Onguma Tented Camp: Our full report
Onguma Tented Camp is situated on the private Onguma Reserve, which borders the eastern side of Namibia’s ...... Etosha National Park – so you can explore great wildlife both on the reserve and 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 individual rooms.
The Tented Camp is one of four lodges on this reserve; the others are Onguma Bush Camp, Onguma Tree Top and Onguma The Fort, which is the most upmarket of the four.
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. The two almost identical open-plan lounges are each furnished with a plush charcoal sofa, a high-backed or zebra-print armchair, a few large bean bags, a dark wooden coffee table, a wooden saddle stool, and some bright scatter cushions. Separating these two areas is a tea/coffee station, and built into the limestone wall is a large furnace fireplace for chilly winter evenings. The lodge also boasts a wine cellar offering a good selection of wines.
Dining at Onguma Tented Camp is in a roofed area backed with a stone wall. In the summer months, the remaining sides are completely open, offering clear views over the floodlit waterhole, whereas during the rainy season or on cold winter evenings the canvas sides are lowered to keep out the cold.
Outside you’ll find a firepit – a great spot to socialise and keep warm in the evenings. During one stay here we saw a giraffe at the waterhole during dinner as well as numerous kudu, impala and zebra coming to drink throughout the day, and on our last visit in May 2018 there was plenty of activity too.
A walkway leads to the small infinity pool, an attractive area where beanbags and a few sunloungers beckon.
Gravel pathways link the main areas of Onguma Tented Camp with its seven tented rooms, which differ only in the location of the bathrooms.
Each room is set on a raised wooden platform with a large, partly shaded veranda, where two comfortable armchairs with a small table make it a pleasant place to watch wildlife at the waterhole. The big-top theme continues here, with the inner layer of material in each room supported by a large wooden central pole. The whole front section has double sliding glass doors in a wooden frame, with roll-down canvas flaps that can be zipped closed, and similar flaps covering 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 with dressing gown and slippers, 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, hairdryer, 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 wooden door to the side of the room.
Although many visitors here drive themselves into Etosha National Park, activities from Onguma Tented Camp include morning and evening game drives into the park, albeit no further than Halali. The lodge also offers both shorter sunset drives on the Onguma Reserve, where no self-driving is permitted, and morning bush walks, when your guide will point out many of the smaller inhabitants on the reserve that you may miss from a safari vehicle.
Onguma Tented Camp has a friendly, welcoming atmosphere in a comfortable, beautifully designed setting. Use the camp as a thoroughly relaxing base to explore the private Onguma Reserve or as a base to access Etosha National Park. The camp waterhole is an added bonus and you should see plains game here from the comfort of your own chalet
Country manager: Namibia
- Etosha National Park, Namibia
- Ideal length of stay
- 2–3 nights
- 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 Mokuti Lodge.
- Accessible by
- Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- When we last visited in May 2018 we didn’t get to eat here, however during our previous stay in June 2017 (as with earlier stays) we found both the food and the service to be of a consistently high standard.
Breakfast was served as a buffet with a selection of cereals, fruit salads, fresh fruit, a choice of confectioneries, a cold meat platter and the option to order hot breakfast items from the kitchen, including porridge, pancakes, omelettes and a traditional full English breakfast.
Lunch can either be taken in camp or, if you ask in advance, a packed lunch can be prepared for you to take into Etosha. This will save you having to return to the lodge at lunch time, if you fancy making the most of a full days self-drive excursion into the Park.
Dinner is a delicious four-course meal. During our stay, we sampled a creamy broccoli soup followed by an entrée of crumbed mushroom served with tartar sauce. There were two choices for main course: either grilled kudu steak with brown onion sauce or pan-fried kingklip with a lemon caper sauce. Both were served with roasted potato wedges, sweet carrots and green beans. The meal was rounded off with a delicious malva pudding with custard.
- Dining style
- Individual Tables
- Dining locations
- Indoor and Outdoor Dining
- Further dining info, including room service
- Room service is not available as standard.
- Drinks included
- Soft drinks, house wine and local spirits are included in the full board rate, but fine wines, champagne and imported spirits and liqueurs will be charged as extras.
When staying on a half board basis, drinks are not included.
Filtered water is available in the bedrooms, and bottled water available on organised game drives.
- Photography holidays
- Onguma’s water-level hide affords guests unique perspectives of the reserve's wildlife and the chance to calmly sit and unobtrusively enjoy nature. Enjoy a few hours at this well equipped hide as an activity from Onguma Tented Camp.
- See ideas for Photography holidays
- Walking safaris
- A walking safari if a great way to experience a different side of the bush. Explore the Onguma Reserve with a professional guide from Onguma Tented Camp and focus on the smaller things on a bush walk.
- See ideas for Walking safaris
- Wildlife safaris
- With its location on the private Onguma Reserve, and Etosha National Park on its doorstep, Onguma Tented Camp is a fantastic base from which to explore these wildlife-rich areas on any safari in Namibia.
- See ideas for Wildlife safaris
- Combining luxury with traditional style, Onguma Tented Camp lies on the eastern side of Namibia’s Etosha National Park. Whether you're keeping a look out for passing animals from your private veranda or relaxing in the roll-top bath, the watchword here is comfort.
- See ideas for Luxury
- Attitude towards children
- Onguma Tented Camp is not fenced, so younger children may not stay here for safety reasons.
- Property’s age restrictions
- No children under 12 are allowed at the camp. For safety reasons children under 10 years are not permitted on game-drive vehicles and those under the age of 16 may not take part in walking safaris.
- Special activities & services
- Generally recommended for children
- As this is an unfenced camp with a fairly adult atmosphere, we would agree with the camp’s age limit of 12 years.
- Neither the camp nor the pool are fenced, so children should be supervised at all times.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Onguma Tented Camp
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Onguma Tented Camp have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.
- Power supply notes
- There is a back up generator
- There is cellphone reception in camp, with the signal stronger in the main areas. Both the main areas and the individual rooms have WiFi.
- TV & radio
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- All rooms have full plumbing.
Oshivelo Farming and Onguma Anti-Poaching Unit
As well as providing excellent safari lodges, in 2012 the Onguma Group set up a large-scale sustainability project, Oshivelo Farming, which successfully provides jobs and income for many of the local people; at present there are over 180 permanent staff, plus another 100 seasonal employees. The farm they have cultivated and developed has grown in size over the years, and now produces a vast array of vegetables, so much so that several hundred tonnes of vegetables are currently sold each month - making it one of the top five vegetable producers in Namibia. Through the project, they are also able to help the local Oshivelo community with resources for the school, and have built the village soccer field.
Onguma are also involved in conservation and as such run the Onguma Anti-Poaching Unit, on the reserve, to help protect the endangered population of rhino. Since its introduction, rhino poaching on the reserve has dramatically decreased, which is great news!
See more great sustainability projects in Namibia
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- Members of the team at Onguma have first aid training. The nearest doctor is in Tsumeb, about 112km from the reserve, or a drive of around 1½ hours. In an emergency, patients would be driven, or air rescued to Windhoek.
- 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 visitors are permitted.
- Fire safety
- Fire extinguishers are positioned inside each tent and in the main areas.
Guided walking safari
- Disabled access
- Not Possible
- Laundry facilities
- Laundry can be done at extra charge.
- Each room has a small safe. There is no currency exchange.
- Accepted payment on location
- Payment is accepted by Visa and Mastercard or in cash in Namibian dollars or South African rand.
Other lodges in Etosha National Park
Alternative places to stay in this same area.