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
"Mdonya Old River Camp review"
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." See all these reviews: 8n in Tanzania
"Another fabulous and well run camp!"
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." See all these reviews: 8n in Tanzania; 5n in Zanzibar
"Great safari at Mdonya"
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." See all these reviews: 13n in Tanzania
"Truly memorable safari in Ruaha"
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." See all these reviews: 12n in Tanzania
"Bush experience at Mdonya Old River Camp"
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." See all these reviews: 11n in Tanzania
"very inviting camp"
"What A Real Safari Is all About"
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." See all these reviews: 8n in Tanzania
"Beauty, wildlife and expert guiding at Mdonya"
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." See all these reviews: 11n in Tanzania
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.
"Great safari at Mdonya Old River Camp"
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." See all these reviews: 6n in Zanzibar; 3n in Tanzania
"Unbelievable wildlife encounters at Mdonya"
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." See all these reviews: 6n in Tanzania
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