Onguma Tented Camp
Onguma Private Game Reserve, Etosha, Namibia
At a Glance
Relax by the swimming pool
Game drives in the Onguma Reserve and the Etosha National Park
The layout of the camp ensures that every tent feels utterly private
Laze on your private deck and watch the water hole
Stylish dining on the camp's deck, with superb food and wine
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
The best time to visit Etosha is from April to September as the temperature is tolerably cool, especially at night. From May to September the increasingly thirsty animals gather at waterholes, making it the best time to go to Etosha for game viewing. Summer is best time to travel to Etosha for bird watching as migratory birds (both intra-African and Palaearctic) flock into the park's many habitats after the summer rains.
To start planning your vacation to Onguma Tented Camp
Onguma Tented Camp is an elegant yet earthy camp with seven large and luxurious en-suite tented rooms which are the ultimate in safari chic, and are found on the private Onguma reserve next to Etosha National Park.
Located on the eastern side of Etosha, in the Onguma Private Nature Reserve has over 20,000 hectares of protected land and wildlife and boasts over 30 different animal species, including a family of black rhino.
In the local Herero language, Onguma means, "the place you don't want to leave". With a stunning main building and seven tents providing private, exclusive accommodation, Onguma Tented Camp, certainly lives up to its name.
Each spacious tent is well appointed and decorated in earthy colors (inspired by the markings of an oryx) with white linen heightening the natural beauty. Each tent has en-suite facilities and a private deck where you can spend a lazy afternoon relaxing and watching the world go by.
An atmosphere of elegant dining prevails, complimented by the daily activities taking place around the watering hole, approximately 60 meters away.
Activities revolve around game viewing in and around Etosha National Park. The Etosha Pan is parched and dry most of the time, but occasionally a few rivers and the unpredictable heavy summer rains can fill it. After particularly good rains, Etosha Pan can attract over a million flamingos to its salty waters. While the Pan itself is extremely salty and as a result does not support much vegetation, its edges give way to a surprising variety of vegetation types: from the broad swathe of mopane that encircles the broader area; to the tall tree canopies of the tamboti and terminalia woodland in the east; and to the open acacia-strewn plains, grasslands and dwarf shrub savannah in the west. Here mopane woodland dominates, whilst a low row of dolomite hills, evocatively called the Ondundozonanandana Range, provide relief to the otherwise flat surroundings and harbor populations of the endemic Anchieta's dwarf python and the local subspecies of rock hyrax.
Guests at Onguma Tented Camp can chose to relax around the rim flow pool between safaris and sit in the flowing waters while enjoying an ice cold cooler. Alternatively if more strenuous activity is required, then relaxing on a private patio and reading a good book should provide all the exercise you may need.
Accommodation is in seven luxurious tents with textures such as stone, suede, linen and steel creating a setting that is sleek and modern but also inherently of the earth. Inspired by a photograph of an Oryx on Etosha's Fisher's Pan, the interior echoes the colors of its natural surrounds. Grey, charcoal, black, white, and creams, together with a touch of muted or unexpectedly bright green, adds sophistication and earthiness to the atmosphere.
There is a minimum age of 12 years but guests older than this are most welcome and will find the area full of fascinating animals, flora and fauna.
Activities all revolve around game viewing in specially adapted 4 x 4 game vehicles, in both Etosha National Park and the Onguma private reserve. They are able to offer night drives in the private reserve. Interpretative bush walks are also offered with knowledgeable guides.
The camp has a rim flow pool as well as a hide to view game from. The camp also has Wi-Fi.
Louisa Verney (Staff)
Onguma Tented Camp is a stylish camp with stunning tented rooms on the edge of the Etosha National Park. We used it as a base from which we explored the park ourselves in our self-drive 4x4. We has a wonderful time while relaxing by a pool when an elephant walked very close to us to feed on a tree behind which was a magical experience.
Is Anybody Out There?
Driving through Etosha, past the huge dry inland lake of the Etosha Pan, stopping for zebra, giraffe, springbok and ostrich, seeking out the waterholes for elephant, lion and rhino, is one of those African experiences that make people go all shiny-eyed. But the wildlife story will wait for another time. This is about the lodges, so lets finish off at the most extraordinary of the lot, Onguma. Onguma sits just outside the Von Lindequist gate at the east of Etosha, bordering the pan. They make long game drives into the park, of course, but theres plenty of interesting wildlife in the Onguma reservation itself. I can attest to this, having heard the deep, grunting breath of a lion a few meters away as I lay trying to sleep in my tent.
The lion padded by during a lull in the most violent and spectacular storm Id witnessed in my life. Take the loudest thunderclap youve ever heard and play it through a heavy metal bands speaker system: thats the sound of the drought breaking in the desert. The lightning comes in both forked and sheet form and shocks the night-time creepers and prowlers with sudden halogen flashes. Then the rain comes; and every drop sounds as if it could kill a small mammal and there are billions of drops all falling at once. Unlike many that lay claim to the title, Onguma really is a wilderness camp: they dont let you walk around by yourself after dark and every guest gets a klaxon to warn the staff of dangerous visitors to your tent.
If it doesnt get wilder than Onguma, it doesnt get much more stylish either. The main building is like living in a 200 coffee-table book. Theres teak furniture and antique white beaded chairs, traditional artworks next to brushed concrete walls, all overlooking a waterhole where no interior designer would dare to tread. Onguma only sleeps six. Theyre building a larger camp on the edge of the pan. But package-tour safari doesnt seem to be the way Namibia wants to go. To remain lonely and harsh, with these small exquisite lodges dotted around the landscape like designerly oases that seems to be the future.
Activities in the private reserves near Etosha
The private game reserves around the Etosha National park have the advantage that they are not governed by the strict rules that apply in the Park. This enables guests to enjoy guided game walks and night drives in these reserves.
Game drive in Etosha National Park
Venture into the Etosha National Park on game drives. The Park covers 22,270 km² and is home a a wide range of birds, mammals and reptiles. Due to the arid nature of the park the game congregates round the waterholes to drink
Location & directions
Onguma Private Game Reserve, Etosha, Namibia
Onguma Tented Camp is situated directly next to the eastern side of Etosha National Park in the Onguma Reserve of northern Namibia. Etosha is one of the world's largest national parks, stretching more than 350 kms from east to west and covering an area of 22,275 square kms.
How to get there
Windhoek Airport (530km) is the closest international airport. From here you can take a light aircraft flight (1-hours 30-minute trip) to Onguma's private airstrip near the camp where a member of staff will meet you and transfer you to the camp. Alternatively, if you wish to self-drive from Windhoek it is a 5-hour 30-minute journey.