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Okonjima's Homestead/Okonjima Main Camp
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Halfway Between Windhoek and Etosha National Park, Central Namibia
+264 67 687032
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Okonjima Somewhere Truly Different to Stay
ashbourne, United Kingdom
May 15, 2010
Best of IgoUgo
Okonjima Main Camp, Etosha NamibiaThis accommodation was booked through the same company as all our others in Namibia, www.namibiareservations.com. We drove from Etosha National Park to Okonjima in about two and half hours as it was all on tarred ...
Okonjima Main Camp, Etosha Namibia
This accommodation was booked through the same company as all our others in Namibia, www.namibiareservations.com.
We drove from Etosha National Park to Okonjima in about two and half hours as it was all on tarred roads apart from the 24km of private driveway to Okonjima Main Camp. Okonjima means "place of baboons" in Herero which is one of the local languages and it is almost half way between Windhoek, the capital city and Etosha National Park. We discovered that it was the home of the AfriCat foundation which was responsible for rescuing about 1000 wild African cats since it began in 1993.
Once we arrived at main camp we were met by a lovely lady and taken to the main building with seating areas to enjoy a glass of fresh iced tea while she explained all about Okonjima resort. We were then shown menu for dinner which was served at 8pm and then she explained about the optional trips and activities that were available at the resort.
This farm or game reserve is an entirely separate business from AfriCat which is an official charity but the money from the trips goes to AfriCat and a certain amount each month is paid by Okonjima to AfriCat as it is the family who own Okonjima who started the charity AfriCat and their entire 160,000 hectare farm is now a game reserve designed to protect these cats and the balance of wild life in the bush in this area.
We were then taken to our Bush view chalet/lodge, one of 10 in the resort which were double rooms in a simple lodge painted in a soft olive green with corrugated metal roof. It didn’t look that great from the back which is how you approach them but wow! When you open the door a truly wonderful room awaits. There are two double beds facing a huge plain glass window which looks out onto the open bush. The room has windows on all sides and was painted a subtle pale olive green; the beds were made with white sheets with a slate brown/grey throw across the bottom. It was light and open and so amazingly luxurious. The beds were against a half wall which gave privacy from the front; behind this wall was the wardrobe, safe with six figure code which did work, shelves with bright green pool towels, a suitcase shelf and the door to a really opulent bathroom area. There was a small table and chairs in the corner with coffee/tea and kettle. Just outside the door was a small patio with folding chairs so you sit outside and watch the view constantly changing as different animals wandered past. In the room there was a phone and a panic button, luckily we had no need to use this! Above both beds was a very efficient reading light and there was also a bedside table for both beds big enough to hold whatever you might want to have beside you at night.
The entire bathroom area was concrete painted and varnished and then the vanity shelf was black with two white basins both with tilting oval mirrors behind them. There was a third tilting mirror with lights and a seat for putting on your make –up. The toilet was a separate room with lovely brightly coloured tall hand painted giraffes on the floor and a shelf with a few more. There was also a pile of magazines for perusing while enjoying a quiet moment of contemplation in this small room. The shower was huge and the shower head also huge but unfortunately neither of us managed to ever get the shower to stay warm, you either burnt for a few minutes then it went cold or it just stayed cold which was not quite so pleasant.. In this bathroom area was a fridge with small packs of milk and a jug of cold water, there was no min bar but as we never take anything from the mini bars this didn’t upset us at all. There were large bottles of soap and body lotion near the basins and also an all in one soap/shampoo in the shower attached to the wall. The body lotion smelled lovely so I made good use of that! There were several soft white towels and bath mats, more than ample for the two of us for one night.
All the windows that opened had fly screens; the huge front picture window was fixed and could not be opened. All the windows had simple cream curtains but because the rooms were built at an angle we were not over looked by anyone else. On the sides dividing the rooms were high log fences too so that at no time were you overlooked except by the animals in the bush land in front. We closed the side curtains but left the big picture window ones open so we could watch the sun rise from our bed and also see if we had any early morning animal visitors.
There was no air conditioner but there were two very effective fans and neither of us was hot in bed but it was quite cool that night as it rained for about 20 minutes so I’m not sure what it would be like if it was very hot. Windows could be opened on two sides too and the windows high up in the bathroom on the back wall were open which allowed a good air flow.
The large main thatched building was reception, dining area and bar as well having small areas with comfortable leather sofas for relaxing. The shop was a separate building but we didn’t get a chance to explore that. The building had three sides open sides with huge canvas curtains which could be closed if it was raining. The garden area was lovely leading off the dining area. A bird feeder encouraged large numbers of small birds which were lovely to watch. There were benches to sit on around the garden and the six double and four single garden rooms (small thatched buildings) surrounded this area.
In the evening we enjoyed a drink from the bar at our dining table where we were joined by our guide and another English couple who were just beginning their Namibian trip. The meal was a set menu; starter of vegetable kebab grilled with cheese, main course was roast lamb with apricot and mint sauce in delicious gravy with fresh vegetables followed by pears poached in red wine served with ice cream and a spun sugar garnish. Everything was beautifully presented on white plates and served by lovely friendly waiters. I thought it was a nice idea to put the other English couple on out table and our guide asked us if he could join us for dinner when we came back from our excursion with him. It made for a very interesting evening as we could ask him the questions about things that we had wondered about as we travelled around.
This was a family run business started by and still owned by the Hanssen family who originally farmed the area with Brahman cattle but have now changed Okonjima into a game reserve with particular concern for the protection and relocation of the large cats of Africa. I plan to write a more detailed review of the work of AfriCat so will not go into this too much in this review.
Breakfast was served in the main dining area and was a buffet style with a large bowl of fresh fruit salad, two different yogurts, cereals, and a plate of about 10 different cheese and another with cold meats, there were also several spreads and then in a special hot box were some warm buns. The cooked breakfast was cooked for you on a BBQ in the garden, bacon, sausages etc were already done but eggs were cooked to order.
There was a small pool which looked lovely and was in a secluded area with trees giving shade too. There were a few sun loungers under trees. Towels were also provided in your room in the wardrobe for pool use if you wanted to go swimming .The pool was just behind the main area of the resort and was not immediately obvious, I had to do a bit of exploring to find it.
The price we paid for this accommodation for dinner, bed and breakfast for one night was $2504 Namibian ( $11 Namibian to the £1) we thought this was pretty good value considering again that it was a long way from most places so supplies must be tricky. We loved this place as it was so friendly and they had really made a big effort to make it luxurious and special. A brilliant place to stay and I thoroughly recommend the experience.
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