Reviews of Onguma Tented Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
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.
Great spot but not much to do!
This camp is just outside Lidequist Gate entrance to Etosha. Beautiful spot with own waterhole which attracts different antelope species and birds. Very comfortable lodges.
Food above average but limited choice. We had opted to go on rhino expedition in the afternoon at 4.00 but were kept waiting with little information why the driver had not arrived. Then informed he would be another 20 minutes. No show. Then informed another driver was on his way. No show. Then informed it was cancelled. Returned to our lodge. Some 15 minutes later (by now c5.15pm) a driver arrived and asked if we still wanted to go - we said no thanks. No apology offered by staff.
Expert Africa comments
The owners of Onguma have thanked these travellers for their feedback, which helps them to improve their service. They have investigated the complaint and unfortunately it was a case of miscommunication for which they sincerely apologise.
Like all the Onguma accommodation, our 'tent' allowed us to sit and while the time away watching the waterhole - not the most exciting selection of animals, but beautiful all the same.
Service was a cut above and the food was excellent.