Reviews of Ongava Tented Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Great Safari at Ongava
Ongava was terrific. The waterhole was quite prolific. Without leaving camp we saw impala, kudu, giraffe, zebra, an elephant take a bath, and, one night, lions.
On the game drives on the reserve, we saw white rhino and lions, in addition to the usual suspects. Really liked that we were allowed out of the jeep to view the rhinos. Our guide was Bono, and he was very good. He provided a great introduction to Etosha and helped us plan our crossing after we left.
The camp generally was slightly more rustic than some of the other places we stayed, which I enjoyed: it seemed a little "wilder". That said it was very comfortable.
This camp was more social than others. Management socialized with guest and guests were encouraged to mingle. It made a nice change.
Well-placed watering hole at the camp
Ongava Tented Camp is a comfortable tented camp, but does not have air-conditioning.
What is so great about this camp is the watering hole, which attracts elephants and antelopes by day, and big cats and rhinos by night. Our guide - Bono - deserves special mention for his persistence (if not his knowledge). In spite of rainy season, we found elephants, lions, cheetahs, rhinos, giraffes, antelopes, warthogs, jackals and foxes because he drove us to lesser traversed corners of Ongava reserve and Etosha. We never tired of going out on safari drives even though we initially had reservations about so many drives.
We would have liked to know upfront the list of activities available at Ongava. Bono did mention that we could do bush walks but only on our last day when we were already on a safari drive, though he did say that bush walks were not recommended during the rainy season. Still, it would have been nice to know our options first.
The food at Ongava was quite tasty, but the portions were smaller than at Kulala or Doro !Nawas. They also served a very rich, creamy and delicious pasta dish during lunch - which was quite hard to eat because it was so hot! We also noticed that Ongava was less committed to Wilderness Safari's eco-friendly ethos. They did not encourage us to use our water bottles, and freely gave us plastic bottles to drink from all the time.
Overall, the staff were friendly throughout our stay at Ongava. We were the only guests during our last two nights because the camp was about to undergo renovations. However, when we checked out and went to thank them - our departure was quite unceremonious and brusque, probably all the more jarring because the staff had made such a big deal of us when we arrived and throughout our stay. We put it down to the renovation works, but unfortunately it was the last experience/memory we had at Ongava.
We did not experience this at Kulala Desert Lodge or Doro !Nawas, where the staff (managers, servers, and guides alike) were really friendly, sincere and warm. Overall, we would probably not return back to Ongava Tented Camp.
We had really high hopes for this place but overall were quite disappointed. The camp is dated but more importantly the staff was totally uninterested. (with 1-2 notable exceptions) Also the game viewing felt more like rushing towards sighting that others had radioed in and we often were with +3 cars watching the same animals.
We did enjoy seeing rhinos up close on foot and the waterhole in front of the lodge is really nice and attracts a lot of animals.
Ongava lodge review
We stayed at Ongava lodge (not the tented camp on our vouchers). this was excellent and as it was very hot there the Airconditioned lodge stone buildings were most welcome.
The camp waterholes as a major feature as it was visible from the dining area and many animals used it , including 16 lions one night as well as 5 black rhino. Etoshe was an interesting experience with many more people using the roads. The large waterholes were a major attraction with a huge number of animals.
The camp is changing from Wilderness and retained some, but not all, of the style. Our preference is for a smaller, more personal camp.
Ongava Tented Camp review
On arrival,we were somewhat dismayed that we had to share a vehicle with other people as being birders and a photographer we are not everybody's cup of tea. The couple we shared with were first timers but luckily for us, they enjoyed our way of doing things and became converted birdwatchers!
We were very impressed with the way Chrisma, a manager handled the situation as for the last three days she gave us the vehicle to ourselves with the same guide, Rio, who was excellent. He had very good eyes and we felt that we were all part of the same team, enjoying it together.
Our only criticism was that we were given a room near to the car park. As we were staying for four nights, unlike most people, we felt that we should have been put nearer to the mess tent and the waterhole. However, again Chrisma dealt with this quickly and after two nights we were put into another room.
Excellent service at Ongava Tented Camp
The Ongava Tented Camp had excellent food and service and the guided game drives were extremely good, both in their own reserve and in Etosha.
We were the only passengers in the jeep for two of the three game drives we did and saw lots of animals, including rhinos and lions in the Ongava reserve. The only negative point was that, at the time of year we visited (September) the camp surroundings, which consisted mainly of mopane trees, were just dry and brown, so not attractive, but the lodge has no control over that!
Very attractive camp, beside Anderson gate
Ideally situated to visit Etosha or explore their area with their own guides, which we did, we were lucky to see Cheetahs, lions and elephants as well as many other animals, the tented rooms very well situated by a small waterhole.all the staff were very helpful , and we enjoyed our visit.
Our only criticism was that the guides concentrated on the big animals, ignoring the smaller ones which are just as interesting. we felt that we were driven vast distances just to get a glimpse of something, without our guide telling us what he was aiming to find.
One of the highlights of our trip. Top service. Skilled guides. Plenty of wildlife.
Saw a black rhino at the waterhole 20 m from restaurant, white rhino on bush walking and lions feasting on a giraffe during driving activity.
Nice big tents. Very good food.
Good location ant excellent for game
We enjoyed our stay at Ongava - the accomodation was good, the staff very friendly and the reserve itself had plenty of game. Our guide, Leon, was good and we saw plenty of lions as well as white and black rhino. The game drives in the reserve and into Etosha were very good.
The food was very good and the meal set up in the bush for our second night was fantastic. We enjoyed the communal dining experience as it gave us the opportunity to meet other travellers from different countries. We liked the flexibility we were given to organise our activities during our stay.
The waterhole in front of the camp attracted lots of game, including rhinos, giraffe and (very briefly) a brown hyena.
Ongava Tented Camp review
A pleasant functional camp - everything worked well and efficiently.
There is a good of variety of game including lion and rhino in their own reserve, especially the bird life. The food was a bit dull compared to some of the other camps.