Reviews of Onguma The Fort
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Onguma The Fort review
Onguma The Fort and Etosha
The Fort was lovely, and the setting and layout was a particular treat. The dinner terrace that overlooked a view that could only be described as 'raw Africa' was one of the best of the trip. And that side of Etosha was really fantastic in terms of scenery and wildlife. And staying at The Fort made the park very accessible.
The one criticism of The Fort was the checkout procedure was a bit chaotic and they seemed somewhat understaffed.
Fancifal 1%-er accommodation
Each suite was a mini oasis that opened out into the bush; view from the roof of the main building was amazing; pools had beautiful views; half board included breakfast, dinner, and 1 small bottle of water per person per day; the welcome process was a bit confusing in terms of pricing of activities and what was included in our reservation; guided tours of Etosha and the Onguma Reserve felt like speed dating-guides relied heavily on radio'd tips from other guides rather than tracking.Read more about the whole safari
Beautiful and stylish stay
Really beautiful location with very nicely done rooms and communal areas just next to Etosha. Overall, very good and friendly service and we enjoyed having a drink in the pool.
One small note: They do attract a lot of bugs at night (contrary to any other place we stayed at) making it less comfortable to sit outside
Onguma The Fort review
Excellent location and food. High quality rooms and service.Read more about the whole safari
Onguma The Fort review
Typically excellent private lodge reception and service. A very luxurious, enjoyable and relaxing stay.
Not much game compared to Etosha so best to stay here after you've been saturated with game viewing for a few days to relax and enjoy the beautiful lodge and surroundings.
Great stay at The Fort
Our second stay The Fort, having previously spent a night there in 2008 on a Wild About Africa trip. This time, we stayed for 3 nights.
Some people find the "moroccan" styling of the Fort and the "mini-Forts" incongruous in Namibia. However it works - providing stylish and cool accommodation in a superb location overlooking Fischers Pan.
We had our own guide with us, who took us into Etosha for several activities. The eastern end of Etosha seems to be more productive that the central area for game viewiing and we had excellent daytime sightings of lions, rhinos and elephants. The heavy rains earlier this year meant that there was still water in the Etosha Pan, which gave the whole area a different perpsective.
We went on the Night Drive and the Sundown Drive on the Onguma Reserve. The former was somewhat cursory, although we did see some bush-babies and a tortoise that apparentl shoudl have been hibernatiing, with the guide (Rector) seemingly being mainly interested in getting to an area where lions had been seen a couple of days earlier. The Sundown Drive also failed to find any of the big Onguma animals but Previous was an engaging and hardworking guide who poured a good G&T!
Meals at The Fort remain absolutely superb and would grace any 5-star city hotel. WE we delighted to find that Chef Immanuel is still there - he is an engaging man who takes great delight is describing the menu to the diners as well as leading the staff in singing after dinner on some evenings. It will be a massive loss to The Fort when Immanuel leaves shortly (apparently he is goig to a Kempinski property - we didn't find out which one, although it is not the neighbouring Mokuti).
The facilities remain excellent at the Fort, although there were some signs of slippages in service:
- on one day, we did not receive any hand towels, and it took 2 requests to staff to get some
- a waiter spilt a glass of beer down my wife's back (by accident!): although the staff were quick to clear the spillage and broken glass and to drive my wife back to our room to change, there was no offer to launder the soaked clothes (although admittedly, given the 2 day laundry service, that might have been difficult to deliver)
- the room book advises against drinking tap water but the only drinking water provided is for purcahse from the mini-bar. I cannot be sure but I recall that water was provided in the rooms on our previous visit.
The mamagers, Bronwen and Josef, were not there during our stay (Newman was in charge), so it is possible that the first two at least were temporary blips.
The Fort at Onguma Plains remains a spectacular and comfortable base from which to explore Etosha. However, given the increased competition at the top end of the market, it needs to avoid complacency. Whoever follows Immanuel as chef has a big act to follow!
This was without doubt the best food and service of the whole trip. The staff hit just that right note between friendliness and professionalism, the management here were obviously top rate.
The chef came to the table at lunch and dinner to personally run through the menu, give you choices and make sure you were happy with each course - and the food was fantastic.
We had a package including activities. The drive on the private reserve was fine but very low key. The main drive takes you into Etosha when what you see is a matter of luck as always - the number of game (rather than the number of species) certainly seemed higher on the eastern side of Etosha than the west.
On the day we left they were closing for refurbishment work and the staff having a holiday but there was never the least suspicion that standards would be allowed to slip right to the moment we left. Highly recommended.
Onguma Plains - The Fort
Can only be described as stunning, in terms of location, facilities, rooms, friendliness and service. This is a wonderful facility with superb facilities overlooking a waterhole which constantly attracts a wide range of wildlife.
The restaurant and viewing areas have been superbly planned with outstanding views and comfort. The innovative pool and the partly submerged bar tables and seats added to the overall atmosphere. The rooms are no less attractive and provide beautifully and imaginatively planned and furnished accommodation.
The staff were attentive without being intrusive and very competent, friendly and helpful. The food was excellent and the evening meal was memorable not just for the quality of the various courses, but also for the setting and ambience. At the end of the meal, we were treated to an excellent singing performance by the all male staff whose vocal skills would have put many professional choirs to shame.
Overall a wonderful stay in a wonderful place.
Onguma Plains Camp review
In many ways this should have been the highlight of the trip given the location and standards of this lodge. However we were quite surprised to find that the water was heated by gas and we also felt slightly uncomfortable at times with the ostentatious usage of water given the scarcity of this resource in the country.
We would have also prefered to have a little less fuss about getting to a from the rooms by use of golf carts. There was not the same apparent threat as at Ongava. This would have been a great place to sleep out again if they could ahve safety poles and wires on the balconies as at other Doro Nowas.
The staff were celarly highly trained and the food was good, but for us the best bit was the evening songs that we were treated to... fantastic!
The highest standard of accomodation and facilities and seemed very plush and glamorous but at the same time somehow cold and unwelcoming.
As we could not have 2 nights at Etosha Lodge we went here. I preferred the Etosha [Ed: 'Aoba'] Lodge