Onguma Tree Top Camp: Our full report
Situated on the private Onguma Reserve bordering Etosha National Park, Onguma Tree Top Camp is in an ideal ...... location for visiting Namibia's flagship wildlife park. The camp is small and intimate, with only four tents, each raised on stilts within the tree line overlooking a large waterhole, giving the property a real bushcamp feel.
Onguma Tree Top is the most remote camp on the 340km2 Onguma Reserve, which it shares with its four sister camps: Onguma Bush Camp , Onguma Tented Camp , Onguma The Fort and Onguma Etosha Aoba .
Tree Top has just four tented rooms, each overlooking the floodlit waterhole in front of camp for their high vantage points. Raised on stilts and constructed from canvas under a thatched roof, these rooms can be left open at the front for a real wilderness feel. To keep inclement weather at bay but enabling you to still enjoy the view, a transparent plastic screen can be rolled down and for complete privacy the full canvas front can be lowered and secured. The cosy rooms, being raised high above the ground, mean keeping the front open at night, as we did on our last visit in September 2018, is a great way to hear the sounds of the bush and really experience the wilderness safely.
The décor is inspired by nature, with browns and greens balanced by fresh white linen. The bed is surrounded by a mosquito net, and a set of shelves houses a safe, hairdryer, mosquito repellent and a dressing gown and slippers.
The en-suite bathroom forms part of the bedroom, with a basin to the side of the bed, and the toilet behind a door in one corner. Just outside on the deck, a well-screened open-air shower offers complete privacy from the other tents, although less so from the bedroom.
Each room has a private balcony where a couple of leather chairs look out towards the waterhole. This is visited by a host of animals including giraffe, zebra, lion and many different types of antelope, with jackals and hyena often spotted here in the evening. And as the waterhole is visible from the shower, you can even keep watch while having a wash.
Connected to the rooms by raised wooden walkways is Tree Top's main area, which also has views over the waterhole. The dining area, where meals are enjoyed around a communal table in the evening, but with individual tables for breakfast and lunch, adjoins an open-plan interactive kitchen where guests are encouraged to chat to the chefs while they cook your meal. The small but comfortable lounge has a central wood-burning stove and a cabinet housing the bar. There is also a telescope for closer views of the animals or star-gazing at night.
On the deck outside, a small firepit surrounded by seating is a great place to watch visitors at the waterhole in the evening with a glass of wine. The staff are very attentive and helpful, and will often have a friendly chat with guests over drinks and at dinner.
Activities from Onguma Tree Top include guided morning and afternoon game drives in Etosha National Park (including drinks), as well as sundowner drives and guided walks on the Onguma Reserve. The camp is also well placed for visitors to drive themselves around the national park.
Keen photographers or those looking for a change of pace can arrange to visit the reserve's partially submerged Onkolo Hide, whose low-level view over a waterhole gives a unique perspective. Your guide will accompany you with snacks and drinks, so you benefit from an extra pair of eyes and their in-depth knowledge'. Guests at Tree Tops can also book wellness treatments for an additional cost at Onguma The Fort, with the short transfer being handled by their guide.
Although not as luxurious as some of the other options on the Onguma Reserve, Onguma Tree Top Camp is one of our favourite. The remote location, excellent service and wonderful bush feel should attract those with a sense of adventure who want to get a little closer to the wilderness. And the peace and privacy make it a great spot for a group of friends or a family, not least as the whole camp can be booked on a private basis.
Country manager: Namibia
- Etosha National Park, Namibia
- Ideal length of stay
- 2-3 nights
- Onguma Tree Top Camp is located on the Onguma Reserve, just outside Etosha National Park's western gate. The reserve has its own airstrip.
- Accessible by
- Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Half Board
- Food quality
- On our most recent visit in September 2018 we enjoyed the “interactive” kitchen and the friendly atmosphere of the main area.
Breakfast follows the typical form for a safari lodge with a buffet of cereals, fresh fruit, fruit juice, tea, coffee, fresh bread and muffins. You can also opt for a hot meal, which will be cooked to order in front of you.
For lunch guests are usually offered a light meal such as salad, fresh bread and quiche followed by something sweet. We opted instead to take a packed lunch with us for the road: an impressive selection of sandwiches, crisps, fruit, fruit juice, biltong and peanuts – so plenty to keep us going through the day.
Dinner is typically a three-course set meal. However, on our last stay our vegetable soup was followed by a more traditional braai (BBQ). The selection of boerewors (beef sausage), game steak and chicken was extensive and well cooked. Sides included maize meal, corn on the cob, rice and salad. In fact, we were so full that we didn’t have space to finish the malva pudding dessert!
- Photography holidays
- For a unique perspectives of the Onguma reserve's wildlife and the opportunity to calmly sit and unobtrusively enjoy nature. Enjoy a few hours at this well equipped hide as an activity from Onguma Tree Top Camp.
- See ideas for Photography holidays
- Walking safaris
- Want a break from Namibia's bumpy roads? Why not stretch your legs on a walking safari, accompanied by a guide from Onguma Tree Top Camp? It's a great way to see another side of the bush.
- See ideas for Walking safaris
- Wildlife safaris
- Within easy access of Etosha National Park, the small, intimate Onguma Tree Top camp is a lovely place to stay for a good safari experience.
- See ideas for Wildlife safaris
- Private villas & houses
- Onguma Treetop Camp’s four tents can be booked privately for small groups or families travelling together. Having the camp to yourselves, with your own private guide, gives the ultimate flexibility to enjoy the Onguma Reserve and Etosha.
- See ideas for Private villas & houses
- Attitude towards children
- Onguma Tree Top Camp does not accept children under 12.
- Property’s age restrictions
- No children under 12.
- Special activities & services
- Generally recommended for children
- The combination of high walkways with few barriers and plenty of nearby game mean that we do not recommend Onguma Tree Top Camp for children under 16.
- Due to the high walkways and decks, children must be supervised by their parents at all times.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Onguma Tree Top Camp
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Onguma Tree Top Camp 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.
- Power supply notes
- The camp has a back-up generator in case of a power failure.
- There is free WiFi throughout the property.
- TV & radio
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- The bathrooms are plumbed, with hot and cold water and flushing toilets.
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
- Medical care
- There is a basic first-aid kit on site, and both guides and managers are first-aid trained. The nearest doctor is in Tsumeb, 110km away, but in an emergency guests would be airlifted to Windhoek.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- There is a guard on the gate to the Onguma Reserve but not at the camp itself.
- Fire safety
- A fire extinguisher is located in each room and in the main area.
Guided walking safari
- Disabled access
- Not Possible
- Laundry facilities
- Laundry is sent to Onguma Bush Camp so can take 24 hours to be returned to guests at Tree Top. For those staying on a half-board basis, laundry will cost extra.
- There are safes in each of the rooms.
- Accepted payment on location
- Visa and Mastercard are accepted as well as cash in US dollars, Namibian dollars or South African rand.
Other lodges in Etosha National Park
Alternative places to stay in this same area.