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“Spectacular view!”
Review of Ongava Lodge

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Ongava Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 29, 2014

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.

Room Tip: Request a room overlooking the water hole (the ones closest to the lodge) while the one we stayed in...
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank cdntraveller888
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WildernessSafaris, Manager at Ongava Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded August 29, 2014

Dear cdntraveller888,

What a lovely glowing review, Thank You! We are so glad that you enjoyed your stay with us. It seems like you really had the most amazing animal sightings which is really very special. We are sorry to hear about the guide and his inappropriate actions. This is not the norm and would have most definitely been addressed at the time if we had known. We do hope though that this did not detract to much from your experience as we are all to aware the impact a guides actions can have on a guests experience.

We hope that you will one day have the opportunity to return to Namibia and we would love to be able to host you once again.

Kind regards,
The Ongava Lodge Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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154 - 160 of 337 reviews

Reviewed October 27, 2013

We have just had the most wonderful 3 nights at Ongava Lodge, in the Ongava private game reserve, Namibia. The accommodation is of a high quality, with our lodge overlooking the waterhole. The main hub is the restaurant / lounge / club house and the opportunity to enjoy fine dining under the stars whilst watching the game visit the waterhole is a delight. The staff were so friendly, we were very sad to leave and will be back. This is a very special place indeed.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Granville O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 10, 2013

Wonderful setting. Friendly, helpful staff.Amazing accomodations.Private game reserve so guaranteed to see lots of animals. Really, if you want to go to Estosha National Park, you should stay here. Wonderful meals. Watering hole with rhinos next to main lodge where you eat.Beautiful views. Our guide, Teacher is very knowledgeable and helpful.Wish we could have stayed longer!

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Gail N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 5, 2013

The best thing about Ongava Lodge is not its setting, the private game reserve, the amazing beautiful views and lights, the water hole where rhinos come like clockwork to drink at sunset, but its manager Jonathan and his wife Silvia. We stayed at other lodge managed by Wilderness Safaris, Ongava Lodge was the only lodge with a heart, where we didn't feel like tourist that they couldn't wait to send to the systematic activities. True knowledge and passion of the country and wildlife, full of ideas and facts, quick to smile and great story teller in the evening.
The only bad thing Jonathan was, after offering us a shot of Amarulla with each diner which I started to like, you told me that it was really more a girly drink. As a man, you killed it for me.
The Berards from NY.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Jerome B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 13, 2013

This lodge is on a private game reserve which allows for great game viewing especially for rhinos both black and white. Our guide was great and use of the blind allowed great views of the rhinos that come to the water hole by the lodge. Rooms are very nice and ours allowed great game viewing. Food is great and staff is very good. The place to stay since you can also visit Etosha Park which is very close.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank TXtraveler67_71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2013

Ongava Lodge fully complied with all my expectations! During our 3 weeks trip in Namibia we chose this lodge as starting point to visit the Etosha, mainly beacuse of its private reserve, where you can find lions, rhinos, giraffes, cheetas, leopard and so on. The place it's amazing, we had the chalet n. 2, which is in the front of the main waterhole and has a fantastic view: You can spend the whole day sitting on the terrace to watch the animals passing!
The staff is amazing, always smiling and ready to make your stay unforgettable. For example, the first day, during the lunch, a waiter asked us if we wanted to see a python that had come out to take the sun just below the lodge main veranda. The manager and his assistant are great and very helpful: they answer in detail to each question with a lot patience and enthusiasm (even those made by who is not so fluent in English as we are ). The food is good and the chalets are very big, clean and comfortable. But, the best part ,was definitely the game drive in the reserve, just as we imagined! Our guide, Kapona, is the best guide I've encountered so far during my trips: prepared, competent, passionate about his work and his land. He explained to us lots of things about animals and about the natural environment of the Etosha area . And most importantly, in a two-hour game drive, we got to see 5 lions with 2 cubs and 2 rhinos with a cubs. A great success!!
I give to Ongava 5 stars because they deserve it, the only advice I can give them is to put some more sweet for breakfast .. not everyone (especially in Italy) loves the continental breakfast with bacon and eggs and to add some cake or cookie to the buffet would be great!

Room Tip: Chalet n.1 and n.2 are the best to see the animals drinking in the waterhole
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Maggie19482
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 23, 2013

We just returned from 4 nights here and it was AMAZING!! Everything about Ongava Lodge exceeded our expectations!! Upon arriving we immediately saw several different animals at the water hole and enjoyed their daily and nightly visits. We even booked the hide one night to see the rhinos up close! The lodge itself was beautiful and the rooms were gorgeous. I mean where else can you watch giraffe while brushing your teeth!! the lodge was the right mix of luxury without forgetting you were on a safari! The food was excellent and they even went above and beyond to accomadate our dietary needs. I am a pescitarian and my husband is gluten free. Every dinner they made me something special to eat and baked him homeade gluten free breads! How many other places would do that?The staff were beyond excellent! Jonathan and Sylvia are wonderful managers and really take the time out to get to know you. Jason, the assistant manager would greet us daily and ask all about our day and was so excited for us. But by far it was our guide, Willam, who made this trip extra special. His knowledge and compassion for the animals is a delight. We learned so much from him and after 4 days were so sad to have to say goodbye. He defiantly will always have a special place in our hearts! He took us to so many different locations and we were able to see so much! We even got to see lions mating and then a whole pride of about 16 of them!! I would HIGHLY recommend this place to everyone!!

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank catgirlxo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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: $659 - $933 (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 
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Also Known As:
Ongava Game Hotel Etosha National Park

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