Andersson's at Ongava: Our full report
Opened in April 2019, Andersson's at Ongava is a complete reimagining of the original Andersson's Camp.Extensive renovations have change what was a mid-range, family-friendly camp on the private Ongava Reserve into something more luxurious and exclusive. Following the update, the camp is also home to the exciting and unique Ongava Research Centre (ORC).
In some respects, this incarnation of Andersson’s is the same as the old camp. It still occupies the same location, 8km inside the Ongava Reserve; it is still the only fenced property on the reserve, as was the old Andersson’s; and it still has the same excellent sunken hide overlooking a waterhole. However, don’t be fooled: the new Andersson’s at Ongava is a very different prospect to the original, and is more in line with its sister properties Little Ongava, Ongava Tented Camp, and Ongava Lodge.
Gone are the 18 simple tented rooms, replaced by eight luxurious suites with large comfortable twin or king-size beds under a canopy of mosquito nets. Each suite comes with air conditioning, a writing desk, tea and coffee station, luggage rack, comfy sofa, WiFi and a smart TV connected to cameras overlooking the lodge’s waterhole. (During our stay in April 2019, the first week after the camp re-opened, the TV was not connected to satellite channels, but may do in the future.)
To the front of the suite, large sliding glass and screen doors open up on to a wraparound veranda looking out on to the surrounding bush, generally toward the waterhole. A clever electric fence system means that the view isn’t obstructed by wires and that wildlife can get quite close to the suites.
To the side of the bedroom is a modern en-suite shower room with marble surfaces, twin basins, rain-effect indoor shower and a separate toilet cubicle, while a sliding door opens to a well-screened outdoor shower.
For families or couples travelling together, suites five and six have been positioned closer together than the others. Aside from their proximity there is no other difference, so that when not being used by a group/family they are used as independent suites. As the whole lodge is fenced, walking between rooms is relatively safe so this arrangement works well, even for families with relatively young children.
Brick pathways through the bush link the suites to the main area: several buildings arranged in a semi-circle around a courtyard looking out over the waterhole. At its heart is a large firepit, a perfect spot to relax with a drink at the end of the day. Set around this are the bar and lounge; the dining area; and a large open viewing deck fronting another lounge and a presentation area. A small curio shop doubles as reception.
Surrounded by manicured lawns and a deck with sunloungers, the camp’s large infinity pool comes complete with a separate elephant trough – giving elephants access to fresh water without resorting to the pool itself.
During our visit, the presentation area was the location for half-hour talks on research conducted at the Ongava Research Centre – which was still under construction a short walk away from the main camp. It promises to be an impressive structure with space for veterinary studies and research as well as an auditorium and a sky deck that will give guests front-row seats to the spectacular Namibian sky, possibly guided by a resident astronomer.
By no means least on the impressive list of facilities at Andersson’s is its thrilling sunken hide. Dug into the ground so as to be at eye level with the animals while they drink, and accessed through a tunnel, the hide offers an exceptional opportunity to get up close and personal with the reserve’s wilder residents. The hide was designed with comfort in mind, with a water cooler and comfortable seats reminiscent of those in the game-drive vehicles, but as both the tunnel and the hide are quite echoey, it’s important to keep movements to a minimum.
Other activities from Andersson’s focus largely on game drives – both into Etosha National Park and on the reserve itself. Unlike in Etosha, however, Ongava can offer walking safaris, rhino approach and night drives, as well as the more traditional game drives. We understand that the lodge will also offer tours of the research facility.
Andersson's at Ongava occupies a fantastic location on a rewarding and well-run private game reserve within easy reach of Etosha National Park. We have always enjoyed staying on the reserve and this lodge certainly to lives up to the high standards we've come to expect from the Ongava portfolio. The sunken hide and research centre add the opportunity to gain unique perspectives on some of Namibia’s most endangered species.
Country manager: Namibia
- Etosha National Park, Namibia
- Ideal length of stay
- Two or three nights here is ideal if you want to go on game drives into Etosha and the Ongava Reserve as well as experiencing the Ongava Research Centre.
- The lodge is located on the Ongava Reserve on the southern boundary of Etosha National Park, near the Andersson's Gate into the park.
There is an airstrip on the Ongava Reserve, and from here Andersson's is just a short drive.
- Accessible by
- Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- On our stay in April in 2019 we were impressed the by the high quality of the food. We understand that the lodge will be able to cater for most dietary requirements so long as sufficient notice is given.
Breakfast comes in the usual Namibian style with a buffet of cereals, bread, cold meats, fresh fruits, yoghurt, tea, coffee and fruit juice, along with hot dishes cooked to order.
For lunch we enjoyed a light and refreshing tomato and mozzarella salad, followed by a choice of vegetable pasta or a kudu kebab with roast vegetables. The meal was rounded off by chocolate brownies and/or vanilla ice cream.
Our three-course dinner started with leek and potato soup with a fresh bread roll. The main course, of either chicken stuffed with feta and spinach, or pork, was served with potato wedges, green beans and steamed vegetables. Although we were quite full we thoroughly enjoyed the vanilla cheesecake dessert.
- Family holidays
- Although it has been upgraded and is now a more upmarket lodge, Andersson’s at Ongava remains a great option for a family holiday to Namibia. The lodge is still fenced, with a family suite and plenty to keep children entertained.
- See ideas for Family holidays
- Photography holidays
- Andersson’s at Ongava has a one-of-a-kind sunken hide overlooking their waterhole. Accessed via a tunnel from the lodge this offers photographers in Namibia a unique perspective on some of the country’s most endangered species, and more besides.
- See ideas for Photography holidays
- Walking safaris
- The focus of walking safaris from Andersson's is often on tracking white rhino, although you may also see some of the reserve's species. Lead by expertly trained, armed guides this a great way to experience the bush from a different perspective.
- See ideas for Walking safaris
- Attitude towards children
- Andersson’s accepts children of all ages.
- Property’s age restrictions
- Special activities & services
- There are no child-specific activities here but we have always found the staff to be flexible and good with families.
- The camp has two suites that are relatively close together that would suit families with children. Subject to availability, extra beds can be provided for young children to stay in their parent’s room, if requested in advance.
- Generally recommended for children
- Andersson’s is fenced but it has a relatively adult atmosphere and with no child-specific activities on offer we don’t believe it would be a good fit for young children.
- Despite the fence around the lodge, we advise that children are supervised at all times; the fence is electric, and the pool is both unfenced and unguarded.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Andersson's at Ongava
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Andersson's at Ongava have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.
- Power supply notes
- There is a back-up generator in case of mains failure.
There are universal charging points in the suites for guests to charge electrical devices.
- There is cellphone reception throughout the lodge, and WiFi is available for guests to use in the main area and the suites.
- TV & radio
- There are TVs in the suites but these are for watching the action at the waterhole and were not connected to satellite channels on our visit.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- Each room has a flush toilet. Hot running water is provided by a solar geyser.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- All staff have first-aid training, and the nearest doctor is in Outjo. In the event of a serious medical situation, travellers would be airlifted to Windhoek
- Dangerous animals
- Moderate Risk
- Security measures
- The entrance to the reserve is guarded and the lodge is fenced. In addition, the camp’s managers sleep on site.
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers in the suites and main areas.
Guided walking safari
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- A full laundry service is included on a full-board stay. On a half-board stay laundry is charge per item.
- There is a small electric safe in each suite.
- Accepted payment on location
- Cash payments are accepted in Namibian dollars and South African rand – with British pounds, US dollars and euro accepted in an emergency. Card payments can be made using Visa, Mastercard or AmEx.
Other lodges in Etosha National Park
Alternative places to stay in this same area.