Reviews of Okonjima Plains Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
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.
Okonjima Plains Camp review
Wonderful place, but the modernisation it has undergone now lacks some of the charm of our pervious visit three years ago.Read more about the whole safari
This is a convenient place to spend a night either on the way to or from Windhoek and there is a considerable amount of game to see, some of it seemingly almost tame, so it's probably a good place for first-timers. The trouble is that a lot of it has been introduced and isn't native to the area so you'll see animals that shouldn't really be there - it feels like they've been put there for the tourists rather than for anything to do with conservation, as if it were a safari park in Europe. We were offered a choice of three tracking drives, one for cheetah, one for leopard and one for wild dogs. Tracking collared animals still doesn't guarantee a sighting, so we chose to go on the wild dogs drive, partly because we knew everyone else would choose the cats and partly because we'd never seen wild dogs.
So we had the vehicle and guide to ourselves, and he was a very good guide, but there are only two wild dogs in the conservancy. There was a third but he had met his demise. Neither three nor two make a pack. Herein lies the problem, I think. They aren't native to the area and aren't being prepared to be returned to the wild somewhere else. We had the impression they were 'placed' there as a tourist attraction. We had expected a pack so initially we were disappointed when we were told there were only two to see. However, our guide was so good that he made the experience fascinating and adventurous all the same and we ended up really enjoying the outing (and seeing both dogs at close quarter).
The staff were, as ever, welcoming, helpful, friendly and efficient, but there was little warmth there and you felt as though you were just another client passing through, which indeed you are of course, but you were never made to feel a guest. Some of the food was very good but some of it was not (the main course at dinner was kudu and tougher than boot leather!).
The accommodation was spacious and comfortable enough, if a little spartan (or just lacking in character), but there was a huge plate glass window overlooking the bush, which couldn't be opened and which caused huge amounts of solar gain in the room. It would be very uncomfortable in summer. The main area (called the barn, and a barn it was) also has one side entirely glazed and apparently birds do fly into it. The overall feeling was that something was missing, that the place had no charm. It's difficult to put your finger on it but it's not somewhere we'd choose to go back to.
Fabulous camp and activities
Accommodation is first rate. Staff relaxed and welcoming.
We tracked leopards and cheetahs, great fun!
Of limited interest
Good facilities but next time we would choose a more convenient stopover on the way to or from Etosha.
Of limited game interest with exception of released cheetahs and leopards.
One night would have been sufficient for us.
Okonjima Plains Camp review
Slightly frosty welcome, told twice that we were late even through we arrived at 4.30. Think that they meant that we were too late for afternoon drives at 4.00.
New accommodation at Plains camp was good, central barn with restaurant and barn was nice but reminded me of a farm, which I suppose it is. Slightly lacking in atmosphere. Told when and at which table we had to eat, no choice of food. Saw leopard on the early morning drive, guide quite pushy to sell further drives.
Good for stop off between Windhoek and Etosha. Arrive before 4pm if you want to go on the afternoon drives.