Ongava Game Reserve, Etosha, Namibia
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ANDERSSON'S CAMP RATES: Andersson's Camp
ANDERSSON'S CAMP - ONGAVA GAME RESERVE, ETOSHA,
Surrounded by scrub-covered plains on white calcrete soils and against the backdrop of the low Ondundozonanandana Mountains, Andersson's Camp is situated in the private Ongava Game Reserve, close to Etosha National Park.
The atmosphere of Andersson’s Camp makes for a comfortable modern day base to explore the world-class wildlife destination of nearby Etosha National Park. Named after a famed Swedish explorer, Charles Andersson, one of the first Europeans to describe Etosha, the camp is an exciting example of sustainable construction.
The immediate area is surrounded by scrub-covered plains on white calcrete soils, the backdrop of the low Ondundozonanandana Mountains looming a respectful distance away. An erstwhile farmstead has been tastefully rebuilt and now forms the main area fronting onto a productive waterhole. Game such as red hartebeest, kudu and gemsbok are regular visitors to the camp waterhole and less common species such as black rhino are occasionally seen. From here twenty tented guest units radiate outwards – some facing onto the waterhole itself, others secluded in the mopane woodland so typical of this area.
This model of eco-sensitive lodging provides an authentic, safe and down-to-earth experience for small groups, families and independent travelers to Etosha and is easily accessible by road. Energy-saving initiatives include solar-heated water for showers, while throughout the camp most of the natural vegetation has been retained.
Andersson's Camp's close proximity to Etosha is ideal for full-day self-drives into the Park which take in the plethora of game found here. Etosha National Park is Namibia's premier wildlife destination and at almost the size of Switzerland it is certainly one of Africa's largest game parks. Large herds of plains game concentrate around the waterholes in the dry season, whilst the summer months' sporadic rainfall produces a profusion of new life - pronking baby springbok and comical young wildebeest herald the onset of summer.
For images of Andersson's Camp, click Andersson's Camp Images
Andersson's Camp offers 20 canvas-style tents raised on wooden decks with double doors to allow for pleasant views of the bush with covered small veranda. Each tent has natural stone, en-suite bathroom facilities, with a unique open-air private shower. Basic amenities are supplied in each tent.
• 16 twin bedded tents.
• 4 family units – each comprising 1 tent, which can sleep 3 guests.
• 4 twin guide rooms (not the same standard as a guest room; sleeps 8 guides).
This camp can accommodate 44 guests plus 8 guides.
• Canvas-styled tents on wooden decks with double doors to allow for uninterrupted view of the bush with covered veranda.
• Natural stone en-suite bathroom facilities, each with unique open-air private shower.
• Under canvas.
• Every tent has a small veranda.
• Soaps, shampoos and insect repellents are supplied in each tent.
The design and construction of Andersson’s Camp was guided primarily by the principles of environmental sustainability – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
A derelict farmstead was decided on as the site for the camp, thereby rehabilitating an existing degraded site rather than impacting on another pristine piece of nature. The footprint on the land was further limited by almost zero cement use – tent poles were bedded in gabions and raised decks constructed from timber instead of concrete floors. Building materials and finishes were also salvaged from a nearby building site. Doors, windows, basins, taps and furniture were all reused wherever possible. Most of the light fittings were also locally made with recycled material. This all makes for ‘zero waste’.
The reed mat ceilings at the farmhouse and trading store follow a traditional system, and use invasive reeds from riverbeds. Exotic trees were removed and landscaping used indigenous trees only.
The camp pool was restored from the farmhouse’s original reservoir; the smaller surface area and partially shaded position reduces wasteful evaporation. Other water-saving measures include dual flush toilets and the use of showers instead of baths. The grey water from showers and basins was initially used in irrigation to assist with rehabilitation of the camp area.
Rather than energy-inefficient air-conditioning in the tents, passive architectural principles were relied on to aid cooling; the tents have a triple layer and the air circulation results in a much cooler tent than usual. The tents and main area have also been wrapped in a protective ‘blanket’ of stone gabions, resulting in a mass that literally soaks up the heat that is then dissipated during the night between the gaps in the stones. Finally, solar geysers are used for each tent, the kitchen and laundry.
Please note that laundry facilities are limited, due to a water shortage in the area, but can be provided at an extra cost.
No activities are offered on the Ongava Reserve, in which the camp is located; however, guests may either self-drive into Etosha National Park or book (at an extra cost) onto one of the camp’s scheduled guided game drives into Etosha National Park. Etosha is the ideal park to discover on your own – an excellent road network paves the way for an iconic African encounter.
The following productive waterholes and associated plains have their own character and all are within striking distance of Andersson’s Camp.
Situated just inside the Park, Ombika is the first waterhole encountered as you head into Etosha. It can provide your first sightings of black-faced impala and other plains game as well as the occasional black rhino.
This unique waterhole, located in front of the camp with the same name, is visited by a constant procession of wildlife in the dry season. Elephant, zebra, kudu, springbok and gemsbok are all regular visitors. It is a useful place at which to spend the heat of the day.
Named after the water acacia (Acacia newbrownii) thickets that surround it, this area attracts high numbers of animals, particularly elephant.
Excellent spot for game viewing in the dry season with great photographic opportunities in the afternoon. A large variety of animals are often seen here including lion, plains game species and elephant.
Literally meaning ‘elephants’ bath’, these are two good waterholes in a large, open wildlife arena. Situated in attractive mopane woodland, lion, large elephant herds, zebra and a variety of antelope such as springbok, black-faced impala, red hartebeest, kudu and gemsbok drink here. Black rhino are sometimes seen.
Fed by a spring and located in mopane woodland this waterhole often attracts elephant, zebra, springbok, red hartebeest, kudu and gemsbok.
This natural spring is situated on the edge of the Etosha Pan. Plains game such as gemsbok, giraffe and springbok drink here, arriving and leaving in long processions across a landscape stretching for miles. Lions can even sometimes be seen ambushing prey. Vistas of the main pan in the background make this a spectacular viewpoint.
Another activity is relaxing beside the pool or at the main area, from where there is a good chance of seeing animals coming to drink at the waterhole.
Suggested Daily Activity Schedule
05h30 – Continental breakfast offered
Sunrise – Reserve gate opens
Sunset – Reserve gate closes and guests must be back in camp before then
20h00 – Dinner
Wildlife and the Region
The 20,000-sq-km Etosha National Park is a vast expanse of game-rich savannah and saltpan which was 'discovered' by Sir Francis Galton and Charles Andersson in 1851. Andersson's Camp is situated close to Etosha National Park, and takes its name from that of the famed Swedish explorer. Etosha Pan at almost 5,000-sq-km is the largest saltpan in Africa and is an evocative remnant of an ancient super lake. While the Pan itself is extremely salty and as a result does not support much vegetation, its edges give way to a surprising variety of vegetation types: from the tall tree canopies of the tamboti and terminalia woodland in the east, to the broad swathe of mopane that envelops the broader area and the open acacia-strewn plains, grasslands and dwarf shrub savannah in the west.
Etosha National Park is Namibia's premier wildlife destination and excursions provide good game viewing regardless of season. Guests can visit numerous springs and pans, in search of lion, leopard, elephant, giraffe, red hartebeest, the endemic black-faced impala, black rhino, as well as plains game such as wildebeest, zebra and springbok.
In Ongava Game Reserve where Andersson's Camp is situated, mopane woodland dominates, whilst a low row of dolomite hills, evocatively called the Ondundozonanandana Range, provide relief to the otherwise flat surroundings and harbor populations of the endemic Anchieta's dwarf python, striped tree squirrel and a localized subspecies of rock hyrax. The reserve also has a healthy population of both black and white rhino.
Birdlife in this area is prolific with over 340 species already recorded, amongst them 10 of Namibia's 14 endemic bird species. Specials like Short-toed Rock-Thrush, Bare-cheeked Babbler, Violet Wood-Hoopoe, Carp's Tit, Hartlaub's Francolin, Red-necked Falcon, the Sociable Weaver and its enormous communal nests, the miniature Pygmy Falcon and the brilliantly colored Crimson-breasted Shrike - justifiably Namibia's national bird - are sought after prizes by birders. Other good birds include Ostrich, the immense Kori Bustard and raptors like Greater Kestrel, Lanner Falcon and Pale Chanting Goshawk. In the Park on the open plains towards Okondeka you could see Namaqua Sandgrouse, Double-banded Courser, and Spike-heeled Lark whilst acacia thickets could harbor Yellow-bellied Eremomela and Acacia Pied Barbet.
Ongava Game Reserve
Ongava Game Reserve was formed in 1991, when shareholders of Ongava converted four unproductive cattle ranches into a highly productive 30 000-hectare private game reserve that is now a haven to large concentrations of wildlife. The Reserve forms a buffer between Etosha National Park and the farms to the south, thus enabling large game such as elephant and lion to move between the Park and the private reserve. Most general game has been reintroduced onto the property, including springbok, gemsbok, blue wildebeest, Burchell's zebra, Hartmann's mountain zebra, common waterbuck, red hartebeest, southern giraffe, eland and the largest population of black-faced impala (listed as Endangered by the IUCN) outside of Etosha.
The most successful reintroduction project on the Reserve, however, is the white and black rhino project, where Ongava holds one of the largest rhino custodianships for the Namibian government. These custodianships are set up in safe havens throughout the country in hopes of breeding rhino to more sustainable numbers and reintroducing them into areas where they previously flourished.
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