Reviews of Okaukuejo Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Okaukuejo Camp review
To a certain extent the story about the Namibian National Parks camps in many reviews has been rather negative, and they are certainly less arty-farty than some of the private camps we stayed at, but overall, we thought Okaukuejo was fine. It did what it said on the box, the accommodation was clean, the restaurant worked well and service was good, the water-hole was a real success and the seats were crowded as the evening wore on, with some brilliant views of game. The swimming pools were nice as well - not quite enough loungers but probably difficult to manage.
We took Expert Africa's advice and checked the inventory in our hut (short of one plastic coat hangar!) but they seemed v relaxed about this. Our only adverse comment was that the shop at this camp (and other National Park camps) was almost completely empty of stock. Not only was there hardly any food on the shelves, but the souvenir shop was also empty. Interestingly we had dropped into the Namutoni shop which had lots of souvenirs - but at this point we were at the start of our trip. NWR clearly did have stock but just not at the major camp! We can see why you might not stock perishables in the quiet season but canned and frozen food? It didn't affect us as we ate in the restaurant but if you were travelling on a budget and depending on self catering, you'd be in difficulties.
The gas station on site took cards and although the office staff did have just a tiny touch of bureaucrat about them, we found that by being friendly and talking about the 'not arrived yet' rains and so on, they relaxed and were helpful and friendly. We drove ourselves out on trips in the area, and the waterholes along the southern edge of the Etosha Pan had some brilliant gatherings of game, with densities of zebras and wildebeest in particular very high - in the low hundreds..
Better than expected
Although this is a Government run camp the rooms, service, food and facilities were better than expected. Our bush chalet (stone built) was spacious, comfortable with it's own shaded veranda and BBQ area. Cars can be parked immediately outside room which is a benefit.
Restaurant food choice (buffet style) was better than average and separate bar area adequate. Game viewing at the large waterhole can prove interesting particularly in the evening - 3 rhino visited while we were there. Check-in and out was fairly quick but you do have to be in the correct queue which is not always evident - waited several minutes to check out only to be told I needed to speak with another person. Payment by CC was swift - good connection.
Ideal location for self drive in Etosha park but 4 wheel drive vehicle is recommended (we had non 4 wheel drive and found ourselves facing deep water filled ruts which we could not pass so had to return via the same route which can be a 20km drive). Recommend the guided night drive.
Excellent game viewing in Etosha and would return to this camp.
Worth it for the lovely waterhole.
The restaurant is fairly average. The shop is under stocked. There is a distinct lack of any ambiance but who cares, the waterhole is wonderful. 7 rhinos jostling and challenging each other and interacting with a female rhino. Lionesses, elephants, kudu, springbok, giraffe, jackals in the evening. It was great the next morning too, with birds and game arriving in a procession of African wildlife.
We wanted to buy food to make a sandwich to eat at the waterhole that night but the stock in the shop is so poor we ended up with plastic sliced bread, flavourless processed meats and amazing 'cheese flavoured' slices.
The chalets are clean, large and comfortable with kitchen facilities, which is very nice.
Worth it for the waterhole
Everything is on a 'mass' scale so less personal, but having said that seeing all the wildlife was what we were there for. We could easily have spent longer than 2 nights here.
The early morning game drive was excellent and a good foundation for our subsequent trips out in the car. To be honest you could spend all day at the waterhole - rhino, lion, elephant, hyena, giraffe and yet more rhino!
No signs of any of the reported scams and the staff were all very helpful.
Okaukuejo Camp review
This camp was actually better than we were expecting.
The bush chalets, although simply furnished were a good size and pleasantly located.
Service from the staff good and efficient, especially considering the size of the resort.
The buffet food was good quality, especially the bbq meat. Food choice is similar every day.
Okaukuejo Camp review
A good base and the waterhole is very well used night and day - always something to see.Read more about the whole safari
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.