We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Lodge which is well past its sell by date!”
Review of Ongava Lodge

Best prices for -
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 4 more sites!
Ongava Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 25, 2013

Getting to Ongava lodge you drive thru the private reserve which is next to Etosha. The vegetation is small bushes very dense (we went in January) so it makes it very difficult to see any animals at all. We were very excited to do this part of our trip and looking forward to a great superior lodge and great animal!
The main entrance is nice and welcoming, great big shop and then you enter the main area. What a disappointment! It looks awful. The only AMAZING thing about it is the view (and at least you are not looking at the room!) A huge room with horrible tables and chairs, it all looks like a business hotel outside of an airport. They have not updated their communal parts for years. No decoration, two miserable sofas and that’s it. Not a place where you can just rest, look at the views, play cards in the evening with a night cap, nothing! The staff were very “laissez faire” , nice enough but they didn’t look like they cared that much. The food was awful! There were only 10 guests when we were there. One night arriving for dinner after the other 8, they ran out of spinach, we asked for some and were told “no that’s it, it’s all gone!” When we ask to may be check in the kitchen it was just a definite no, you should have been here earlier

The rooms are nice, very spacious, great shower and comfortable beds. Not 100% clean but ok. Air conditioning, nice veranda where you are supposed to see the water hole but they are so many trees that you can’t really.

Our guide was friendly and nice enough; the drive within the private reserve was not very good again vegetation in there is far too dense. They have a private access to Etosha park.

They offered a nature walk, don’t do it! They show you nothing, talk about nothing so you end up walking in the bush for one hour for nothing. Such a disappointment...

The best thing is the waterhole below the deck. There is a natural one where animals do come and drink during the day and at night, great to see a rhino come in whilst you are having dinner. BUT they decided that was not enough so they build a horrid water hole, a huge thing made out of concrete that even the animals seem to avoid! They should at least try to hide the concrete, make it look as if it natural but no, why bother seems to be the order of the day.

This lodge has lost it. Every lodge around has understood that the communal areas are important, that people want to rest, read nice nature books, chat with other people, see local arts on the wall, etc none of this there. They have to update soon or they will lose everybody. It’s very expensive for what it is and looks like the kind of place where buses of tourists stop for a quick buffet not a superior lodge. Funnily enough, they seem to have understood that in tehir sister lodge, Little Ongava which is above you, six luxurious rooms with great communal area. I understand that there is a great difference in price between the two and I do no expect the same level of luxury in Ogava itself but I expect much, much better than what you get. Basically the worst accommodation of our whole trip in Namibia. You can find better

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank margauxhanoi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WildernessSafaris, Manager at Ongava Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded February 22, 2013

We are truly sorry that your expectations were not met on your recent visit to Ongava Lodge and would like to thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and experience. All feedback is appreciated, both good and bad, as it allows us the opportunity to share praise where it is due and take corrective action in areas of concern.

The upside of travelling on safari in our summer months is the opportunity of witnessing the explosion of new life! On the wildlife front, this means seeing fatter, healthier, more energetic animals and all the babies (which often result in some good predator vs prey interactions). It is the best season for birding with many special resident species breeding, and complemented by the arrival of migratory species. Photographic opportunities abound with beautiful light, clear air (thanks to the occasional thunderstorm) and vibrant green vegetation - a contrast to the browns and oranges of this normally very dry country. However, as a result of the much needed rains, the animals do disperse as water and food are now freely available, plus the vegetation can indeed be thick and dense. Ongava is a private reserve so not having to share the area with other vehicles is a great plus, however, it is unfortunate that on this occasion you did not have the wildlife experience that this area is known for.

Your comments on the appearance and style of the lodge have been shared with management for due consideration. We would also like to assure you that the training team will be focusing on the shortfalls you raised regarding the food and the housekeeping. Our food experience manager and chef trainer will be doing an extensive training trip to Ongava Lodge, plus we have introduced a interactive training system in the lodge in the shape of high definition multimedia lessons and tailored practical assessments, focusing on areas such as Service, Housekeeping, Bar and Wine.

We do apologies for the fact that our nature walk did not live up to your expectations. While it is less likely to see game when on foot, we do expect our guides to point out the smaller things like plants with medicinal properties, birds, insects, etc. Our guide trainer will certainly make this a focus during his next visit.

The waterhole is a great feature of this camp and we are pleased that you enjoyed it. With regards to the concrete one specifically, we have found through experience that building concrete waterholes is a necessary “evil”. Namibia is an incredibly dry country and in a natural waterhole, a lot of water goes to waste when it seeps away into the ground. The concrete waterhole at Ongava Lodge normally gets filled every day and the “natural waterhole” is actually a deliberate overflow, for animals like rhinos and warthogs to wallow in!

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review
Reviews (327)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language

162 - 168 of 327 reviews

Reviewed October 26, 2012

We have just returned from a memorable trip to Namibia staying at some wonderful camps but this was one of the most expensive and definitely the least good.
Arrival is to an untidy car park and the initial impression is that it is tired and in need of an update. Nothing of the lovely decor and ambiance we had experienced elsewhere.
The service was indifferent, at times amateur, and definitely nothing near the standard of the other lodges we visited.
The food was mediocre and it is disappointing to see that despite previous comments and the high cost of the lodge it still persists in a buffet style meal.
The final straw was returning to out room after breakfast, prior to our departure, to find the cleaning materials and linen for the next guests outside the room and the maid sitting waiting for us to vacate. They obviously really valued our custom.
Finally BEWARE the inadequate room safe facilities. A hole in the wall with a key.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank janeeSussex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WildernessSafaris, Manager at Ongava Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded November 7, 2012

We are pleased to hear your trip to Namibia was a memorable one overall. We are sorry that your visit to Ongava did not meet with your expectations.

Thank you very much for the comments made on the décor and ambience of Ongava Lodge camp – generally our feedback in this regard is really positive but we shall certainly take them into consideration and pass them on the to the relevant people for review.

The car park has an odd shape and depending on the time of the day it can look a bit disorganized with land rovers pulling in and out. In addition there is an area where lodge vehicles and self-drive vehicles are parked during the day which perhaps gave the impression of untidiness. The lodge manager inspected the parking area and found a rail that needed attending to and this was rectified.

The buffet, for meals, is under review. Our Food Experience Manager is certainly on the path of moving away from the buffet style meals, however, logistics at the lodge may be challenging. Until such time we have developed an alternative plan to offer meals in a non-buffet style without compromising on quality of the food and service we will have to continue with the buffet as a standard.

We are concerned to hear that housekeeping was waiting with the cleaning equipment in front of the room waiting for you to depart. We have informed management and reiterated that housekeeping needs to be more discreet. Service training is ongoing and we are certain that this will bring a higher level of service consistency.

The safes are small box safes built into the wall. Should guests wish to store any larger items that do not fit in the room safe, management can place these items in the strong box.

As always we appreciate constructive criticism and will strive to improve our operation.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 16, 2012

Overall a wonderful experience. The rooms were spacious and the option for indoor and outdoor showers (with game views) was indulgent. The AC was appreciated, even though we weren't visiting in the hottest part of the year. Our guide, Abraham, was excellent and knew both the Ongava reserve and Etosha. We were lucky enough to see a cheetah family on the reserve (as well as many lions) and also flushed a caracol, who was lying in wait for some guinea fowl. We didn't find the facilities "tired", though we did think the upper watering hole's cement lining a bit out of place. It did distract from the natural feeling of the view (and the lower water hole). The opportunity to follow game off-road (which is not an option in the national park) was great. The food was good, standard lodge fare but didn't excite. It is an area they could focus on for improvement.

Room Tip: Even the rooms that don't directly view the watering hole provide a wonderful view over the rese...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Jan01234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 28, 2012

Stayed here for 3 nights,loved every minute. We had a great guide-Salomon- he found us lions 10 minutes into Etosha!. Staff were lovely and the food was excellent. Met some great people around the bar after our evening game drives with first class sundowners!. Our room was fantastic overlooking the waterhole,it's not everyday you get to have a shower whilst looking at a giraffe!
Would recommend Ongava as a great place to stay to see the Etosha National Park.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Claire M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2012

We stayed at Ongava Lodge in March 2012 and while we enjoyed our stay, this lodge could be so much more. The initial feeling was that the lodge is tired and in need of a refurb. Also, there was very little in terms of ambience at the lodge - a luke warm, almost empty feel. The rooms are spacious and well furnished, we were in room 13, which is a bit further away and more private. I love the outdoor shower and the inside shower had twin shower heads. But again, the decor needs a lift, it's very dark with dark-coloured brickwork adorning the walls.

The highlight is the view from the main area onto the (man-made) waterhole - at night, the spotlight reveal zebra, rhino, giraffe and we saw plenty of owls too which were incredible. The food was good, the service was okay but there were too many waiters standing around, watching you like a hawk which created a bit of a stiff atmosphere. Our game drive inside the reserve was nothing spectacular - but it was the rainy season and there was lots of water around. Our guide just wasn't very informative and hardly gave any information at sightings, which was disappointing.

Overall, I think Wilderness Safaris need to pull up their socks and pay some attention to this lodge.

Room Tip: Rooms 13 & 14 are further away from the main area for extra privacy - you have to walk down step...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank The_Meerkats
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded July 4, 2012

Thank you very much for your valued feedback. We are very pleased to hear that you enjoyed your stay and the game viewing at the waterhole was a highlight during your visit. We do take both positive and negative feedback very seriously. We have a dedicated Food Experience Manager in Namibia who will be focussing on every aspect of our food offering and service delivery, providing valuable training to all our chefs and staff alike.

Both our Guest Experience and Concession Managers have visited Ongava Lodge, providing further specialist training for the staff and ensuring that the camp itself, on every level, is more than ready to host future visitors.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2012

Ongava proved to be the best game location with a wide variety of animals and an extensive area for off road game drives.guides were knowledgable and enthusiastic. lodges were large and comfortable and peaceful, bordering on basic with spectacular views. Food wasn't going to win any awards but was still OK. Staff all very helpful. Having read further about the values of Wilderness safaris in Namibia ( Ongava being one) helped us appreciate everything the lodge represented. I would definitely recommend Ongava - it worked very well for us as a family but equally there were many couples.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank perfectionista
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 28, 2012

My wife and I spent 3 days at Ongava. Facilities and food are outstanding. The staff were the most enthusiastic, helpful and well trained we have ever encountered. The Wilderness Safari Company, which owns the lodge is to be admired. A significant fraction of their budget supports conservation, education and community development. Staff reported how the company facilitated their developing a career. We had great wildlife viewing, including several encounters with the white rhino.

Room Tip: Try to get a room overlooking the watering hole. You view game as you shave-impala, giraffes, etc.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank mittyc2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Travelers also viewed these Etosha National Park hotels
5.6 mi away
Etosha Safari Lodge
Etosha Safari Lodge
#7 of 37 in Etosha National Park
1,013 reviews
87.0 mi away
Onguma the Fort
Onguma the Fort
#1 of 37 in Etosha National Park
267 reviews
84.9 mi away
Mokuti Etosha Lodge
Mokuti Etosha Lodge
#3 of 37 in Etosha National Park
853 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
4.7 mi away
Ongava Tented Camp
Ongava Tented Camp
#18 of 37 in Etosha National Park
172 reviews
4.0 mi away
Etosha Village
Etosha Village
#5 of 37 in Etosha National Park
506 reviews
2.6 mi away
Andersson’s Camp
Andersson’s Camp
#16 of 37 in Etosha National Park
218 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Ongava Lodge? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Ongava Lodge

Address: Ongava Reserve, Etosha National Park 9000, Namibia
Location: Namibia > Oshikoto Region > Etosha National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 37 Specialty Lodging in Etosha National Park
Price Range: $512 - $784 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Ongava Lodge 3.5*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The well-established Ongava Lodge is situated along the southern boundary of Etosha National Park in the privately owned Ongava Game Reserve. Situated as it is close to the top of a hill in the foothills of the Ondundozonanandana Mountain Range, the vantage point is beautiful and overlooks a well-frequented waterhole and the plains beyond. Ongava Lodge offers luxury accommodation in 14 rock and thatch en-suite chalets. There are impressive views over the camp's waterhole from the main lounge and dining areas and there is also an inviting pool to cool off in the heat of the day. Meals are either served in the main dining area under thatch or on the dining deck under the stars.Activities include game drives into Etosha, visting hides, and nature drives and walks on the reserve. Ongava has resident white and black rhino, giving guests staying at Ongava the opportunity to see both species. ... more   less 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Orbitz, Expedia, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Booking.com and Priceline so you can book your Ongava Lodge reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Ongava Game Hotel Etosha National Park

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing