“An intimate and alluringly authentic bush camp in a remote corner of the vast Ongava Reserve, 5 hours north of Windhoek”
There are 9 tents fanning out to either side of the main lodge; #8 and #9 can be linked to make a family suite. At any one time there will be a maximum of 18 guests staying (as opposed to nearly double that at Ongava Lodge) so you can be assured of an intimate ambience.
The tents are, to my safari way of thinking, simply perfect. Each is at a proper distance to the next, slung beneath a high thatch roof atop a polished deck of locally sourced teak. A front wall of fold-back glass doors is replaced at the sides and to the rear by canvas, whose netted flaps can be left open to the night or dropped down for extra intimacy. A head-high bed wall serves as the visual divide between the main sleeping space and a small dressing room area where you'll find a wardrobe, luggage rack, laundry basket and full-length mirror.
The muted khaki of the tents is contrasted by bright beaded cushions on the twin beds and jazzy kilims on your teak deck. Campaign furniture - a small writing desk and a butler's table with glasses and a thermos - together with antique trunks and bedside tables made from carved tree trunks all feel right in tune with the Out Of Africa feel of the main lodge.
Bathrooms are every bit as special. Twin ceramic sinks are matched by twin showers, one in, one out, wrapped by boma-style poles. You'll find plenty of snowy white towels as well as a range of eco' creams, gels, shampoos and soap, all nicely presented in small, pump-top bottles.
Dining is very much part of the big picture here. All meals, unless you should request otherwise, are eaten at one big table with your fellow guests and - even more special to my way of thinking - in the company of the camp guides.
Dinner is the main culinary event, and is normally served at around 8pm. Guests tend to first gather around the bar to trade stories of rhino and lion, buck and birds, hyena and hyrax: the whole vibe of the camp is very conducive to making new friends. Expect a 4-course evening meal: soup, salad, a choice of white or red meat - much of it game - and a dessert accompanied by a house red or white served à volonté. If you would like a more special wine, there's a small list of reds, whites and rosés, all from South Africa. And your meal will end on a perfect note with coffee or tea served round the boma fire.
Lunch will often take the form of a picnic - we recommend that you opt for a full-day excursion if you plan to visit Etosha - or if you're eating back at the lodge you can expect a light, 2-course offering made up of a hot or cold soup followed by cold meats and cheeses accompanied by salad. If this seems on the light side remember that tea and cake are also served at around 4pm. Expect a hearty breakfast before you set out on your game drives, any time from around 5.30am. As well as a big, help-yourself buffet you can order the cooked breakfast of your choice.
Children aged 8 and above are welcome at Ongava Tented Camp and most kids would love the easy, informal atmosphere of the camp. Families are expected to use tents #8 and #9, which are linked together. But remember that Ongava is surrounded by wild animals: at night guests are accompanied to and from their tents by an armed guard.