Reviews of Ruaha River Lodge
Wildlife sightings and reviews
12 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited Ruaha River Lodge and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
"Sharing a home with the Squirrels and Bush Hy"
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." See all these reviews: 13n in Tanzania
"Excellent Ruaha River Lodge"
Superb, thrilling games drives and a driver who went the extra mile for us resulting in extraordinary game spotting." See all these reviews: 14n in Tanzania
"The Lion Safari at Ruaha River Lodge"
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" See all these reviews: 8n in Tanzania
"Excellent value for money"
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." See all these reviews: 10n in Tanzania
"Ruaha River Lodge - What a Place!"
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!" See all these reviews: 8n in Tanzania
"Best game safari at Ruaha"
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." See all these reviews: 12n in Tanzania
"Great time at Ruaha River Lodge"
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." See all these reviews: 6n in Tanzania
"Beautiful site on 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." See all these reviews: 14n in Tanzania
"Ruaha River Lodge review"
- 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" See all these reviews: 7n in Tanzania; 2n in Zanzibar
"Great wildlife at Ruaha"
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." See all these reviews: 6n in Tanzania; 1n in Zanzibar
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Other lodges in Ruaha National Park
Alternative places to stay in this same area.
Mdonya Old River Camp
Designed with simplicity in mind, Mdonya River Camp focuses on a great wilderness experience rather than creature comforts.
Mwagusi Safari Camp
Mwagusi is a long-established, permanent, tented safari camp, on an attractive bend of the seasonal Mwagusi River.
Kwihala is a permanent tented camp in Ruaha National Park, offering a high level of comfort and guiding in a natural setting.
Ikuka Safari Camp
Upmarket and stylish, Ikuka Safari Camp is set high on an escarpment with spectacular panoramic views over Ruaha National Park.
A stylish and luxurious camp in a remote part of Ruaha, Jongomero offers excellent guiding and service in a remote, wilderness area.
Kigelia is a stylish tented camp, set amid a grove of sausage trees, and combining a simple set-up with comforts and luxury.
In a remote corner of Ruaha, Kichaka is a private mobile camp focusing on superbly guided walking safaris.
Kichaka Zumbua is a small, luxurious camp offering on outstanding walking safaris in a remote area of Ruaha.
One of Ruaha's most luxurious camps, Jabali Ridge nestles among kopjes and baobabs, with beautiful views of the surrounding area.
Fly-camping and walking safaris from Jongomero Camp give you the chance to explore remote safari areas in Ruaha National Park.
Jabali Private House
Jabali Private House in Ruaha National Park provides luxurious accommodation for private groups booked on an exclusive basis.
Asanja Ruaha Ndembo is a smart new safari lodge in a picturesque setting overlooking the Great Ruaha River.