimes be spotted.
The staff at the lodge come from a variety of different backgrounds, and although English is the language that is most often spoken here, staff also speak Owambo, Damara, San, Afrikaans and German.
Ideal length of stay: Two to three nights are recommended here
Directions: Onguma Etosha Aoba is adjacent to the Etosha National Park. 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.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Half Board
Food quality: Breakfast consists of a buffet which includes homemade croissants and brotchen, 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 such as fried calamari.
Dinner is a three course set menu.: It is possible for those staying in the family units to have dinner on their own terrace.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: Drinks are not included here.
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome here, but it's important to note that there are dangerous wild animals around, and the swimming pool is too deep for younger children.
Equipment: The bungalows at Onguma Etosha Aoba don't easily accommodate extra beds; they're just not big enough! However, small camp beds are possible for smaller children, under about nine years old. These are too small for larger children.
Generally recommended for children: Not recommended for younger children, but fine for children who are 10-12 and over – although even they will need constant supervision by their parents.
Notes: Children over ten can join the guided 4WD trips into the park; families with younger children will need to book a private vehicle and guide if they wish to take a guided trip.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: Central phone and Internet access in the main facilities. Mobile reception is good. Wifi and a laptop are provided for free use of the guests.
TV & radio: There is one large TV in the lounge area which is rarely used. This has no TV channels but is used for playing DVDs.
Health & safety
Malarial area: Yes
Medical care: The nearest doctor in Tsumeb, an hour's drive away.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: The main gate is locked at night but there is no guard.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in rooms
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: There is a laundry service, provided at an extra charge.
Money: Change possible, but commission is charged on this, and the rates are not the best.