South of Okaukuejo, this is Etosha's most luxurious lodge. It operates in its own private game reserve of 30,000 hectares (managed by Wilderness Safaris), abutting Etosha's southern side. The environment and wildlife are similar to those near Okaukuejo. Ongava has a greater choice of activities than is possible in the national park. However, it also seems to have a lower density of game than the park, and without the huge saltpan its scenery is less spectacular. That said, Ongava has over 20 lions and over 3,500 head of game. It is also one of the few remaining places in Africa where visitors have a fairly reliable chance of encountering both black and white rhinoceros.
You can use small aircraft, operated by Sefofane Air Charters, for costly but quick transfers, or drive yourself to Ongava. The turn-off into Ongava is now adjacent to the Andersson Gate into Etosha, and the main lodge is about 7km from this gate. There are lion around, so don't try to walk without a guide.
Two separate camps operate on the reserve. The main Ongava Lodge
is centred around a split-level thatched boma that covers the lounge and bar, set high on a hill. Excellent food is served here, and there's plenty of space for relaxing and watching any game that comes to the small waterhole below. Alternatively there's a swimming pool for you to venture into. The large thatched chalets stand in two rows on the hillside. Each is surrounded by eco-friendly vegetation with a view over the reserve. These are large and luxurious. The en-suite bathroom contains a bath (with a view), shower and toilet. All are air conditioned and have twin queen-sized beds, 24-hour mains electricity, fridge, a kettle with tea/coffee supplied, and lots of other mod cons. Each has its own private wooden-deck veranda for sitting on to admire the view. A further three – exclusive luxury suites in a self-contained camp on the crest of the hill are expected to open in April 2003.
Ongava's Tented Camp
has six twin-bedded Meru-style tents (under thatch shadings), erected on solid slate bases, plus a family unit with four beds. These have en-suite bathrooms, and a star-lit shower, twin beds, chairs, and mosquito nets. Meals are prepared outside and taken in the central boma area.Activities
at either camp feature escorted walks/drives on Ongava's own reserve, and longer game drives into the main park. In summer there is normally a long (around 5 hours) activity in the morning – perhaps a drive and escorted walk inside the reserve, or a longer drive into Etosha. This is followed by lunch and time at leisure before dinner, after which there is a night drive. In winter the morning activities are shorter, about 3–4 hours long, and lunch is normally followed by a late-afternoon game drive which stays out, becoming a floodlit night drive after dark.