Reviews of Okonjima Plains Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Great place to see cats
We used this as a stopping point between Etosha and Windhoek and before we flew home. However, we wish we made it more of a destination in its our right and spent longer here than 1 night. 1 night doesn't give you much time to do all the activities they have to offer, or the chance to see the cats because there is a chance that on one of the drives you won't see one.
We got upgraded to a view room - although I have a feeling this was due to some sort of mix up with the booking. We were written in pen at the bottom of the sheet when we arrived at the gate for the reserve, and they were not ready with our check-in sheets when we got to reception unlike everyone else's. The view room we got was also brand new with us being the first in it, and still clearly in the process of having finishing touches being done. However, it was a lovely spacious room and very spacious bathroom with a nice view. We did however, both have to have two cold showers - not sure if this was due to it still being finished off.
The activities were brilliant with an enthusiastic guide who clearly cares for the nature. We got there early enough to go onto the leopard tracking, and we managed to track the first leopard to some deep undergrowth. Unfortunately it was clear that we were not going to spot him so we moved on to try and spot another leopard. All the guides talk to each other, and another guide had spotted a leopard called Shanti, up a tree. So we went to see her. It was incredible to be so close to her while she was up a tree. It was nice to also hear the guide say that sometimes we can't always take photos and its just for looking, when someone was complaining a branch being in the way and could he move the vehicle.
The next morning we got up early to go on the cheetah tracking - this was incredible. We walked with two cheetahs while they were hunting and watch them make a kill. I got the impression it doesn't happen often, and it was something I won't forget!
The food was ok. The cake and tea was nice before the activities. The evening meal was a bit chaotic, but they explained it was the busiest night the camp has had since it opened - I think they learnt a lot that night, and they managed to deal with it! I have a feeling if we stayed another night it would be a bit smoother, and be a bit quicker.
A great place, with friendly staff and fantastic guides and activities. Busy but once on the activities you don't notice that so much. Activities are well organised.
The Plains Camp is superb. The barn is a very pleasant area to sit at night and to eat meals in.
The rooms are very comfy, well equipped and have beautiful views with lots of friendly wildlife. The game drives were excellent and we saw lots of wildlife.
The staff here are very friendly and the whole atmosphere is superb. Our evening meals were very good, the quality and variety are excellent.
Okonjima Plains Camp review
When we arrived we found that we had been upgraded to the Bush Camp which was very luxurious and a nice surprise for our last couple of nights. A pity we couldn't make more use of it with so many trips available.
The staff, restaurant and central area were also excellent as were the guided trips to see the Leopards and Cheetahs.
I think our only comment would be that we didn't realise how far off the main road the camp was (aprox 30km and 30 mins extra drive) which meant we arrived too late for that days game drive. That is definitely worth mentioning for future clients.
We were certainly very pleased to have asked to go there as it wasn't on your original itinerary.
Expert Africa comments
Although we do often discuss the driving distance off the road, we have taken note of the above comment and added this information to the section on Okonjima within our final travel document that we send out to our travellers.
Exceptional experience at Okonjima Plains
I was unsure what to expect at this camp. I thought of it as a stop-over between Windhoek and Etosha National Park. Everything was first rate from the moment we arrived until we left.
The lodge and its reception/restaurant area are amazing. The leopard track was fantastic. We also had the chance to see the wild dogs and walk with the cheetahs. The service was great.
This stop we definitely a highlight and I highly recommend including this stop to everyone who plans a trip to Namibia.
Okonjima Plains camp
We arrived a little late for the evening activities. The welcome was wonderful with very friendly and helpful staff, refreshments and a stunning reception building. The facilities were of the highest quality, the view rooms were beautiful, very comfortable and the highest standard that we could expect. We had two connecting rooms for our group.
One point which I raised with the staff was that in my room there were two double beds for my 80yr old mother, my 11yr old daughter and myself, three guests two beds and only towels and glasses/cups for two people. The staff said there was nothing they could do about the beds but brought the other extras. It wasn't such a big deal but if my daughter had been older I think it would have. In the end and as is her was she wanted to sleep on the floor between the beds so we made a bed with blankets etc.
The evening meal was wonderful, the views of the waterhole, the building etc were superb. The guide trying to organize our drive for the following morning didn't seem to have much knowledge and we were left a little unclear as to what was going to happen as our group wished to participate in 2 different excursions. However, following a great sleep, 5:30 alarm call, coffee and cakes at 6 our actual guide Martin arrived. He was excellent!
He had a first class knowledge of the site, the wildlife the history, the ecology and was determined to show us as much as he could. We were supposed to be back for 9 and arrived after 10 as he did everything he could to find a leopard, we didn't see on but get very close and we did see everything else. It was really great in windy and dusty conditions, the whole family loved it and we ended up seeing the cheetahs wild dogs, hyena, and lots more besides.
As with all of the sites we stayed at for only 1 night we should have stayed for 2 nights at least.
Leopards & Cheetah
We were able to visit the Hoba meteorite (worlds heaviest metal meteorite) en route to Okonjima - well worth the slight deviation. The reserve .... We booked an early morning trip in search of leopard and although there are no guarantees to see any we were lucky enough to find three and we spent an exiting couple of hours watching them at really close quarters.
When they finally moved on we headed back to camp. although we had booked to look for wild dogs in the afternoon we saw them on the way back. So in the afternoon we took a guided tour of the reservation's work rescuing cats and returning them to the wild and helping farmers protect their herds from the indigenous carnivores - well worth your time. This included getting close to two cheetah.
The rooms are close together but entirely private - safe to walk to and from even in the dark as the camp is isolated from the main reserve. They have large picture windows looking out over open bush with various herbivores visiting the waterhole. We had a small family of wart hogs bedding down for each night against the wall of the room.
Great safari at Okonjima Plains Camp
This was our first ever Safari camp/trip anywhere and it set the bar for the others very high.
Our prime focus was wildlife and it delivered in Spades - great sightings of Cheetahs & Leopards as promised and loads of other great sightings including a colony of baboons, a brown hyena, kori bustards, dik diks, elands, genets, giraffes, honey badgers, jackals, porcupines, red hartebeest and wild dogs.
The AfriCat foundation was very interesting.
We had great game drives, including a night drive just for my son & I when we saw the honey badgers and porcupines and much more.
The food was excellent.
To explain the two only ‘good’ ratings below:
Rooms - more than adequate for us but couldn’t rate as excellent because the en suite in the garden room was small, a bit dark and a bit bare.
Service - two slight hiccups: I wanted a shower one afternoon but no hot water and it wasn’t fixed quickly so I had to wait till the next morning (was tied up with the night drive in the evening); upon paying by card for the activities as we were leaving I was told the first attempt had failed but in fact ended up being double charged. To their credit, by the time we arrived at our next camp there was a message for us telling me that and sending me a form to claim a refund.
My son & I can highly recommend OPC - the icing on the cake was a leopard wandering in front of our car on the exit drive!
OK, but somewhat impersonal atmosphere.
Rather a large, barn-like main meeting /dining area, but excellent views of water-hole and bush. Meals OK, and not all staff warm and friendly.
But excellent safaris and a guide who put a great deal of effort into tracking and viewing leopard and cheetah.
Room rather querky, but all mod cons and everything worked properly.
Okonjima Plains Camp review
It's a pity that guests in the Plains Camp can't watch at the waterhole where the nocturnal porcupines and honey badgers come. We didn't know that when we booked. However the 'View Room' was lovely, very spacious and comfortable with a superb view.
We took the 'Tracking cheetahs on foot' option. It's only the last few hundred metres that are on foot, most of the tracking is in a vehicle. The staff member who explained the activity options to us didn't make clear that we had a choice between tracking cheetahs or wild dogs and hyenas. We thought it was a single activity, tracking whichever of the three could be found. Having said that, it was very enjoyable and we had a good guide and saw cheetahs and a leopard so it was a great experience.
We did two of the self-guided walks which were beautiful. On one, the Chacu, for part of the route the arrows on the ground pointed in a different direction from the arrows on the map. We found this quite confusing (and we are experienced hikers). The maps should be corrected.
Okonjima Plains Camp review
The standard twin bedded room was wonderfully spacious with two double beds looking out of a panoramic window onto the plains beyond.
The main Camp sitting/dining area with wood burners overlooking the water hole was very atmospheric.The small shop was good and on reflection the best we saw.