Reviews of Mdonya Old River Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Mdonya Old River Camp review
This camp and Ruaha far exceeded our expectations. We were made to feel very welcome. They had modified a tent for the four of us which worked well. The tents were comfortable, well furnished with flush toilets and a solar powered shower. We did have a problem with bees coming to drink at the shower and the water in the morning was warm rather than hot.
We loved the open nature of the camp. We were visited by an elephant in the early hours 2 nights and to watch him feed on a bush less than a metre from our bed was amazing. Food was good and we really enjoyed having communal drinks around a fire and eating with all being watched by buffalo and impala. We had 3 full day safaris and saw more of the park than many other visitors. Our bush lunches were out of this world.
The wildlife was fantastic - lions and leopard and even a cheetah, elephants and giraffe everywhere, antelope, 3 species of mongoose, 100 species of birds and even a puff adder. Our guides were amazing.
We loved the experience, but others who had come from more luxurious camps were less than impressed and found the rustic nature not to their taste.
quite different to Manze but equally supeb
# we were met by RAMADAMI who introduced himself as a newly qualified guide with only 3 months experience. His honesty was appreciated but any doubts quickly evaporated and he is clearly star material. Our driver was KNIGHT, clearly a very experienced driver and spotter / guide - great team and very good company.
# the very good National Park infrastructure was in complete contrast to Selous, with well graded tracks, viewing points, toilets at the picnic areas and Msembe airstrip ..... but still a wild and wonderful landscape and a long way short of the the tarmac roads in the Kruger.
# clearly Manze & Mdonya are different in detail but G&T's around the Mdonya log fire and superb food under the stars while overlooking lions stalking the 3 resident buffalo could not be equalled. Micol and Alex are excellant hosts.
# tips - we followed the sensible guidance in the Expert Africa and both camps literature to use the tip box so that all the camp team benefit. So we were surprised to find that some guests at Mdonya were only tipping their guides and drivers. We suggest that this point is covered in Micol's / Alex's welcome briefing, with the aim of consistency and to avoid embarrassing clients. In the event RAMADAMI received some hurried additional cash at the airstrip in addition to the intended present of my copy of Jonathan Kingdom's 'Pocket Guide to African Mammals'; similarly Colin gave KNIGHT some additional cash and his bird book as a present.
Green Season Safari in Ruaha
Again this camp was selected because of it's style, it is of a similar setup to Lale Manze but I would say that Mdonya Camp does have the edge on Lake Manze in terms of how it was run, this camp is more 'Polished' and the reason is Nicole who is an excellent host and camp manager.
The down side was it's distance from the main game areas, at this time of year the best viewing is around the Ruaha River
where the grass is shorter and the game more frequent. Therefore the routine for the day would be an early start on an all day safari
with breakfast and lunch in the bush which suited us fine. The other drawback is of course the abundance of Tetse flies at this time of year.
The food was a touch better than Lake Manze and Nicole made a very good host each evening and was always about early to see you off.
Would I go back ? - Yes (but at a different time of year.)
Camp manager was excellent as were the guides and staff. Super experience, I would suggest that this camp is at the end of a trip as anywhere else may be a dissapointment after experiencing such wilderness.Read more about the whole safari
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.
A simple camp run as well by very efficient people. They are serious about "wildlifeing". Mcol, the camp manager, is very passionate about Africa, the camp and the nature itself. She´s proud of her camp, and congratulations.
Being on a Land Rover from 7 AM up to 5- 6 PM sometimes can be tiresome, but not at Mdonya. Thank you.
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.