Onguma The Fort

Onguma The Fort: Our full report

Rooms
13 rooms
Traveller's rating
Excellent (93%) From 26 reviews
Children
Best for 13+
Open
All year

Located on the 340km2 Onguma Reserve, Onguma The Fort (previously known as Onguma Plains Camp) is very close to the eastern entrance gate of Namibia’s Etosha National Park. With a strong Moroccan theme and a striking water feature, it is an elegant and stylish base from which to explore the park.

The Fort is the most luxurious of the Onguma properties and is suited to those who like their creature comforts . Although it shares the reserve with its sister properties Onguma Bush Camp , Onguma Tented Camp , Onguma Tree Tops and Onguma Etosha Aoba ., it is entirely separate and totally private. It also has its own waterhole frequented mainly by warthog and springbok, with the occasional larger game coming through.

With its turret and 12 rooms, each designed like a mini fort, Onguma The Fort clearly does resemble a fort. Lined up in rows of six on either side of the main building, each room is about 50m from the next, offering privacy and seclusion. The lodge uses a golf buggy to ferry guests from their rooms to the main area and back, especially after dark when it is not safe to walk on your own.

The spacious rooms feature high-beamed ceilings and a décor of terracotta and browns mixed with bright colours. Dominating each room is a large double bed, or twins, surrounded by mosquito netting. Glass windows on two sides of the room offer a view of the waterhole and Fischer's Pan, and any passing game. Outside is a large, partially covered deck with a shady tree, set with sunloungers and a bench topped with colourful cushions.

All rooms are equipped with a small writing desk and a fireplace, along with a minibar, tea- and coffee-making facilities, a telephone and air conditioning. There's also mosquito repellent, a hairdryer, a couple of nature books and magazines, and a basket of pool towels should you wish to visit the swimming pool.

The spacious bathrooms lead off an entrance hall and continue the Moroccan theme. Each has his and hers basins, a shower and a toilet, plus a small chair or lounger. A door leads from the bathroom onto the deck where an outdoor shower is fully screened from other rooms, although watch your bare feet on the hot deck if you choose to shower in the middle of the day!

Inside the tower of the main building, Onguma The Fort also boasts the air-conditioned Fort Suite or 'Sultan Suite', which is perfect for honeymooners. Here, the large bedroom has its own lounge area, complete with a fridge, satellite TV and a phone, and a private viewing deck overlooking the waterhole. In the bathroom you’ll find both a bath and an open-air shower.

In the main area of the Fort, the Moroccan style is evident in heavy carved antique doors, lanterns, and ochre plaster walls. The lounge, which has views of the waterhole, is furnished with comfy sofas and brightly coloured scatter cushions around a fireplace. The open-sided dining area allows you to see the stars from your table. And to the back of the building is a large, tree-shaded deck with more tables and chairs and a good view of the waterhole. Drinks served here are accompanied by snacks from the bar.

Flowing throughout the building is a large water feature, which incorporates little waterfalls and, in the central courtyard, a long narrow pool with stepping stones. At night, the entire water feature is lit by lantern, lending a calming atmosphere.

The water feature continues to the swimming pool and an outside bar, where a few shaded sunloungers adorn the deck. There's even a separate shallow pool with chairs and tables in it, so that you can keep cool while enjoying your afternoon drink! Water from here flows via a small waterfall into a cool plunge pool, which is very welcome on a hot day.

Overlooking all this is The Fort's main tower, from where there's a lovely view over the Onguma Reserve. It's a great place to watch the sunset (the waiters will even bring your drink up the tower for you), with a cushioned seating area at the top, and a larger seating area filled with scatter cushions on the level below. Below the main area is an air-conditioned bar and wine cellar where guests are welcome to select a bottle to enjoy with dinner.

Activities from Onguma The Fort include morning and afternoon game drives in Etosha itself, although the camp is well situated for those driving themselves into the park. Within the Onguma Reserve, where self-driving is not permitted, there are sundowner drives, and night drives after dinner lasting about two hours. It’s also possible to do morning bush walks, which last about 90 minutes.

On our most recent visit in March 2017 we departed for a walk at around 7am. We were led by one of the knowledgeable, trained walking guides on the Onguma reserve and we enjoyed the walk thoroughly. The experience was less about game sightings but instead about focusing on the smaller things that you may miss from a safari vehicle. We stopped numerous times on a gentle walk looking at various plant and tree species, insects, termite mounds and animal tracks. The walk was finished perfectly as we spotted a leopard tortoise romping through the undergrowth just a few meters from the car. We observed this member of the ‘Little 5’ for a while and then made the short drive back to camp for a well-earned breakfast.

Our view

Onguma The Fort offers a high standard of food and service in a beautifully designed camp that would suit those looking for high standard of décor and service; this is a place to spoil yourself. With its location close to the entrance gate of Etosha, it is convenient for driving yourself into the park, or for taking a guided trip with the lodge.

Geographics

Location: Etosha National Park, Namibia

Ideal length of stay: Spend 2–3 nights here both to explore Etosha and to enjoy relaxing at the lodge.

Directions: The entrance to the Onguma Reserve is on your right just before you enter Etosha National Park at the Von Lindequist Gate. Onguma The Fort is about a 20-minute drive from the reserve entrance.

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

Key personnel

Owner: Visions of Africa

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: On our last visit in March 2017, the food was varied, interesting and imaginative with authentic South African cuisine mixed with subtle north African flavours.

A sumptuous breakfast buffet is served on a large wooden table in the centre of the lounge. As well as the usual selection of fruit, yoghurts, cheeses, meats and breads, guests can have a hot meal cooked to order by the chef.

A three-course lunch is served with a choice of main courses. The food is light and tasty – perfect for a hot day. Our starter was stuffed mushrooms, followed by a choice of salade niçoise or vegetable gnocchi with a tomato sauce. Dessert was a lemon cheesecake.

Dinner is a tasty four-course meal. We enjoyed the starter of spicy African peanut soup, which was followed by a second starter: an aubergine stack with bacon, tomato and mozzarella cheese. The main course was either grilled eland steak with cranberry sauce or Dijon-baked salmon fillet with hollandaise sauce. Both were accompanied by potato wedges, yellow patty pan (a type of squash) and broccoli. Dessert was a delicious chocolate Amarula mousse.

Snacks such as biltong and peanuts are served to those taking pre-dinner drinks on the deck or out on an afternoon game drive, while those from the minibar in your room are at additional cost.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: Included – except for premium brand and imported wines and spirits. The tap water is considered to be drinkable, but bottled water is also available.

Further dining info: Yes

Special interests

Honeymoons: Onguma the Fort is an isolated and exclusive camp with a beautiful honeymoon suite, the Fort Suite, offering privacy and lovely views across Fischer's Pan. Enjoy your lavish bedroom, and spoil yourselves with the delicious food and great wines on your Namibia honeymoon.

See more ideas for Honeymoons in Namibia

Luxury: Onguma The Fort has been designed with a Moroccan theme complete with ornate, antique doors, lantern-lit waterfalls and sumptuous interiors. High ceilings, with lots of light and air, add the opulent feeling of a smart desert camp beside an oasis.

See more ideas for Luxury in Namibia

Children

Attitude towards children: Onguma Fort welcomes children aged 7 and above

Property’s age restrictions: No children under 7 are accepted here.

Special activities & services: None

Equipment: None

Notes: The camp is unfenced and so is the pool so children should be supervised at all times.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Mains Electricity

Power supply notes: There is a back up generator

Communications: All rooms have a phone and there is also cellphone reception at the camp. There is free WiFi in both the main area and the rooms.

TV & radio: There is a satellite TV in the Sultan Suite.

Water supply: Borehole

Water supply notes: The bathrooms are fully plumbed and have flush toilets

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: The nearest doctor is in Tsumeb, and the camp has a first-aid box and some of the camp staff are first-aid trained.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: The gate to the reserve is manned during the day and is locked at night. Guests are escorted to and from their rooms after dark.

Fire safety: Fire extinguishers are found in each room and in the main area of the camp.

Extras

Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: A laundry service is available for an extra charge.

Money: There is a safe in each room. There is no currency exchange

Accepted payment on location: Payments are accepted by Visa and Mastercard or in cash in Namibian dollars or South African rand.

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