Reviews of Mdonya Old River Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Great Safari at Mdonya Old River Camp
We found the camp to be located quite a distance away from the main game viewing areas in Ruaha. Apart from a large pride of lions who we saw one evening on our return to camp, there didn't seem to be any other animals close to camp. As a result of this our driver was keen for us to do full day game drives so that we could travel further distances. We were more than happy to do this as we prefer to be out all day rather than have a rest in the middle of the day.
We were extremely lucky with the animals that we did see - a leopard in a tree, a cheetah with her cub and plenty of lions.
The rooms were as we expected from the brochure description - comfortable with everything we needed for our stay. The evenings tended to get cooler which was nice as you could get a rest from the heat.
The food at Mdonya was excellent. Very tasty and well cooked. We are both vegetarian and found that we were very well catered for. On our last evening we were treated to a private meal outside our tent which was a lovely surprise.
Overall we had a very enjoyable stay at Mdonya Old River Camp and would like to thank all the staff for their efforts particularly the Chef.
Great location and the best safaris in Mdonya
We spent four nights in Lake Manze camp. That was the best camp and location we did during the whole safari experience. The location is fabulous, elephants and buffaloes come to the camp.
The food was very good in this camp, this may be coming from the Italian touch in the management (same comment goes for his sister camp Lake Manze in Selous). Like all other camps, the negative point about food was the lack of fruits.
Micole is very nice and interesting. Talking to her and seeing her passion for the wildlife is very inspiring. It makes us all want to come and live her life. We had Giovanni and Richard (guide/driver) during the five days. They were very interesting, and we had a great time with them.
A negative point in this camp is the Tsetse flies a few kilometers on the entrance of the camp. But that was only annoying, as they are not carrying bacterias, and their sting doesn't hurt. It only scratches after the bite like a mosquito bite.
One point we thought as negative in this camp (same comment on his sister camp Lake Manze in Selous), is that the majority of the guests are Italians, and by that I mean non English speakers. It is obvious that we go to a safari for the animals, the landscape, and the whole experience. But this also includes meeting other guests at dinner to discuss what we saw, and simply talk. We were there in a low season, and there were many Italians, and it was not possible to communicate with the others. We were told that in hight season the camp is full of Italians. We think it could be difficult for non italian speakers to be in the middle of all that the high season.
Mdonya Old River Camp review
Scotty asked for a mosquito net but didn't get one, he told Micole that he was allergic to bites of certain insects.
Our guide and driver( emanuel and knight) were excellent, and suceeded in making our stay at that camp worth while, we went out every day and had breakfast and lunch in the bush which was excellent but the food left alot to be desired....
Did not enjoy the food and it was always cold.
We felt the camp was tired and needed an overhaul, but as we said above, the guide and driver made this stay here a plus.
Mdonya Old River Camp review
Excellent setting, with elephants right outside our tent in the afternoons.
Very well organised camp, lovely food every night and we enjoyed drinks by the fire and communal meals. Nicole was a brilliant host, and very knowledgable and obliging. Tents were good and spaced out nicely. Guides brilliant and very enthusiastic and professional.
Lovely having lunch out in the bush . . an amazing 'packed lunch' - the most delicious selection of hot food. We loved it here.
Honeymoon at Mdonya Old River
A long drive from the airstrip provided some excellent game viewing on our journey to camp where we were greeted with a warm welcome from Mcol and her team. Although this camp is more basic than some others it has everything that you need and has a more isolated feel. Campfires, elephants at breakfast and showers under the stars make for a magical experience.
We had different guides each day at this camp, Geremia, Zakaria and Giovanni were all exceptionally good. With their drivers it amazes us how they spot thing with the naked eye that you struggle to see when its pointed out to you!
A walk down the river with Evans the ranger was also well worth doing. Crocodiles & Hippos are really close and leaving the vehicle behind makes it very peaceful.
The communal meals under the stars have a lovely atmosphere and give a chance to meet and swap stories. the food was delicious and full of surprises, we did not expect lasagne and apple pie in the middle of the bush! On the last night the Mdonya team surprised us with a romantic meal outside our tent complete with camp fire and our guide Zakaria to tell us stories.
The game viewing was brilliant. We were very lucky to see 4 Leopards whilst in Rhuaha as well as a Leopard tortoise!! There are very large herds of Elephant, Buffalo, Zebra, which are great to see up close.
Nothing is a problem for Mcol and her team at Mdonya even when the water was off because of an elephant digging up the pipe this did not cause too much disruption for guests.
Mdonya Old River Camp review
While Selous to Mdonya might be the correct order from the "observing animals" point of view, the more simple living conditions seem like a down grade after the luxury of Impala.
Would it be better to reverse the order of the camps?
Mdonya felt like a real camp
Very friendly well-run camp, well overseen by Nicola. More basic and "real camp" tahn Impala, but still very well looked after. There were only 10-12 of us there so very intimate atmosphere aroung camp fire and at dinner, and nicely cosmopolitan with italians and Spanish.
Because it's a national park the animals are not as shy as at Selous, but obviously you can't drive off road as in the Selous. It was good to do both. Lovely scenery, and walk by river.
Lots of elephant, lion, and our guide excelled at spotting cheetah. Quite a way from the camp to the "main" area around the river, and tsetse flies a problem along this road, but as there was game in the camp/ all round the camp, and all along the road it wasn't a big issue. 100% DEET kept tsetse flies away.
One of our best safaris at Mdonya
Mycol and her team run this camp very well in what is probably the best National Park in Africa. The low impact of the camp on the environment adds to its appeal. Sitting under canvas having breakfast while elephant and impala graze a short distance away is what Africa is all about. Food was very good and as with the other camps we visited on this trip nothing was too much touble.
Our guide Zakariah and driver, Knight, were brilliant and worked very hard for us, ensuring we had the opportunity to see a wide variaty of animals and birds. They were with us on all our game drives and even gave up their day off to be with us on our last full day at the camp. On one day we wanted to try and find sable in what is a remote part of the park. We searched all day but didn't find them, but it wasn't for the lack of effort on both their part. On other all day drives we did see cheetah, lion (35 in one day in six separate instances) as well as elephants digging for water in the dried up river beds, as well as lots more besides.
Ruaha is an absolute gem of a park, with so many variable habitats and lots of wildlife. It is also the place to come to if you want to see more animals than tourists.
Mdonya Old River Camp review
Just perfect.Managed by an Italian,Micole,with all the style that they bring to the occasion.Nothing was ever a problem.Very good sightings of game and in some respects,better than SelousA better 'wilderness' experience.Communal dining also to be welcomed,especially in the evenings.Read more about the whole safari
An amazing experience at Mdonya
Mdonya is what it says, 'simple but comfortable, for people looking for a genuine off the beaten track, round the campfire experience'. We were not disappointed! Here was somewhere truly special. Nicole and her team welcomed us warmly, greeting us with a drink every time we returned to camp. Everyone worked so hard to ensure all the guests made the most of their stay in these idyllic surroundings.
Our guide Zacharia and our driver (name escapes me), were exceptional and so knowledgeable. If they did not manage to answer one of our questions, it was researched that night and answered in the morning. Their eyesight was fantastic, spotting the slightest movement of bird or beast, then giving us a comprehensive explaination of their habits etc. They hopped in and out of the vechicle to point out plants, seeds, footprints and dung! (We became quite proficient in identifying the latter!)
All the camp staff were passionate about their environment and their enthusiasm certainly rubbed off. We loved every minute of our time here. The Ruaha is so different from the Selous, making them a great combination together. True, you do have to drive further to view game, but this is compensated for by the changing vistas.
The camp has a great atmosphere, especially round the communal table and camp fire, swopping stories with other interesting and like minded guests. Mdonya is not as basic as we had believed. The sand floors, candlelight and kerosene lamps and vigilant Masai just add to the enjoyment.
We had four wonderful days with Zacharia, having Kswahilli lessons over superb lunches in the bush. Our shared sense of humour and our love of the 'great outdoors' made this a truly memorable and life changing experience. Here you really do have close encounters with the wildlife, both in and out of the camp. We cannot thank everyone enough for making this visit so special.