Reviews of Okaukuejo Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Spectacular room and great service
The premier waterhole chalet was as great as we hoped. Service was suprisingly friendly and efficient at the restaurant and reception (much better than on previous visits).
Filling station ran out of petrol for a few days. We had a wonderful time here.
I give this an overall 'Excellent' rating because it shouldn't be missed. After days and days in the car, it is so nice to sit quietly at the watering hole in the fresh air, waiting for what comes by. It is like a huge amphitheatre and you're part of the audience, watching a play, where you have no idea what will happen next. It was spine tingling hearing the lions roar as night fell.
It is quite remarkable watching a herd of 20 elephants walking in a line from the distance as the sun is setting. Great for photographers as you're not hindered by the confines of a car.
The service and food leaves much to be desired - some staff members at the main office border on rude and our waitress made us feel uncomfortable in asking for our change once we paid our bill and lastly, the rooms aren't anything to write home about but that's not what this place is about so it shouldn't be something that puts you off.
The fuel guys were very helpful and let out our tyres free of charge.
Okaukuejo Camp review
Go for the luxury water hole bungalows they are worth the extra money. We sat on our balcony watching rhino, elephants and assorted antelopes all through the evening - an amazing view and lovely spacious accommodation.
Locally run so reception sometimes lacked the high level of customer service of some european run lodges.
Reduction for vegetarians on the buffet, as they are not specially catered for.
Stay at Okaukuejo for the waterhole
Having stayed both here and on the Eastern side of Etosha, in retrospect we preferred the landscape of Etosha more on the East. However Okaukuejo has a fantastic watering hole within the camp (surrounded by a wall) where you can just sit and watch the animals come and go. This is particularly amazing at night and it seems no 2 nights are the same. On our first night we watched a herd of elephants there and on the second night there were several rhino.
It is also very convenient to stay inside the park. This saves a 10k drive in and out of the gate each day with a variable amount of queueing.
The camp shop sells a good guide to all the animals and birds you are likely to see in Etosha and includes a good map. It is a shame this isn't offered to you when you buy your permit as we only found it by accident and other people didn't know about it.
The camp shops don't sell much in the way of food. You can get some snacks and frozen meat but you can't buy the ingredients for an entire lunch or dinner.
The buffet lunch/ dinners are pretty repetitive and cafeteria standard. But it is all about the waterhole!
This is the hardest review to write - Okaukuejo is quite municipal in atmosphere and quite busy, it's food at dinner and breakfast was basic and although staff work very hard the dining room felt a little understaffed given the number of people staying in rooms and at the campsite.
All rooms are not equal, not even in the Waterhole Chalets - we had a Premier Waterhole Chalet and this made all the difference. Our balcony directly overlooked the waterhole and we sat under blankets on a cushioned lounger long into the night watching the animals. These are by far the best rooms and the balcony made up for any shortcomings with the food or atmosphere.
When the sun had set patience brought us numerous black rhinos, elephants, lions, oryx, wildebeest, zebra etc. It was truly amazing. Okuakuejo had more shortcomings as a hotel than anywhere else we stayed and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. We were genuinely sad to leave our chalet and the memory of our afternoons and evenings watching the animals will last a lifetime.
A brilliant water hole
Overall a very good visit
Of the two chalets, we preferred the Bush Chalet to the Waterhole Chalet, which was less spacious and was in need of a re-fresh. The food was very good value and the staff friendly and helpful.
Early morning game drive (in late July) proved quite cold despite having ponchos provided. It also proved less productive than self-drive excursions.
The water hole was a key attraction and didn't disappoint with up to 5 Black Rhino, a pride of Lions and Brown Hyena being seen.
Okaukuejo - Waterhole and base for Etosha
We stayed at the end of July 2015 for 2 nights
Given the feedback we had read from various sources, our expectations of various aspects of Okaukuejo were met - the shop was basic (you couldn't by ham or cheese for a lunch roll), the buffet breakfast and dinner was OK, the rooms clean but basic. But these are not what you visit for. Being able to walk out from dinner and head to the floodlit waterhole and be presented by an elephant 25m away, followed by family of rhino's was special. We sat in the 'grandstand' where you got a reflection of the tree that stands by the waterhole along with the various animals that almost constantly arrive for a drink.
Up before dawn the following morning to see what was at the waterhole - not much, but some great pictures of zebra and springbok drinking along with their reflections in the still water. After breakfast we headed off to a few waterholes and were lucky to see a pride of eight lions arrive and rest at one, and a whole host of herbivores heading to, drinking at, and walking away from another. Being the dry season, it was worth being patient and spending a while at a waterhole as the animals come and go, and you can observe the animals behaviour, and this was particularly so when we returned to Okaukuejo camp......
When we got back we again sat by the waterhole and watched the evenings events unfold, in the end for about 3hours. For a while, not a lot, although someone said they had spotted a lion close by (I couldn't see it!). After a while it emerged, and sat down, quite a distance from the waterhole. However, this had the effect of stopping any animals from taking a drink. Eventually there were 22 giraffe frustratingly waiting nearby along with Orynx, elephant and others. The black backed jackels eventually disturbed the lion enough and it went to the waterhole taking a long drink before heading off. Rapidly all the animals that had been waiting were then able to quench their thirst, the next nearest waterhole being 10+ km away.
Hopefully this gives you a view as to why we have rated Okaukuejo as excellent, obviously not for all aspects, but the waterhole is pretty special.
Okaukuejo Camp review
We stayed in a bush chalet that was conveniently situated within Okaukuejo. It wasn't the most luxurious place that we stayed in during our trip, but it was perfectly sufficient and very spacious.
Although the waterhole chalets have a view of the waterhole, they are also exposed to all the visitors clustered around the waterhole, so we were happy with our choice! We really enjoyed walking to the waterhole at different times of day to see the animals loitering and interacting - with a bit of patience it seemed there was always something to see. We saw rhino and elephant interacting at the hole, in addition to giraffe, oryx etc etc.
The buffets for every meal are sufficient but got a bit repetitive if by the end of two days - a tip for other travellers is that the 'kiosk' serves snacks as an alternative to the lunch buffet. One of us is vegetarian and found particularly limited food options (besides salad and vegetables). In addition to gifts and toiletries, the shop sells lots of biscuits and confectionary, icecream plus bread, sausages/meat and onions - and the chalets all have firepits/bbq areas so you could have a barbeque.
THE WATERHOLE AND WILDLIFE VERY IMPRESSIVE
FIRST NIGHTS ACCOMMODATION VERY GOOD BUT SECOND NIGHT POOR.
NOT VERY WELCOMING AND POOR SERVICE
Great animal viewing at the waterhole - a shame we only spent one night.
Facilities as poor as ever - with a captive audience I can't understand how there isn't a thriving little supermarket, gift shop etc with staff who want to talk and interest you with things but customer service is not something you find in Etosha.