Reviews of Ruaha River Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Sharing a home with the Squirrels and Bush Hy
2nd time in Ruaha but first time at River Lodge.
A larger camp than we usually stay at ans spread over a large site. The restaurant used for lunch was a bit difficult for me to get to as I have slight walking difficulties and I needed mountaineering skills to get to it, but young David was very obliging in giving us a lift back to our room. Great to meet up again with the management team of Graham & Candy who managed a different lodge that we stayed at on our last visit.
All the staff were extremely helpfull and friendly and our guide Alex had probably the sharpest eyesite of anyone I have ever met. Highlights were many and various but got some super photos of a leopard in a tree and the lions with a fresh buffalo kill.
Enjoyed the little squirrels nest in our roof space and the Bush Hyrax's posing for the camera in between feeding on the leaves of the bushes by our room.
Excellent Ruaha River Lodge
Felt like the real Africa, great lodge and welcoming management.
Superb, thrilling games drives and a driver who went the extra mile for us resulting in extraordinary game spotting.
The Lion Safari at Ruaha River Lodge
Very nice location, not often you can lay in bed and watch the Sun rise, and at the time we were there also watch the full Moon rise before evening meal. Our Guide again was first class, full of information and knew where to find the animals.
The paths to most of the lodges were very uneven, and dangerous at night, but as there was work being carried out in various parts of the lodge area I guess this will be sorted shortly. Guide was first class
Excellent value for money
I must say that Ruaha grew on me - the setting of the River Lodge made an immediate impression of course (even better than Selous Impala) but the Park was a slow burner. Maybe it was because it took a very bumpy 45 minutes or so drive before we got to more interesting terrain, but the more time we spent going further afield the more I realised how beautiful the place was and that this was how I had imagined Africa to be - some of the views were amazing and went on forever!
The wildlife/birdlife didn't disappoint either. Whilst it didn't have the large herds of zebra and wildebeest, there was still plenty going on - particularly impressive were the buffalo herds, the elephants, lions and our first sightings in the wild of leopards. Our guides were excellent (although sometimes hard to understand) and very flexible - particularly in seeking out the leopards we so badly wanted to see. After returning from a full day drive at 4pm they were happy to go out again at 5.30pm to see if a leopard had returned to a tree where it had stashed an impala. Nothing was too much trouble.
With regard to the River Lodge, the location is beautiful, the cottages are excellent and the atmosphere is relaxed. As per your description, the food was wholesome and plentiful rather than inspiring and maybe some of the staff could be a little more friendly, but overall the camp is excellent value for money - 3 star rather than 5. We were lucky in that the lodge was fairly quiet in terms of visitor numbers and we received a more personal service than I suspect we might otherwise have done.
Having said that there seemed to be a lack of flexibility regarding game drives, i.e. one day we wanted to do a morning and an afternoon drive, but were more or less obliged to do a full day drive as 'everybody else was going on full day drives'. As it happened it was an excellent day, but it would be nice to have a choice. Overall though we really enjoyed Ruaha and the River Lodge - it is certainly worth doing at least one all day drive to get the best out of it, but even if you spend an afternoon or morning walking around the lodge grounds there is still plenty to enjoy.
Ruaha River Lodge - What a Place!
I travelled with my brother and we shared a banda with twin beds for four nights.
We had seen photographs and read reviews of River Lodge but nothing prepared us for the sheer beauty of this wonderful camp! The location on the flowing Ruaha River is simply stunning. The individual bandas and the lower restaurant are set on the river whilst the top dining area gives a panoramic view. The climb to the top is very steep (there are plenty of hand rails) but is well worth it and we were glad that the lower dining area was closed for our first two days as it "forced" us to enjoy the view with our excellent meals! At night, we were collected from our banda by Masaai who escorted everyone to the restaurant. I shall never forget the line of people huffing and puffing their way to the top of the hill illuminated by torches with Masaai walking effortlessly in front and behind us! Awesome!
The bandas are huge, tastefully decorated, clean and very comfortable. All rooms have a double and a single bed attractively covered with mosquito nets. We particularly liked the sofa area where we could relax after the evening meal before "lights out" at 10.30. We were lulled to sleep by the grunts of the hippos and the babbling river. We enjoyed the large verandah from where we could watch elephants, crocs, zebra, waterbuck, giraffe, impala etc coming down to drink. A couple of comfy loungers would have been nice although the directors' chairs made sure you didn't miss anything! The company of geckos and small lizards was a real bonus!
We thought the food at River Lodge was excellent and we liked the buffet style lunch and evening meal. There was plenty of choice and my nut allergy was scrupulously taken care of. The staff were attentive and friendly without being intrusive. River Lodge is not a fussy camp - you don't get your bed turned back whilst you are at dinner and you don't have you glass filled up every two minutes - and we liked the camp all the more for that.
Josephate was our private guide and he was wonderful. We had booked a private guide and we were very glad we had as the camp was busy and other guests were sharing jeeps. Having already been on two trips, we wanted to spend more time observing animals that we came across rather than going off in search of them. We spent about an hour watching a leopard that was just sitting by the road and we had a similarly long time with lions and elephants. Josephate was very patient with us and so knowledgeable about all the creatures we saw. His bird-spotting skills are second to none!
Overall our stay at River Lodge was superb. It had everything we wanted - location, views, varied scenery and wonderful animals in and around the camp. Saying goodbye to the lovely Metta, the camp manager and her new assistant, Caitlin was a real wrench. We would return without a second's thought!
Best game safari at Ruaha
Ruaha National park had by far the most game to see in terms of different species. Elephant in abundance and looking at the tree damage possibly too many, but I'm sure others are looking into this matter, particularly as other parts (Selous) have lost 65% of their elephant in the last 7 years. Lion, leopard, cheetah, many antelope and an array too many to detail, the park has a great depth in game.
The fact that it is a national park does present some challenges viewing some of the game because of the strict rules, for example, driving off track. Lion under a tree 200 yards away look ok to the naked eye but unless you have professional camera equipment good shots can be difficult. This did not prove to be a major problem, just a little disappointing and we do not blame the guides for observing the rules considering the heavy fines.
The camp itself is a fabulous location alongside the river which provided great morning and evening viewing over mealtimes. Elephant and antelope were regular visitors as were baboons and much of the great bird life.
The new open restaurant area was a great success although the area split into two does break up some of the networking between guests. Clearly this a question of logistics, the big plus of the new design is more people can be served simultaneously which makes good sense.
The facilities were all excellent, great rooms and everything worked as one would hope in such a remote location. The staff were also excellent but noticeably younger than those at Rufiji, however this we saw as a positive in terms of expanding the knowledge base into the next generation. As mentioned earlier, all the staff were brilliant and the team effort at Ruaha reflects the considerable managerial skills by Karen and the senior team.
The Massai night guards earned their money on a couple of occasions chasing out bull elephants so we could return to our Bandas.
Great time at Ruaha River Lodge
From the moment we were picked up at the airstrip to the time we left, everything was very well organised.
The game drives were excellent. We had Josephad as our guide and he was amazing, both with regard to spotting all the animals and birds, and his knowledge. I absolutely loved the location of the lodge, especially being able to go up to the lounge area on returning from a long day out, and being able to watch the hippos, elephants and giraffe while writing up the day's diary.
Beautiful site on Ruaha river
A great place to stay in Ruaha National Park, with a really beautiful setting on the Ruaha River.
Lots to see from the veranda and dining area. Manager and staff were very welcoming and helpful. Setting promotes interaction among the guests.
Guiding on game drives was outstanding. I visiting early in the season (early June) and the place was not at all crowded, but the number of visitors was obviously building. A great place to stay, with no particular negatives. Bandas were very nice, comfortable, and secure.
Electricity was available during the hours of darkness, which was quite adequate.
Ruaha River Lodge review
- Friendly staff.
- Accommodation spacious and clean, pretty location.
- Some game drives felt a bit rushed but generally good.
- Picnics worried us slightly - food not chilled and was stored in plastic containers which were hot and sweaty by lunchtime. We did have upset stomachs one night which I'm sure was as a result of this.
- Lack of electricity was quite annoying 6pm - 10pm.
- More comfortable chairs/loungers to sit on balcony would be good.
- Food generally good - plentiful and lots of vegetables
Great wildlife at Ruaha
Ruaha River Lodge was the first stop on out trip and it was a great place to start. The game drives were excellent - even on the short drive from the airstrip to the camp we saw giraffe, elephant, impala, baboons, zebra and more! The terrain is Ruaha is quite varied with rivers, bush and plains, which means that you see a wide variety of wildlife. All the wildlife is quite used to having cars pull up next to them which means that you can get quite close, which is great for pictures. We saw four of the 'big five' (rhino excluded) on our stay here, as well as hippos, crocs, jackals, eagles and much more.
The lodge itself is very nice. It's not a luxury camp but the rooms are large and spacious with hot showers at night and flushing toilets.
The buffet-style food was very good and all the staff were really helpful and friendly. All-in-all it was a great start to out trip.