Reviews of Ongava Tented Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
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.....
A great safari at Ongava
We loved Ongava. Our guide, Tsuma was lovely. We were really lucky to see a pride of lions about 6 feet away from us and also some Rhino.
We preferred the safaris at Ongava rather than in Etosha; we felt closer to the animals and were allowed to drive off road.
The service was fantastic and all the staff friendly. We loved Sidney!
The waterhole by the pool was incredible. A really special place.
Ongava Tented Camp Reserve
This camp is nice and small with really well appointed tents situated on a private reserve. It's reception area is near a small man made watering hole which was frequented by many different species of antelopes.
Lions appeared to have settled very close to camp whilst we were there. We managed to get pretty close to them which was memorable even though they appeared to be very comfortable around humans... Our guide Leon slotted an extra game drive in for us so we could see Rhino's which we did. It's very dusty and bumpy around there, but that's what Safari's and Africa is all about! An added bonus was that on our last night in the camp we had two male lions in our camp roaring at each other - very surreal...
We spent a day in Etosha but didn't see big herds of animals as I had imagined and the animals we saw were quite far away.
A camp with an abundance of wildlife
Ongava Tented Camp is located in the private Ongava Reserve, not far from the Andersson Gate at the southern boundary of Etosha National Park. The camp offers game drives in both Etosha and the Reserve, giving you the best of two quite different environments. In Etosha, you drive, along with quite a few other visitors, from one water hole to another, where there likely will be quite a variety of wildlife, at least during the dry season when we were there. It’s somewhat artificial, but worth it for the chance to see the animals. In the Reserve, you can go off road to get close to the animals, and take guided hikes in search of wildlife. It seems more genuine to observe them in their natural habitats. A special bonus is that Ongava Reserve offers one of the better locations in southern Africa to see both white and black rhinos.
The camp is on the smaller side with 10 tents, located in a quiet area of the Reserve, sufficiently separated from two other camps and Etosha NP so we didn’t notice our neighbors at all. The highlight of the camp itself undoubtedly was the water hole, situated only a few yards from the veranda in front of the dining area. A regular stream of animals visited, members of the antelope family (kudu, waterbuck, springbok) in particular, but also zebras and even lions and rhinos on occasion. Everyone brings a camera to the meals!
Leon, our outstanding guide, located a great variety of wildlife for us, and always positioned the vehicle for the best photo angle. We saw three young male lions lounging in the sun by the side of the road with a giraffe carefully watching them, two adult females blocking our route, and the pride’s male striding down a trail. We barely missed a rhino with calf one evening, and returned early the next morning to find a couple of them posing for photos. Leon brought us close to many other animals: elephants, giraffes, assorted antelopes (such as black faced impala, waterbuck), wildebeests, black backed jackals, and more, including colorful birds.
This camp was well maintained with a friendly and efficient staff that ensured our stay was perfect in all respects. Food was very good. The family dining arrangements made for lively conversation with other guests.
We are very pleased we included Etosha National Park, and this camp and its private reserve, on our itinerary in Namibia. We would recommend a stay here, to experience a somewhat greener face of Namibia. Our other stays were all in the desert.
The full report on the Expert Africa web site is redundant in several places, and should be re-done with duplicate info removed.
Our Namibia safaris were arranged by Expert Africa (Maruska handled our account), and they did a superb job. We can't recommend them too highly.
Wonderful relaxing place; a lot of animals
The large safaritetents are stylish furnished (with a good bed and in the night time a hot water bottle in it!!!!) From the wooden deck in front of the safaritent and also from the main area, you do have a good sight on the waterpool. I had the safaritent next to the main area. I prefer the ones as far away from the main area as possible. Because of having a more remote bush feeling.
A lot of the wild animals I saw at the waterpool in front of my safaritent. Less in the surrounding bush area. Except Ethosha of course.
The food was good but not special. But the treats at around three o,clock were excellent!. The staff was very helpfull and nice. My guide was excellent!!!
When I describe my highlights you can understan that I was very happy there,
1. The first morning my guide came to my tent. It was still dark. He called my name. "look out your window" and there was a black rhino drinking at the waterhole!!! Wat a start.
2. Ethosha. After a little bit of a disappointing morning we saw een leopard from a distance of 2 meters. Wow!! And it dit not ran away.
3. My last gamedrive. My excellent guide did everything to find a rhino. And what miracle. A group of nine rhino's together. I thank my guide for this special moment! What an experience.
So what more do you want? Nothing. It was wonderful and relaxing.
Fantastic wildlife experience!
We spent three nights at Ongava Tented Camp and thoroughly enjoyed our stay. The private reserve offers excellent wildlife viewing - especially when compared to Etosha, which is right next door but has a completely different feel. Where Etosha is commercial and crowded, Ongava Reserve is secluded and private. It most often felt like we were the only ones in the park. We enjoyed amazing wildlife sightings, including lions, elephants, and both white and black rhinos.
The Tented Camp has a waterhole just beyond the dining tent/deck which offers an almost unending stream of wildlife just a few feet from where you're sitting. The tents are not five-star villas but they are roomy and comfortable, more than adequate for a tented camp. They are, in my opinion, the perfect balance of rustic and luxury.
Both the food and the service at Ongava were very good. The managers were present, personable, and attentive. The wait staff were always on the ball - especially Sydney, whose eagle eye and attention to my food allergy kept me safe.
Some safari camps provide separate, private dining tables and some prefer the communal style of dining. By virtue of guests' different schedules and Ongava's flexibility with meal times, they struck a nice balance between social mingling and each party's privacy. We met other guests and enjoyed our time with them but never felt forced to interact.
Ongava also offers a lodge but we stopped there for tea one afternoon and concluded that we much prefer the smaller, more intimate feel of the Tented Camp. Whether you stay at the Lodge or the Tented Camp, both offer the ability to do safari drives in Etosha or within the private reserve and are, therefore, excellent options while in this area.
A Quality Camp with Good Wildlife
Ongava Tented Camp is a very good quality Wilderness Safari camp. It has comfortable tents with all facilities and most are really well placed to sit and observe the wildlife attracted to the water hole located immediately beside the central guest area, bar and lounge. The Camp is not fenced and wildlife can (and does) wander in, near and through the camp area and night time walking between tents is only in the company of an armed guide - not that anyone wants any thing shot ........ but you get the idea. During my time there a couple of lioness came and drank at the waterhole (remember there is no fence) and an angry baboon was right inn camp and "chased" away by enthusiastic staff.
There is a single communal dining table (which I normally don't favour), but this one works well with the support of good staff who make the dining experience pleasant without the "singing/dancing" stuff of Damaraland Camp. The dining area is open on both sides and is good viewing for the water hole. The buffett breakfast was good, there were no starlings in the cereal, and the main meals were tasty, varied and good quality.
The game drives were actually more rewarding than first impressions and there was quite a lot to see, albeit there was a fair bit of travelling between sightings/locations. But the Reserve is well worth exploring and based on my experience was much more rewarding that traversing the wind, dust and crowds of the actual Etosha National Park. The latter was, frankly, disappointing and I only went into the Park for the one "unrewarding" explore.
But Ongava produced some excellent close ups of a pride of lions with an impressive large male (although Guide Zamu probably was a bit over enthusiastic about getting us close for a shot and disturbed the pride), great close up of a mum and junior white rhino, some excellent giraffe and elephant sightings at a water hole and a close up of black rhino from a hide. And in between there were other useful sightings which completed the experience.
It is a nice camp, well run with lots to see and well worth spending a few days. Based on my experience I would not actually go into Etosha itself unless the winds were "down" but also you can really only view from the roads so are somewhat restricted to sightings around water holes - which naturally attract all sorts of vehicles and crowds.
Ongava Tented Camp Review
Good camp with great sightings! We were really happy with our game drives inside the reserve.
However, we only took one trip to the Etosha Pan, which was not good! Unfortunately, the wind that day was very strong, almost to sandstorm level. This, obviously did not help our experience. The worst aspect, however, was the number of vehicles on the pan at the same time, including some very large 'coaches', where the drivers had no respect for other people, and did not even turn off their very noisy diesel engines.
The consequence being that filming contained the engine noise! After this, we requested to remain on the reserve, which was perfect every time!!