This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Skip to main content

Talk to an expert 1-800-242-2434 Lines now closed

User menu
Mdonya Old River Camp
Mdonya Old River Camp
Mdonya Old River Camp
Mdonya Old River Camp
Mdonya Old River Camp
Mdonya Old River Camp

Mdonya Old River Camp


7°41’7.0"S 34°39’3.2"E

Reviews of Mdonya Old River Camp

Wildlife sightings and reviews

130 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited Mdonya Old River Camp and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa

Wildlife sightings by our travellers
Starting in Aug-2018, 18 of our travellers have recorded their wildlife sightings at Mdonya Old River Camp.
Lion

94% success

Leopard

82% success

Cheetah

12% success

Wild dog

31% success

Elephant

100% success

Giraffe

100% success

Zebra

100% success

Buffalo

88% success

Hippo

82% success

Eland

50% success

Spotted Hyena

38% success

Roan antelope

18% success

Striped Hyena

7% success

Sable antelope

7% success

Aardvark

0% success

Pangolin

0% success

Showing 11-20 of 130
Duration
Arrival date
Sisters
London

"Immersive remote Mdonya Camp experience"

4 nights Arrived 15 Sep 2019
"The experience at Mdonya Old River was very special due to the location. It was very remote and at one with nature, the animals being part of daily life, particularly the elephants.

We expected no frills at this camp, but it was a bit more than that, dining al fresco under the stars with great food and good wine. No electricity in the tents added to the feeling of being less intrusive on the habitat and environment. Candles and lanterns provided atmosphere. Masai guides walked you to and from your tent after dark. Great hot showers in the 'open' bathroom.

We had great game drives here with our wonderful driver and guide, Thomas and Henry, who were both great birders too and went out of their way to find us some great sightings. We had some really wonderful leopard time too and the elephant groups here were extraordinary, searching for water in the dry river bed.

Along with the matriarchal elephant groups with young, there were lots of young and old male bulls, two of whom decided to take large bush down next to our tent at 3am, which was an interesting experience!

The only negative were the tsetse flies, which are very annoying and vicious, although the elephant muffin burning on the back of the jeeps in the area did help somewhat.

The management Kings and Iris, were very friendly and relaxed and were always around joining the group for meals, along with the elephants!" See all these reviews: 12n in Tanzania
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location:
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Sightings Report

Buffalo

4 sightings

Elephant

10 sightings

Giraffe

10 sightings

Hippo

1 sighting

Leopard

1 sighting

Lion

4 sightings

Roan antelope

Multiple sightings

Spotted Hyena

1 sighting

Zebra

4 sightings

Mr. I
London

"Mdonya Old River Camp review"

4 nights Arrived 1 Aug 2019
"My wife and I loved this camp. It is perhaps more rustic than Lake Manze in terms of its setting but there are nicer touches around the tent and the recent introduction of hot water showers in the mornings is a welcome addition. Just watch the cheeky baboons - they made a right mess of our bathroom area one day! Like Lake Manze, we loved the lack of electricity around the camp and we encourage all camps such as this to remain without wifi. It allows folk to interact around evening camp fires without a mobile phone in sight. Instead, the starry sky provides the entertainment and backdrop. Kings and Iris were excellent hosts.

Just as with Lake Manze, we had frequent elephant visitors to our tent (indeed, there are far more elephant in Ruaha than Selous) and to hear two male lions roaring right outside of our tent at night (being shown the footprints the next day by the Masai) was a great experience. Dik-diks, impala, giraffe, warthog, baboons and vervet monkeys were also watched from our tent veranda across the dry river bed.

The location of Mdonya has many positives - I loved the fact that it is so isolated away from the other camps and there is plenty of wildlife in the vicinity of the camp. Conversely, the prime game viewing areas (certainly at the time that we visited) were some distance away and with game drives the only activity on offer, there was the odd day where you have to sit on a long journey back to camp which we did not mind given the interesting and varied scenery on offer throughout the park. Watching members of the injar pride of lion (who we had watched in a documentary a year or two back) hunt zebra was a fantastic experience and certainly made the distances traveled worthwhile. Again, my wife and I were grateful to have our own vehicle and driver/guiding team. We liked learning about the birdlife which pleased our guide Godson." See all these reviews: 17n in Tanzania
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location:
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Activities:
Good
Rooms:
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Sightings Report

Buffalo

2 sightings

Elephant

10 sightings

Giraffe

10 sightings

Hippo

3 sightings

Leopard

1 sighting

Lion

2 sightings

Zebra

10 sightings

Mr & Mrs S
Weymouth

"Mdonya Old River Camp review"

5 nights Arrived 7 Feb 2019
"Again the Camp fully met our expectations." See all these reviews: 10n in Tanzania; 4n in Zanzibar
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location:
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Sightings Report

Eland

Multiple sightings

Elephant

Multiple sightings

Giraffe

Multiple sightings

Lion

Multiple sightings

Zebra

1 sighting

Ms F
Auckland

"Mdonya Old River Camp review"

3 nights Arrived 7 Jan 2019
"A very different environment from Lake Manze. From my tent I could watch many animals. Such a treat.

Once again I was looked after very well. Wonderful hospitality. Arrived when a significant downpour happened - 110 mls. The tent survived it remarkably well. I wasn't affected at all by tsetse flies. I covered myself with the cream Expert Africa recommended.

Saw more of some animals I didn't see in Lake Manze. Much cooler temperature at this park. I think I preferred Lake Manze as I enjoyed the open plains and liked the heat but glad I experienced both. Again an excellent guide and driver and was well looked after by the Masai people. The food was excellent.

There was no wifi in either camp so did miss not being able to send photos and experiences home to friends and family." See all these reviews: 7n in Tanzania
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location:
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Sightings Report

Buffalo

7 sightings

Eland

4 sightings

Elephant

10 sightings

Giraffe

10 sightings

Leopard

1 sighting

Lion

4 sightings

Roan antelope

Multiple sightings

Sable antelope

Multiple sightings

Spotted Hyena

1 sighting

Zebra

10 sightings

Ms C.
Baltimore

"Mdonya Old River Camp"

4 nights Arrived 16 Nov 2018
"I chose this camp with the advice of Expert Africa, a UK company that helps you sort out all the options and make the arrangements for safaris in Tanzania and beyond. It was a great fit for me -- a woman traveling alone after a business trip in Dar es Salaam. I went during the November shoulder season when I was able to book last minute and the premium typically charged for single travelers was lower than I would find in the northern, more popular safari region.

I also liked the idea of really going off the grid for a change. No electricity and wifi created a beautiful candlelit dinner atmosphere where people actually spoke to each other rather than looked at their phones during meals. And I met some really interesting people, including the managers who usually joined us at meals. The Maasai are working there to ensure your safety when elephants and other neighbors might amble through the camp, and escort you to an from your tent in the evenings and early morning. They are more than willing to teach you some Swahila.

The highlight was my incredible driver/guide -- Kahimba -- and the student intern who he was mentoring at the time -- Daniel. When I told Kahimba I was interesting in understanding the unique ecosystem of Ruaha NP and its inhabitants of all kinds, he introduced me to the ant lion insect as well as the many animal lions throughout the park. He has been working in the park for 12 years, many of them with documentary filmakers, including National Geographic and Owen Prümm (see
The Lions Rule), and has many facts and stories to share from his experience. His knowledge of the interrelationship between plants, animals, water, and insects was limitless.

I highly recommend Nov. as a time to visit -- the season is beginning to shift between dry season and wet season and the changes in the vegetation are happening rapidly. Don't expect to see another one of the big 4 (no rhinos here) around every corner, but be ready for surprises every day. And who could ever tire of seeing another immense gnarled Baobab tree?" See all these reviews: 4n in Tanzania
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location:
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Food:
Excellent
Facilities:
Good
Sightings Report

Buffalo

Multiple sightings

Elephant

Multiple sightings

Giraffe

Multiple sightings

Hippo

Multiple sightings

Leopard

1 sighting

Zebra

Multiple sightings

Mr & Mrs C
Wokingham

"Mdonya Old River Camp review"

5 nights Arrived 7 Oct 2018
"Ive just written a lengthy tripadvisor review so this is a summary.

We wanted an authentic/green safari experience and thats exactly what Mdonya delivered. If you wanted electricity or hot water in darkness, or are worried about animals coming close, then its not for you.

The tent was comfortable, the service excellent, the game drives brilliant and the communal dining and conversation were highlights - even if the food wasn't quite high cuisine.

Close encounters of the animal kind were wonderful. Elephants 2-3 metres away and leopard hunting while we were at dinner.

The camp managers (Kingsley and Iris) were immensely helpful and really conveyed their enthusiasm for wildlife.

The guide/driver (Distmas & Eyoubi) had excellent knowledge and terrific animal sightings - plenty of lions including a hunt, leopards most days, elephants, etc etc etc

Not really about the camp but.... The flight from Dar to Ruaha with Safari-Airlink was a bit of a trial. The pilot very uncommunicative and flew at 12,500 ft with a plummeting descent that really hurt our ears, neck and head. The Coastal Aviation pilots were much more attentive, when asked they promised to give a more considerate descent, which was very gratefully received!" See all these reviews: 15n in Tanzania
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location:
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Food:
Good
Facilities:
Excellent
Sightings Report

Buffalo

Multiple sightings

Elephant

Multiple sightings

Giraffe

Multiple sightings

Hippo

1 sighting

Leopard

Multiple sightings

Lion

Multiple sightings

Zebra

Multiple sightings

Mr A.
West Vancouver

"Wonderful guides who really knew their birds "

4 nights Arrived 29 Sep 2018
"A well run camp. Not too exciting though maybe because the young manager was without her partner - it takes two to run a busy camp with all the staff that requires. The food was fine, we couldn't complain about anything.

The guides were wonderful & did their best to help us see every bird and animal possible. We could not believe that none of the guides we encountered had binoculars! (Why don't their employers provide binoculars?).

The guides can't possible afford to pay several $100'0 for decent binoculars & it must be tiring for their eyes when they spend each & every day trying to spot birds or animals for tourists." See all these reviews: 8n in Tanzania
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location:
Good
Service:
Good
Activities:
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Food:
Good
Facilities:
Good
Sightings Report

Eland

1 sighting

Elephant

10 sightings

Giraffe

10 sightings

Leopard

2 sightings

Lion

5 sightings

Zebra

10 sightings

Ian G
Wiltshire

"Good camp with some issues"

4 nights Arrived 9 Aug 2018
"A good camp where we had a great safari experience but with some issues that spoilt our stay.

Location: Ruarha has plenty of animals and I understand it is a lot quieter than some other parks. The most vehicles we saw was around a cheetah, where there were about 10 vehicles. Most of the time we saw only 1-2 others and were mostly on our own. The park has lots of different habitats so lots of different animals and birds but in the dry season the only water is in the one river, so vehicle safaris were the only activities on offer at the camp (half or full day).

The very good: Our guide and driver Dismass and Godson who made sure we had a wonderful safari experience and put up with our endless requests and questions with constant good humour. We can’t compliment them enough. We particularly appreciated their approach to the animals where they put us in good positions for photos without threatening the animals, in contrast to other safari vehicle who sometimes ended up chasing the animals, which we didn’t like.

The good: Like the previous camp we stayed at (Lake Manze, Selous owned by the same company) the camp is very well located, has friendly staff and plenty of good food, not ‘cordon bleu’ but remarkable for what they can achieve given the location and facilities. This is a back to nature facility in tents and with wild animals always close by and often wandering through the camp. This is exactly what we wanted and made for a great camp for us. However, while tents have proper beds, toilets and showers (looking up at the sky/stars !!) there is no Wi-Fi, a/c, pool, electric in the tents(charging points in office available 24/7)etc. If you want these things go elsewhere. Drinks around the fire before dinner and tea/coffee with a snack before early morning game drives were nice touches not seen at the previous camp. Breakfast and lunch in the bush were particular highlights, you can’t beat being served your lunch on the bonnet of a safari vehicle while looking at wild animals walking across the landscape, sometime quite close – amazing.

The not so good: The running of the camp was a bit haphazard, sometime things happened as planned, sometime they didn’t ; sometime the drink/food (e.g. dietary requests) you ordered turned up, sometimes it didn’t. The arrival brief was also a bit perfunctory. For example we turned up for diner on the first night in shorts and t shirts (as we had at Manze) but ended up being quite cold as the temperature drops by 10-15 degrees at night. Several people told us that they had done the same and we witnessed other ‘newbies’ do this so it is a common mistake. Therefore, it would be a good idea to inform guests of this when they arrive. Finally we had a major issue with arrangements for the safaris that spoilt our stay at the camp. Some people said that this was typical of Africa and the service you should expect but it compared poorly to the excellent running of Lake Manze camp. It gave the impression of a new team (and the managers had only been there 7 weks) so it might improve.

The main issue was that on arrival we were put together with a single traveller in one vehicle – we had no problem at all with this, they are a business and it made perfect sense. However, as complete strangers with different experiences and aspirations it should not have come as a surprise that we couldn’t totally agree on what we wanted to do on our 3 days together – they wanted to do all day, every day we wanted a shorter day in the middle. It should have been easy to move one of us to another group/vehicle for one day and this was what eventually happened. However, the camp management seemed to be totally surprised by this and rather than trying to meet our request seemed to spend more time finding reasons why this couldn’t be arranged even though the other guest was willing to pay any additional costs to sort this out. I had to be really awkward and create a fuss, threatening to complain, before this eventually got sorted out. This spoilt our enjoyment of the rest of the holiday and created an ‘atmosphere’ whenever we were around camp.

Overall this was exactly what we wanted from a safari holiday and our guide and driver made the actually game drives a great experience. If it had been our first camp I doubt we would have noticed the somewhat random running of the camp but it compared poorly against Lake Manze, where we had just been. The disagreement over moving people between vehicles for one day was also unnecessary and severely affected our enjoyment and rating of the camp" See all these reviews: 10n in Tanzania
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Good

Location:
Excellent
Service:
Average
Activities:
Good
Rooms:
Excellent
Food:
Good
Facilities:
Excellent
Sightings Report

Buffalo

10 sightings

Cheetah

1 sighting

Eland

1 sighting

Elephant

10 sightings

Giraffe

10 sightings

Hippo

5 sightings

Lion

10 sightings

Zebra

10 sightings

Mr RT
Sutton

"Mdonya Old River - January 2018"

4 nights Arrived 21 Jan 2018
"A lovely camp in a very good national park.

Good service, good food, comfortable tents, and the game drives were exceptional. All day drives with lunch stops at picnic areas.

Very good bird life as well as all the regular game.

Some opportunity for a short walk." See all these reviews: 14n in Tanzania
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location:
Excellent
Service:
Good
Activities:
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Food:
Good
Facilities:
Good
Mrs H
Bristol

"Second Visit - Even Better"

4 nights Arrived 3 Dec 2017
"This was our second visit to this camp and we loved it just as much as our first visit. We stayed in December for 4 nights. We had Ayoub and Dismas as our driver and guide and they were brilliant. Ayoub is a great driver and guide with a wealth experience and knowledge about animals and birds, he is also great company. Dismas is younger, with lots of enthusiasm and is keen to help you have a great time. They were both happy to answer even the most obscure questions and Dismas even brought his "tree" book along to help identify different ones. We also had lots of fun trying to identify some of the more unusual birds.

We shared our game drives with another couple who we became really good friends with. So the six of us had a brilliant time together. We left camp every day at 6.30am and didn't return until 6.30pm each evening. We ate breakfast and lunch in the bush every day. Our game viewing was brilliant including elephants, lions, cheetahs, leopards, jackals, foxes, hippos, lesser and greater kudu as well as of course lots of giraffe, zebra, antelope and many other mammals, reptiles, insects and birds.

It was also great to see Rebecca, the camp manager, again who is always on hand to make sure everything is going well. It was good to catch up over dinner each evening. We missed Andrea this time as he was away. As before the tents are great and so was the food. All the staff are friendly and I even managed some basic Swahili conversations with the Massai guys.

In all ways it was a great stay and we really hope to return again soon." See all these reviews: 9n in Tanzania; 5n in Zanzibar
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location:
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Food:
Good
Facilities:
Excellent
Showing 11-20 of 130
92%
130 reviews of Mdonya Old River Camp by travellers since August 2007
Overall rating by our travellers
90
31
7
2
0
Filter by month

Holiday styles & special interests in Tanzania

From birdwatching breaks to walking holidays, find great ideas for your trip in Tanzania.


Beach holidays

Beach holidays

Discover Africa's coast and tropical islands.

Birdwatching

Birdwatching

Diverse habitats, discreet hides and superb guiding.

Cultural experiences

Cultural experiences

Get an insight into Africa's cultures and history.

Diving & snorkelling

Diving & snorkelling

Find captivating marine life beneath the waves

Family holidays

Family holidays

Hand-picked camps for an incredible family safari.

Honeymoons

Honeymoons

Romantic safaris and castaway island retreats.

Luxury

Luxury

First-class service, scenic vistas and unparalleled comfort await you during these carefully selected luxury holidays. 

Photography holidays

Photography holidays

Great holidays to suit the keen photographer.

Private villas & houses

Private villas & houses

Enjoy Africa with just your friends & family

Riding holidays

Riding holidays

Explore Africa's wilderness on horseback.

Solo Travel

Solo Travel

Trip ideas ideally suited for a solo traveller.

Walking

Walking

Explore Africa's most scenic trails on foot.

Walking safaris

Walking safaris

Explore Africa's untouched wildernesses on foot.

Wellbeing

Wellbeing

Wellness escapes in stunning locations

Wildlife safaris

Wildlife safaris

These trips include hard-hitting game and fascinatingly elusive species alike, as well as superb guiding and a variety of diverse ecosystems.

Other lodges in Ruaha National Park

Alternative places to stay in this same area.


Mwagusi Safari Camp

Mwagusi Safari Camp

Mwagusi is a long-established, permanent, tented safari camp, on an attractive bend of the seasonal Mwagusi River.


96% (115 reviews)
Kwihala Camp

Kwihala Camp

Kwihala is a permanent tented camp in Ruaha National Park, offering a high level of comfort and guiding in a natural setting.


99% (109 reviews)
Ikuka Safari Camp

Ikuka Safari Camp

Upmarket and stylish, Ikuka Safari Camp is set high on an escarpment with spectacular panoramic views over Ruaha National Park.


97% (46 reviews)
Jongomero Camp

Jongomero Camp

A stylish and luxurious camp in a remote part of Ruaha, Jongomero offers excellent guiding and service in a remote, wilderness area.


96% (45 reviews)
Kigelia Camp

Kigelia Camp

Kigelia is a stylish tented camp, set amid a grove of sausage trees, and combining a simple set-up with comforts and luxury.


96% (29 reviews)
Kichaka Expeditions

Kichaka Expeditions

In a remote corner of Ruaha, Kichaka is a private mobile camp focusing on superbly guided walking safaris.


98% (23 reviews)
Ruaha River Lodge

Ruaha River Lodge

In a lovely location beside a rocky river, the unpretentious Ruaha River Lodge is the largest and most economical camp in Ruaha National Park.


92% (12 reviews)
Kichaka Zumbua

Kichaka Zumbua

Kichaka Zumbua is a small, luxurious camp offering on outstanding walking safaris in a remote area of Ruaha.


100% (3 reviews)
Jabali Ridge

Jabali Ridge

One of Ruaha's most luxurious camps, Jabali Ridge nestles among kopjes and baobabs, with beautiful views of the surrounding area.


100% (3 reviews)
Jongomero Walking Safaris

Jongomero Walking

Fly-camping and walking safaris from Jongomero Camp give you the chance to explore remote safari areas in Ruaha National Park.


80% (2 reviews)
Jabali Private House

Jabali Private House

Jabali Private House in Ruaha National Park provides luxurious accommodation for private groups booked on an exclusive basis.


100% (1 review)
Asanja Ruaha Ndembo

Asanja Ruaha

Asanja Ruaha Ndembo is a smart new safari lodge in a picturesque setting overlooking the Great Ruaha River.


No reviews yet

Login to Expert Africa

Sign in with password

Sign in with email link


New to Expert Africa? Create an account

Forgotten your details?

It's free & quick to set up

  • Save your wish-list
  • Send us an enquiry
  • Pay online for your trip
  • Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Give us feedback on your trip
  • Full site benefits of the site

Need some help? Talk to our team

Africa