Reviews of Okonjima Plains Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
First stop Okonjima Plains Camp
After leaving Windhoek, our first stop was Okonjima Plains Camp where we spent two nights. We were bowled over by the place, the staff, the food, the activities and everything that we were privileged to see there.
Walking into the reception area, we were greeted immediately and warmly. A glass of iced tea was handed to us. What a welcome! The way in which we were received made us feel they had been waiting for us to arrive! That shows a very high degree of thought and professionalism. And the level of service continued in that warm and welcoming vein throughout our stay.
We were amazed by the view from our room, such a wide expanse with lots of animals wandering past. This was our first experience of a 'camp' and we loved it. Sitting outside on the verandah was a treat.
Our guide on activities was Jerimiah. He was excellent. He was very informative about Okonjima itself, the work they do and why they do it, the animals, birds, vegetation. He was tireless in his efforts to make sure that we tracked the animals that we wished to see and in all cases was successful in finding them.
We were enchanted by Okinjima and felt that we were part of a big happy family whilst we were there.
We were unsure about whether to book Okonjima as we thought it would be too much of a constructed safari experience however on the advice of Martha at Expert Africa, we booked two nights here and were so glad we did.
Our guide Peter (Igwe) was extremely knowledgable about the park, somehow finding his way back to our car after tracking a Cheetah on foot for 30 minutes. We stayed in the most basic of the rooms at Okonjima Plains Camp and were still blown away by the standard of accommodation, which has stunning views of the plains from the double beds that face the huge windows. The communal area was really well laid out, the food delicious and staff friendly.
The cheetah trekking was amazing, a real adrenaline rush and the leopard trekking incredible. We saw all sorts of wildlife along the way and even a huge male uncollared leopard on our second day out, which was a great photo opportunity! We did three excursions and saw everything we wanted to, thanks to our expert guide, Peter.
Overall a great start to the holiday and a highlight. A good preparation for Etosha - also nice to be driven around in an open top vehicle compared to driving ourselves around in the 2WD. A MUST do.
Okonjima Plains Camp review
As a place to stay it has a rather impersonal feel - more like a hotel than a camp which we thought reflected the large scale of its operations (particular looking at the number of vehicles lined up for the afternoon drive).
The rooms are large and have nice picture windows but the concrete floors and walls give them a functional appearance. Staff are friendly and helpful.
Cheetah and leopard tracking though were tremendous experiences - worth staying two nights to ensure you have time to do both.
We also enjoyed visiting the Africat day centre and of all the guides we had in Namibia, Martin worked hardest to show us as much as possible in the time we had.
Amazing Africat at Okinjima
There is one big reason to visit Okonjima: Africat.
At Plains Camp no activities are included. However there are many things you don't want to miss such as leopard tracking, cheetah tracking, visiting the Africat Centre and possible a night drive. On the grounds that we were unlikely to ever visit again we did all of this and this added a substantial amount to our bill but it was worth it. Children aged 16 and under are charged at a reduced rate. The trips are amazing and should not be missed. Our guide was excellent and highly informative. The landscape is stunning.
Plains Camp is has a highly modern main building, food is served amongst wood burning stoves and is delicious although not it is not always made clear what you are being served. The staff are all extremely friendly and good fun. Highly recommended.
An excellent camp
One day was not enough to do justice to this amazing place.
The hospitality was extremely good and the food was very well presented. The view room was very well equipped and had stunning views from the picture windows.
Would recommend the game-drives, this must be one of the only places in Namibia where there are high probabilities of seeing leopard, cheetah and wild dogs.
The educational work carried out by the Foundation is to be commended
Okonjima should not be missed!
We stayed for 1 night at the end of July 2015.
Okonjima was our first safari experience in Namibia. Having driven the 3.5 hours from our lodge near the airport, including the long gravel drive, we were welcomed with a drink and warm towel. We had an excellent light lunch in 'The Barn' before going to our fantastic rooms (view rooms). These overlooked the open ground where springbok and a warthog family roamed amongst other animals.
We headed back to the 'barn' for the cheetah tour. Our excellent guide took us out where we soon saw giraffe, kudu, springbok and other animals. Using the radio tracking, after a while he located a cheetah which we drove towards, then disembarked to walk the last 200m. These cheetah had been raised by Africat so were used to humans and we were able to walk up within 20m of three cheetah, and they pretty much ignored us? Getting this close was amazing, and gave us the opportunity for great photos, especially as the sun was just setting. Back on the truck we headed back with blankets to keep us warm and spotted other animals on the way including baboons noisily congregating in a tree for the night. We reflected on a fantastic first day's safari in Africa over an excellent dinner.
Given our great experience the previous afternoon we decided to go on the morning leopard trip. 5.30am wake up followed by a muffin and hot drink to sustain us until we returned for breakfast. Out on the truck it was very cold, but again the blankets did a good job keeping us warm (along with lots of layers on!!). It took a while before we picked it the signal of a leopard. It then took a while before the guide spotted it high up on a cliff. At this point we were pleased to have seen one, but disappointed it was so far away. Given they are pretty illusive, we thought this may be the only one we saw on our trip.
However, after a chat on the radio, we headed off and joined another group who had found a female leopard with 2 cubs, one of which was feasting on the remains of a warthog up a tree! Parked up 5m away, we got brilliant pictures. They hadn't gone unnoticed by a brown hyena who eventually managed to steal a leg that had dropped from the tree. We eventually had to head back to the barn for an excellent breakfast, then sadly pack to move on.
All in all, we had a fantastic time at Okonjima and would highly recommend it. If we had the chance, we would certainly have stayed 2 nights rather than one.
Okonjima Plains Camp review
We had one night at Okonjima and could easily have stayed longer to fully explore the rehabilitation facility.
The rooms were huge and brand new. Very nice! In fact, we wondered whether donations to the cheetah rehabilitation program were being used to fund the new camp. They might get more donations to their foundations if they clarified the relationship.
We did two game drives and both times had the opportunity to get very close to the collared cats.
One note - the map provided gave the wrong location for the camp. If we hadn't had a GPS location as well, we would have been very worried about having missed the turn. It was much farther south than its mark on the map.
Amazing experience at Okonjima
The rooms we amazing, we had the family room (two rooms inter-connected) looking out over the Plains, which was an instant hit with the children as they saw a plethora of animals from their beds!
The camp is very well laid out, with superb facilities with lovely food and a truly African atmosphere. The activities were beyond reproach and I would strongly recommend the afternoon/evening leopard tracking. We spotted 3 wild leopards and the children loved having 'sundowners' (aka apple juice for them!) with the adults in a clearing surrounded by giraffe's.
The Staff were extremely friendly and I would recommend a 2-night stay here for anyone who has small children.
Busy camp, unique big cat experiences
This is a relatively large establishment, busy and with a full programme of activities.
The great attraction is the unique opportunity to follow cheetah, wild dogs and leopards with radio tracking. We had some great sightings of all 3.
Great wildlife viewing and walks at Okonjima
An excellent Safari experience with Peter our guide very determined and obliging.
We had however expected to see more evidence of Cheetah and Leopard conservation.
Expert Africa comments
Okonjima are always very pleased to get feedback from our travellers. The manager responded to this review by saying that it was great that they enjoyed thier stay and that they had Peter as their guide; amazing person. They also commented that there is a lot of information at the AfriCat Foundation Centre and www.africat.org on all the research and conservation projects they do at Okonjima.