Mdonya Old River Camp

Reviews of Mdonya Old River Camp

Excellent(92%) From 111 travellers
Excellent
75
Good
27
Average
7
Poor
2
Terrible
0
Below are independent comments from 111 of our travellers who have visited Mdonya Old River Camp, and have kindly agreed to share their thoughts.

They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Mrs L from Leeds
Arrived on: 18-Nov-2017 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Mdonya Old River Camp review

From the moment we arrived we felt welcome and very much at home. The tents are spacious, comfortable and clean, and sitting outside your tent watching elephants, giraffes, jackals, impala (I could go on) is something extra special, and it happened every day during our stay.

The food is very good, definitely something for all tastes, and sitting around the fire having a chat with the staff and other guests is really nice. Drinks are very reasonably priced.

Dismas and Chelestino were our guide and driver – these guys were exceptional and really made our trip 5-star. Dismas had such amazing knowledge and passion for his work and his country, and the wildlife of Ruaha, he is a credit to Mdonya and to Essential Destinations. We rarely saw other vehicles (one of the reasons we chose Ruaha and decided to avoid the Serengeti) and it really felt like a proper adventure. The game viewing in the park was incredible; we had tried not to get our hopes up beforehand as nothing is ever guaranteed, but we had many amazing sightings every day, mainly due to the skills of Dismas and Chelestino.

Thanks everyone at Mdonya (wildlife included!) for making our trip so spectacular – I hope we can return again in the future.

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Ms W. from Kenora
Arrived on: 5-Nov-2017 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Another fabulous and well run camp!

We felt very comfortable arriving at our second safari camp and we were so glad we had the opportunity for a similar but different experience in another part of Tanzania. once again our guides met us at the small airport and where very helpful and welcoming. The camp managers met us on arrival and once we were settled in met with us to discuss our afternoon drive and the camp orientation.

Once again our tent was fantastic, spotless and with all the comforts we expected after our visit to the first camp. We had drinks around the campfire in the evening before dinner and it was a great time to socialize with the other guests. The meals again were delicious with plenty of food and variety. Camp breakfasts out on the game drive were a great experience as well and the food was delicious. I did have a problem on my last breakfast with all the bees attracted to the honey or jam i tried putting on my toast and finally gave up in the end.

Our guide and driver were both very knowledgeable regarding the vegetation, birds, insects, animals and their behaviour which we really enjoyed and appreciated. We travelled with another couple on our game drives and enjoyed their company as well. Once again the variety on animal sightings was excellent with no line ups and every attempt by the guide and driver to help us get a good shot with our cameras.

From the information from the camp on line i was not expecting to see a dry riverbed and no waterfall whatsoever. Our guide was good enough to take us to the waterfall area so we could see for ourselves and get a better understanding of the impact of the dry season.

The charging area was very much appreciated and well set up. All the staff were very polite and helpful and really made our stay ver enjoyable. Burning elephant dung to ward off the tse flies in certain areas was ingenious but i do recommend a black head net if you are really bothered by the flies. You can see perfectly thru the netting and still use your camera.

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Mr and Mrs M from Gloucestershire
Arrived on: 3-Nov-2017 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Average
Average
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Good
Good
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Average
Average

Great safari at Mdonya

Straight off the flight from Dar and off for 6 hour safari, not the game drive to the lodge that we expected from the itinerary. Fortunately we were fully prepared and we had a great start to our stay - we went straight off to find a leopard. Fabulous!

The accommodation was just as we expected and the tents are spacious. The food was well prepared and ample. We enjoyed the communal dining. It was a great opportunity to meet others from all around the world with similar interests to us.

Andrea and Rebecca were good hosts and camp was well organised.

We were woken at 0408 on the first morning by 2 lions roaring just behind our tent. That was pretty special. They were still hanging around, with a lioness, when we left for our game drive at 0630, and we had great views. Ruaha NP is v impressive. We were lucky to see Bat Eared Foxes, cheetahs and loads of elephants and game.

The only real drawback to Mdonya is that it is a long way from the main game viewing area, through Tsetse infested bush and the beginning of the rains brought the flies out in force.

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Mrs G. from London
Arrived on: 22-Oct-2017 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Good
Good
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Truly memorable safari in Ruaha

When staying in the Selous Game Reserve we were told that the Ruaha was possibly an even more memorable safari experience but we were pretty skeptical... until we arrived. Mdonya Old River Camp is well run by an interesting, attentive couple Rebecca and Andrea. The camp itself is very similar to Lake Manze Camp in the Selous and has similarly varied wildlife roaming through it. The food at Mdonya Old River Camp was delicious with particularly creative vegetarian options.

The safari experience in Ruaha was fantastic. We were lucky to see a pair of mating leopards, a large buffalo heard as it emerged out of the bushes to drink in the river, large numbers of elephants and much more.

We particularly liked the ecofriendly ethos of Mdonya Old River Camp (and Lake Manze) but would hope that in the near future they would move away from the use of kerosene lamps in favour of more sustainable, renewable energy sources.

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Mr and Mrs L. from Sweden
Arrived on: 20-Feb-2017 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Average
Average
Location:
Average
Average
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Good
Good
Food:
Average
Average
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Average
Average

Bush experience at Mdonya Old River Camp

We stayed three nights and that was about the right duration, The game viewing was excellent, to the extent that we from arrival at the airstrip saw lions, leopards, wild dogs and tried to locate a lion kill (heard the noise) thus in the pursuit of finding the lion kill ignored (did not stop for) e.g. buffalo and eland herds. We only arrived at the camp site after dark and that was somewhat of a challenge as the kerosene lamps do not provide that much light for example in the tents and trying to find your stuff in your luggage.

The following days was also good yet - as known upfront - with the rainy season around the corner we did have our share off rain showers. The guide was pleasant and knowledgeable, making the game drives interesting beyond only looking for game and birds.

The camp manager (Andrea) was initially somewhat silent but opened up more and more and was all in all a very good host engaging with the guests and sharing his own experiences.

We did share some feedback with the camp manager, mainly around the food which was plentiful but somewhat strangely combined. Meat and warm vegetables together with some kind of pie makes may all taste fine but together a bit strange. Soups for starter was good, especially as the rain and lack of sun made you a bit chilly. Lunches for full day game drives could have been more attractive e.g. with adding bread, having a banana cake instead of a banana as a desert, etc.

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Mrs M. from Muri
Arrived on: 1-Jan-2017 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

very inviting camp

we were excited from the Camp (like from Lake Manze). a small problem in this season are the bugs and the tsetse flies.

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Mrs H. from Bristol
Arrived on: 8-Nov-2016 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Good
Good

What A Real Safari Is all About

We spent 4 nights at Mdonya Old River Camp in November 2016 and loved every minute of it. The camp has a real feeling of remoteness about it which is not always true of other places we have stayed on safari, but for us, this is what a safari is all about. The tents are comfortable without being luxury and the food is straightforward and very good - both fit in well with the surroundings and fitted our needs perfectly. The camp has an eco-friendly feel whilst still providing for the needs of travellers eg solar powered hot water for showers and electricity in the main office to charge camera batteries etc.

Our guide and driver for our stay were Ayoub and Henry. They were both brilliant. They were great at spotting animals and birds and were a really good match for us. They were also great fun to spend time with and quickly became our friends. We left camp every morning around 6.30am and didn't return until around 6.30 each evening - just fantastic. The guys showed us things we had never seen on previous safaris and gave us loads of interesting facts as well. We shared breakfast and lunch with them everyday, setting up our table and chairs in some great locations. The bush meals provided by the camp staff were always lovely ( a far cry from the boxed lunches you tend to get from many camps on the Northern circuit). We also really enjoyed the chats we had with the guys at mealtimes when we were able to learn about each others lives - another really enjoyable experience.

We also really enjoyed the communal meal times at the camp where we met up with Rebecca and Andrea, the camp managers and all the other guests. Dinner was always served under the stars and gave us a chance to chat with others, a really nice way to end each day.

Rebecca and Andrea were great. They were always around to see us off on safari in the morning and to greet us with a cold juice, on our return each evening. They were always checking if everything had gone well and were very responsive to any requests that we made. It was also great to chat to them over dinner and learn about their lives.

So all in all we had a great stay and would highly recommend the camp.

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Ms M. from the USA
Arrived on: 4-Nov-2016 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Beauty, wildlife and expert guiding at Mdonya

I recently spend 6 nights at Mdonya and was impressed by its beauty and wildlife, including visits to our camp of elephant, hyena, giraffe, impala and baboons. The terrain is very varied and beautiful, with lots of baobob trees in bloom (early November). Rebecca and Andrea, who manage the camp, kept me very comfortable, and my guide Emanuely and driver Chelestino, made sure we saw and learned about a lot.

It's quite hot here during the day in November, but is cooler and more comfortable at night. You will also be dealing with tsetse flies in some areas, but it's all worthwhile.

I've done a lot of African safaris (since '91), but though we had all the comforts, this felt very remote, and that's a nice thing.

The food was delicious and they took excellent care of this vegetarian.

My only suggestion would be for Expert Africa to revise the tipping suggestions. It's $10 each for the guide, the driver, and the camp staff. This amounts to $30/day. It's not an unreasonable sum and wouldn't be an issue but for the fact that I couldn't use a credit card. Especially as I was on an 11 night safari, it makes for a lot of cash to have on hand.

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Expert Africa comments

Tipping is a tricky subject. Our travellers come from a variety of different countries, and so have a variety of different tipping cultures in their home locations; plus each safari camp has different advice and different tipping practices. So for us to give out universally good and specific advice on anyone's trip is a challenge.

We've started to address this need for advice with a new Tipping in Tanzania page. We want to revise this over time to improve it; if any of this site's readers have constructive suggestions or thoughts, as to how we can modify this further to improve it, please let us know.

The H family from London
Arrived on: 13-Sep-2016 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Great safari at Mdonya Old River Camp

We loved everything about our safari, thank you.

The location of the camp was special and all well spaced out - we were pleased with the low impact approach, although the tents had everything you could need.

The whole experience was great - the staff were all outstanding both in camp (the meals were all delicious) and the guides exceptional.

Highly recommended.

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Mr D & Mrs D - Warwickshire
Arrived on: 30-Sep-2015 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

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.

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