Reviews of Okaukuejo Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
It's all about the waterhole
We stayed two nights at Okaukuejo - one night in a Family Chalet and one in a Premiere Waterhole Chalet. We didn't book early enough to get both nights on the waterhole.
We had read enough about this place to keep our expectations in check. As many people have written here and elsewhere, the whole camp has seen better days. Both chalets need a lot of work to get them up to date. The air conditioners leaked like crazy, light fixtures were missing, things were dingy, the smell was musty (probably due to the perpetually leaky air conditioners), etc.
The service in all aspects was not attentive - everywhere from reception to the dining room to the post office to the saddest grocery store we've ever seen. The inventory list was not available when we checked into the family chalet, and the people in the reception office would not provide us with one. So we had no way of proving that we didn't take any purportedly missing items when we checked put the next day. Luckily that was not an issue.
But in spite of all of that... the waterhole is magical, and what happens there at night can be very different from what you will see during the day. For this reason alone - the waterhole at night - Okaukuejo is an absolute *must* for at least a one night stay. On our second night (when we had the great view from our waterhole chalet balcony) we saw eight rhinos, all at once! The way they interacted with each other was fascinating. We saw and heard lions at night too, as well as elephants, giraffe, jackals and more. People generally are very quiet at this waterhole, especially at night. Several die-hards actually spend most or all of the night there just observing or taking pictures.
The other great things about Okaukuejo are that it is a convenient base for many other good waterholes that you can drive to during the day on your own. Also, the food, despite the fact that it is a buffet, was actually pretty good, especially the meat that they grill fresh every night. We were pleasantly surprised by the food for the most part.
As long as you go into your visit with moderate expectations regarding the quality of the camp itself, you will quickly put that all aside after a few minutes at the waterhole, both day and night. Expert Africa and others did a good job of making sure we knew it would be up to the caliber of the other places we stayed. We have great memories of Okaukuejo and consider it a not-to-be-missed stop in a visit to Etosha.
Okaukuejo - great
The Bush Chalet was good but the location of Waterhole Chalet was great. The receptionist did well getting us into Waterhole chalet 9 for all six nights.
Staff very friendly,smiley and competent. Rooms clean and bedding very good. Did not want to leave.
Drove ourselves into the park every day and had a super time
Okaukuejo Camp review
The camp was very busy. Our chalet had a much better layout than at Halali and fine for an overnight stop - it was clean, comfortable and in good order. There was a braii, but again you had to bring all your own utensils. Only tea and coffee making facilities (and a fridge and sink) were provided.
It was worth booking an early dinner to avoid the crowds. We sat outside and watched a beautiful masked weaver bird show off his nest building skills. As ever, there was lots of activity at the waterhole after dinner.
It was worth calling in at the waterhole just near the Anderson gate. We saw a fine Lion and assorted other game before leaving Etosha and heading back towards Windhoek.
When we got here we were a bit disappointed, especially after Doro Nawas, and I had read other reviews which said things like 'its a bit like Butlins' and 'cleanliness wasn't great'. BUT I have to say once we accepted it wasn't as up market as Doro Nawas I have to say it was great! The room was spacious, clean, within a 3 minute walk of the Water Hole and the food although was buffet service was fab. Kudu, Elend or similar meat every night, good salads and veg - we enjoyed it.
The Water Hole was of course amazing - we saw elephants, giraffe, lions, game, rhinos, all sorts throughout the day and night. We drove around the other waterholes in the mornings and these were great too - we found Olifantsbad, Nebrowni and Gembsbokvlakte to be the best on our trip (were a bit gutted we didn't see nay Cheetahs but thats not the camps fault obviously!)
The shop wasn't great - it took ages to get served and although each hut has a barbecue outside, there was nothing in the shop to put on the barbecue and we were under the impression you couldn't take any with you. But water, beer etc was all nice and cold and you could get essentials.
Okaukuejo Camp review
A Government owned establishment and it showed. Booking in was chaotic and not very well organised. Kiosk was very basic and poorly run - needed a better location and better methods of taking orders and serving food. The menu was also limited and not very appetising. The restaurant could also have been better catered for and the service was slow and "forgetful".
Accommodation good and well placed for the water hole which was an absolute stand out place. So also was the game park drive and the driver/guide was excellent and a delight and very knowledgeable.
Okaukuejo Camp review
Given that this is a large resort, it is very well run and well kept and clean, the dining room though large is well organised and the food well cooked.
We enjoyed the same chalet as last trip! Which is well positioned. The shop is not as good as Halali rather basic stock only, but we were warned by you to expect that.
Okaukuejo Camp review
Having read some of the reviews we were doubtful about staying here but were very glad that we did.
The food was good value, the room had all that we needed and the service was good plus the big bonus of the floodlit waterhole. One evening we watched 4 rhinos and their young, the next day a large herd of elephants visited as we got back in the late afternoon.
An excellent base for exploring the western side of Etosha.
The start of something great!
Accommodation was excellent - clean and very comfortable. We were a stone's throw from the water-hole which made for easy game viewing. The restaurant was slightly further away and at night the site is very confusing resulting in us getting lost several times! The food in the restaurant was not brilliant and hadn't improved much since our previous visit seven years ago!
However, the reason for staying at Okaukuejo is the ease of access to the game park and that is brilliant.
Underrated, lovely resort with waterhole
It is common to see this resort as ‘wonderful waterhole, but awful place to stay’. Our experience was quite different. The resort has a lovely, old-fashioned feel (it is the oldest one in Etosha), with a large number of very attractive huts, like a kind of 1950s American summer camp. Food is taken in a central dining area – drinks are ordered but the meal is serve-yourself buffet style. It’s quite ordinary but clean and appetising. It is, of course, a long way from the luxury safari camp experience, but it’s not grim at all.
Rooms are surprisingly large and comfortable, with good mosquito precautions. The park itself has other camps to stop and have lunch or whatever in the middle of the day, and the food is simple but tasty.
The waterhole at Okaukuejo is astounding, both by day and night. On our visit, the tourists were well-behaved, quiet and respectful of the animals. Our guide suggested we dine early (when the restaurant opened at 6.30 pm) so we could bag the best seats at the waterhole for the evening. In the four hours I was there from 7.30 pm, I saw 15 black rhino, including a suckling calf and mother, and two male lions, both of whom were eventually chased off by bad-tempered rhinos. There were also lots of jackals and giraffe. By day there was a huge concentration of giraffe, springbok, impala, zebra and various birds.
We drove out of the camp and visited a few waterholes in the daytime, at one seeing a small pride of lions staking out zebra and then being chased off by a male elephant; and at another, a large herd of white-dust stained elephant drinking, with ostrich, zebra, impala and even a sleeping rhino. Etosha is based on driving across the rather dull landscape and settling down at a waterhole and hoping for the best. The concentration and variety of game is relatively poor compared to other African parks – so we saw no leopard or cheetah, for instance – but there are plenty of elephant, the unforgettable black rhino, and some interesting scenes at waterholes, as antelope (kudu and eland among those we saw) come and go.
Okaukuejo Camp review
We had visited Okaukuejo before and so we knew what to expect.
The chalet was excellent - clean, well equipped and well serviced. Although breakfast was adequate, service and quality of food at dinner were disappointing.
Also, we and others were somewhat frustrated that we had to pay separately each night for dinner - instead of signing each bill so that we could settle for the 3 nights as a single payment when we checked out from the camp. Arrangements for payment each night were slow and rather disorganised.