Etosha National Park, Namibia

Photo: Onguma Game Reserve
Photo: Onguma Game Reserve

You’re sitting in an armchair on your deck. Fresh from the shower, you’re still wearing your robe. A flock of guinea fowl wander between a mopane tree and the edge of the water in front of you. Except for their “buck wheat” noise, it’s a tranquil late afternoon. Then the birds scatter. You hear rustling in the shrubs, but you can’t see anything yet. You watch the ground for movement. Suddenly, eyes peak over the trees. And two giraffes wander toward the waterhole. You hold your breath and freeze in place. The ice is starting to melt in the Bloody Marys on the coffee table. This is the place you don’t want to leave. Or as they call it in the local Herero language: onguma.

Etosha National Park–Namibia’s second-largest game reserve–is rich in wildlife. The northwestern park surrounds the Etosha salt pan. The water here attracts animals in the drier winter months, making the park an ideal place to see lions, leopards, and even endangered black rhinos. Combined with stunning natural beauty–an expansive desert with mountains in the distance, pink sand dunes as the sun rises and sets, and a never-ending starry sky–peaceful Namibia is quietly becoming one of the most sought-after destinations in Africa.

Lucky you. You don’t even need to leave your canvas tent. You can watch antelopes, warthogs, zebras, impalas, and those graceful giraffes converge on the waterhole at the Onguma Tented Camp from your deck. Or your bathtub. Or your outdoor stone shower. With a stocked wine fridge, you really could escape from everything. And everyone.

Photo: Onguma Game Reserve
Photo: Onguma Game Reserve

Should you decide to venture out though, there’s the chance of seeing even more animals. Go on a game drive to the Chudop waterhole, where you’ll see hyenas and elands. Maybe even lions. Relax with juice and cake while sitting in oversized bean bags in the lounge. Learn about black rhinos on a rhino research drive. Swim in the rim flow pool. Watch the sun set over the savannah on a sunset drive. A leopard tries to slink by unseen. White-backed Vultures circle over a carcass. Eat minestrone soup and smoked game with a South African Shiraz. And curl up in blankets on a chilly night drive to see nocturnal creatures.

Your sleep is interrupted a few times by movement outside. You hesitantly peek out of your mosquito net, but you can’t see what is making the noise. The sky is beginning to brighten the next time you open your eyes. Trying not to make a sound, you move toward the edge of your tent. The giraffes are back. Onguma.

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