For a thrilling mix of adventure and luxury on the southern edge of Namibia’s Etosha National Park. Anderssons at Ongava delivers the most epic and truly memorable trip for newlyweds pining for an alternative to the classic safari.
Whilst Namibia is famed for its phenomenally diverse landscapes, and the opportunity to do safari a little differently, its wildlife hub in the north of the country should not be discarded. Here, Anderssons at Ongava offers a serene, reverentially-designed oasis within the nature-packed Ongava Reserve. Covering 30,000 acres, the reserve affords guests the increasingly rare, authentic experience of stumbling upon truly wild big game, far from the madding crowds.
Set the Scene
Sympathetically redesigned in 2019, the lodge has a ‘nature first’ mindset, focusing on light footprint safari experiences with just nine rooms clinging to a hillside. Quite the architectural feat, the lodge is so expertly positioned overlooking a very active watering hole, that no meal nor conversation will go past without a flurry of animal activity. From a family of bathing elephants to the exhilarating late night viewings of lions and black rhino, (the latter via the clever underground viewing hide allowing a closer look without disturbing the animals), this is worlds away from Disney-style safari and instead feels artfully immersed in wild Namibia.
Exceedingly comfortable, the stilted rooms are minimalist yet warm in their dark-teak profusion, with tasteful nods to the local culture. Each room is dotted around the main lodge, with a super king-size canopy bed, outdoor rainforest shower and a wraparound terrace for afternoon siestas. For rooms overlooking the watering hole, book suites 1-4 where you’re sure to have a night to remember.
For those keen for even more seclusion, Little Ongava is a smaller boutique lodge also on the reserve with three swishy thatched suites built high into the rock, overlooking the rugged Namibian landscape. Complete with a plunge pool, roll top bath and room service, leaving the plush confines of your bedroom for breakfast or early morning drives could present a challenge.
Food and Drink
Expect to be very well fed, from buttery scrambled eggs and crispy bacon to make the early morning wake up a little more bearable, to three course lunches and dinners – not forgetting tea time and, of course, a refreshing sundowner with a side of biltong in the bush as the sun melts over the savannah. Delicious homemade breads, fresh salads and pan roasted Kudu (particularly memorable), are presented with precision by an engaged and thoughtful team, making the foodie part of the Andersson experience one to remember.
Whilst a safari honeymoon is often deemed only for the more adventurous action-packed couples, Anderssons blends pampering relaxation and tranquillity with spine-tingling wildlife experiences. Days start at sunrise with early morning game drives, which allows for the best chance for animal sightings. Each couple is assigned a guide for their trip who brings the bush to life, with encyclopaedic knowledge on every creature, however great or small. These typically return for a leisurely lunch and a docile afternoon, with time for a dip in the infinity pool, or a siesta before the evening sundowner drive. The reserve has perfected the formula – leaving couples enough time to relax and unwind after months of wedding planning, while keeping their endorphins up with phenomenal game drives.
There is a spa available a mere 10-minutes drive away from Anderssons, which can be used by any of the four lodges within the reserve. It’s advisable to book ahead for treatments.
It’s worth noting that the highly protected black and white Rhino are thriving at Ongava, with the support of 50 rangers, as well as genetic programs led by the Ongava Research Centre, ensuring this near-extinct species remains protected for the future. The reserve itself has been built with sustainability front of mind.
The Ongava Private Game Reserve shares its southern boundary with Etosha National Park and is considered by many as the best place for big game viewing and exceptional conservation, not to mention a photographer’s paradise with endless Savannah views, interrupted only by wildlife.
To book, visit: theultimatetravelcompany.co.uk
12 day sample itinerary with three nights at Andersson’s at Ongava from £9,145 per person including international flights
Day 1: Fly London – Johannesburg – Windhoek (Virgin + Airlink)
Day 2 – 3: Kwessi Dunes, Sossusvlei (2 nts)
Day 4: The Strand, Swakopmund (1 nt)
Day 6 – 7: Mowani Mountain Camp, Damaraland (2 nts)
Day 8 – 10: Andersson’s at Ongava, Etosha (3 nts)
Day 11 – 12: Omaanda, Windhoek (2 nts)
Day 13: Fly Windhoek – Johannesburg – London
Day 14: Arrive London
“Safari is as about as romantic as it can get but there is something about Namibia that just makes it that extra bit special – particularly when you’re staying at Andersson’s at Ongava. It’s all about the nature here, waking up to bird song, exploring the fabled Etosha National Park, walking to find Rhinos and then to top it all off, nights spent around the fire watching illusive animals visit the subtly lit waterhole. It really is a magical place and we highly recommend it to all our honeymooners.” – Hamish Van Gruisen, Africa Specialist at The Ultimate Travel Company