“There is something truly special about this place. I’ll never forget it.”
Ginny Cumming, Encompass Africa happy traveller and writer
Onduli Ridge at a glance
Onduli Ridge is a stunning camp located in Damaraland, a region of Namibia renowned for its extraordinary desert landscape, impressive rock formations and desert-adapted wildlife.
The peace and beauty of this intimate camp will overwhelm you (in all the best ways), and with only six rooms you’ll sometimes feel like you have the whole place – indeed, the whole world – to yourself.
Onduli Ridge Location
Onduli Ridge boasts a spectacular location, perched between two kopjes (small, rocky hills) strewn with giant granite boulders. It sits on a private concession in the Doro !Nawas Conservancy, in the heart of Damaraland: there’s no one else for miles and it’s so well camouflaged you’ll hardly realise you’ve arrived until you’re being greeted with warm smiles and cold welcome drinks.
Speaking of arriving, Onduli Ridge has its own private airstrip, just 20 minutes from camp. You can arrive by air, or if you’re on a self-drive odyssey simply leave your vehicle at the airstrip and transfer to the camp for a few glorious days in holiday heaven.
Life at Onduli Ridge centres around a main communal area that features a spacious lounge, library, dining room and bar, where warm, earthy tones and natural textures harmonise perfectly with the outside world. The resort’s elevated position and endless expanses of glass ensure there are uninterrupted views of the dramatic desert landscape – including Namibia’s highest mountain, the Brandberg.
Outside, a stone-walled boma (open-air dining area) is the ideal place to enjoy a braai (BBQ) or the camp’s signature pizza nights where you choose your own toppings and then sip a glass of wine under the stars while the chef cooks your bespoke creation in the wood-fired oven. Beyond the boma, a winding path takes you between granite boulders to the super-glam, super-private pool, and further still to the sundowner boma where you can mingle with fellow guests, drinking G&Ts as you take in the magical sunset views and chat about the incredible things you’ll be doing the next day.
Onduli Ridge Rooms
There are just six guest rooms at Onduli Ridge, and they are all gorgeous. Nestled among the granite boulders that are so synonymous with the camp, their curved stone walls and rounded roofs cleverly echo this setting.
The rooms feature, among other things, a king-size bed draped with mosquito nets (mostly for the drama and romance: mosquitoes are rarely a problem here), a writing desk, generous minibar and tea and coffee station, and the biggest, comfiest bean bag chair you’ll ever see.
There’s also an enormous, partially open-air and totally beautiful bathroom, where you’ll shower next to natural boulders and under open skies. Natural ventilation in the suites takes advantage of the temperate climate in this part of Namibia and you’ll definitely want to keep the louvered shutters open as much as possible, for the cooling breezes and the incredible views.
Sunloungers, a coffee table and armchairs beckon from the spacious deck, which at night can also play host to a star bed experience. Your bed is literally wheeled onto the deck, granting you the unique and gorgeous opportunity to sleep directly under the starry sky. Read our blog on sleeping under the stars.
Activities at Onduli Ridge
In the Oshiwambo language spoken in northern Namibia “Onduli” means giraffe, and there’s a good chance you’ll see the resident desert giraffe on a game drive here, along with other species including steenbok, kudu, baboon and warthog. More elusive around here are predators such as cheetah, leopard and hyena, and the main attraction: the desert-adapted elephant and lion.
The scenery is epic, the guides are brilliant, and it’s an adventure just trying to track down these magnificent creatures. Just remember that they’re free to roam large areas and the densities are not high in the first place, so there are no guarantees. Oh, but if you’re lucky you will have such tales to tell. Guests staying for three nights or more also have the opportunity to track the world’s last population of free-roaming black rhino.
Other activities include trips to see the giant Doros Crater (created by a meteorite hitting the earth), a petrified forest, strange geological formations such as the Organ Pipes and Burnt Mountain, ancient rock art at the Unesco World Heritage Site of Twyfelfontein, and experiencing the traditional culture of the Damara people at the Damara Living Museum.
Back at camp you can head off on a guided nature walk, explore this remote region on a fun e-bike, or even channel Bob Ross courtesy of the painting supplies provided in each room.
The Sustainability Story
Onduli Ridge could write the book when it comes to conservation and sustainability. They seem to have not only thought of everything, but actually made it happen, too. The lodge was created to help support not only local conservation efforts, but also local communities, and a percentage of revenue (revenue, not profit) goes towards projects including rural schools and scholarships, a community food security project, and vehicles, rangers and technology to protect wildlife.
Onduli Ridge also actively supports Save The Rhino, the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, Pack for Conservation, and the Conservation Travel Foundation. The camp itself is powered entirely by solar, has its own boreholes, and grey water from the rooms is treated on-site and reclaimed to water the kitchen garden.
Hotel spas don’t seem to be a big thing in Namibia. So when Onduli Ridge opens its spa later this year (2023) we’re predicting it will be very popular. And that’s not even the most exciting opening planned here for 2023: an enormous and totally luxe private villa is under construction for families and private groups.
With its own pool, boma, chef, guide and vehicle, three distinct but connected villas, and one of the most extraordinary locations and outlooks in all of Namibia, definitely watch this space!