Reviews of Okonjima Plains Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
A very special place - add it to your list!
If you want to see big cats up close, this is the place for you! Due to time and budget constraints we could only stay here one night, but we packed everything we could into the time we had. We would strongly recommend two nights here!
Approaching the main lodge area is a lot of fun. You pass through three nicely decorated levels of gates, the fences of which serve as the boundaries of the Okonjima Game Reserve. The main lodge area looks like it belongs in Architectural Digest - it's a converted barn which serves as the reception area, lounge, dining room, and gallery. It overlooks an expansive plain with a waterhole frequented by warthogs, guinea fowl, springbok, and other creatures.
We stayed at the Plains Camp and had a plains view room. Again gorgeously furnished and decorated, with a lovely view. It was about a 7-minute walk from our room to the main lodge, but the path is well marked and well lit.
We arrived just in time for afternoon tea and cake, and then to join the evening leopard drive and sundowner. The Land Rover this time was full, and it goes without saying that some people can be extremely irritating! At first the guide was accommodating to these people by answering all their inane questions and stopping for every bird and springbok (which are wonderful of course but we were on a leopard drive and they can be very hard to find so that should have been the focus) but eventually he got them under control. Anyway we did eventually find a leopard who was lying near his recently-killed warthog.
The food at Okonjima was probably the best we had the whole trip. Elegantly plated, delicious, and not as heavy as what we had been eating the rest of the trip. The service was a bit hectic - most of the time the server didn't tell us what we were eating! We had to ask. But it was all tasty. Breakfast was good too, though not much different from what was on offer everywhere else we'd been.
Early the next morning we went cheetah tracking, which was a lot of fun. Again you go with a guide in a Land Rover some distance until they locate the cheetahs with a radar. Once you are near enough, you actually get out of the car and walk (quietly and carefully) up to the cheetahs. We found a group of three siblings, who were in the middle of tracking zebras to hunt. They made the chase, and we chased them! Being cheetahs they were too fast for us, but unfortunately for them they missed the zebra and we found them panting under a tree. We were able to get quite close to them then.
After breakfast back at the lodge we took the Africat Foundation tour. There we got to see another leopard and some cheetahs which are currently being rehabilitated. We then went to see the small lab where the veterinary work happens and learn more about the work they do there. We highly recommend this tour because you get to be so close to the cats and understand more about the challenges the cats face and what Africat is doing to try to solve the problem.
If there is a downside to this place it is only that it is popular and the jeeps will almost always be full on the game drives (depending on the time of year I assume), which means your chances of going on drives with people who are annoying goes up a bit. But it's definitely worth it. They do amazing work there and the cats are gorgeous!
Okonjima Plains Camp review
We really liked the room at Okonjima and wish we had arrived earlier. The main camp area was also very well constructed, and the food was OK. Staff were pleasant and helpful. Computer for 3 mail was easily accessable
The "Locate the Leopard" tour was good and the guide was knowledgeable, and we did eventually find a leopard resting under a thorn bush. The tour of the AfriCat study centre was interesting, and we saw the leopard feeding which was entertaining but fairly contrived!
Undoubtedly the AfriCat foundation does a lot of valuable work at Okonjima, however the keeping of healthy cheetahs and leopards in captivity is a controversial subject. Nevertheless, we had a good time at Okonjima and would recommend this to other Namibia visitors.
Okonjima Plains Camp review
We did not realise until we got there that it was a good 3/4 hour drive from the road gate to the lodge reception. There was loads to see on the way in including Springbok, Oryx, Baboons and all sorts of birds so it took us somewhat longer. Visitors need to ensure they get there well before dusk to make the most of this and to find the way more easily.
Superbly equipped, stylish and comfortable room with awesome views over the open plain and distant mountains. We had a standard room and were able to bird and animal watch from our comfortable king size bed thanks to the huge picture window at the end of the bed. We had warthogs nesting nearby, colourful birds on the verandah and passing springbok and guinea fowl. It was neve a dull moment and difficult to break ourselves away to go to breakfast. Location of the room was great from a wildlife and view perspective but it was a long walk over rough ground in the dark to get to dinner. The manager very kindly arranged for us to be driven back to our room. Fortunatley we were able to park right outside the room and the restaurant so went in the car one night and then took up the offer of a lift both ways from the staff on the third night.
The restaurant was stylish, not particularly comfortable and noisy but had a nice view in daylight hours with some common wildlife visiting the watering hole. Waiter service was a bit slow but complaints were handled efficiently by the managment.. The food was average and quality was a bit hit and miss. Breakfast was good but the serving area was some way from the dining area. I think they need to improve the quality of the food if they wish to attract passing travellers to eat there. The gift shop is uninspiring and expensive. Don't plan on doing your shopping here.
Apart from the views and wildlife around our room the highlight for us was the wildlife viewing trips, particularly the Cheetah safari where we were able to get very close on foot and obtained some great photos. There was also plenty of possibilities for birdwatching on foot in the grounds and a very pleasant bird hide.
Okonjima Plains Camp review
upgraded from plains camp to rndevals. very exclusive only eight. Food good. Nice locationRead more about the whole safari
Would like to have spent another day here and see the cheetahs and hopefully leopards. But what we saw and did was worth the stop.
Will rectify another time.
Okanjima a great experience
Everything about Okonjima was good. The staff were very organised and we had already been booked onto an afternoon drive on our arrival mid afternoon.
As it would have been a rush to be ready on time we elected to do both a morning and evening drive the following day and the staff were very helpful with that. The cheetah tracking on foot was excellent and we were so lucky to witness a kill.
Our evening guide, Jonas, went beyond the call of duty in successful pursuit of a leopard. We then followed him to 2 further viewing locations. Fantastic.
Okonjima Plains Camp review
Plains camp -view room
It was a nice, clean and comfortable room with a view across the plain from the big bed, and quite private. We were able to watch many animals just from the room! And it was a good place to relax. The staff were all very welcoming and helpful.
We last stayed at Okonjima four years ago at Bush Camp, which we thoroughly enjoyed and the game drives had been very well orgainsed. However, we felt that Plains camp is quite large and more corporate than our previous experience. Although staff were generally very helpful & knowledgeable, we felt that too much pressure was put on a few animals by tracking radio collared animals on foot. This was however for many people the best opportunity to see endangered species, such as wild dogs and Cheetah, and to get close up to an hyena, but it did feel uncomfortable and animals looked not too happy by being continually disturbed.
Despite Expert Africa putting in the request for soya milk and us having completed a form on arrival at Okonjima, confirming the request for soya milk -n o one we asked knew anything about it, nor were they prepared to go and find out if there was any. After asking the 5th person on our second day did anyone actually try to find out, and eventually the soya milk arrived from Bush camp. After that the soya milk was available, but it had been a struggle to obtain it.
After leaving Plains camp, we called in at REST (Rare & endangered species Trust). We had a fascinating guided tour of the facility and were introduced to owls, eagles, a pangolin and a wild cat kitten, as examples of their work. It was an interesting experience.
Fantastic - accommodation and experiences
We loved our time here - it is a stunning location, fabulous accommodation and what amazing opportunities to get close to iconic wildlife.
Great welcome, huge new public area, but beautifully designed and although a busy place, it didn't feel crowded (apart from maybe mealtimes).
Our room was described as a 'Standard Room' - they really should reconsider the naming as it was anything but standard. Huge windows overlooking the plain, huge bathroom and shower area, beautifully decorated and plenty of space for clothes, bags, lounging around.
The food was very good, a choice of vegetarian options and most food was collected from the outside cooking area. On the second night we ate with people we'd met at Grootberg who were on their 14th Namibia visit and knew Okonjima and its founders very well. We sat in a VIP area with them and met the new resident vet, again a very memorable night.
We did 3 Game experiences and yes, some of the Cheetahs and Leopards we saw were collared and tracked by radio, but it was still amazing to get so close (on foot to the cheetahs) to these beautiful animals. The trip to the Africat centre was worth it too as we witnessed a cheetah having a minor op and got to learn what the foundation is all about.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time here - great people, lovely rooms, great surroundings and of course, the beautiful cats.
Okonjima Plains Camp review
An excellent end to our trip. The activities were good value and our guide was very knowledgeable - the chance to get close to cheetahs (on foot) and leopards (in the safari vehicle) was superb.
Although obviously a tourist attraction the enclosed areas are large enough that there is no feeling of a safari park experience. Very comfortable room, we stayed in a Bush View room which was an apt description as it had uninterrupted views of the bush, and some wandering wildlife. Some areas with walking trails which were good.
The emphasis has changed from rescuing to an education and conservation programme.
What a change
There has been a lot of changes here the new rooms are very good the food still good but some of the old visitors will be a bit shocked at what has happened different to any other lodge in NamibiaRead more about the whole safari