Onguma The Fort
Romance and style define this history-inspired lodge bordering Etosha.
Onguma The Fort
Also known as Onguma Plains Camp, Onguma The Fort sits on Etosha National Park's eastern boundary overlooking the impressive Fischer's Pan. The lodge makes a bold architectural statement by resembling a fort, likely inspired by the nearby Fort Namutoni in the park. This is a good option for those wary of tent camping and the park's high density of tourists, though it will mean day-trips in to make the most of the area. The Onguma reserve itself doesn't exactly pump with wildlife but trips into Etosha provide opportunities to see lions, black rhino, elephants and loads of giraffe and plains game.
At the lodge
The main area has a distinctly north African flavour, complete with antique carved doors and artsy water features. The lounge inside the Fort offers cool, comfortable seating, while another posterior lounge has views of the camp's waterhole (mostly visited by warthogs and springbok). Water flows from the internal water feature into a small plunge pool outside, as well as an unusual sitting area partially submerged in another shallow pool. Both are serviced by the outside bar. The open-sided dining area delivers buffet breakfasts and restaurant-style dinners. The top of the tower has a cushioned seating area with spectacular views - an elegant spot to enjoy a sundowner. Beneath the main area is a classy wine cellar and air-conditioned bar.
Accommodation at The Fort includes eleven suites, one honeymoon suite and the somewhat pretentiously named Sultan Suite, which is situated inside the main tower. The other suites are spaced about 50m apart from each other on either side of the main fort. They all have air-con, a mini bar and a spacious ensuite bathroom with an indoor and outdoor shower, as well as wooden decks with impressive views toward the pan. The Sultan Suite is substantially larger and comes with a TV, fan, stone fireplace and a deep bathtub. The decor is impeccably executed - tasteful and elegant.
Although you can drive yourself into Etosha National Park, it's wise to take advantage of the lodge's guided morning drives. Guides are well-trained and professional. Unfortunately, you'll likely have to share the park with quite a few other tourists, but nevertheless there is a wealth of wildlife to be seen, especially in the dry season (May - October). Afternoons are better spent on the Onguma Reserve where you are able to stay out after sunset, enjoying a leisurely sundowner and night drive back to camp. Guided bush walks are also possible on the Onguma Reserve.