Reviews of Okonjima Bush Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Okonjima Bush Camp review
Okonjima is a special place in many ways. If you have missed out on wildlife viewings of cheetah and leopards on the rest of your trip, this is the place where you are almost guaranteed some close encounters with both. It is exciting, but not quite the same as spotting one or more of these beautiful creatures in the wild. Most animals that are scheduled to be released into the wild have been collared so they can be tracked easily - in the case of cheetahs this is done by foot, while leopards are tracked during game drives. We were kind of lucky on one day, as we came across three out of the five leopards living in the enclosure on a single day - one we tracked and two by coincidence. It is tricky to photograph the collared animals at an angle where you cannot see the collar in the image. Even if the animal looks backwards and the collar seems hidden, you usually spot part of the antenna on closer inspection of the image. Not to worry, the experience is great regardless. And at nighttime you can opt to be taken to a feeding place where you will encounter plenty of porcupines and, on rare occasions, even a wild leopard. Food and service are excellent, the accomodation is spacious and comfortable.Read more about the whole safari
Had the best time at Okonjima
The end of our trip and definitely the highlight. Fantastically helpful and friendly staff, really good room with plenty of facilities (hurrah - a hairdryer!), good food and brilliant organised activities.
Our guide (Albert) was experienced, knowledgeable, engaging and funny. He also was careful to let us know what was happening and to check that what we were going to do was ok with us. As this involved climbing up and down a hill during the on foot cheetah tracking, that was pretty important. As an Africat 'ambassador' we were delighted that he was more interested in locating animals than giving us 'sundowner' drinks!
The opportunity to see the big cats at close quarters was magical - lions, leopards and cheetash - all fantastic. The radio tracking allows you not just to see the cats, but to see the work of Africat in action, as each tracking is done to obtain important information about the cats' progress. I've read other reviews that frown on the tracking devices, but I believe they do this in pursuit of the cat's wellbeing, and only a small number of animals in the rehabilitation area appear to be tagged.
I was surprised not to find more overt advertising / literature available to promote Africat - perhaps this is deliberate. There was nothing beyond the small leaflet in our room and I was initially told they had run out of the usual material. I thought the back of the pool area was a curious place to put the detailed info that I really wanted to see - particularly as in winter the pool isn't the most obvious resting place!
I asked about information and was provided with a pack of info and some cds. I expected the curio shop to be full of books and Africat branded merchandise, and although there were some T shirts I was surprised not to find more. Nor were we encouraged to sponsor or otherwise support the cause - other than a donations box in the reception area. Again I wouldn't want anything to be hard sell, but we are keen cat lovers and so are our friends, so this was definitely an opportunity missed.
It might also be worth warning people about the terrain near the hide where you go to view the nocturnal animals - which was a little tricky to negotiate in the dark after a couple of glasses of wine. Still, seeing the crazy porcupines was worth it!
Fantastic to be a part of Africat's world for a short time.
Africat in style
Okinjima Bush Camp was as lovely as ever again with good food and very good guiding, they really do run both a professional and friendly operation there.
Do go on all the activities as we saw great Cheetah and Leopard, and go to the night hide for the Porcupine (but wrap up very warm in winter)
Okonjima holiday highlight
Another 'wow' place to stay, very select, relaxing, stylish. The activities are all good value and very interesting, our guide Jacque was superb and it was good that we stayed with him throughout our stay.
We had a lovely chalet and the communal dining was well thought out. We still argue whether Okonjima or Mowani was the best place we stayed!
A good relaxing experience
A good place to relax before flying back home. The rooms were very comfortable and beautifully designed and we enjoyed extra touches like our own birdbath.
Although we support the objectives of Africat, we are less convinced that feeding animals, such as porcupines is helpful.
Very friendly camp, and easy to talk to other guests.
No catnaps at Okonjima Bush Camp
After the half-hour drive from the main road it was pleasing to find that the camp was absolutely gorgeous.
The room at Okonjima is our favourite and it was a big shame that we only stayed there one night.
We did more activities in the nineteen hours on the camp than we did anywhere else, simply because they were so interesting - leopard tracking, porcupine feeding, lion watching, cheetah breakfast and wild dog spotting.
The food here was really exceptional - afternoon cake, 4 course dinner, sunrise muffins pre-game drive and bushmans omlette post game drive. Our guide Dean was full of fun and knowledge.
The highlight of our holiday!
Okonjima exceeded our expectations. In all respects, our visit was remarkable.
The lodge itself, the activities (especially tracking the leopards and cheetha with an excellent guide),the staff, the food and facilities generally all combined to make Okonjima truly memorable.
Okonjima - The Cat's Whiskers!
Waterberg to Okonjima was not very far at all, so we detoured back to Otjiwarongo to see the crocodiles (over-priced!).
We got to Okonjima in time for an afternoon game drive (Leopard tracking) and were not at all disappointed. The guests (usually 4-6) split up on various vans and seek out individual tagged cats. We saw a rare Pangolin, had great views over the game area, and also saw lots of other wildlife. After some trouble seeking out the leopards (they can be hard to find, even when tagged) we found TJ basking in the late afternoon sun; and other cars were not in attendance when we arrived.
The room was lovely and had a wonderful area for birdwatching outside - a bird bath was positioned about ten feet from the room and a box of bird seed was provided to scatter. However, we did cause a stir in reception after seeing a large snake (possibly a black Mamba?) behind the bird-bath - luckily, it did not return (as far as we know)! Dinner was average fare, but presented well. Our room was excellent, but the weather did turn cold and very windy, which rattled the canvas all night.
Our early morning drive was to seek Cheetahs, first by car, then on foot. First though we saw the male Lions they have up close, and took some amazing pictures as they posed superbly in the morning sun. The Cheetah tracking again took plenty of time (Do they drive you around for a while as the other cars take turns?), but we found two Cheetah lying deep in the grass. That afternoon we did the Africat leg of the activities, and saw Wild Dog, plus the five Cheetah who cannot fend for themselves; again this offered superb photographic opportunities, and with just four guests per car, you are not disappointed by lack of clear shot etc.
Our last night dinner was fine, and we washed it down with a bottle of local fizz! It was still cold, but it was lovely to find a hot water bottle for each of us in our bed when we retired that night! We passed on the nature walk on our last morning, as we needed to pack. A perfect place to end the holiday.
Okonjima Bush Camp review
We knew this place had a great reputation before we arrived, and it really lived up to it!
Wonderful room, good food and a beautiful setting. The staff were all extremely friendly, knowledgeable and welcoming. But of course it was the animals who stole the day. Definitely worth staying here to learn about the Africat foundation and generally about the cat population in Namibia.
I would also recommend the Bushman breakfast after an early start tracking the cats...
Excellent set up and staff.
As I wrote in the Guest book at the Bush Camp - Okonjime came up to and exceeded expectations! We saw and photographed Lions, Leopards and Cheetahs in the first 24 hours and the facilities were excellent. The guides, particularly Albert, were excellent and the whole staff very friendly and efficient.
That said, I did not realise in advance that the hides at the Bush and Main camps were seperate, and I would have liked to have had a chance to take some pictures from the Main Camp hide - Oh well.
We were a little alarmed to discover, about ten days before our departure, via an online BBC news report, that there had been an armed robbery at Okonjima in February. Not wishing to be alarmist, for obvious reasons, we did not broadcast this information during out stay. Also understandably, no mention of the incident was made by any of the staff. We did wonder whether you knew of this incident in advance, but understand that if you did it also put you in a difficult position. Mercifully there was no sign of any similar problems and the security, if it had been 'upgraded' was still low key and not intrusive.
Expert Africa comments
At Expert Africa, we try hard to keep abreast of incidents in Africa. We were informed of the robbery at the Okonjima’s private campsite (not the lodge) within 48 hours of it happening – and swiftly obtained a full, factual statement on the incident, even though it did not affect any of our travellers.
Thankfully, incidents like this remain extremely rare. We’ve sent visitors to Namibia for 16 years, during which we’ve come to regard it as one of the safest countries in the world for our travellers. In this highly unusual case, we were happy that the response on the ground was swift and comprehensive. We decided not to contact any of our travellers about the incident because, to date, we have had no indications that it is anything other than a very unfortunate, one-off event.