Onguma Tented Camp

Onguma Tented Camp: Our full report

Seven tented rooms
Traveller's rating
Excellent (92%) From 61 reviews
All year

Onguma Tented Camp is situated on the private Onguma Reserve bordering the eastern side of Etosha National Park. Thus you can explore great wildlife on the reserve as well as inside the national park. Fresh, modern and tastefully designed, the camp is laid out around a floodlit waterhole which can be seen from both the main areas and the rooms.

It is one of four lodges on this reserve; the others are Onguma Bush Camp, Onguma Tree Top and Onguma Plains Camp being the most up-market of the camps.

Three beautiful hand-crafted giraffes stand guard over the entrance to Onguma Tented Camp's open-fronted main areas, which are housed beneath three tented roofs, like those of a circus big top. The design also incorporates large wooden poles to support the part canvas, part brick structure.

The décor is simple: earth tones with splashes of colour. Two almost identical guest lounges are each furnished with a large, plush charcoal sofa, a high-backed white armchair, a few large bean bags, a dark wooden coffee table, a wooden saddle stool, and some bright scatter cushions. Separating these two living areas is a tea/coffee station, and built into the limestone wall is a large furnace fireplace for those chilly winter evenings.

Dining at Onguma Tented Camp is in a roofed area whose sides, in the warmer summer months, are completely open, offering clear views over the floodlit waterhole. During the rainy season or cold winters the sides are lowered and closed off to keep out the cold.

A walkway leads to the infinity pool, an attractive area where beanbags and a few sunloungers beckon.

Gravel pathways link the main areas of Onguma Tented Camp's with seven tented rooms, which differ only slightly – in the location of the bathrooms. Tent number five is closest to the main area and has the best view of the waterhole.

Each of the rooms is on a raised wooden platform with a large, partly shaded veranda, whose two comfortable armchairs and a small table making it a pleasant place to watch wildlife at the waterhole. The big-top design continues, with the inner layer of material in each room supported by a large wooden pole in the centre. The whole front section has double sliding glass doors in a wooden frame, with roll-down canvas flaps which can be zipped closed, and similar flaps cover the tent's large mesh windows.

Inside, the tents are both practical and comfortable. A high-backed armchair sits beneath a tall lamp. An animal skin rug fronts the twin beds which are pushed together against a concrete headboard dotted with tea lights. Metal bedside tables with adjustable reading lamps flank the beds.

Other practical furnishings, some behind the headboard, include wardrobes, full-length mirrors, luggage racks, shelving and a straw shopping bag with pool towels and a linen robe. There are double electric sockets, too, plus a free-standing fan, a tea/coffee station, and even a jug of ice cubes.

Separated from the bedroom by two high limestone walls, the spacious en-suite bathroom boasts his-and-hers handbasins, with large horizontal mirrors hanging above, and a separate toilet with a wooden door. There's a stone walk-in shower with a powerful shower head and a large free-standing silver bath with great views of the bush. A tree stump serves as a small table, topped with bath salts in a large silver pot, while glass dispensers contain shower gel and shampoo. Each tent also has an outdoor shower, reached through a zip-up door to the side of the room.

Although many visitors will drive themselves into Etosha National Park, activities at Onguma Tented Camp include morning game drives into Etosha National Park, although the camp's vehicles go no further than Halali. Onguma also offers sunset drives, and night drives in the Onguma Reserve, but no self-drives are permitted here. Please note that as the camp has only one vehicle so cannot offer afternoon drives into the national park. Note, too, that because Onguma Tented Camp is one of several lodges on their property, they use only 10% of the reserve for game drives in order to prevent their game-drive vehicles encountering each other.

Our view

Onguma Tented Camp has a friendly, welcoming atmosphere in comfortable, beautifully designed surroundings. The opportunity to explore their private reserve is an added bonus, although those without their own vehicle may find access to Etosha National Park rather limited.


Location: Etosha National Park, Namibia

Ideal length of stay: 2 nights

Directions: The turn-off onto the Onguma Reserve is just a short drive along the C38 from Etosha's Von Lindequist Gate. The Tented Camp is 10km from the entrance gate into the reserve. Note that the camp offers transfers free of charge from Kempinski Mokuti Lodge.

Accessible by: Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: André Louw

Staff: Camp/Lodge Managers: P.J & Henrietta (they also manage the Tree Top Camp) Guides: Previous and Jay-Jay from Bush Camp helps out sometimes. Other: Chef: Tara

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Half Board

Food quality: Breakfast: was served as a buffet with a selection of cereals, fruit salads, fresh fruit, a choice of confectionaries, a cold meat platter and the option to order a warm full English breakfast from the kitchen.

Dinner is a delicious four-course meal. During our visit, we sampled a chunky minestrone soup followed by an entrée of smoked game. Our main course consisted of a fish dish with beetroot and roasted pumpkins in a creamy, white sauce, and the meal was rounded off with a dessert of fruity ice cream in a bed of filo pastry with raspberry coulis.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Further dining info: No


Attitude towards children: Onguma Tented Camp is not fenced, so safety for younger children is an issue.

Property’s age restrictions: No children under 12 are allowed at Onguma Tented Camp.

Special activities & services: No

Equipment: no


Power supply: Mains Electricity

Communications: There is cellphone reception in camp, with the signal stronger in the main areas. There is no internet access at the Tented Camp, although this is available at the Bush Camp.

TV & radio: no

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: The nearest doctor is in Tsumeb, about 112km from the reserve.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: guests are escorted to and from their tents after dark. There are 24-hour security guards at the entrance gate to the Onguma Reserve, and no day visits are permitted. Guests are escorted to and from their tents after dark.

Fire safety: Fire extinguishers inside each tent


Disabled access: Not Possible

Laundry facilities: Can be done at an extra charge at Bush Camp, but must to handed in early in the morning to get it back by 17h00 that same afternoon. Laundry is charged per bag and can range from N$80 – N$200

Money: not possible no travelers cheques NAD & ZAR only

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 there may be additional surcharges by the bank

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