Reviews of Onguma Bush Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Onguma Bush Camp review
We were disappointed that Onguma was, effectively, some distance (in time, at least) outside of the Etosha National Park. The camp was well situated directly overlooking a waterhole that was visited by a large number of animals throughout the day.
However, after Okonkjima the game drives seemed average at best. We were quite disappointed with the morning walk - we seemed to learn a lot about termites - and saw nothing reasonably close or special.
We saw most when we were relaxing and looking out over the waterhole and we also enjoyed relaxing at the swimming pool.
Absolutely exemplary in all aspects
Onguma was the highlight of the accomodation on our trip. The grounds and buildings are extremely pleasant and attractive, the pool is great, and the setting of the restaurant and bar above the water hole is perfect.
We are keen animal and bird-spotters, and we saw several species around that small area that we never saw in the rest of our trip!
Service was extremely polite, professional and unobtrusive. The food was tasty, well-proportioned, and vegetarians were well catered for. We were quite sad to leave Onguma after only one night!
Good in parts
Spent 3 nights here, so had a chance to really test the place. Overall the stay was good, the waterhole view rondavel was very spacious and comfortable. The food was excellent, with just enough choice to ensure quality. The waterhole was well-used by animals and the elevated hide is very useful.
Some observations though:
(1) the Camp appears to concentrate on German tourists (we only met 3 Brits and 2 Dutch people). This can mean that some staff have only a smattering of English, which can lead to confusion.
(2) we only met one female member of staff the whole time - a lady from the kitchen - on one occasion Elizabeth had a problem getting service from the barman, who seemed reluctant to serve a woman.
(3) related to (1) I think, we asked about a good place to view the Pan which the resort abuts and were told to use the main road into the resort area. On the way there we were told by one guide to stick to the main roads, even if other tracks were available. Fine, wouldn't want to get lost! Then when taking pictures from the car another vehicle stopped and told us that we were not allowed to use our own car at all - we had to go out on organised trips only, and should return to the Bush Camp immediately. Having a huge resort area is therefore almost useless unless one pays for each trip. This would make three days very expensive.
Great place for families
Very friendly staff and great with children. Location is perfect for east Etosha.Read more about the whole safari
There have been a lot of improvements since our last visit to Onguma, the view from the dinning room of the new waterhole is spectacular.
The staff are lovely and friendly and most helpful. They appreciated the presents of Manchester United Football Shirts.
Onguma is a lovely little place
Outstanding customer service, everything was easily taken care of.
Its a nice spot with good food, facilities and a nice little waterhole that isn't too busy though. We used this as a place to chill though so you shouldn't expect tons of game here and should probably head into the park.
Our night drive was pretty unproductive as most of mine have been elsewhere.
Just a fence away from the Etosha
We enjoyed out brief stay here, with comfortable rooms and helpful staff. The post-Xmas quiet period had set in so there weren't many other guests. We saw our first sign of the rains here, with dramatic electric storms. The waterhole beside the main building attracted surprisingly few animals, even though the rains were only just upon us, though the staff nurtured a large population of turtles/terrapins in the pool. We took a trip with one of the Onguma guides into Etosha and this was really a very good experience.
The guide was extremely knowledgeable, and was able to guide to a waterhole where he thought that black rhino might be present and in due course they were. We also had the absorbing experience of sitting by a pride of 7 or 8 lions, and then when they all got up and moved off, our guide said he thought they were heading for a waterhole so we set off to get there before them. We then had quite a dramatic period at the waterhole where there were several giraffe including a very young male. We couldn't see the lions but the giraffe almost certainly were aware of their proximity so there was a tense hour of so while we waited to see what developed. This was slightly marred by another tour vehicle with a young Englishman who talked talked loudly and incessantly about trivia - until we asked him to shut up.
Staying outside Etosha (but v near) was very good as it meant we saw things like the lions which we probably wouldn't have done on our own. Spending time at the eastern end of Etosha meant we saw Skinners Pan, where the near permanent water hosted a variety of water birds and particularly flamingos.
A wonderful 2 nights
The driveway to Onguma is located just outside the Von Lindequist Gate of Etosha Park. Before we arrived we spent a fantastic full day driving across the park (with a wonderful finale of animals at Klein Namutoni including a litter of hyena pups and too many giraffes to count) so we arrived at Onguma just before dusk. It is no joke that the animals wander into the roads at dusk - our drive from Namutoni camp to Von Lindequist Gate was extremely slow going because giraffes, kudus, springbok, zebras, etc. were coming out for an evening graze.
Anyway, we were greeted at Onguma by friendly staff who offered us cool towels to freshen up and gave us a tour of the beautiful grounds. In the Bradt Guide the Bush Camp is described as the "budget option" which is good for families with children. Both of these things were mildly concerning for us, but we agreed to stay here because we were too late to get our first choice accommodations and staying within our budget was important. Perhaps it was the time of year, but we did not see many children during our stay here.
We did ask to stay in the room at the very end of the camp so we could have peace and quiet just in case there were a lot of children around. They were able to accommodate that request which was great. Our room was simple but elegantly furnished. I would certainly not call it "spartan" (as the Bradt guide did) by any means! While we were out for dinner our bed was turned down each night with a goodnight story based on local traditional storytelling which was a nice touch.
Based on what we'd expected to find here, Onguma was such a pleasant surprise. The grounds are lovely with green lawns (though we did wonder how they managed to maintain the lawns in such a water-thirsty climate), luscious blooming trees, a swimming pool, a big waterhole (particularly comedic are guinea fowl and warthogs), and a very welcoming main lounge area with multiple rooms for dining, having a sundowner, or relaxing with friends and family, in or outside. We spent several hours on our second day just relaxing in front of the waterhole with some wine while we caught up on postcards and journal entries, or just chatting with other guests as the sun set.
Dinners here were among our favorites of the whole trip. There was an aura of sophistication to dinner time, with many guests dressed more formally than we saw at other camps. The tables were elegantly set and the service at a higher standard than we had become accustomed to. During dinner service our server would tell us what our options were for the next day.
The two activities we participated in with Onguma were a morning game drive in Etosha, as well as a night drive. We thoroughly enjoyed both. The weather was overcast and mild on the morning of our Etosha drive, so not many animals were visible early on. However we did see a lot (including a rhino which walked right past our vehicle) and learned a lot from the guide. We concluded the drive at the Chudop watering hole where we saw giraffes, hyenas, elephants, a jackal, a warthog, zebra, impala, springbok, kudu... and probably more. Incredible. The same goes for the night drive. We saw creatures we never imagined we'd see (including a gannet, a bush baby, spring hare, and finally a lion) so it was well worth it!
Onguma Bush Camp far exceeded our expectations and we highly recommend it for a truly relaxing and elegant time while still being close to Etosha.
Onguma Bush Camp
Onguma gave us the only disappointment of the holiday. We were expecting a waterhole room, looking directly at a waterhole, whereas the reality was such that the only animal we might have seen at the waterhole was a giraffe, as we couldn't actually see the water beyond the swimming pool. If we paid extra for the luxury of a waterhole room, it really wasn't worth it!
Onguma also let themselves down as on our arrival the first activity on offer was the following evening as all drives were fully booked, which was poor.
Ignoring the waterhole aspect, the rooms were lovely, and the food was good. We did our own drive into Etosha the following morning.
A lovely peaceful welcome at Onguma
A beautiful peaceful place, with shade and green grass, The staff were very attentive and the spacious room was excellent.
Superb position at the Eastern Gate of Etosha.