Reviews of Ongava Tented Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
authentic African lodge
We had a wonderful guide Bonno who made our experience extra special with a walking safari and approach of white rhino!.Read more about the whole safari
Ongava Tented Camp review
The highlight at Ongava was the large amount of game within their fenced lands.
We did two game drives and saw a huge number of animals, including a group of 7 rhinos and a pride of lions with cubs playing.
The night noises were also very intriguing.
Excellent overall experience at Ongava T C
Location of tent and living/dining area perfect opposite well used waterhole which was visited by a great variety of wildlife.
Guiding, barring one "blip", was excellent. Tremendous wildlife and bird life viewing both in Etosha and the Ongava's own reserve.
Good food and helpful staff. Comfortable tent.
Ongava Tented Camp review
Great location, very friendly welcome.
Festus was a great host throughout our stay and Leon a great guide.
Saw every possible animal at close quarters and mostly in large numbers. Rhinos and lions visited the lodge waterhole whist we were having dinner. Lions growling around the tents some nights.
Ongava Tented Camp - don't go here
Ongava Tented Camp is everything you do not want a safari experience to be. We had booked here three nights, and this was supposed to be a highlight. It started on a wrong foot. Upon arrival we were told to carry our own bags by an heat-exhausted and unhappy looking assistant manager Louis. The rooms have virtually no privacy, being too close with the terraces overlooking each other, not inviting you to sit outside. The restaurant area was full of ants busy transporting breadcrumbs, and other food remains, the pool advertised as sparkling was murky green with lots of floating leaves and debris. The place looked as if it had been abandoned weeks ago.
The fan in our room was squeezing, the toilet leaking and running all night and despite mentioning this to the assistant manager twice, not acted upon. Despite being promised, we never received coffee not cold or hot water in our rooms. The staff with the exception of a single individual behaved as if they did not want themselves nor guests to be there. The attraction in the concession area is white Rhino's and Lions. Our guide, Leon, had only this one goal, and ignoring anything else raced to the nearest lion pride lazing at an ugly looking artificial waterhole, and nearly killing an impala in the process. We then spotted camera traps mounted on a tree overlooking these lions. This is a zoo, and the experience never felt like a safari. During the ride Leon did not say a word. This is a guide that does not know the difference between a hare and a rabbit and answered questions with "I will google it".
We spotted a massive snake (again nearly killed by the car) that could only have been a 5 meter python, and our guide showed no excitement, and had no idea how to go about it, not eager discussing it either. When we spotted a leopard tortoise with baby in its trail, This guide took pleasure getting out of the car and showing how he could make it hiss by tapping on it, thereby separating mother and child. We and our fellow passengers felt distressed by the whole experience. It is outrageous that a wilderness safari guide interferers aggressively with wild life, and we therefore demanded the camp manager to come back from leave and a replacement guide. which we were granted.
The next day a massive cleaning operation at the lodge started, but our group kept getting unfriendly looks, and fellow guests also mentioning the poor quality guiding from Leon (also requesting change of guides) and unpleasant atmosphere. Breakfast and dinners were never on time, and coffee rarely available (although the managers in the office had plenty!). This resulted in leaving late for morning drives, and late evening dinners, clearly not with next day safari in mind.
Expert Africa comments
Both ourselves and the team at Wilderness Safaris, who manage the camp, are very concerned by these comments on Ongava Tented Camp; we are all very sorry that the travellers’ stay did not live up to their expectations.
Wilderness commented that “Louis, has apologised profusely for his lack of professionalism” and that they have “spoken to him about this in great detail”.
They explained that the camp is set up so that each room has the best possible view of the waterhole, which results in the rooms being a little closer together than at some other camps, and thus less privacy. The maintenance of the pool, and the issue of ants in the main area, are both challenges that come with the Ongava environment – but Wilderness assure us that they are doing their best to manage these issues and maintain the highest possible standards in camp.
In the room, the team at Ongava were able to fix the fan during the travellers stay, and as the camps own maintenance team weren’t able to fix the leaking toilet, this was attended to by a plumber soon after the travellers had departed. Wilderness is sorry the toilet couldn’t have been fixed during their stay.
The behavior and temperament of the first guide was clearly unacceptable and Wilderness Safaris have discussed this with him directly and also addressed other staff members who were found to be unfriendly. Following our discussions with Dr L, we understand that the second guide these travellers had was to a much higher standard and the travellers enjoyed their time with him much more.
In light of this experience, and our investigations into it, we have arranged a refund to these travellers for part of their stay.
Beautiful camp in beautiful setting
A remote yet fantastic location right in the bush. Watching a female white rhino and her calf at the waterhole whilst having dinner was a magical experience only topped by watching a pride of ten lions including a lioness feeding her four cubs.
This camp ticked all our boxes.
Rhino tracking at dusk
The tented accomodation at this camp not as spacious as some we'd been to and also very warm. We enjoyed watching the animals congregate by the local water hole. The armed guard accompanying guests to their tents was exciting!
Undoubted highlight here was tracking Rhino on foot in the bush with an armed guard. We were lucky to get quite close and see these amazing animals for the first time.
Lots of wildlife around Ongava
Ongava was quite a drive from Etosha, but it was nice to get away from the crowds, the vehicular noise, and the dust that accompanies the park. Many of the waterholes near this entrance suffer man-made detractions to 'wild' life photography, such as fencing and concrete, so it's an even longer drive to natural springs.
We had many good sightings of relaxed animals driving into camp and visiting Ongava's waterhole, including a white rhino and her calf one evening. We enjoyed listening to the mating calls of a lion pair throughout the night, not so much the couple in the neighboring tent.
The variety and quantity of wildlife here make the visit worthwhile. As a 'private' vehicle, I wish our break stuffs had been kept up front, so we could have enjoyed our breaks at the waterholes with the animals, rather than wasting time driving to the bathroom areas which are the only reasonably nearby areas where you are allowed out of your vehicle.
Everything about Ongava, the service, the camp itself, the food, the guides were exceptional an exceeded any expectations that we had. The staff was excellent attentive and helpful. Our son had picked up a bit of a stomach flu and the staff were ever so helpful and courteous in their attention.
The guides were first rate. the private lands for Safari beautiful and wonderful wildlife viewing. Excellent food every day at the central facility complete with it's own watering hole and wildlife.
Definitely a must stop and worthy of multi day stays. Our entire party would be happy to return without question.
A place to return to. The manager and his staff were very friendly and nothing too much a problem. The other guests were all very friendly and we had a wonderful time. The tents are just as they should be and you do really feel part of the bush.
The game drives were excellent and we were lucky enough to watch a pride of eighteen (18!!) lions watching zebra as breakfast. It was nice to contrast high end luxury of Little Ongava with more authentic bush experience of the Tented Camp.