While most most visitors to northern Namibia go on game drives in Etosha National Park, Onguma Game Reserve is also worth exploring. The 34,000-hectare reserve is home to cheetah, lion, leopard and black rhino and loads of buck. The guides who take you on game drives at Onguma are excellent, as are all the staff on the reserve, who go out of their way to make your stay as faultless as possible.
Bordering the eastern edge of Etosha, Onguma has a range of great accommodation options, which rival those in Etosha for value for money and comfort.
Leadwood Campsite offers basic camping, but is so popular you need to book months in advance, while Tamboti Campsite offers luxury camping, with private sites, private showers and a restaurant.
Nearby, the budget-friendly Bush Camp has 19 rooms ranging from family loft rooms (with upstairs children’s sleeping areas), four-bed family units and two-sleeper rooms with views of the swimming pool and the waterhole. There’s a restaurant, bar and games room at this friendly camp, which is decorated in a modern African style.
Also great for families, the Etosha Aoba Lodge has 11 simple but stylish thatched bungalows with patios set along a dry riverbed, three of which are four-sleeper family suites. Couples should go for the honeymoon suite, which features and outdoor bathtub.
On the more expensive end, the Tented Camp is so close to a waterhole that one night a lion chased an antelope into the lounge! Intimate and romantic, with only seven luxury canvas tents, the camp also features a rim flow pool, restaurant and lounge connected by wooden walkways. The look here is contemporary bush chic: a palette of olives and charcoals offset by sleek minimal design. If you prefer watching wildlife from a height, stay at the Treetop Camp, which has four treehouses set on wooden stilts overlooking Onguma’s busiest waterhole.
The most impressive place to stay on the reserve is the Fort, which, styled like a Moroccan desert fort with imposing stone towers and massive wooden doors, has cavernous rooms with huge outdoor decks. Having an outdoor shower watching giraffe walk right past was one of my favorite moments from my Etosha trip.