What we say
The Onguma Game reserve borders the eastern edge of Etosha National Park. The entrance to Onguma Bush Camp (and the other properties on the reserve) is mere meters from the Namutoni entrance to Etosha. And the drive from the gate to the lodge often follows the park boundary. This large and privately-owned game reserve has all the wildlife you can expect to see in Etosha with only a fraction of the tourists.
Onguma Bush Camp is a good mid-market lodge and is perfect for those self-driving in Namibia. Onguma offers guest the option to do guided game drives on the reserve or inside Etosha Park. It is also very simple to drive from the lodge into Etosha Park and spend the day exploring, just make sure you leave Etosha before they close the gates at sunset (and remember to pay for your permit at Namutoni).
The rooms, grounds and facilities are well maintained and modern. The main feature is a large thatched lapa area which hosts the restaurant, bar, several lounges and a wine cellar. The restaurant and two seating areas overlook the large waterhole, so keen game viewers can catch a glimpse of Namibian wildlife while enjoying dinner.
The Onguma Bush Camp reception area hosts a small curio shop, while the pool is well grassed and has sun lounges also overlooking the waterhole. The grounds are shady and tranquil and have some well established Fever & Sausage Trees.
We would classify Bush Camp as a mid-size Namibian lodge with only 18 rooms. For a lodge of this size, there is a bewildering (and somewhat confusing) array of room types. These include double rooms, settler rooms, rondavels – all are extremely comfortable, en-suite, air-conditioned and have the usual array of lodge amenities. Some rooms are suitable for families (particularly the loft rooms – where kids are sure to be excited by their lofty accommodation).
Most of the camp is fenced in, with the exception of some of the delux rooms (we told you there were a lot of room types), making this a child-friendly camp, unlike most of the other Onguma properties.
On our recent stay, we did a very pleasant sundowner game drive, our guide was friendly and informative and although there was not a lot of game on show on this particular afternoon that did not detract from the experience. We saw gnu, springbok, zebra and were amazed to find the reserve has a large number of vultures nesting in the Makalani Palms. Just before sunset, we had the highlight of encountering a cheetah and two cubs lazing around a termite hill. The sundowner drinks and snacks were good and we got back to camp just in time for an excellent dinner.
What they say (the facts!)
Onguma Bush Camp offers 18 rooms and is ideal for families with children. Family loft rooms ensure the kids will have a great safari. The lounge and dining areas overlook a stunning waterhole that affords great opportunities to see nature at play around the clock. You don’t even have to leave the camp to see game – they come to you! What better place to enjoy a sundowner drink.
Onguma Bush Camp consists of 3 twin bedded standard loft rooms with a children’s sleep area in the loft, 8 twin bedded Deluxe Rooms, 3 Rondavels, 3 family units with 4 beds, 1 Settler’s Room (formerly the honeymoon suite) as well as 4 single tour guide rooms. The Waterhole/Pool-Side Rooms are built with views of the newly enlarged waterhole or views across the pool.
Why we like it
We feel this is one of the best mid-range options on the east side of Etosha due to the added benefit of the property being within a private reserve. The lodge is beautifully decorated and provides a tranquil base from which to explore either Etosha Park or Onguma Reserve.
Although you could quite happily stay here for your entire time in Etosha, we recommend this as an addition to some nights inside the park (probably at Okaukuejo or Halali). This is especially true if your main priority is game viewing.
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