Our Story
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A wilderness reborn

Every great journey begins with a dream. A vision of a better place, a better prospect, a cherished ideal nurtured and brought to life.

In 1991, a group of Namibian, English, American, and South African nature lovers joined forces to purchase 34,000 hectares — about 84,000 acres — of land on the southern boundary of Etosha National Park.

Most of the territory was unproductive farmland, a testament to the harsh conditions endured by cattle ranchers in one of the world’s most rain-scarce regions. The dream?

To rehabilitate that arid landscape and transform it into a sanctuary for endangered wildlife, beginning with one of the most threatened species of them all: the white rhinoceros.

Today, thanks to the tireless efforts of scientists, researchers, nature conservation officials, wildlife relocation experts, and the original group of visionaries, that dream has a name. Ongava.


The transformation of unproductive farmland into Ongava Game Reserve, a sanctuary for the threatened black and white rhino, as well as other species, is one of Africa’s great conservation success stories.

Ongava means “rhino” in the Herero language, but more than that, it means a place where these magnificent creatures can thrive in their natural habitat, alongside lion, leopard, elephant, cheetah, giraffe, gemsbok, springbok, red hartebeest, eland, wildebeest, zebra, the rare black faced impala, and hundreds of other species.

With four luxury lodges catering to a limited number of guests, Ongava Game Reserve has become a model of safe and responsible ecotourism too, while the Ongava Research Centre serves as a hub for ground-breaking study by scientists and researchers from across the globe.

Our journey has taken over 30 years, but the dream continues. To turn the realm of the rhino into a place where African wildlife can thrive in abundance, where endangered species can be protected, and where the needs of nature can be balanced with the needs of humanity, in the best interest of future generations.

The Ongava Discovery Centre is a model of eco-tourism and a showcase for research.
The Ongava Discovery Centre is a model of eco-tourism and a showcase for research.