Ongula Traditional Homestead is situated in the heart of the Owambo region in the far north Namibia (this regions is sometimes referred to as the 4 O's). Built alongside a real traditional homestead they offer guests the opportunity to participate in local activities and chores (pounding mahangu meal, cattle herding, cooking on the open fire) as well as learn traditional crafts such as basket weaving, clay pot making and preparing traditional food and drinks.
The first thing that strikes visitors to this part of Namibia is the abundance of people. Unlike the rest of the country this is a densely populated region. People, livestock, shebeens (bars) and markets are everywhere, seemingly all existing harmoniously in unplanned chaos. Therefore more and more visitors are enticed to the north of the country each year, hence the increased value of Ongula's location. It has now become the preferred stopover for individual and self-drive tourists on their way to Oshakati, Ruacana Falls, Epupa Falls and Kaokoland. Etosha National Park's Nehale's Gate is a mere 2hr road trip away.
The main lodge area offers a bar and restaurant as well as a boma with an open fire place which is ideal for social get-togethers before or after dinner. There are numerous activities on offer including day tours to the Nakambale Museum, open & craft markets and tribal houses. Those fortunate enough to time their visit to coincide with some of the seasonal events may get to attend the Marula Festival or traditional weddings. There can be no better way to end a busy day than enjoying a beer (either bottled or locally brewed) and making new Owambo speaking friends at a vibrant shebeen.
Accommodation is in 4 luxury rondavels, traditional African round huts. En-suite bathrooms (shower only), twin beds, mosquito nets, enclosed verandah, tea/coffee station and sliding doors fitted with gauze netting are standard.
Ongula Traditional Homestead is the ideal location for those seeking a cultural experience while in Namibia.
Traditional chores: Pound mahangu and then cook it on an open fire. Participate in the preparation and making of local traditional drinks and meals and learn of other duties in and around the rondavel.
Cattle-herding: Learn how to control the movement of these beasts which helps reduce stress in the animals and enables them to get to their feed quicker.
Basket making: One of the homesteads experienced crafters will be on hand to assist in weaving your own basket. You can take your creation away with you.
The Potter Project: Clay pots are made in an underground studio called an onzimbogo (pottery making cave) and are stored for around 2 weeks. They are then placed in a pit and covered in cow dung and tree bark. Once lit the pit is covered in sand until the baked pots are removed the following day. Please note this activity is only available after the rainy season when sufficient mud is available.
Day trips Onankali Omahangu Paper Project: Using mahangu stalks as the main ingredient, an attractive range of handmade paper products can be produced from combining craft with the remnants of the mahangu harvest. Bookmarks, cards, notebooks and magnetized fridge notepads can be purchased.
Nakambale Museum: Martti Rautanen was one of the first Finnish missions in Owamboland. Nakambale was his given nickname from the locals.
Oonte Bottle Recycling Project: A French financed project that has set up a house as a glass bottle recycling workshop. Several volunteers together with older trained orphans, assist vulnerable children who have younger relatives to support. They transform discarded glass bottles into works of art to be sold locally for the tourist industry
Communal Court Proceedings: The important role played by local courts in the administration of justice in the communities can be observed. Craft market: A tour to Ondangwa’s open craft market can be organized. Sundowner: Visit a local shebeen at the end of a day for a local beer.
Omagongo Festival: This is an annual seasonal events that celebrates the first fruits of the marula tree (Scelerocarya birrea). The festival is usually held in February.
Situated at the Ruacana falls on the Namibia / Angola border - this lodge serves as a gateway between Kaokoland and Owamboland.
North of Etosha, east of Osahakati & west of Opuwo this remote lodge is situated on the vast plains of the Omusati Region. Attractions here include tracking Black Rhino.
These are honest reviews, both good and bad, from our travellers who visited this property.
Best experiance during our trip in Namibia. Fist class African hospitality, wonderful staff and very nice food.
Very interesting accomodation. lovely bungalows and an opportunity to understand something of the Owambo culture
very nice and welcoming staff (seems a bit contrived because the village was devoid of people, is this village for real?)
This was a wonderful experience. I can only recommend it to others who would like to do something a little different. The staff were friendly and helpful.
Great people and wonderful place for one day, I wouldn't recommend it for more days because there isn't a lot to do there. The food, the tour,the room and the people are the best
Very nice place. We got very good information and sigthseeing from Selma and the staff, about the Ovambos.The village people was kind and nice and we got to know some of the way of living there.
Staff friendly. Rondaval very nice although concerned about electrical safety. Food not to our liking - first night, traditional food (ate very little), second night, the lamb was inedible. No daily room service.
The directions included in our voucher mention directions in relation to a sealed road that becomes gravel. This is not valid anymore as the whole extended gravel road has now been sealed (asphalt). Excellent destination, highly recommended.
From Tsumeb, follow the B1 north past the Etosha (Namutoni) turnoff. You will cross the veterinary fence at Oshivelo (meat products may not be transported south of this point).Continue along this road until 8 km before Ondangwa. Turn right onto M121. Signs to Oniipa- Onandjokwe- Oshigambo/Eenhana. Follow the M121 road (29 km) until the D3670 signboard/Embahu road.Turn to your left on D3670, travel another 4km on the gravel and look out for a sign on the left marked Ongula Village Homestead Lodge,turn to your left on the sign and proceed for 400m to the main lodge entrance gate.Download Map
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