Reviews of Okaukuejo Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Great safari at Okaukuejo
If you are visiting Namibia to see wildlife, a visit to Etosha is a must. Okaukuejo is the central camp, with the main waterhole where each night and most mornings we saw groups of black rhinos, elephants and giraffes - as well as various antelope species, birds and (once) a slender mongoose.
The location and rooms we had (a premier waterhole chalet and nearby disabled chalet) are excellent. However, the overall feel is of an infrastructure that was set up 20 years or so ago and hasn’t received the investment necessary to maintain it as topnotch. Given the wealth of the overseas visitors, I would recommend immediately doubling or tripling the park fees for non-Namibians and investing the extra income in better catering, better maps (the ones provided in the park are incomplete and misleading, e.g. at least one permanent waterholes missed off, several shown as permanent are dry, not all the [gravel] roads are shown) and re-painted signposts (many have become faint and some completely obliterated over time). Also there is little updated info about what game has been seen recently at what waterhole.
The catering is of average to poor canteen standard (greasy breakfasts, boring bread, very similar and rather dull evening meals) - unlike the good restaurant standard food we found at other camps. If food is important to you, then find a private camp outside the park and travel in daily. Service was also not (as elsewhere) uniformly excellent here - perhaps inevitable with more staff dealing with much higher volumes of tourists - but it was mostly good.
Our highlights were good ‘spots’ we made ourselves eg) a couple of lions hunting in the late afternoon, a spotted hyena sleeping by a roadside bush in the early morning and a few waterhole experiences - the main waterhole (see above), a big elephant herd at Goas and the biggest concentration we saw one morning at Ozonjuitji m’Bari (a longish drive W of camp but worth it), at least several hundred animals and birds of various species.
Spectacular waterhole at Okaukujo
Although the main camp in Etosha National Park, Okaukuejo still manages to generate a quiet, peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. The chalets are spacious, well maintained and clean.
From here you explore the park, which in Etosha mainly involves driving between the waterholes. If you are there in the dry season this is really all you need to do as the animals are forced to congregate at the few available water sources and the scenes are almost biblical, with lines of animals seemingly stretching for miles. Photographic opportunities abound.
Make sure you visit the camp waterhole at dusk. Its surprisingly close and a hushed crowd waits in expectation like an audience at a play, but one which may or may not happen. But it did and all at once a group of giraffe emerge from the bushes like ghosts in the failing light and the are soon joined by two black rhino.
Our main gripe with the camp was with the food, served buffet style and plentiful but will not win any prizes. Meat eaters would probably feel adequately catered for but a vegetarian will struggle. We realise that Namibia Wildlife Resorts cater for perceived demand but surely adding a bit more quality and variety might be beneficial.
However, this didn't spoil our appreciation of the surrounding park which in some areas seems like another world; a parched, hostile dustbowl but which supports wildlife in amazing abundance and variety.
Good to be in the park, otherwise average
The 'standard room' was adequate, but very basic (no chair, not even a bedside light).
We were right by the campsite and the campers made a lot of noise packing up very early in the morning. The accommodation was the least attractive of our holiday, and the staff not always as smiling and friendly as elsewhere.
However we did see plenty of action at the waterhole, which was why we chose to stay here.
Watch life go by at the water hole..
This site was dissappointing, and lived up to its many reviews. What makes the site a `must ` to visit is the water hole, and the game drives. You can spend all day at the water hole its just so rewarding. And this really is the place for game drives, you will see everything here.
The accomodation is in need of refurbishment , and looks and feels very worn out, particularly the bath/shower room.
The request for 350.00 $ inventory fee is a real annoyance. We checked our inventory and found only 4 + ( 1 damaged coat hangers) We reported this to reception, the receptionist stated they were not too bothered about some of the smaller items. The deposit was refunded on our departure without the room been checked for any defects,or breakages. It was a complete was of our time. The staff are not as motivated as the private lodges, and therefore the experience was not as good as at previous lodges.
The restaurant was also disappointing. During our stay there were a number of large groups and this seemed to cause seating problems. Some of the restaurant staff were very good, others were somewhat less attentive.
The camp caters for a whole range of visitors ,but the facilities are in need of a review. The grounds whilst reasonably well kept, could be more tidy.
After the luxury of Mowani, this was a big disappointment. The staff at reception were officious and not welcoming.
The chalet was lovely - it was on two floors so we slept upstairs with a view of the waterhole. Disappointing number of animals though, but that's just luck.
The food was absolutely horrible - a fixed price for lunch and dinner which were both buffet meals. Unhygienic use of utensils when cooking the meat - the same tongs were used for handling cooked and raw meat. Way overpriced too. a most unpleasant experience, we dreaded going in for meals.
we went on a game drive with a guide who wasn't at all proactive, except when he spotted a lion with a kill. Then we took ourselves off in the afternoon.
Bush chalet - Okaukuejo
Bush chalet much better than the waterhole chalet and we were lucky to have one only a few extra steps from the waterhole.
Lots of zebra at the waterhole this time, great at sunset.
Camp was busy with some large groups but generally staff did their best to cope well. The room attendants looking after the bush chalets clearly took pride in their work, even laying out the towels with fresh flowers. We would not hesitate to stay here again.
Waterhole Chalet in Okaukuejo
Standard rest camp - the staff we came into contact with were pretty helpful. The food was fine (excellent game meat for dinner and omelette for breakfast).
The waterhole chalet slightly disappointing as there was not a lot of space in the room with just a small fridge in the cupboard and no indoor seating area. It is, however, just 20 meters from the waterhole and so location is good.
Unfortunately, there were not many animals visiting the waterhole, due to the availability of water elsewhere.
On our one night in the waterhole chalet, we saw one elephant (early afternoon), many jackals and some springbok and impala.
Great location right in Etosha!
This is a great central point to stay in Etosha with easy access to many waterholes. As its a government run lodge, the facilities are a bit more basic than other lodges around Etosha, however rooms are good value, clean, well maintained and nice enough.
However, you will be coming here more for the quick access to wildlife and not for the luxury aspect. In addition, the lodge has its own floodlit waterhole which is a fantastic place to spend an evening watching wildlife right in front of you.
The food is buffet but the chef was able to help cater for our dietary requirements.
Okaukuejo Camp review
We had a problem with the room we were allocated, as the hot water didn't work and a section of roof was loose and clattered around in the high wind in the early evening. However, the staff were very good and offered us two other rooms to choose from (another bush chalet that was close to the road and a waterhole chalet).
In the end we choose the waterhole chalet because of its location, although it was quite a bit smaller than the bush chalet and felt slightly cramped. However, it was very conveniently situated for the waterhole which was the highlight of the camp. On the first night we saw 8 rhino's at the waterhole and the next day at one point there were 17 giraffes at and around the waterhole. We also saw oryx standing in the waterhole to drink while other animals were around the edge.
The only activity we participated in was a night drive which was initially spoilt by high winds and then heavy rain but the guide was very good and found some interesting wildlife for us.
Before arriving we had no high expectations for this camp and our experience met our expectations. The camp is large and is a good base to see the wildlife of Etosha, rather than one of good food and service. The staff at reception are impersonal and not outwardly helpful, but will answer your questions.
Our room location was fortunate because we were equal distance between the waterhole and the restaurant, but also slightly away from the main walkways.
The rooms are basic, but a good design for self catering and there is a sheltered area beside each room to leave the vehicle.
The purpose of our stay here was to take advantage of the staying within the park and to view the amazing waterhole at night. This did not disappoint. The waterhole was fantastic and visited by a large number of elephant, a few black rhino, lions, giraffe and antelope. Driving around the national park was enjoyable with good wildlife viewing at the numerous waterholes.
Our experience at the waterhole on both nights was another highlight of the holiday