Elephant in Namibia fall into three population groups: Those in the Caprivi, those in Etosha and those in communal areas of the Kunene Province / Kaokoveld. As far as Wilderness Safaris camps are concerned, the three Ongava camps allow access to Etosha when elephants are best seen during the dry season (rainfall causes widespread dispersal in the wet season). No elephant actually occur on Ongava itself (individual bulls very occasionally visit), so viewing takes place inside Etosha National Park itself. The so-called desert-adapted elephant of the Kaokoveld region can be encountered in the dry ephemeral riverbeds of this area such as the Huab, Hoanib and Hoaruseb and are best viewed in the dry season from Damaraland Camp, Doro Nawas, Skeleton Coast Camp and Desert Rhino Camp. Summer viewing takes place in the areas between these ephemeral rivers and is best achieved at Damaraland Camp.
Viewing of lion in Etosha or on Ongava is very good, particularly in the dry season, but elsewhere at Wilderness Safaris camps in Namibia, lion are seldom encountered. Sightings occasionally take place on game drives from Desert Rhino Camp or Skeleton Coast Camp, but these are unpredictable.
Leopard, while occurring widely across Namibia, are seldom seen. Sightings do take place at Ongava on a fairly regular basis, but are unpredictable. Very sporadic sightings occur at some of the other camps such as Desert Rhino Camp and even Sossusvlei Wilderness Camp.
White & Black Rhino
Wilderness Safaris has played an important role in rhino conservation in Namibia and can offer some exceptional viewing of both species. Ongava serves the role as a custodian for both black and white rhino for the Namibian government and viewing of both species here is very good, particularly in the dry season when the camp waterholes come into play. Desert-adapted black rhino also occur in the communal conservancies to the west of Etosha and here WS works closely with the Save the Rhino Trust in protecting these populations in situ. Desert Rhino Camp offers perhaps the best sightings of this species in hyper arid environments in a vast wilderness area, but guests should stay for a minimum of three nights. Black rhino are also occasionally encountered on game drives from Damaraland and Doro Nawas camps.
Some more specialised species sought after by visitors to Namibia include Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra, Black-faced Impala, Brown Hyaena, and Giraffe. Populations of Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra have grown markedly in recent years and they can viewed at all the Ongava Camps, as well as at Serra Cafema, Desert Rhino Camp, Damaraland Camp and Doro Nawas. Blac-faced Impala can be seen within Etosha, but Ongava has a large population of ~200 animals and they can be viewed here. Brown Hyaena are elusive, but regular visitors to Skeleton Coast and Serra Cafema camps although sightings are unpredictable. Desert-adapted Giraffe may be encountered on game drives from Doro Nawas, Damaraland, Palmwag Rhino and Skeleton Coast Camp. This species is also seen at Etosha and Ongava.
More common plains game species such as springbok and gemsbok are encountered at all our camps in Namibia, and in the wetter, wooded savannahs of Ongava species like red hartebeest, blue wildebeest and plains zebra are relatively common.