Reviews of Okaukuejo Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
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.
Different but wonderful
This was a very interesting place and I was a little wary as I had read mixed reviews. In all honesty I found it a very good place to stay and an ideal base from which to tour Etosha National Park.
Upon arrival, reception was a little chaotic (don't forget to pay the park permit fees to the tourism official sat at the end of the reception desk) but the welcome was friendly. You leave a N$500 refundable deposit which must be in cash. The rooms are chalet style and perfectly well appointed with a separate kitchen/sitting area. Upon advice of Expert Africa we carefully went through the inventory and found a couple of things broken/missing. These were pointed out to reception who came straight around and repaired them. The site offers a mini bar replacement service whereby you fill in a form and drop it at the bar; they then stock the fridge in your room.
The floodlit waterhole is incredible and we were lucky enough to see rhino, elephants, lions and many more each day, both there and in the wider park itself.
The shop on camp is pretty poorly equipped provision wise so you are really left with no alternative than to take dinner at the camp. This was however very reasonable at N$180 a head and consisted of a three course buffet style meal. It might not win any culinary awards but it was wholesome and well cooked.
Check out was smooth and we were sorry to leave Okaukuejo. It might feel like a holiday camp in some ways, but it more than makes up for it with the quality of wildlife on offer.
Okaukuejo Camp review
We were very pleasantly surprised by this camp. It was much better than any National Park camps I have stayed in the past in South Africa (admittedly some years ago). The food, accommodation and location by the waterhole were great. Considering the numbers of people having dinner at the camp it was excellent food. The dinner was an especially good meal for just over £10. Wasn't so good so on service if you get there later in the evening compared to others. Food is effectively self service but the drinks were ordered (although probably better to buy at bar and take to table) and took a long time to come if you arrive later for the meal.
Room was comfortable with a fridge which was good to cool water for the following day. It was close to the waterhole and we were able to go down there for 10 mins easily if wished.
The service at reception was not particularly friendly and it struck me that they were tired and bored.
The real asset of this camp is the waterhole. We saw lots of animals here elephant, zebra, springbok, impala, giraffe, guinea fowl, sand grouse. At night we saw 4 lions the first evening and two the second, 2 rhinos the first evening and eight together the second: 1 white and 7 black including a baby . One of the rhinos came right up to the fence. This was one of the highlights of our trip. Even if not stopping here to stay it is worth looking at any time of day.
Okaukuejo Camp review
The location is excellent of course. The rooms are fine and the service this time was not as bad as we experienced here before.
If you travel with a baby there is not a lot of room for the cot and the rooms are not very well isolated. We had neighbours and we're sure they knew we had a baby with us.
Okaukuejo Camp review
Staying here is all about the waterhole where you see lots of animals.
The site itself is rather municipal and the restaurant food basic. The bush chalet was well equipped comfortable and clean.
It was what we expected so no complaints.
The waterhole was one of the trip highlights
The recent refurbishment of the camp has delivered very pleasant facilities and our Bush Chalet was comfortable, spacious, clean, air conditioned and well fitted (fridge and kettle provided). The mosquito nets, Doom spray and Peaceful Sleep repellent provided kept us bite free. The food was reasonable with a good selection.
The waterhole was fascinating, we spent many very happy hours, both during the day and the night, watching the interaction of the animals as they came to drink. We would happily stay here again. Being inside the park is a real benefit. Unfortunately the night drive was fully booked when we got around to enquiring but that meant we could spend longer at the waterhole.
Okaukuejo camp is what it is!
Because of the location, Okaukuejo is very popular, but we will try not to stay there again. The food and service has deteriorated over the years and dining is not a pleasant experience.
The buffet style meals bring out the worst in people. The selection had been drastically reduced. There is not a good atmosphere about the camp. We witnessed a serious accident when a man fell from the concrete grandstand steps at the end of the waterhole. He badly injured his ankle and had to be taken by ambulance to hospital. We considered these steps to be very dangerous and work needs to be done to make them safer
Okaukuejo Camp review
The prime reason to stay here is the waterhole and this certainly lived up to expectations; giraffes and rhinos at night are worth seeing. The elephants seemed to have a daily visit for a drink and a bath.
Our electricity tripped out the first night but we filled out a fault slip and it was repaired (blown water heater) by 11 am which was pretty impressive.
Everyone was asked for a 500 N$ deposit in cash on arrival, no problem but we hadn't been advised of this beforehand.
Expert Africa comments
Expert Africa does mention the N$500 deposit in the final ticket letter for travellers as we feel that this is important information to know in advance of your arrival at camp. There is a lot of information in the final ticket pack so sometimes this information can be overlooked.