Just 520km from Windhoek - Onguma The Fort is situated on a private 34 000 hectare Game Reserve on the eastern side of Etosha National Park and just 7 kilometers from the Von Lindquist gate, making it an ideal base to visit Etosha.
Upon arriving, we were welcomed by Kristina and Alpheus the lodge managers, who were both friendly and helpful. We were then informed that we had just missed a cheetah that had been drinking at the waterhole. We hoped that it would come back during our 3 day stay, but sadly it did not.
The waterhole can be a hive of activity by day and we had zebras, giraffe, wildebeest and warthogs most days.
After our welcome drinks, Alpheus showed us round the lodge. Our first impression of Onguma The Fort was Wow, it surprised us at every corner; we loved the classic African feel combined with the Moroccan look and with just a touch of India, which makes it a refreshing change from the normal safari lodges.
As you walk through large antique doors of the main entrance you enter a small passage – on the left is a small curio shop and on the right is a small lounge and library area
Then you step into a large open courtyard with sparkling pool that is surrounded by lanterns at night.
A stairway on the right hand side leads to the stone tower which has panoramic views of Etosha and Fisher's Pan from three different levels.
Another stairway on the left of the courtyard, leads to an open platform that gives you stunning views over the waterhole and is a great place to watch game coming to the waterhole for a drink or a spectacular sunset.
From the courtyard, you enter the lounge with fire place on the right; this is where you can use the free WiFi or relax before your game drive.
The lounge area opens onto a wooden deck that overlooks the floodlit waterhole and surrounding bush.
What we found a unique experience was Cocktail hour where cocktails are served to guests seated in the swimming pool while watching the sunset over the waterhole and Fisher’s Pan. Yes, the tables and chairs are in the pool!
Most of our meals were served in the dining area while on one night we had dinner on the deck which was lovely and cool. In the evenings the deck is softly lit by oil lamps giving it a pure romantic feel.
The buffet style breakfasts are served from 5.30 am - fresh fruit, juice, cereals, yoghurt, muffins and breads are displayed at the buffet table while a waiter takes your order for eggs and bacon, tea or coffee. If you are doing a self-drive into Etosha you can also ask for a breakfast pack.
Dinners and lunches are from a set menu - a-la-carte style; for lunch we had a choice of two dishes to choose from.
Dinner is a four course meal and all our meals were delicious and well presented by robed waiters.
Gravel pathways lead to the 12 bush suites that are situated on both sides of the main building, which contains the Sultan suite.
The 12 bush suites are nicely spaced, six on either side of the main building, for complete privacy. Each has an en suite bathroom, large open indoor shower, bar fridge, telephone and an air conditioner, plus a lovely fireplace for those cold winter months.
The open wooden deck gives you a lovely view of the surrounding bush or you can just relax on the sun-loungers then cool off under the outdoor shower.
Suite #12 is the honeymoon suite and is a little bigger than the 11 bush suites; it has everything the bush suites have but with a TV, lounge and a large outdoor bath.
You are taken to the bush suites by golf carts because you cannot walk around the unfenced lodge as there are wild animals.
The Sultan suite is beautifully situated inside the tower in the main building. It has a huge king-size bed with large lounge that leads onto a covered veranda.
The Sultan suite has most of the amenities that the other suites have just no fire place or outdoor shower, but it does have an indoor bath and shower in the en-suite bathroom and 4 balconies - it is huge!
The Onguma game reserve is home to a variety of animals - the elusive black rhino, lion, cheetah, leopard, impala, kudu, springbok, giraffe, hartebeest, zebra and the rare Damara dik dik which we saw walking between the suites.
Onguma The Fort offers sunset drives, night drives and guided drives into Etosha National Park, or you can do a self-drive into Etosha like we did during our 3 day stay.
We visited Klein Namutoni waterhole and found three lions lounging there - but they were in a lazy mood...!
We took a drive along Fisher's Pan and we saw many water birds including pelicans.
And the next day we went to Chudop and found more lions...
If you want a change from photographing animals then you should turn your attention to the wonderful Moroccan architecture of the fort. You will have beautiful antique doors, lights, lanterns, windows and locks to photograph...
We don't think it's a coincidence that The Fort is consistently ranked #1 out of 29 specialty lodges in Etosha on Tripadvisor!
Onguma The Fort - a place you will not want to leave - is true to its name and The Fort adds that special touch to your stay.
Thank you to the helpful staff that made our stay so memorable!
"It's 768 pages of the most amazing information. It consists of, well, everything really. Photography info...area info...hidden roads..special places....what they have seen almost road by road. Where to stay just outside the Park...camp information. It takes quite a lot to impress me but I really feel that this book, which was 7 years in the making, is exceptional." - Janey Coetzee, founder of CAROK (Camps and Roads of Kruger) South Africa
"Having a passion for the region itself and having to know about all dynamics, water holes and ideal roads for a period of 6 years - I wish I had this guide on my first trip already!" - Morkel Erasmus, Secunda, South Africa
"Mario and Jenny take you to places that are not always visited, and their descriptions of the more remote camps will allow you to make an informed decision without wasting time and money" - Bob & Sherry Shepardson, DeBary, Florida, USA
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"I highly recommend the book to anyone visiting Etosha National Park to photograph the animals - or anyone considering an African photography safari in the future." - Anne Darling, Cognac, France
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