Reviews of Ongava Tented Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Best stay of the trip
Everything here was wonderful, the rooms, food, service, activities, guides ....Read more about the whole safari
Great accommodation marred by poor service
I should start by saying that the whole western end of Ongava just about needed flippers it was so wet.
This may have resulted in being sent off to Etosha for our whole day at Ongava, which in the middle of the wet season was predictably unproductive (bar a couple of good birds and 1000 springbok). Judging by the size of the car park at Okaukuejo game viewing in the high season is going to be shared with an awful lot of people.
Side tracks in Ongava remained virtually unusable throuhout.
Our guide liked driving (a bad sign in my books) but was keen to deliver results, which thanks to a crackling radio he finally did on our second morning, surprising a rhino which promptly shot off into the bushes and then some young lions trying to hunt out in the open.
But 'wild' it isn't. Ongava is pretty small and my impression is of a high density of visitors. First of all there's the crackling radio. Then there's the hype: armed guard within the close camp precincts and a briefing prior to a hoped for walk to see rhino (which we never found) which stressed 'my 375 magnum' and 'if I shoot, I shoot to kill', etc. This may impress some, but it's over the top, as is the two page indemnity (see Doro Nawas).
The tented accommodation was gorgeous and having a personal 4 by 4 and guide equally good, but the staffing was not on the ball and the food was frankly dire at this price point.
Frankly, it's not recommended.
Good but overpriced
Seemed hard to justify £225 per head per night more than the cost of Anderssons Camp when owned by the same people and access to exactly the same reserve.
OK we were in a brand new Toyota and Anderssons may have had older vehicles. We had three game drives and one walk. Loud radio in the vehicle detracted from the wild experience.
Chasing rhinos unsuccessfully on our first evening a bit of a flop. Eventually saw one white rhino briefly because we had disturbed it and it promptly ran off. Good game drive on our last morning with sightings of lions very close.
Guide had good knowledge of birds but I hated the radio.
The only lodge that was way below standard.
on the positives-
guide was good and game viewing ex.
room was good
on the negatives-
management non existant and I suspect this was the whole problem
On the day of our arrival we were told Neil was our guide and to meet at 4.30 but he was no where to be seen and everyone else left with their guides so we asked someone and they said our guide was Abner tonight and someone else tomorrow but they didnt know who. So we had to run to catch up with our guide only just getting there before he left. He obviously didn't know we were with him either. we had a tremendous downpour while on the drive and he had only enough waterproofs for 6 and there 8 of us so we all got totally drenched. when we arrived back we asked who would take us out tomorrow and they said it would be the same guide again so we had to go and find him to ask about the times for meeting up. Altogether a real mess!!!!!!! and this is meant to be a holiday
The meals were best described as awful. The only food we enjoyed as pea soup one night. The steak I had on the first night was inedible and the fish on the second night was cooked in soggy batter probably straight from a frozen packet or worse.
When we checked out the only person on the place was our waiter and that pretty much says it all !
This is the worst place we have stayed in years and really disappointed.
Expert Africa comments
Following these travellers comments Ongava Tented Camp (OTC) have expressed the regret that the standards here were not as high as everyone would have expected and they have apologized whole-heartedly.
Shortly before their stay the Ongava Reserve broke away from a longstanding partnership with Wilderness Safaris and it seems that the effects of striking out on their own were still being felt during these travellers visit. At the time there had been a spate of short notice staff departures leaving the camp understaffed and overstretched. Whilst this shouldn’t be an excuse we believe this was the major contributing factor to the apparent lack of management and subsequent communication problems.
Since these travellers stayed here the camp has been actively increasing the number of staff and training the existing members to improve standards.
Similarly since their stay the camp has undergone ‘off season’ renovations and partial closures. As a part of this the chefs have been sent on an ‘intensive weeks training at the Silver Spoon academy’ to improve the standard and quality of the food.
So, whilst we understand that these travellers were disappointed by their experience here we believe that their comments have not only been heard by the camp but also acted upon. We hope that this will help future travellers enjoy the high levels service we have come to expect from Ongava Tented Camp.
A great few days
We really enjoyed Ongava Tented Camp. From the moment we arrived the staff greeted us with smiles and a positive attitude. Nothing was too much trouble.
The accommodation was lovely, in permanent tents. The setting was great and the common area was lovely to spend time in, with a little pool and a water hole not far away. We were there after they had had significant rain which meant that not a lot of wildlife came down to the water hole but it was still great.
Our guide (Leon) was fine, although he could have been more forthcoming with his knowledge of wildlife and birds. We saw a lot of rhino, a large bull elephant, plenty of antelope etc. but the lions and other cats were elusive.
Would definitely recommend Ongava Tented Camp. Might be better to go during the dry season when the wildlife is likely to be more visible.
Ongava Tented Camp review
Everything was excellent here, with the exception of the odd meal.
Highlight of the stay was our full day (12 hour) safari with Zuma in Etosha.
All of the staff were really helpful
Ongava Tented Camp review
We had one night here and it is a very nice camp but probably a little bit dated compared to some of the tented camps.
The afternoon game drive was excellent which is inside the private game reserve.
The tented rooms are clean and comfortable with views up to the waterhole.
The main camp area looks across onto the waterhole and is great for viewing game coming in for a drink.
The evening meal was excellent as was the wine selection. Breakfast was basic.
The staff were all very nice and were very friendly and helpful.
Greeted by elephants
This camp has its own, busy waterhole about 10 metres from the terrace. We were greeted by elephants as we checked in. Later visitors included kudu, springbok, giraffe and a black rhino.
Our first sundowner trip was memorable for our close encounter with a female black rhino and her calf. We later watched lions relaxing by a distant water hole. An early morning trip into Etosha saw us visiting busy waterholes in the south of the Park. Our guide Leon proved an expert at spotting game. Our final sundowner trip in the Reserve gave us the chance to spend some time watching the pride of lions with their enchanting cubs. The evening finished with a sighting of a white rhino with her calf.
We believe that Ongava was previously run by Wilderness Safaris. It seems to lack the same esprit de corps as the WS camps we have visited. This is why we have rated the camp as Good rather than Excellent.
Ongava Tented Camp review
May have been better run as a wilderness camp. The food was pretty bland, but there was more atmosphere here. The guiding was ok, more of a drive around until you spot something, type of guiding, but we saw lots and lots of rhino so we can’t complain.
Ongave is a nice reserve, you do feel a bit closed in but that may be because of where the animals congregate , so you end up on the same loops. We did a day trip to etosha. I hated etosha with a passion. Busses, coaches, big 4 wheel drive cars driving too fast kicking dust in your face. Nothing to see from water hole to water hole. ( im shuddering) if this was really what safaris were like I’d never go again. Thankfully we only spent half a day at Etosha.
Great game at Ongava Tented Camp
We really like the tents and common area there, pity the limitation that you cannot walk around by yourself, we felt a bit retraint there, they should think to people who like to walk (same as we do), this is the only concern.
We were given the Tent n. 1, close to the parking spot, the most far away from the water hole, I understand that somebody have also to stay there but.....