Onguma Bush Camp: Our full report
Bordering Fischer's Pan, on the eastern side of Etosha National Park, the private Onguma Game Reserve covers 34km2. The recently enlarged Onguma Bush Camp lies within and makes a good base from which to explore the eastern side of the national park.
Onguma Bush Camp is one of five lodges within the small game reserve, which also incorporates Onguma Tented Camp, Onguma Tree Tops, Onguma Etosha Aoba Camp and Onguma Plains . Significantly, the Bush Camp is the only one of these to be fully fenced – bar three of its newest rooms.
During 2012, Onguma Bush Camp was refurbished and significantly enlarged to create a smart-looking lodge with 18 rooms, bringing it more in line with the other Onguma properties. All rooms are air-conditioned and have mosquito nets over the beds. Each is also equipped with a tea and coffee station, hairdryer and ceiling fan.
The rooms are divided into several types:
- Six standard twin rooms are built in a terrace with seating in front of each room on the shared veranda and views over the lovely manicured garden. All have twin beds in the main room, but otherwise their layout differs. Three of the rooms include a loft area for children and sharing a bathroom with the main bedroom.
- Three family rooms have two separate bedrooms with a shared bathroom and small lounge area.
- Two standard rooms have similar facilities, with twin beds, but are slightly larger than the others and are located in individual thatched rondavels.
- Six Waterhole-/Pool-View rooms are the same size as the standard twin rooms, and are the latest addition to Onguma Bush Camp. Unique within the Bushcamp, the Waterhole-view rooms are set in an unfenced area overlooking the newly enlarged waterhole. As a result, you get the feeling of being in the bush with plains game such as the black-faced impala and common duiker often seen at the waterhole. However, because of the lack of fences, these rooms are not recommended for children.
- One Settler’s Room (formerly the honeymoon suite).
At the entrance to the main area of Onguma Bush Camp is the large reception area with a curio shop. Along shaded paved pathways, you will find the ‘lapa’ (an open-sided thatched area) that contains a dining area and bar plus split-level lounge areas, all with views of the waterhole. In addition, there is a games room for children, while across the lawn is a sparkling swimming pool with shaded sunloungers and a platform overlooking the waterhole.
Activities from Onguma Bush Camp include morning drives in Etosha National Park, plus sundowner drives and after-dinner night drives on the Onguma Reserve. The landscape here is like that of eastern Etosha, a mix of pans, woodland and open plains, grazed by impala, oryx, wildebeest and springbok. These in turn attract the predators such as lion and leopard, and rhino are present too – but sightings are never guaranteed! Alternatively, you can easily drive yourself into Etosha National Park, as the entrance to the reserve is just metres from the park entrance.
Our viewOnguma is the only fenced camp on the Onguma Reserve and because of this, it is the best option here for families travelling with younger children. Because of its convenient access to the Etosha National Park, it can be a great base from which to explore the park.
Ideal length of stay: A two- or three-night stay is ideal here.
Directions: Onguma Bush Camp is located on the Onguma Reserve, just outside Etosha National Park's eastern gate.
Accessible by: Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Half Board
Food quality: A tasty buffet breakfast includes the usual breads, muffins, cereal, cold meat and cheese, yoghurt, fruit and juice, with tea and coffee. A hot breakfast cooked to order is available too.
We did not have lunch on our recent visit but the camp offers a choice of light lunches such as salads or sandwiches.
We thought dinner here was of a good standard. It is usually a set menu of three courses; we had lentil soup followed by eland steak served with sweet potatoes, carrot and cauliflower. To round it off we enjoyed a delicious peppermint cheesecake.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £5-10
Drinks included: No drinks are included.
Further dining info: No
Attitude towards children: Onguma Bush Camp welcomes children of all ages.
Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions here.
Special activities & services: There is a special games room for children and a children’s menu is available. Child-minding can be provided on request at no additional cost, but please note that the minder may not have professional childminding qualifications.
Equipment: Baby cots and high chairs can be provided.
Generally recommended for children: Onguma Bush Camp is the only fenced camp on the Onguma Reserve and is the best lodge here for families travelling with children. That said, activities still revolve around game drives, with few chances to get off the vehicle; this may not retain the attention of smaller children very well.
Notes: Although Onguma Bush Camp is fenced, children must be under parental supervision at all times.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: There are no communications facilities for guests in camp, but there is usually some cellphone reception.
TV & radio: None
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: The nearest doctor is in Tsumeb, about 100km away.
Dangerous animals: Moderate Risk
Security measures: The main entrance gate is locked at night.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in all of the rooms.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: A laundry service is available for an extra charge.
Money: No currency exchange is offered.
Accepted payment on location: Payment may be made in cash in US dollars, GB pounds, Namibian dollars or South African rand. Visa and MasterCard payments are accepted, too, although the bank may charge a surcharge.