Reviews of Onguma Tented Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Tents but not as you have seen them before!
This was a surreal experience!
The level of attention to detail, the personal service, the level of luxury all deserve credit.
We drove ourselves in and out of Etosha and the reserve cannot offer what Etosha can so was limited in comparison but the sun-downer drive and morning walk were interesting and informative.
Onguma Tented Camp - Wonderful
Everything about Onguma made it a perfect place to stay for three nights.
The Camp is very well designed with great use of line, shape and colour all leading to a sense of well-being. The main areas are very open which leads you to feel you are at one with the surroundings. Plenty of comfortable seating, individual tables for dining, a fire pit area and a rather nice pool with loungers, all with views of the water hole, make for a very comfortable stay.
Our tent, number 5, had a particularly good view of the water hole. All tents are very private, it was lovely to sit on the veranda and watch the various animals come and go. The tent was faultless, tasteful in design and every amenity you could reasonably want. The outdoor shower was a winner.
Food was delicious both at dinner and breakfast and served with a smile.
All of the staff we encountered were friendly and helpful. We were also taken by surprise on our second night to be served diner on our veranda which was decked out with lights, all very romantic!
We drove ourselves into Etosha on the two days we were there which did take a good half hour to get to but we encountered various birds and animals on the way so this was not a problem. We especially enjoyed the road around Fischer's Pan. The only disappointment was that we left it rather late to ask for an early morning bush walk and it was already full so would recommend making any request in good time.
Deluxe accommodations near Etosha at Onguma
A very small, deluxe camp. Very large, comfortable tented rooms with decks that opened onto the camp's private water hole. Spacious and open common areas with a dining area looking out on the water hole. A very nice fire pit. Pulses of game from the very small (guinea fowl) to the very large (giraffe). Extremely attentive and engaged staff. Excellent food and service.
A guided walking safari along the edge of Fisher's Pan was extremely interesting, with a guide (David) who seemed especially engaged by his duties. Our drive into Etosha was less rewarding, partly due to windy conditions, partly to a paucity of game (other than a black rhino), and partly due to a guide who did not make much effort to do other than drive,
The Onguma complex is generally well-located near the East Gate of Etosha, but the access road from the Onguma entrance to the camps themselves is long and somewhat jarring.
Wonderful bush location
Fabulous tented rooms in the middle of the bush. Excellent service all round, a particular highlight was the night game drive.
The food and wine was also excellent. A really special little lodge.
Lovely stay and Onguma Tented Camp
This was probably our favourite lodge.
The rooms were really lovely with a view over an attractive water hole. We did an evening sundowner drive in the lodge's own reserve, which I can't recommend as we saw very little.
We drove ourselves in Etosha during the daytime and saw a lot of game at various water holes.
Beautiful camp but limited game
The accommodation and setting of Onguma are excellent and we enjoyed our stay there.
The only problem was the lack of game in the reserve - to be fair it had been incredibly dry and the landscape was desperately parched, but we saw little or no game in the reserve itself on our afternoon and night drives. The morning drive into Etosha was better and we saw plenty of game there. Our guide was ok but wasn't very informative - he just pointed out the animals.
The waterhole in front of the camp is in a great setting and it is very relaxing to sit and watch animals drink, albeit we didn't see much during our stay.
Great location and an amazing waterhole.
Good facilities but just failed to hit the right note on service. The guide asked the right questions but then completely ignored the answers. He appeared grumpy and disinterested and was unable to answer simple and sensible questions from others in the vehicle.
Service in the camp was curious in that it verged on obsequious so that we, for the only time in Namibia, felt uncomfortable from the first welcome onwards. No need for poems by the bed,"good nite" (!) wishes on the hot water bottles but a bar of soap for the waiters would have been appreciated!
With some small but critical attention to the right detail this could be a truly special stay but for us it was not... Great food though!
Onguma Tented Camp review
Beautiful place, very relaxing, good guidesRead more about the whole safari
Very comfortable stay at Onguma Tented Camp
Excellent accommodation with good equipment-our tent and the dining/guest area overlooked a waterhole.
Very friendly helpful staff of whom David and a trainee stood out.
Lots of superficial gloss but no substance
This was the only place that disappointed us. When we first arrived, we thought, yes, this is it, but the impression soon changed. It is tastefully decorated and is undoubtedly smart but there is no substance beyond this. I'd say there is a problem with the management here. This was the only place where there clearly wasn't a team. And there was a level of arrogance. When we arrived at every other lodge, we were so warmly welcomed and they all had both our names correct and they had all received a note of my dietary requirements from you.
Here we were down as Mr and Mrs McDowall-Wilson - it's not something that bothers me but I thought it indicative (interestingly enough, when we left, the bill was made out to Mr and Mr McDowall-Wilson, progress of some sort). We were asked if we had any dietary requirements and when I said I can't eat fish or seafood, she said, well, that won't be a problem as there is always a choice. Except that that evening one of the courses was seafood and there was no choice! People don't listen. It's not a problem for me when I travel, you have to be adaptable, and I can be quite happy with a cheese sandwich, but there was an attitude problem here. And anyway the helping was so small that I probably wouldn't have been sick if I'd eaten it.
The food was the best presented on our trip but not the best otherwise. And helpings of meals that were included (we were on half board) were meagre and in some instances minute. At every other lodge or camp they were generous to the point of being copious. The lunch that we had, and paid for, was a huge helping but it was not very appetising: it was a single course of pasta with a mushroom sauce that was just a glutinous mound on the plate. They made a big fuss of their wine cellar but in fact the wine selection was nothing special.
The staff in the dining room were sweet and one of them in particular made a real effort to be helpful but he was clearly out of his depth; he was trying so hard but he was a complete bundle of nerves. We felt that he hadn't had enough training, which of course isn't his fault, and we ended up feeling sorry for him. On top of this there was a language barrier. His name was Portuguese so maybe he was from Angola.
The staff were a complete contrast to all the other lodges we stayed in. Even the guide was not as informative or as knowledgeable. On the morning drive into the park we did see a lot of game but mainly because he was in radio contact with other guides, so he knew where to go.
As we were here on a half-board basis we had to pay extra for everything and none of it was good value. As we'd driven to Onguma from Ongava through the park, we know how much the entry fees are, and they are a tiny fraction of what we had to pay for that half-day drive in Etosha while we were at Onguma. You don't mind paying more than the average for something special but here the prices were very high for nothing that was any better than we'd had included in the price elsewhere, in fact everything was all inferior in quality (and quantity).
There are other minor negative points I could make but I don't want to accentuate the bad. Overall we weren't impressed by the place and wouldn't recommend it to anyone else. It's a shame because it looks so nice but it really is a case of a superficial gloss and nothing much behind it. At other lodges the staff were small in number but they made up for it by working as a team whereas here the tiny number of staff contributed to a strong feeling of niggardliness.