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“Nice but could be better” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Onguma the Fort

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Onguma the Fort
3.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Onguma Private Reserve | Near Etosha National Park, Etosha National Park, Namibia   |  
Hotel amenities
Fairlawn, Ohio
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
“Nice but could be better”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2012

We stayed here for three nights and generally liked the place. Each unit is a separate building in the middle of a wildlife reserve, so you may have animals right outside. We had a giraffe eating a tree behind our suite one evening, which was very cool. There is a tradeoff, though, as you are also near small animals that can get into the rooms.

We also had plumbing problems. The first night the water in the shower would not stay hot. We had to keep shutting the water off and turning it back on to get a few seconds of hot water. I ended up having to take a navy shower to avoid freezing. They fixed it the next day but it shouldn't have been broken to begin with. There was also trouble with the bathtub on the deck behind our suite. I checked it out on our last afternoon and the stopper wouldn't work, making the tub useless. They tried to fix it but to no avail.

The food was very good, with a combination of game and more conventional foods. The staff was nice and helpful, although a bit over-attentive when you are in the lounge. It seems like the whole meal they are either coming to your table to take or deliver something, or they are approaching to see if they should take something. They also tend to come up and see if you need something when you are just hanging around in the lodge. I'd prefer to just relax and ask if I need something.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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87 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (20)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Toronto
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2012

This was the highlight of our Namibian honeymoon, when we spent 3 nights in their best suite ("the sultan's suite"). We stayed at 3 other places on our trip that were all highly rated and pretty expensive, but the extra money we spent here was worth every penny. I don't know if we'll ever experience anything like it again. When we arrived at the next very nice place my wife actually cried, because she felt we didn't get to just enjoy the fort enough with all our early morning game drives. The game drives at the fort really made our trip too though. We had an excellent guide named Viali who got us up close to 11 lions that swarmed our jeep, a black rhino, a leopard, lots of elephants, and lots of other more common african animals. In July it's their winter so the morning game drives are very cold from 6-9am before it gets warmer. The open air jeeps they use are ideal for photographs but I would recommend ski goggles for the wind, and a scarf, mitts and fleece for the first half. They do provide a blanket and hot water bottle which helps a lot, and they also provide sandwiches and cold drinks. They also offer a nice sundowner drive within their own nature reserve, where you get some great hors deuvres with a cocktail at sunset. I would only recommend this prior to doing gane drives in etosha park, like we did, because another couple who did them in reverse order found the sundowner to be anti-climactic since there are no elephants or cats. Our host at the Fort was the manager Stefan, who gave us a very warm welcome and seemed to always anticipate our every need and had them taken care of before we knew it... It was quite impressive. The communication among all the staff is very good too - they would always ask how our drives were when we went on them, and they would also time their room servicing while we were eating or on drives. The chef was very good, and seemed to pay attention to what was left on our plate at the end of a meal in order to refine his next meals for us. The fort has flowing water channels throughout that really add a special touch. The lounge area had beautiful fireplaces and couches, free wifi, and open views of a nice watering hole, with the etosha pan in the distance. The swimming pool was too cold, which is probably the only criticism I could think of, but it was still very nice to suntan beside, and they have nice bistro tables in a shallow river pool that flows into the main pool. The food was gourmet, with hot breakfast made to order, great 3 course lunches, and excvellent 4 course dinners. The soup starters were the best soups we had ever had in our lives. Drinks were surprisingly cheap, and they have a solid wine list to choose bottles from. Service was top notch, and we would recommend this place to anyone looking to spoil themselves for a few days in the Etosha area. They are located right next to the park entrance but their driveway takes about 20 minutes to traverse.

Room Tip: Pay a bit extra for the Fort Suite, it's worth it!
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ruiselede, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2012

The place we had the highest expectations off on our last trip but was the most disappointing - great place, great rooms, dining area but very unhappy with service (i felt like i was "shadowed") and very average "cuisine" (especially lunch & dinner) - we have done a lot of "simpler lodges" with a far better kitchen, and with qualified and really committed staff.
Also the sundown and Etosha tours are POOR - a lot of driving but very little real animal spotting or nature details.

Too bad for such a great asset.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Onguma, Owner at Onguma the Fort, responded to this review, July 22, 2012
I am very sorry to hear that Rik V was disappointed with his stay at Onguma The Fort.
I have taken the mentioned issues up with our staff and will pay particular attention to the areas that Rik V identified.
We pride ourselves in the service levels at the Fort and appreciate constructive criticism that will help us to improve our offering even further.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
49 hotel reviews
Reviews in 53 cities Reviews in 53 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2012

If you are visiting Etosha, this is a great place to stay, and it has it's own reserve which makes the sunset drives easier. The suites are great - built in the style of old forts and this provides a good combination of solid walls and canvas tent. The staff are very friendly and helpful and Rector, our guide was very knowledgeable. We stayed during a period of cold nights and there is a great fire in the room and they provided not water bottles for bed. It can be a little cold whilst eating in the open plan areas so take some warm clothing if visiting in winter.

Room Tip: The fort suite looks great and it is in the main building. You also have to be ferried to and from y...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2012

I've been privileged to stay at the Fort annually since a few weeks after it opened to guests. The place is simply magical - perfectly aligned with the setting. The North African/Indian decor and architecture set it apart from all other lodges in Namibia. I was delighted to see there had been no changes in management since my previous visit 6 months earlier as Stefan and Bronwyn are exceptional hosts. Stefan's pre-dinner chocolate and wine tasting events shouldn't be missed. Sadly, the previous chef has moved on; but the new man in the kitchen is doing a commendable job and developing his own specialties. As always, game drives were excellent and we were privileged to have Rector as our guide. It amazes me that there is always something more to see in Namibia - and Rector led us to several "firsts." In the last couple of visits, I've missed the sheer draperies in the main lodge that blew dramatically in the wind. I suppose they weren't very practical, but they added somehow to the dreamscape impressions I associate with the Fort. We expect to return next May.

Room Tip: Choose a room close to the main lodge if you'd prefer to travel to and from your room without an...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Moritz, Switzerland
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2012

Excellent welcoming staff, very good food, and the surprise: The singing and Dancing Staff of the Hotel for Dinner - we very much appreciated EVERYTHING - politeness, forthcoming, quality of food, etc.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2012

We stayed for 2 nights in March 2012 and absolutely loved it! The lodge is built in the Moroccan style with water features and towers, like a real fort. The reception was amazing, we had our hands washed and enjoyed a welcome drink. The views from the main area are great, there's a busy waterhole directly in front of the lodge where we saw zebra, giraffe and wildebeest come to drink.

The rooms were so luxurious, huge bed with mosquito net, well-equipped bathroom with his and hers basins, patio with outdoor shower and just so much attention to detail. Complimentary sherry in the rooms, special towels to clean your shoes (so you don't mess up the white ones), at turndown we received a rolled up page with an African tale printed on it and placed on the bed.

And now for the food: again, incredible! I'm talking fine dining here, the presentation is excellent and the dinners were 4 course, lunches 3 course with an extensive buffet for breakfast. There's a wine cellar and you can choose your own wines if you'd like. Stephan, the manager was great and presented a tasting comprising mostly of South African wines. We really looked forward to mealtimes here!

Our game drives were great, not fantastic game viewing as it was the rainy season with lots of water around. But loved the sundowners at a scenic spot. The lodge has a lovely pool with sun loungers - there's even a cocktail bar with tables and chairs placed inside the shallow pool! In short, will not hesitate to recommend this to everyone I know. Excellent service - excellent food - luxurious rooms - an insanely capable management team. Keep up the good work!

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Onguma the Fort

Address: Onguma Private Reserve | Near Etosha National Park, Etosha National Park, Namibia
Location: Namibia > Oshikoto Region > Etosha National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 29 Specialty lodging in Etosha National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Onguma the Fort 3*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This Fort is unlike any other, the only one of its kind in Namibia, built in exactly the right spot to give our guests probably one of the best sunset views in the whole of Namibia. Overlooking the beautiful scarceness of the Etosha Pans, decorated only with its wild animals and hundreds of Camel Thorn trees that dot the landscape. Accommodation consists of twelve Bush Suites with fire places for the winter months and air coolers for the summer months. Each suite has an indoor and outdoor shower. The one and only Fort Suite is situated inside the Main Tower of the main complex. It has a large beautifully designed bedroom that leads into a lounge area and out onto a private viewing deck. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Onguma The Fort Hotel Etosha National Park

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