“A gorgeous, sumptuously spoiling kasbah-style lodge looking out to the eastern border of Etosha Park”
The Fort's 12 mini-suites stretch away from the main lodge towards the north and south, and share the same stunning vista out across the plain towards Fischer's Pan. Each is 50m from the next - this separation, along with their enclosed deck areas, makes every one feel like a truly private event. The architectural style mirrors that of the main lodge: ornately carved Indian entrance doors, adobe-coloured render, planked decks and a side tower housing an airy bathroom, whose tapering form is evocative of both Moroccan and Tibetan architecture.
These are big suites which naturally focus outwards: here a tented facade takes the place of side stone walls with flaps that can be opened or closed. Your sleeping space is separated from a big dressing area (with masses of storage space) by a low bed wall. It all bears the same shabby-chic stamp as the main lodge: screed floors, earthy-coloured walls and big mirrors with distressed frames pepped up by cerise-coloured lamp shades and masses of cushions in shades of aubergine and lime green.
Expect a big dose of luxury: top notch mattresses and bed linen, a temptingly stocked minibar, piles of fluffy white towels, and bathrobes and slippers. Your bathroom will be big enough for dancing a waltz, with twin surface-top sinks, a full length mirror, cosmetic goodies galore and an outdoor and indoor rain shower.
The mini-suites are so special that I'd choose them over the more pricey Fort Suite which is housed in the tower of the main lodge. Although you get a few additional creature comforts in here - sat' TV, a massive sitting room and a big sweep of terrace - the proximity to the dining room and tower chill-out area means it doesn't feel quite so intimate.
Although the Fort is still in its infancy, it has already attracted plenty of press thanks to the quality of its food. Every dish was impeccably presented and our enjoyment of the food was all the greater thanks to the easy, good manners of the staff. You couldn't wish for a more special dining spot than the open-sided deck: nothing lies between you, the veld and the most stunning sunsets you could hope to see. In cooler weather tables can be set up inside the lodge and in the case of wind or rain heavy white-cotton curtains can be drawn between you and the elements.
Breakfast is a sumptuous buffet served between 6-9am. Expect a big choice of cheeses and cold meats, smoked fish, a groaning fruit bowl as well as fruit salad, cereals and yoghurts, dried fruits and nuts and all kinds of jams and condiments. It all feels doubly festive thanks to immaculate presentation of both food and tables: white linen and silver service is de rigeur at all meals.
After such a huge feast you might be tempted to skip the 3-course lunch, which is essentially a pared-down version of the 4-course dinner - delicious. At night you choose between 2 main courses, one of which will always be some kind of game meat. Our dinner began with a creamy coconut and buttermilk soup followed by springbok carpaccio. Next, after a palate freshener of lemon sorbet, came a perfectly seared oryx steak accompanied by sweet potato, carrots and a wickedly rich gravy. And to finish, baked bread and butter pudding was an unexpected treat so far from home.
Food this good requires wine to match. The Fort showcases wines from Fair View Estate in South Africa. The vineyard takes Onguma's waiting staff under their wings to teach them about the different cépages and we can vouch for the excellence of our waiter's guidance.