Reviews of Mdonya Old River Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Really back to nature
Weather different here - cooler (21) at night but still up to 35 C daytime as less humid. Unfortunately the area has tsetse flies and its almost impossible to avoid getting bitten in some areas (both geographically and physically !!)
Landscape very different with rolling countryside and big hills. Camp is more rustic but still attractive and food is adequate.
Highlights -- leopard with small kudu kill up a tree, mating pair of lions, getting hit by a torrential thunderstorm, massive herd of elephants - about 100, cheetah with impala kill, Jumanne's guiding and Edmond's driving.
Whay great wildlife
Brilliant wildlife viewing, including leopard amongst the 30 odd different species. The guide Emmanuel, and driver Daniel did everything they could to find the wildlife that I really wanted to see, including Oribi and Klipspringer.
Problem with something in the tent biting both myself and my wife at night making a bit of a mess of both of us.
Wild and beautiful
Many special thanks to Mary, Emannuel and Thomas. Mary is the Camp Manager, Emannuel is a guide and Thomas is a driver. They made my stay very special.
The Camp is beautiful, I LOVED the wild feel of it, having my tent surrounded by wildlife at night. The Masaai were great, all the staff were very helpful and polite. Mary's attention to detail is great.
Emannuel is a very knowledgeable guide, he kept testing my own knowledge too which I appreciated :-). I was lucky enough again to have a car, a guide and a driver to myself. Thomas drove probably around 150kms a day for us as we went out on these all-day safaris. Lots of lion, leopard, elephant sightings, I have some great leopard photos. We explored the Park thoughout because I was so curious and wanted to see different habitats. It just looked and felt so different from anything I have seen before. Beautiful wilderness.
I had a great time, the guys worked so hard. Loved my stay.
Mdonya Old River Camp review
Nicole was filling in for the normal manager, but did a brilliant job of making sure we got to do what we wanted-full or part day safari. Very anxious to be as helpful as possible. For various reasons we ended up having 3 different guides and drivers-not their fault at all, but didn't lead to good continuity. Good sighting and all of them very ken to show us as much as possible.Read more about the whole safari
Elephants on the doorstep
An excellent bush camp - clean, comfortable, and friendly staff to tend for your needs. It had a real feeling of being right in the bush with elephants and other wildlife coming right up to your tent night and day.
As our stay at Mdonya Old River Camp was 6 nights it was good to have the same guide for the duration of our stay as he knew where we had been and what we had seen. We enjoyed the flexibility of the game drives, being able to choose how long we were out and where we should go. Many thanks to our guide Emmanuel for our constant requests for full day drives!
Wildlife right on your door step
Very much like its sister camp - Lake Manze - is a very comfortable and well ran camp. All the activities at the camp are well organised with very good drivers and guides. Where there is a slight difference between the two camps is in the animals at the two parks.
At Mdonya, the animals are much more likely to come in / near the camp and on the drives are much less likely to be spoked by the Jeeps due to the nature of this being a national park rather than a game reserve.
superb setting Mdonya old river camp
The camp manager Mary was an excellent host making sure all our needs were met,and a big thankyou to Kahimba our guide and Emmanuel our driver.Read more about the whole safari
Mdonya Old River Camp July 14
We stayed 3 nights in Mdonya in July 14.
Whilst we were there a rep from a tour company (not Expert Africa) was there assessing the place. One of the criteria she had to give it a good rating was whether they provided free cotton earbuds. Mdonya don't. But seriously - if you want to see animals and have free cotton earbuds, book in to a hotel in Park Lane and go to London zoo. Alternatively, if you want to see African wildlife in as natural surroundings as you are ever likley to find in Africa now then go to Mdonya.
The rooms are fine - its actually fun to shower with no roof over your head! The beds were large and comfortable. The food was exceptionally good with a wide variety of choice- we had the best vegetable curry we have ever tasted there.
The game viewing was good and guides knowledgeable - it was all done by safari vehicle - there were no walking trips available - but we had been warned in advance that was likely to be the case because of anti-poaching measures in Ruaha.
Fantastic, rustic safari experience
Mdonya provided a perfect start to our holiday, by way of a very authentic feeling safari experience. There was tonnes of game around the camp - and sometimes in the camp - with elephants, giraffe and impala all making an appearance around our tent during our stay. The standard of guiding was very good, so we got to see and experience a lot in our three days here.
The food and service was also very good and the tented accommodation comfortable. All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay here and would recommend Mdonya to anyone looking for a very real safari experience with lots of animal sightings.
Mdonya Old River Camp: beautiful Ruaha
We really liked the camp - the layout, the tents and the wildlife in camp itself. The food was good and plentiful but the highlights were the pancakes for breakfast (including on the bush breakfasts!) and the bread (up there with the best we've ever tasted). And the provision of a packed lunch (with Cornish pasty!) on the day we flew out was very welcome.
The scenery in Ruaha was simply stunning and it was a pleasure to go out on a full day game drive around the river and the hills. Game was plentiful with many elephants and lions plus kudu, dikdik, eland & gazelle.
Unfortunately in the area close to camp we had a problem with the tsetse flies - we knew that they would be around at this time of year but we weren't prepared for how uncomfortable it would be stopping the vehicle in the 'tsetse zone'. It takes around 1 hour to 1.5 hours from Mdonya to get away from the tsetse flies and the only way to protect yourself is to be covered in thick clothing or a blanket from head to toe. As soon as the vehicle stops squadrons move in so the beginning and end of every game drive involved just trying to get through the tsetse zone only stopping for something really unusual.
Our guide (Djamani) and driver (Tom) worked hard to find some of the more unusual birds in the area for us and were very happy to go at our pace. It's a shame that they aren't encouraged to sit with us during bush meals (as happened at the other camps). The vehicles at Mdonya have, generally, seen better days and could do with an upgrade - our first vehicle had a problem and we broke down less than 10 minutes out of camp. The replacement had a problem with the alternator which meant that the engine couldn't be switched off. The first vehicle was fixed for our second day but then had the same problem on the third day. None of the tyres had any tread so there was little traction in difficult terrain.
The lions in camp after dinner just metres from our tent was something that we'll never forget!
Expert Africa comments
Expert Africa forwarded these travellers' comments to Mdonya's owners Adventure Camps, who thanked the clients for their helpful feedback. They asked us to point out that its unusual for the driver and guide not to eat with the guests, as in their other camps. They are not sure why they did not in this case and offer their apologies because its most unusual.
They are sorry that the tsetse flies were particularly bad when these guests were at Mdonya. They are right, it is a bad time of year for them, with the rains coming. Normally there are measures in place to control them - tsetse "traps" of material sprayed with insecticide are arrayed in the worst areas and regularly re-sprayed by the parks authority, but in the rains this washes off. Adventure Camps normally burn elephant dung at the back of their cars, which is extremely effective at repelling the tsetses, but in the wet season its difficult to collect and store dry dung. They do apologise and hope that this didn't spoil their stay too much.
They are very sorry that these travellers got a couple of unsatisfactory vehicles. Normally the cars are in good order, but there were some unusual breakdowns at this time. They thank these travellers for their patience and would like to assure them that all cars and indeed the whole camp are being refurbished for the new season.