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Onguma The Fort
Onguma The Fort
Onguma The Fort
Onguma The Fort
Onguma The Fort
Onguma The Fort
Onguma The Fort
Onguma The Fort

Onguma The Fort: Our full report

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, springbok, zebra and impala, with the larger game coming through occasionally.

The overall design is quite eye catching - many would say stunning, however not everyone will necessarily appreciate its distinctive style and architecture, especially those looking for an more authentic tented safari lodge.

With its turret and 12 rooms, each designed like a mini fort, Onguma The Fort clearly does resemble a north African fortress. 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. Large glass windows to the front 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, north African 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 view the stars from your table, and the friendly, efficient staff all contribute to make your dining experience a special one. And to the back of the building is a large, tree-shaded deck with more tables and chairs and great views of the waterhole and the Pan beyond. Drinks served here are accompanied by tasty canapes 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 divided in two by stepping stones. At night, the entire water feature is lit by lanterns, lending a calming atmosphere.

The water feature extends to the swimming pool to one side of the main area where you’ll also find 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 beautiful 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. Our expert guide, when we last stayed in May 2018, made our game drive into Etosha a memorable one by finding a cheetah with two cubs – a real highlight that we were lucky to see. Within the Onguma Reserve itself, where self-driving is not permitted, there are sundowner drives. It's also possible to do morning bush walks, which last about 90 minutes where you can also visit an ‘eye-level’ hide for a different perspective on watching wildlife.

On a previous visit 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.

Onguma also offer simple spa treatments and massages from the comfort of your own room, on request.


Our view

Onguma The Fort offers a high standard of food and service in a beautifully designed camp that would be perfect for those wanting quality and luxury; this is a place to spoil yourself. However, note that it may not be right for you if you prefer understated tented camps. We enjoyed a wonderful stay here and could not rate the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff more highly. With its location close to the entrance gate of Etosha, it is also very convenient for driving yourself into the park, or for taking a guided trip with the lodge.

Karen Sharpe

Karen Sharpe

Namibia expert

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

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Half Board
Food quality
On our last visit in May 2018, 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 rather indulgent though 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
Further dining info, including room service
Yes
Drinks included
Included when booked on a full board and activities basis only – except for premium brand and imported wines and spirits.

The tap water is considered to be drinkable, but bottled water is also available.

Special interests

Honeymoons
Onguma the Fort is an isolated and exclusive camp with lovely views across Fischer's Pan. Spoil yourselves with the delicious food and great wines on your Namibia honeymoon. For an even more special stay consider the even more luxurious Fort Suite.
See ideas for Honeymoons in Namibia
Photography holidays
Photographers wanting to calmly sit and unobtrusively watch nature will enjoy the equipped water level hide on the Onguma Reserve. Spend a few hours at the hide as an activity from Onguma The Fort.
See ideas for Photography holidays in Namibia
Walking safaris
A bush walks is a great way to stretch your legs and get closer to nature. Explore the Onguma Reserve with a guide and get closer to animals big and small on a walking safari.
See ideas for Walking safaris in Namibia
Wildlife safaris
Onguma The Fort is blessed with a prime location on the Onguma Private Reserve overlooking Fischer’s Pan, and is adjacent to the wildlife rich Etosha National Park, so game viewing from here is of the highest order.
See ideas for Wildlife safaris in Namibia
Wellbeing
Enjoy some holistic papering with treatments from Onguma the Fort's resident therapist, the perfect way to relax and unwind between safari activities on you Namibian trip.
See ideas for Wellbeing 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 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
Generally recommended for children
No. Onguma The Fort has a very adult feel and families with children would be better suited at Onguma Bush Camp , which caters well for children of all ages.
Notes
The camp is unfenced and so is the pool so children should be supervised at all times.

Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Onguma The Fort

Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Onguma The Fort 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.

Giraffe

100% success

Oryx

100% success

Wildebeest

100% success

Zebra

100% success

Elephant

93% success

Lion

69% success

Eland

56% success

Spotted Hyena

55% success

Black Rhino

45% success

Cheetah

45% success

Brown Hyena

36% success

White Rhino

36% success

Leopard

27% success

Roan antelope

27% success

Sable antelope

11% success

Aardvark

0% success

Pangolin

0% success

Communications

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

Sustainability

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, plus another 100 seasonal employees. They have cultivated and developed a farm that has grown in size over the years, which now produces a vast array of vegetables, so much so that several hundred tonnes of vegetables are currently sold monthly. Currently it’s one of the top five vegetable producers in Namibia! Through the project, they are also able to help the local Oshivelo community with equipment etc. for the school and they also 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, the poaching of rhino on the reserve has dramatically decreased, which is great news!

See more great sustainability projects in Namibia

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.

Activities

  • 4WD Safari

    4WD Safari

  • Birdwatching

    Birdwatching

  • Guided walking safari

    Guided walking safari

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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