Located just outside Etosha National park is Onguma Plains Camp...
Onguma The Fort: Our full report
Located on the Onguma Reserve, very close to the eastern entrance gate of Etosha National Park, Onguma - The Fort (also known as Onguma Plains Camp) is an elegant and stylish base from which to explore Etosha National Park. It is the most luxurious of the Onguma properties and therefore suited to those who wish to indulge and splash out while on holiday. Although it shares the reserve with its sister properties, including Onguma Bush Camp and Onguma Tented Camp, it is entirely separate and totally private.
With its turret and 12 rooms, or 'mini suites', each designed like a mini fort, Onguma Plains Camp clearly resembles a fort. Lined up in rows of six either side of the main building, each room is about 50m from the next, giving privacy and seclusion. The lodge uses a small buggy to ferry guests from their rooms to the main area and back.
The spacious rooms are built in a Moroccan style, with terracotta and browns mixed with bright colours. In each, the canvas front wall can be rolled up to admire the view of Fischer's Pan and watch any passing game. Fronting this wall is a large deck with sunloungers, a bench covered with colourful cushions and a shady tree. All rooms are equipped with a minibar, a telephone and an air-cooling system. There's also mosquito repellent, a hairdryer, and a couple of books featuring the lodge.
The spacious bathrooms continue the Moroccan theme. Each has his-and-hers sinks, a shower and a toilet, plus a small chair or lounger. Just outside is an outdoor shower that 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!
Onguma - The Fort also has one Fort Suite or 'Sultan Suite', inside the tower of the main building and perfect for honeymooners. The suite has a large bedroom with its own lounge area and private viewing deck. There is a television with satellite channels in the lounge, as well as a fridge, a telephone and an air-cooling system. The bathroom here has both a bath and an open shower area.
The main area of the Fort continues the Moroccan style, with heavy carved antique doors, lanterns, and red plaster walls. Flowing throughout the building is a large water feature, which includes little waterfalls and, in the main courtyard, a pool with stepping stones. The entire water feature is lantern lit at night, lending a calming atmosphere.
There are two lounge areas – one just inside the entrance and another at the back of the building with views to the small waterhole. Both are furnished with comfy sofas and scatter cushions, and have a selection of books about Namibia. The open-sided dining area allows you to see the stars from your table. To the front is a large balcony with sunloungers and a tree for shade, with a good view of the waterhole which is frequented mainly by warthogs and springboks, with the occasional larger game coming through. . Drinks served here are accompanied by snacks from the bar.
The water feature continues to the plunge pool and outside bar, where a few shaded sunloungers adorn the deck. There's even a 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 the 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 welcomed to select a bottle to enjoy with dinner.
Activities from Onguma The Fort include a morning game drive in Etosha, sundowner drives on the Onguma Reserve, and night drives – also on the reserve. The night drives usually take place after dinner and last about 2 hours. The camp is well situated for those driving themselves into the park, but self driving is not permitted within the reserve.
Our viewOnguma - The Fort offers a high standard of food and service in a beautifully designed camp on the edge of Etosha National Park, suiting those looking for elegance and luxury, With its location close to the entrance gate, it is convenient for driving yourself into the park, or for taking a guided trip with the lodge.
Ideal length of stay: Spent 2-3 nights here to explore Etosha and enjoy relaxing at the lodge.
Directions: The entrance to the Onguma Reserve is on your left immediately after you leave Etosha National Park from 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
Owner: Visions of Africa
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: A sumptuous breakfast buffet is served on a large wooden table in the lounge; guests help themselves and take their food to the dining room. 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. On our last visit in June 2014, we sadly didn't get a chance to try the food, but in October 2010 we ate bacon salad followed by pasta with pesto and mushroom, and then a delicious lemon pannacotta.
Dinner is a four-course meal with a refreshing sorbet between the fish and meat courses. The chef comes to each diner's table to take them through the menu. The food here is varied, interesting and imaginative with authentic South African cuisine mixed with subtle north African flavours. We devoured – with relish – the watermelon and stilton soup, smoked salmon paté, grenadine sorbet, springbok steak with red wine sauce and vanilla cheesecake.
Snacks are available from the minibar in your room. Snacks such as biltong and peanuts are served to those taking pre-dinner drinks on the deck.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Drinks are an extra cost.
Further dining info: Yes
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
Attitude towards children: Onguma Fort welcomes children over the age of 12.
Property’s age restrictions: No children under 12 are accepted here.
Special activities & services: None
Generally recommended for children: No
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: All rooms have a phone and there is also cellphone reception at the camp. There is free WiFi in the main area.
TV & radio: There is a satellite TV in the Fort Suite.
Water supply: Borehole
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: The nearest doctor is in Tsumeb, and the camp has a first-aid box with all staff being first-aid trained.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: The gate to the reserve is locked at night.
Fire safety: Fire extinguishers are found in each room and in the main area of the camp.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: A laundry service is available for an extra charge.
Money: No foreign currency is accepted; payments may be made in Namibian dollars and South African rand only. There is a safe in each room.
Accepted payment on location: Payments are accepted by Visa and MasterCard.