Onguma Treetop Camp

Eastern Etosha, Etosha & North, Namibia Book from N$3,720

An intimate and authentic stilted lodge with a One Tribe ethic and great game viewing
Each of the Onguma camps and lodges has a distinct character and beauty. What makes Treetop Camp so unique is not just the stilted design (which hoists you up to the level of the surrounding acacia treetops), nor its diminutive size (it sleeps just 8 in 4 beautiful tented huts), but rather the way life is lived en famille with your fellow guests and the camp staff.

The heart of the matter is the lofty main lodge where you'll find a big table, cosy sitting area and an open-plan kitchen where meals are prepared before your eyes by the cheerful staff. The open-sided design, with drop-down canvas sides, is just yards from one of the Onguma Reserve's largest water holes: during the dry season this is as popular a haunt for wildlife as a Fleet Street pub is for journalists. The hide-like nature of the camp, the boma fires at night and the natural intercourse with those working here together make for a wholly unique Namibian safari experience.

Highs

  • If anywhere's going to make you feel at home in the bush, it's this camp
  • The superb quality of guiding at Treetop means you'll not only see plenty of wildlife, you'll learn a lot about it, too
  • The design of the camp - it's like one huge hide - means you should see plenty of water hole action
  • There's masses to see in the Onguma Reserve (game drives will be a highlight), and you're within easy driving range of Etosha's eastern gate
  • The food is excellent and it's fun to see how it's prepared

Lows

  • The one table, one family way of doing things would only suit travellers of sociable ilk
  • There's no swimming pool though staying in such a uniquely beautiful surroundings you'd hardly miss one
  • Tarif only includes 1 game drive a day; if you want to do a second one, you'll have to pay extra
  • The Onguma Reserve is a 5.5 hour drive from Windhoek, albeit through fabulous scenery, or a 1.5 hour flight in a light aircraft

Best time to go

The Dry Season roughly equates to July through to mid November (even though it stops raining earlier in the year) and is when most folk visit the area in and around Etosha.

The busiest season in Etosha coincides with the northern European summer holidays, that's to say July and August, which means an ideal time to be here is any time between September and November.

From December through to mid February be prepared for high (mid 30sºC) temperatures. During the Rainy Season (January to March), the animals can find water without recourse to the holes along the southern routes through the park so the chances of spotting game are considerably reduced.

Bear in mind that even if daytime temperatures are high throughout most of the year they can rapidly descend at night.

Our top tips

Stout shoes. It's tempting to spend all your time on game drives. But grab the chance to do a game walk: it will give you a very different view of the bush in both the physical and metaphorical sense.

Great for...

Eco
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Safari Camp
  • 4
  • 12+ only
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

The camp sleeps just 8 guests in 4 tented and stilted huts, which are linked to the main lodge by high planked walkways that snake through the treetops. Each has a clear line of vision down to the water hole (tents 3 & 4 steal the best views) so you can laze in bed whilst watching the comings and goings of the animals: simply magical.

These are really tent-hut hybrids with drop-down canvas walls, mozzie-netted beds and a planked floor and deck. The feel is 100% bush with rough hewn stools as bedside tables, fold-away canvas director's chairs, a whirling retro fan and high pole-and-thatch roofs which are works of art in their own right.

Extra long twin beds are wrapped within mosquito-netting and dressed with duck-down duvets, a double bank of pillows and olive green chenille throws, which double as shawls when you sit out on your deck on chillier evenings. In a simple, open-sided wardrobe you'll find hanging shelves, hooded bathrobes, extra towels as well as a safety box, an emergency horn and mozzie repellent.

The tents' bathrooms have been ingeniously designed to incorporate the sink and vanity unit within the tent, though if you prefer, you can zip them away behind a canvas flap. Your toilet and indoor shower are hidden behind canvas walls and there's a second rain shower out on the deck with invigorating water pressure! Shower gel and shampoo are provided in chunky glass dispensers by the sink as well as in the showers.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Fan
  • Internet access
  • Mosquito net
  • Safe box
  • Toiletries

Eating

As is the case at all Onguma lodges and camps, the quality of the food is excellent. Treetop Camp is unique in so far as you eat with your fellow guests at one table, and the kitchen is slotted in a corner of the open deck. It would be great fun, and a learning experience too, to watch meals in the making.

On arrival, your camp manager will check dietary likes or dislikes; if you're a vegetarian you can expect to eat as well as omnivorous guests. The structure of meals follows that of the other camps. Breakfast combines a big buffet with cooked option (eggs, bacon and so on). Light lunches are perhaps chicken with salad and freshly baked bread or pork chops with a salad and new potatoes, then supper is a 3-course feast. Expect a choice of white and red meat and the chance to try local game like oryx, kudu or impala: this will often be braaied on the deck brazier and you may eat starters around the fire, too: the vibe is extremely chilled.

Guests help themselves to drinks from a well-stocked honesty bar and the price of your stay includes wine with lunch and dinner. If the house wine isn't too your liking (unlikely) there's a small wine list showcasing Fair View Estate wines from South Africa, a feature of all the Onguma lodges and camps.

Features include:

  • All meals included
  • Bar
  • Communal dining
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Chill out on your high deck watching animals drinking at the water hole and myriad birdlife flitting amongst the acacias. There are over 300 species in Onguma, including a large habitat of white-backed vultures, making it one of Africa's best birdwatching destinations

  • Track endangered black rhino with one of Treetop's expert guides

  • Take a longer jeep excursion out from the camp to explore the Etosha Park and Salt Pan. The wildlife here is prolific, especially around the water holes - elephants, zebra, lions, giraffes, impala and flamingoes in the Pan

  • Slump into a sofa with a book from the camp's small library, and keep half an eye on what's happening at the water hole

  • Take a guided game walk with an armed guide out through the surrounding veld: it's a great way to experience the raw, untamed soul of the bush

  • Dinners tend to wind up with star-gazing, or watching the action at the floodlit water hole, sat round a boma fire on the planked deck. This is a time when you may be treated to a song by your friendly camp staff

  • Swot up on your astronomy: with zilch in the way of light pollution, night skies are fantastic

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Hiking
  • Private guided tours
  • Safaris
  • Star gazing
  • Wildlife

Kids

No children under the age of 12 are accepted. The camp is unfenced and lion, leopard, elephants and rhinos all roam free in Onguma.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Kid Friendly:

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