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“A privilege to stay here”
Review of Ongava Lodge

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Ongava Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 24, 2014

Ovanga Lodge is very special. Situated on a hill overlooking its enormous 30,000 hectare private reserve, you are likely to see more wildlife here than almost anywhere else in Namibia. The sweeping view as you arrive on the terrace of the dining / living area will take your breath away.

The bedrooms are simply beautiful. Each is a small thatched lodge. Nicely secluded, very spacious, everything luxurious and well thought-through. The water is heated via solar panels. There’s a large wooden deck with easy chairs and loungers. The room has air-conditioning, ceiling fan and a small wall-mounted safe. The beds are deliciously comfortable. At times during the day from our terrace we could watch groups of deer moving through the trees towards the water hole.

Highlight for us were the twice-daily game drives in the Lodge’s 4x4s. The guides are highly professional - well informed about every aspect of the reserve’s wildlife. They thread through the reserve’s highways and byways determined to show guests as big a variety of animals as possible. We saw and learned a lot.

During our time here we also spent time exploring Etosha in our own 4x4 - a wonderful experience, and highly recommended. The gate to Etosha Park is by the start of Ongava Lodge's main drive, so getting there couldn't be easier.

The most striking aspect of our stay was Ovanga Lodge's staff - endlessly courteous, helpful and knowledgeable. Their commitment to the environment is rock solid - as is their love of Namibia... our stay coincided with Namibia’s National Day, when the team put on an evening entertainment to help us guests understand more about the country’s history. The food was delicious and plentiful, the Lodge spotlessly clean, and the staff endlessly engaging and warm. An outstanding team.

It has been a privilege to stay here. Our biggest regret was having booked for only three nights.

Room Tip: Room 4 is in the front line / great views through the trees.
  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Formerly
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 Formerly,

Sincere thank to you for taking the time to write such a lovely review.
We are very glad that you had such a great time with us, including wonderful animal sightings. Thank you as well for your kind words about the staff which will most certainly pass onto the team.

Kind regards,
The Doro Nawas Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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142 - 148 of 315 reviews

Reviewed March 16, 2014

Spent three days here as part of a two week driving holiday throughout Namibia.
Luxury lodge, superb well appointed rooms with efficient airconditioning as well as beautiful veranda overlooking two waterholes.
Plenty of game to be viewed. We have never seen so many lions in over 30 years of travelling in Africa.
First class service and welcoming friendly staff. Very close to Etosha so plenty of flexibility in game viewing either inside or outside the reserve.
Upmarket game lodge, tastefully put together with understated and discreet upmarket clientele.
Highly recommended

Room Tip: Try to get a room near the waterholes.
  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with friends
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1  Thank GIW2014
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 GIW2014,

We are so pleased to hear that the lodge lived up to your expectations and more. The proximity to Etosha is definitely an added bonus giving one another option that be can utilised.

We hope that you will be able to visit us again at some stage.
Kind regards,
The Ongava Team

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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...
  • 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.
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 15, 2013

Beautiful lodge set on a hillside. Our room was located at the bottom of approximately 66 steps; make sure you ask about room location if you have any mobility issues. Great outdoor shower located just off the bathroom.

Good food and friendly service.

Our afternoon game drive was enjoyable, but not as good for game viewing when compared to the one we took in Etosha.

Room Tip: Ask about room location; some rooms are accessed via many steps.
  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank fraudsnoop
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 36 Specialty Lodging in Etosha National Park
Price Range: $563 - $825 (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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