Okonjima Bush Suite: Our full report
The exclusive Okonjima Bush Suite is tucked away on the 220km² Okonjima Nature Reserve, just south of Otjiwarongo.From this private camp, with just two bedrooms, guests have the opportunity to learn about Namibia's carnivores through the AfriCat Foundation, a non-profit organisation set up to conserve and protect Namibia's threatened predators, particularly leopard. The opportunities for viewing them from close quarters are excellent.
The smallest of the properties on the reserve, the Bush Suite is usually booked exclusively for one family or two couples travelling together. It lies about 500m from its nearest sibling, Okonjima Bush Camp. Other camps at Okonjima include the equally exclusive Okonjima Villa, and the larger Okonjima Plains Camp.
At the heart of the Bush Suite is a spacious living area, whose cosy sunken lounge has comfortable leather couches, a fireplace, and coffee tables hewn from tree trunks. There's an indoor dining area, too, though you can take your meals outside on the extended deck under the cover of natural shade or, when it's a bit cooler, in front of a log-burning fire with views across the plains. A 13m swimming pool, shaped like a mokoro, is an attractive bonus.
Set either side of the living area are two air-conditioned en-suite bedrooms, each with two queen-size beds and beautiful wildlife photographs, taken at Okonjima, adorning the walls. For a night under the stars, the beds from one of the rooms can be wheeled out onto the terrace. Both bathrooms feature two sinks, indoor and outdoor showers, a bidet and a bath with a view of the bush.
Okonjima Bush Suite comes with a personal host or hostess, a private chef to prepare your meals – though guests staying here also have the use of a modern kitchenette should they wish to prepare a snack between mealtimes – and a private guide. A stay at the Bush Suite means that you have some flexibility with mealtimes, meal choices and the pace of your activities.
As with the other properties on this reserve, staying one or two nights at the Bush Suite will normally provide excellent opportunities to see big cats at close range, as well as being able to learn more about these fascinating animals.
On privately guided activities you have the chance to radio-track leopard from game-viewing vehicles. Although sightings can never be guaranteed, we have always been lucky on our visits to Okonjima. On our last visit to the reserve in May 2022 we spent around half an hour with a young female leopard hunting before she slipped away into the bush.
In addition to leopard tracking, other activities include:
- Nature drives: There are over 40 mammal species on the reserve and many more birds. Guests are likely to see a range of these while out tracking big cats, but if you have longer on the reserve you can choose to go out without using tracking telemetry and see what you can find.
- Pangolin tracking: Departing after dark, guests have the opportunity to track tagged ground pangolin, following at a discreet distance on foot. Good footwear and a flashlight are essential. Pangolins spend much of their time underground so even with tracked individuals sightings are not guaranteed. Note that this activity has limited availability and is weather dependent.
- Rhino tracking: Okonjima is home to a small population of southern white rhino that are constantly monitored by the reserve’s anti-poaching team. On this activity guests can often approach the rhino on foot.
- AfriCat Carnivore Care Centre: Visit some of the reserve’s welfare animals – individuals that cannot be released into the wild. These animals help with education and provide an insight into the work of the AfriCat Foundation. After visiting the welfare animals you can head to the information centre to learn about the history of Okonjima and their ongoing work.
- Night drives: These offer the chance to head out into the bush after dinner to try and find some of Namibia’s nocturnal species that you’d usually miss during the day.
- Self-guided walking trails: For those seeking a break from bumping around in a vehicle and wanting to stretch their legs, there are several well-marked walking trails within the fenced wilderness area. These offer the chance to look at the smaller things and spot some of the reserve’s many bird species.
Okonjima Bush Suite is a small, luxurious and very personal base from which to explore the Okonjima Reserve, which offers superb opportunities to learn about Namibia's carnivores – and see them at much closer quarters than is normally possible. The ultimate luxury, though, lies in the privacy and flexibility made possible by a private chef, a private guide and a host dedicated to meeting the needs of guests here.
Country manager: Namibia
- Okonjima Nature Reserve, Namibia
- Ideal length of stay
- At least two nights is best to give you time to enjoy the reserve. However, if you are limited for time, a one-night stay should give time to get an idea of what the AfriCat Foundations does, and with luck to see some cats.
- The Okonjima Reserve is about 48km south of Otjiwarongo, off the B1, from where a 24km track leads to the Bush Suite.
- Accessible by
- Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- Guests at Okonjima Bush Suite have their own personal chef who will discuss the menu with them and cook their meals. We have always enjoyed the food when we’ve stayed at Okonjima and although we haven’t stayed at the Bush Suite personally, we would expect the same high standards and attention to detail here as at the Bush Camp.
- Dining style
- Individual Tables
- Dining locations
- Indoor and Outdoor Dining
- Further dining info, including room service
- Room service is available, though not round the clock.
- Drinks included
- Bottled water, soft drinks, local beers and spirits and a limited selection of house wines are included. Champagne and imported wines and spirits will cost extra.
- Photography holidays
- The opportunity to take close-up shots of big cats, especially leopard, are maximised at Okonjima, where the Bush Suite offers a high level of flexibility. Do note, though, that many of the cats are radio-collared.
- See ideas for Photography holidays
- Wildlife safaris
- Visitors on a Namibia wildlife safari at Okonjima Bush Suite have the opportunity to find out about the work of AfriCat, and will have a private guide to see at close quarters the big cats they fight to protect.
- See ideas for Wildlife safaris
- Private villas & houses
- The Okonjima Bush Suite is a private house that is fully staffed and suitable for up to four people travelling together. It consists of two en-suite bedrooms, with a long plunge pool and is an ideal spot for visiting the AfriCat Foundation.
- See ideas for Private villas & houses
- The luxurious two-room Okonjima Bush Suite, complete with spacious living area, is typically booked for exclusive use. Guests enjoy a private chef, a 13-metre swimming pool and the chance to get up close and personal with the cats of the AfriCat Foundation.
- See ideas for Luxury
- Attitude towards children
- Children over the age of three years are welcome at the Bush Suite, but participation of younger children in activities is limited.
- Property’s age restrictions
- There is a minimum age of three years at the Bush Suite. While all children staying at the Bush Suite may visit the AfriCat Carnivore Care Centre, only well-behaved children aged six and over are allowed on activities conducted in a vehicle. The minimum age for activities on foot is typically 14 years although this is at the guides discretion.
- Special activities & services
- Generally recommended for children
- We think the Bush Suite is a great option for families with children over the age of about eight years. They'll be able to participate in most activities and should come away having learned a great deal about Namibia's big cats.
- The pool is not fenced. Children must be supervised at all times by their parents.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Okonjima Bush Suite
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Okonjima Bush Suite 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
- There are plug points in the suite for charging batteries and electronic equipment.
- WiFi is available at Okonjima Bush Suite. There is usually cellphone reception.
- TV & radio
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- In each en-suite bathroom the bathtub, indoor and outdoor showers are plumbed in. Each has a flushing toilet.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- The nearest doctor is in Otjiwarongo, about 40 minutes' drive from Okonjima. In a medical emergency, the camp can arrange for travellers to be flown to Windhoek.
- Dangerous animals
- Moderate Risk
- Security measures
- The whole reserve is fenced and there are guards at the main entrance gate.
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers in each room and in the central areas.
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- A full laundry service is included. Items collected in the morning will usually be returned the same day, weather permitting.
- There are no currency-exchange facilities available. There is a safe for storing valuables.
- Accepted payment on location
- Okonjima accepts Visa or Mastercard credit or debit cards. Payments may also be made in cash with Namibian dollars or South African rand.
Other lodges in Okonjima Nature Reserve
Alternative places to stay in this same area.