We had a 3 night stay here. Accommodations were excellent. The view of the water hole from the dining area was spectacular. We enjoyed watching a vast array of wildlife visit the water hole throughout our stay. Amazingly like clockwork the rhinos would arrive at the water hole every evening at dinnertime. We were able to visit the hide one evening and witnessed a rhino's visit up close - it was very exciting.
The buffet-style meals were good but not great.
The manager Jonathan and his staff always had a warm welcome for us each time we arrived back from a drive. The service at the lodge was very friendly and helpful.
Although the game viewing at the Ongava private reserve was not as abundant as it is at Etosha National Park, we were still able to see lions, giraffes and many different species of antelope. The game drive to Etosha was absolutely amazing. We saw huge herds of animals. The water holes in Etosha are an ever changing view. At one water hole we sat and watched as a herd of elephants played in the water while zebra, springbok and impala waited for their turn. We followed a long line of zebra to another water hole. There were zebra as far back as we could see and they just kept coming in waves to the water hole. It was amazing to see the different herds of antelope (zebra, wildebeest, impala, springbok) interacting and how they shared the space. It was also interesting driving up to a third water hole and seeing the herds all nervously waiting at the top of the ridge watching a lion enjoying the water hole all to himself. We were fortunate to see many different types of animals in Etosha including, rhinos, giraffes, hyenas, jackals, ostriches, gemsbok as well as many different bird species. We would have loved to have another drive to Etosha during our stay - once was definitely not enough.
Our only real complaint was our guide. When he did speak he was very hard to hear and we later learned that some of the information he gave us was incorrect. He seemed to always be on the hunt for the "big five" forgetting there was lots to enjoy on the way. There were times the guests in our vehicle asked him to stop so they could take pictures of wildlife they hadn't had a chance to really see yet but he just kept on driving. We also didn't appreciate how he didn't slow down when animals were trying to cross the road. He just continued on at the same speed which would startle the animals into running away. The animals should always have the right of way.
Based on the comments we read before our trip and those we've seen since, the experience we had with our guide was the exception not the rule. In hindsight, we should have discussed it with the lodge manager right away, but we kept hoping things would be different on the next outing. Lesson learned. However, with that being said, the amazing wildlife and the friendly staff at the lodge made our stay here wonderful.
If we ever have the opportunity to return to Namibia we would certainly consider staying here again. However, we would want more games drives in Etosha and less on the private reserve.
- 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
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- Also Known As:
- Ongava Game Hotel Etosha National Park