Andersson’s at Ongava
A fresh take on this conservation stalwart in Namibia's dazzling north
Andersson’s at Ongava
Namibia's Etosha National Park is well-known for its prolific wildlife and austere landscapes that are described, like many of the country's landmarks, as "strange" and "beautiful". Even the most severe habitats within the park, like the 4,760 square-kilometre salt pan, are a magnet for wildlife – pink flamingos and pelicans flock here to nest after summer rains. Set within a private reserve on Etosha's southwestern edge is the revamped old favourite, Andersson's at Ongava (open March 2019). Backed by a spine of mountains and fronted by a busy waterhole, Andersson's offers exceptional up-close encounters in this weirdly wonderful setting.
At the lodge
With clean lines, broad windows and open-plan spaces, the main area combines chic contemporary styling with textures and materials drawn from outdoors. Views always take centre stage, whether from the dining areas, the cushioned lounge or the sunken observation deck. The open fireplace invites guests to gather to compare sightings. Guests can review and edit images in the photographic nook, visit the research centre and its resident scientists for insights into the science of conservation, and tour the visitors' centre.
Eight guest tents (including a family suite) are slightly elevated on wooden platforms, each with a broad L-shaped deck out front. Sliding glass doors open to that huge landscape. The double rooms offer twin-bed arrangements (one has a king-sized bed), all draped with mosquito nets. En-suite bathrooms feature a double basin, a double-headed shower and an additional external shower that is, frankly, glorious. The family suite consists of two rooms, each with a king-sized bed, private bathroom and separate entrance.
This region is one of the best for viewing big mammals. Due to the landscapes and select availability of water, they, quite literally, come to you. Explore Ongava's 30,000 hectares of plains and mopane woodland by vehicle or on foot to see lion and black and white rhino (both especially prolific), and most of the other usual suspects too. Drives into Etosha (some 30 minutes away) are exceptional, with haunting vistas, well-spaced water sources, and superb wildlife.