Reviews of Mdonya Old River Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Unbelievable wildlife encounters at Mdonya
We had a great feeling of being part of nature at this camp. Monkeys, Impala, Jackels, elephant,giraffe and lions all roamed through the camp at various times and yet despite being townies we felt very safe. Rebecca and Andreas and their team have created a respectful and relaxed approach to the game which rubs off on the guests making us feel we have had a very special safari experience. We particularly loved the welcome glass of fruit juice offered every time we returned from a drive and evening campfire with lions roaring in the background.
Under the expert care of guide Mowlidi and driver Godson we were privileged to enjoy the most amazing wildlife sightings, usually with no other vehicles in sight. Despite the heat, the majority of our sighting were of active game going about their business and Mowlidi and Godson gave the closest views of animals we have ever had while all the time taking every care to ensure the animals weren't disturbed. It was particularly enjoyable to see how enthusiastic they were about their jobs and Mowlidi is extremely knowledgable. We have never seen so many lions and the thrill of coming across a group of 9 lions preparing to go out hunting will stay with me for a long time, not to mention the huge variety of eagles in the park and two wonderful views of leopards.
Ruaha is vast so you do need to be prepared for long game drives and to cover a big distance. Bush breakfasts and lunches are prepared from the camp and it is a treat to eat a meal in the bush. The Tsetse flies are less of a treat and annoyingly persistent despite repellent of every type. Beige or stone coloured clothing seems to work best as even green or brown attracted them. The tents are similar to Lake Manze and very comfortable. Showering in the open roofed bathroom is fun especially with our resident toad for company in the evenings!
We loved it and will be back.
Mdonya Old River Camp review
I can't say enough good things about Mdonya.
Arriving at the Ruaha air strip we were greeted by Prosper and Emmanuel who would be our guide and driver for our entire trip. They drove us just a short way to a nice covered area by the Ruaha river and set up the first of what would be steady stream of delicious meals. After lunch they took us on a short game drive as we made our way to the camp. It became apparently right away that having a separate guide and drive was a huge advantage as it let Emmanuel do his expert work of keeping the truck pointing forward, while Prosper was able to use his seemingly endless knowledge of the wildlife and vegetation to explain nearly everything we set our eyes on.
Before I go too much further, I just want to say that Prosper and Emmanuel were absolutely terrific over our entire trip. They took our endless questions with knowledge and good humor, and were just excellent companions for our trip. Having our bush breakfasts and lunches with their company was a joy. On our first full day out, the truck we were in broke down just about as far out from camp as we could have been. Once they realized we'd be stuck for a bit, they went out a bit and found a lovely shade tree, set up a table, chairs, and lunch, and made what could have been rough outing into a charming little adventure. Again, I can't say enough about how great they both were.
Once we got to camp, we were greeted at the gate (as we were each time we returned) by managers Rebecca and Andrea. The trend in service started with Prosper and Emmanuel was continued here and both Rebecca and Andrea were outstanding hosts. We knew we were arriving early, but it turned out we were the first visitors of the season and would be the only guests for a few days. Given this, it might have been reasonable to expect the camp to hold back a bit until they had more guests, but the opposite was true: we spent our first two days in camp having amazing breakfasts and dinners with Rebecca and Andrea - just the 4 of of us sitting out under the stars with great food and great conversation. Both of them are clearly passionate about the camp, the animals, and the land - and it's something that comes through and makes for a special experience.
Speaking of meals - the food was amazing. Both my finance and I are vegetarian and the camp was not only accommodating, they seemed to go out their way to come up with dishes that novel and delicious.
As for the camp itself, it's terrific. Luxurious in all the ways one might want, but nothing that makes you feel disconnected from nature. As others have mentioned, all the animals make their way through the camp, and while were there we were lucky enough to have a couple elephants, a few gazelle, and even a couple hyena visit. We've heard it's not uncommon to see even more! We were a little worried going into this that it might be a little nerve racking to have so much wildlife wandering about the camp as we slept, but the opposite turned out to be true: it's a really magical experience and left us feeling really connected to wilderness around us. We toyed with the idea of staying a lodge, but are so glad we picked Mdonya instead. If you're goal with your safari is experience something that is perhaps close to what it might have been like to visit this area 100 years ago - the sounds, the animals, but also the style and the comfort of a top flight camp - this is your place.
If it sounds like I'm gushing - I am. I love this place, I may have gained about 10 pounds with all the great food, but I can't wait to come back.
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.