Reviews of Okonjima Villa
Wildlife sightings and reviews
14 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited Okonjima Villa and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
"Okonjima Bush Camp review"
We had amazing staff to make our stay comfortable - Tobias, the Villa Manager; Emily, the chef and Gabriel, the guide. The staff here made our last 2 nights in Namibia a memorable occasion. The food was delicious and beautifully well-presented. We did leopard tracking drives and saw leopards and numerous giraffe. Sundowners on a hill overlooking the reserve with a heartstopping sunset. It was absolutely wonderful.
We did the Africat tour and this was less good than the game drives, the organisation has found that relocating leopards and rehabilitating cheetah and lion does not work and the rehabilitated animals die in the wild. Their emphasis is moving away from animal rescue to education and preservation of natural habitat. The information in the buildings on the tour is outdated and really needs upgrading/updating to show what the organisation is doing now and plans to do in the future." See all these reviews: 16n in Namibia
"Okonjima Villa review"
The chances of seeing leopards here largely rely on the animals carrying a radio collar, which is not to everybody’s liking. When I enquired about the option to equip them with a GPS sensor our guide Opari told us that in fact they are thinking about it. Needless to say that this would enable the guides to track them much more efficiently.
We ended our stay here with a visit to the Africat Foundation where we also saw five cheetahs close up in a fenced enclosure. However, you wouldn’t know this from the gorgeous pictures I was able to take of them.
The rooms were very spacious and tastefully furnished. And the food was from out of this world." See all these reviews: 20n in Namibia; 15n in Botswana
"Our other most favourite place in the world."
We were excited about staying at Bush Camp as it looked very lovely. But when we reached the gate we discovered we had been upgraded to 'The Villa'. This is an exclusive property away from the rest of the accommodation and with its own chef, driver and 'butler/concierge'. It also has its own infinity pool and waterhole. This is movie star stuff and the first (and probably last!) time we will get to experience such a level of exclusivity.
The wildlife spotting is much more democratic and everyone gets to track radio-collard Leopard in the dry river bed and get up close to the Cheetahs at the AfriCat foundation centre. If you make time to visit the latter you'll add another dimension to your trip here. The history of the place, from farm to trophy game reserve to conservation success story - thanks to the incredible Wayne whose vision it is." See all these reviews: 11n in Namibia
"Much more to Okonjima as cats"
The villa is a much smaller property that the principal camps at Okonjima and is also out in the reserve rather than in the fenced off area where the other camps are (wilder, but also, as we discovered, colder!). It's quite a "luxury" property - white fluffy towels, a bath, outdoor & indoor showers, quite a change as we were coming from a more bushcamp-style property at Mundulea! The villa was originally designed as a private safari house for one large group but it's now available to all - there is a large central house with a pool and dining area, and a very welcome fire, overlooking a well-used waterhole, and two freestanding smaller villas which are the guest rooms. There's a chef, a manager and more staff than were staying there, although the villa is not staffed all the time - but there are always drinks available for you to help yourself. From the deck you can see lots of animals - antelope, birds, giraffes, warthogs during the day, and brown hyena and a whole family of porcupines very close at night.
What we did not expect was the quality and variety of animals we saw on our activities. Like most guests, our first evening was spent tracking the collared leopards, and Nova took a little while to find. When we did find him, he obligingly wandered around near the vehicle in good light for a while. Rohan, our guide, had helped out his colleague from Plains Camp and their vehicle joined us; we were then heading off to leave Nova to go about his business while we had our gin and tonic. The other guide then called Rohan to say there was a honey badger - we did an about turn and found a young honey badger digging in the bed of the river where we saw the leopard. We were pretty excited by this - they're usually shy, if ferocious, and noctural, and we'd only seen one before in some 15 year of fairly regular safari going. Then we realised the leopard was back. He walked straight past our vehicle and sat about a metre away from the honey badger, who was oblivious, digging his hole. After thinking for a minute or two, the leopard leapt - and was spectacularly repelled by the much smaller honey badger! When even the guides are getting excited (you can find Rohan's footage on Instagram) you know you're seeing something special.
That wasn't all the evening held for us; after a delayed gin and tonic, we headed back through the darkness to camp and came across another first - an aardvark.
And that was just the first night. By the time we'd finished, as well as seeing our cheetahs (the rescued cheetahs at the foundation), we'd walked with rhinos, and seen not one but two more aardvarks! (One with another leopard sat on the other side of the vehicle, wondering why he wasn't the star of the show for once). Rohan, our guide, was knowledgeable and enthusiastic and really went out of his way to make sure we had a great time and some special experiences - not just big animals, but also the endemic south-west African birds and a lot of the smaller stuff.
Okonjima is a very well managed reserve with comfortable lodges - we visited Plains camp and although it would have been much too big for us, it was well-designed and I think would be ideal for families - that is easy to access and would be a real highlight of a first visit to Africa. But more experienced safari-goers will find something for them here too, although you're clearly not in the kind of pristine environment you might find in, for instance, the big national parks in Zambia. The reserve takes its role in conservation and research very seriously and if you are interested, there is a lot to do and learn. The villa is a very spiffy and more than comfortable place to say, but it was the wildlife experience that really stood out for us.
And one last aside - we found when we left that the gardener had very kindly washed our car for us, and I think the car rental guy had never had such a clean vehicle returned to him before!" See all these reviews: 9n in Namibia
"Wish this was our permanent home!"
Our guide Richard, his lovely wife Zanelle was our hostess & chef Christopher made our stay so special! I am still craving Christopher's amazing & gigantic omelettes! We got to approach a cheetah on foot & saw several leopards, including one stalking a warthog (the warthog got away).
The accommodations are amazing - we loved sitting around the fire pit with drinks & snacks each night after the p.m. game drives, then siting around the fireplace in the room after dinner or outside overlooking the waterhole. The visit to the AfriCat Foundation was also very educational, to see the great work they do for the cats.
We only spent two nights here & my only wish is that we could've stayed longer." See all these reviews: 14n in Namibia
The room, location, food, service, game drive (Pieter was great!), and cat tracking. Being at the Okonjima villa was the perfect way to end our trip. Staying at the villa made me feel how rich people must feel. Pampered and special." See all these reviews: 19n in Namibia
"Okonjima Villa review"
"Okonjima Villa review"
Have never seen leopard and cheetah so up close and personal, african wild dogs too! Felt really sad to have to leave in the end." See all these reviews: 14n in Namibia
"Okonjima Villa review"
[ Ed: this traveller went on to comment about Main Camp. Because she didn't stay there, we requested that she allow us to remove those comments. She agreed to this, and they don't appear here. ]
our experience though - truly wonderful - and will go back next year but ONLY if we can have Jacques and Martin!!" See all these reviews: 14n in Namibia
Hearing cheetahs purr was very special and tracking a leopard with telemetry on our last afternoon is one of the most exciting things I have ever done.
The food was fabulous and I would happily eat at Martin's restaurant every night." See all these reviews: 12n in Namibia
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