Reviews of Okaukuejo Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Beastly evenings at Okaukuejo
Okaukuejo Camp is like a mini-township - with small general store, post office, petrol station, tourist office, reception area, dining area (and adjacent swimming pool), camp-site, RV site, room-blocks and chalets of varying categories. The place felt quite densely populated while we were there.
On checking in at Reception (and uniquely among our Namibian lodgings), we were required to deposit N$ 500 in bank-notes, retained by the office. We were told that this was to ensure return of the chalet key as well as to provide security against damage. However, there was no procedure to verify the condition and contents of the chalet at any time during our stay (though there was a note in the chalet manual asking guests to notify any damage noticed on first entry) and we received the bank-notes back in full without any enquiry, once we had surrendered the key on checking out.
We were allocated an air-conditioned bush chalet, well located for access to the waterhole spectating area, some 80m away. It was clean, comfortable and quiet. It provided a large ensuite bedroom/lounge, a kitchenette (without utensils but with fridge and kettle), porch and external barbecue grill. Basic barbecuing equipment, plus vegetable matter and meat were on sale in the shop – but plastic cutlery only. We were not tempted, though we saw and smelled some successful efforts at neighbouring chalets, whose occupants, however, appeared to have brought their own food and equipment.
The jewel in its crown and the main reason for staying at the camp is its waterhole. There is also the convenience of being inside the park, allowing maximum excursion time between the permitted driving hours, from sunset to sundown. On each of our two nights, after-dinner viewing at the floodlit waterhole (only some 30m from spectators on its nearer side) was magical. The “stage” was hardly ever empty. A large cast showed up - even a leopard on our second evening – and there were unusual antics from rhinos, elephant and giraffe. Lions roared loudly during the night, but we saw such cats only at another waterhole, some 20kms from the lodge.
Dinner arrangements were rather cumbersome and we found dining conditions to be unpredictable or chaotic. Guests wishing to dine are required to register each day. We first spotted the registration sheet by chance, as we checked in at Reception. On our first evening (a Saturday), we entered the dining area from the direction of our chalet and stood there, ignored by all the over-worked waiters. We eventually discovered that, by entering from the direction of Reception, we would encounter a head-waiter, who would tick our reservation on his list and inform us of our pre-allocated table number. On that first visit, under stress from a longish queue, he waved us vaguely in the direction of our table, which we then had difficulty in locating because the numbering on the tables was only partly sequential (on our second visit he allocated us a wine-waitress, who took us to our table).
The choice and quality of the buffet-style offerings were good. Each dinner was charged at a very reasonable fixed rate of N$ 170 per person, to cover all courses. On our first night there were queues (some long) at all the serving counters and it was difficult to attract the attention of the wine-waiter. At the end of our meal we committed a faux-pas by leaving without paying for the food and drink – the wine waiter was unobtainable for us to sign anything, and we thought, erroneously, that all charges would automatically go on to our chalet account. Subsequently, we discovered that both food and drink charges at dinner must be settled on each visit and independently of any chalet account. All, however, was resolved amicably on our second evening when we paid the bills for both visits. We also found the place much less crowded on that evening (though we were there at roughly the same time of day) – and the whole experience was much more pleasant.
Still a wonderful waterhole
The camp has improved and the rooms are clean and the staff helpful. This camp is functional and works well but has one outstanding feature which make it worthy of one nights stop at least and that is the waterhole, which never ceases to fail for good viewing.
The food is still the same but this is not a place you go for fine dining.
One final warning - there are large burnt out areas to the west as you come from Dolomite, about 30km of nothing but ash and a blackened landscape and no game.
Best place to do your own Safari
The Water hole chalet is well positioned but is quite cramped , people are walking past 24/7 to the water hole.
The shower over flowed and was not repaired.
The Bush chalet was only a short walk from the water hole , was much more spacious ,quieter .and more comfortable .
The reception and eating arrangements are somewhat chaotic, we don't feel Dinner was good value but breakfasts are good.
Easy to drive around to the water holes ,where animals come to drink in the dry season.
Great location, incredible wildlife.
We were pleased with our bush chalet (actually more like a semi-detached bungalow) as the layout was simple, yet spacious and clean. It was equipped with everything we needed including a fridge which was handy to chill a bottle of wine from the camp shop! We also liked its position which was within 100 yards of the waterhole and only a two-minute walk to the restaurant.
Our first evening meal was quite good. The restaurant was large with seating inside and out. The dinner was a help yourself buffet. The salad selection was excellent and the choice available was a meal in itself. There was also hot soup but after a hot day, salad is so much more refreshing! The main course was a choice of beef or kudu. The beef was a bit tough but the kudu was nice and tender. There was a selection of vegetables available and all was nice and hot.
There was a choice of dessert, much of it we couldn't recognise so stuck with fruit and ice cream. I have marked the food as being only average because the following night's meal was disappointing. The salad selection was much reduced and the vegetables to go with the main course (oryx or chicken) were insipid, as if all the flavour had been boiled out of them, which was a shame. Perhaps the normal chef had the day off! The dessert selection was the same as before.
Breakfasts were again a help yourself buffet with eggs being cooked to order on the grill as you waited. There was a good selection of cold meats, cheese, bread and jams as you would expect of a good hotel, so no real complaints there. There was also a toaster although even on the high setting, the bread had to be put through three times!
We missed out on lunch but snacks were available throughout the day. We had ham, cheese and tomato toasties with chips which went surprisingly well with a bottle of chilled chenin blanc from our fridge! This could all have been enjoyed sat around the very inviting pool area but we chose to relax in our room instead.
There is a petrol station on site which I made use of but the attendant wasn't exactly "Mr Happy". He very diligently topped the tank right up and just as I thought he was going to leave it at exactly N$340, he squeezed in an extra 4 cents worth! I offered N$400 and told him to call it N$350 to make change easier, thus giving him a tip of almost N$10. There was no word of thanks! The camp shop was well stocked but the girl cashier wasn't particularly friendly either. My greeting of "Hello, how are you?" was just ignored and an error on the till receipt was corrected with no word of apology.
We chose not to take part in any game drives (a night drive was available) as we felt we had seen enough by ourselves already. Overall, I would say Okaukuejo is ideally located, the grounds are very pleasant and well laid out and there is plenty of wildlife to be seen in the area, not least at its own waterhole. Nearby Nebrowni waterhole was astonishing when we visited, not once but three times!
It is perhaps unfair to criticise the catering at such a remote location because the staff did a pretty good job. We just had one disappointing meal. With two exceptions we found everyone friendly and left a complimentary remark in the guests register at Reception when checking out because this place is well worth a return visit.
Okaukuejo Camp review
Food has improved yet again from 2 years ago and the waterhole is simply marvellous. House-keeping at the bush chalet was very good.Read more about the whole safari
Okaukuejo Camp review
Waterhole again the star. Rooms quite acceptable. Breakfast was good but dinner although pleasant was spoilt by the vegetable being cold.
Service particularly at reception very much improved over 3 years ago; now both friendly and polite. Bearing in mind the popularity of the camp the overall service was good.
Okaukuejo lives up expectations
A return visit for us to the main camp and one with which we were not disappointed. The accommodation had just been upgraded on our last visit in 2007 and it has stood up well. The bush chalet was literally just across the road from the waterhole which is still the centerpiece of the camp.
Facilities are good and the restaurant, given that it is geared to catering for a large number of people, was good. The flat fee for a three course meal is not outrageous but is not flexible to cater for those of us who only want two courses. The buffet is self service but the staff on duty were always helpful especially in getting us settled to their way of working.
The waterhole is a never ending source of pleasure especially at night where we got good sightings of Elephant, Rhino and Lions as well as plains game. It can still be noisy at night but improved as the night wore on.
Okaukuejo Camp review
This was a terrible, terrible place to stay - check in took 30 plus minutes
room was not very clean, holes in mosquito netting, half filled bottles of shampoo etc, sour smell in room, towels looked like they had been washed and then just hung up on the hooks.
Plusses: a 3 minute walk to the waterhole where we saw amazing animals
Negatives the dining room did not look clean so we did not eat breakfast there. Checkout at 6am took a long time because they had to have someone check the room to see if we stole or broke anything (really???)
Okaukuejo Camp review
A much nicer room than expected again - large and tastefully furnished, with a small separate living room with sofa, fridge and sink. If you were slef catering though you'd need to bring crockery and cutlery with you.
The pool was nice (very cold again though) but with a nice area to sit in. The restaurant was large, chaotic and poorly managed. Drinks didn't arrive, plates weren't cleared, it was so dark people could see what they were eating. People were coming to dinner sporting headtorches. The food was good, but not a patch on the Namutoni camp.
The best part of Okakujo though is the waterhole - vast numbers of animals come day and night, large herds, unpeturbed by people. You could spend all day in camp and not need to go out in the car.
a shock to the system after the friendly Namibian welcomes we had become accustomed to. A government run set up with staff who grunted at you on arrival and little more after this. very disorganised set up in restaurant and ridiculous lack of trust at check out.
Rooms were average with horrible smell of disinfectant. flood lit water hole does make this a worthy stop when in etosha but be prepared for a lesser standard of accommodation and service compared to the rest of Namibia.