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Mdonya Diary  I  Mdonya Game Diaries pre June 2015  I   Guest Comments   I    Ruaha Bird List

Mdonya Sightings  I  Safari Diary Feb-March 2010  I   Game Diary June 2011  I   Wild Dog Watch

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Mdonya Old River News - August 2016

Ruaha male lion

It’s been an enthusiastic month in Ruaha, wildlife in and around camp is rich and very rewarding.  Sightings of Serval just outside the camp.

Buffaloes in camp by Ayoubu
Photo by Ayoubu Nyan'ganga

Buffaloes in the Mdonya woodland,

Read whole newsletter with more photos.

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Mdonya Old River News - July 2016

Millky Way from Mdonya by Andrea Pompele

Cool winds have blown reminding us that we are in winter and the leaves are beginning to fall off the trees, the nights have been very clear making for wonderful star gazing. The colourful pods from the Apple ring - Faidherbia albida trees have started to fall and the impala, elephants and zebras are often seen at the base of the trees eating the fallen pods.

The water table remains high compared to this time last year, the Mdonya waterfalls are still flowing, scattered waterholes are still holding water and lonely hippos can even be found in some of the bigger ponds.

Mdonya buffaloes

Read whole newsletter with more photos.

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Mdonya Old River News - June 2016

Elephants at Mdonya Old River camp

It has been an exciting start to the season here in Ruaha, after the heavy rainy season that we had it was very nice to come back to the start of the dry season. Due to the heavy rains there is still a good amount of water around and we have been pleased to see that the Mdonya river is continuing to flow for longer than it did last year.
With the change in seasons we have seen many elephants returning to the Mdonya woodlands and we have been excited and relieved to see the safe return of our friends the big bulls such as Sikio Mbovu, Charlie, Louis and Kino. Upon Sikio Mbovu’s return to camp he quickly demonstrated that he is still his naughty self by playing with some of the water pipes and testing out his strength on the new grass fences.
The Mdonya pride was around to welcome us back and we were excited to see three new cubs familiarizing themselves with the camp. The pride’s loud and powerful roars informed us that they were staying close by and they even spent a night in our car park admiring the maintenance work that we had just completed. The curious younger members of the pride returned a couple weeks later and kept us company whilst we were having dinner in the old riverbed.
Encouraging tracks and signs indicate that a buffalo herd is hanging around and we look forward to the progression of the dry season where sightings of buffalo and many other animals will increase due to the long grass being knocked down and water sources becoming scarcer.

Read whole newsletter with more photos.

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Mdonya Old River News - March 2016

Impala in the morning sunlight Ruaha

Mdonya cars in Ruaha seeing elephants around the corner

News from the wild side - photos by Andrea Pompele and Rebecca Phillips

Best friends - elephant babies Ruaha

Ruaha wild flowers

Hyrax in baobab tree Ruaha

Another month offered new surprises in the wild wild bush.
We had a break in the clouds and for a couple of weeks everyone has been enjoying the sun. Grass is growing fast and had reached almost 4 m tall, some grasses are drying up a bit, other ones are making flowers, offering a spectacular pattern of colors across the different landscapes.
In camp the Ana trees (Faidherbia albida) are making new leaves, preparing themselves for a new season and elsewhere the Baobabs are instead losing their leaves showing their characteristic shape of a reverse tree. All indications of an upcoming change in seasons.

Mdonya night sky Ruaha

During the evenings we had the privilege to eat outside again due to the break from the rain and we have been amazed by clear stary skies and a good view of the Southern Cross within a portion of the Milky Way.
Storms have raged on the horizon up on the hills with thunders and lightning offering a good photographic occasion to the guests that wanted to experiment with long exposure technique to capture this dramatic scene.

Ruaha wild grass

read more....

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Mdonya Old River News - Feb 2016

Gloriosa lily, Ruaha

News from the Wild Side  - photos by Andrea Pompele and Rebecca Phillips

Rainy season in Ruaha National Park is spectacular. We can obviously affirm that El Nino effects are visible: when it rains it seriously rains. Roads of the National Park have suffered damages by the unexpected heavy rains. However our guides and drivers are doing their best during the game drives, spotting animals in tall grass and giving wonderful experiences to the guests with an extra little touch of adventure thrown in when driving on the muddy roads crossing streams full of water.

Ruaha male lion

Sightings of elephants are wonderful and are spotted daily, carnivores are more difficult to find but we had frequent encounters with lions, leopard and wild dogs, crossing the roads hanging around the game areas.

Read on....

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Mdonya Old River News - Jan 2016

News from the Wild Side

Rainy Season

We have had an unusually wet month causing all the sand rivers to continuously flow and we have been able to hear the sound of the rumble of water running down the Mdonya waterfalls from camp.

Read whole newsletter with more photos.

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Mdonya Old River Newsletter - December 2015

News from the Wild Side

Mdonya Bush Christmas

Mdonya Bush Christmas  Mdonya Bush Christmas

All the staff at Mdonya Old River Camp would like to wish our readers Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

We started the month with the exciting news that the buffalos had returned to Mdonya area,
On many occasions we saw small herds of 50 individuals hanging around grazing in search of possible water sources constitued by waterholes formed by the rains, and nutrient growing grass, abundant in the area.
ThIs is really good news because we have not seen any buffalo near camp since the start of the season.

Read whole newsletter with more photos

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Mdonya Old River Newsletter - November 2015

News from the Wild Side

The rains have come!

Ruaha thunderstorm

News from the wild side

Mdonya area has transformed from being a dry and barren to lush green vegetation with dry waterholes filling up with water once again. The Mdonya River has not yet started to flow but we have seen an increase of elephants around camp and seen them digging for water in the riverbed once more.

Read whole newsletter with more photos

Guest Comments:

"Thank you so much for a fantastic adventure here at Mdonya! We have had three great days with "Jay" and Edmund, who have been wonderful.
They have showed us among others: wild dogs, leopards and buffaloes.
Thank you so much for great hospitality and food.
Our adventure continues in Selous and Mafia Island, thanks for having us
" Helen, Toninn, Petra, Ove, Frank and Joakim, in Mdonya 2.11.15

This is our last night and we are rather sad. We have had a lovely time and seen so much. This is our second time in Mdonya Old River Camp and I hope we shall be able to come back again one day. Our thanks to all the staff who have made our holiday so memorable. With kindest regards and good luck for the future.
P.S. This morning we saw the wild dogs for the first time. A dream come true! Thank you so much.
Edvis and Heinz, 10.11.15

Looked after so amazingly well. Our guide and driver were brilliant and their eyesight was crazy!
Great experience of seeing leopards, lions, hippos and everything else! Would definitely highly recommend this place for the experience and will be doing so.
Thank you so much!!
Sophie and Matt, in Mdonya 23.11.15

News from the wild side

"What a lovely place to stay - just a shame we have to leave. We have seen so much, dozens of lions, elephants, zebras, giraffes, kudus (greater)
and fleetingly the lesser kudu. Thank you so much for the beautiful bat ear foxes (and especially the little pups which were just soooo cute.)
To see them so close and totally unconcerned was really special.
We loved the breakfast each morning in the bush, the location was stunning and the special squirrels and pearl spotted owlet that shared it with us whilst we were there.
However the icing on the cake was sitting on top of the rock whilst a small herd of elephants (including a fairly small one) approached and drank happily.
The tents are very comfortable and all the staff very willing to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Thank you"
Chris and Jeremy, in Mdonya 20.11.15 Asante sana!

Thank you very much for 4 wonderful days here! What an experience! Lovely camp, excellent service, delicious food and amazing game drives! One of the best places in Tanzania we've seen! Thanks to you all.
Sandra and Dirk, 22.11.15

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Mdonya Old River Newsletter - October 2015

News from the Wild side

Ruaha in the Dry Season

The sun is burning hot and a difference in air pressure and temperatures on the ground are creating dust devils on the dry landscapes rustling up dust all over the bush.

Ruaha Elephants along a sand river

Water is becoming a much scarcer and important resource, a relief is found along the Great Ruaha River and around several springs, for the animals this is the only way to survive.

Baobab flower  Ruaha toothbrush flower

"This is the peak of the dry season, hard and cruel.
Life is continuously changing, and a promise of rain is encouraging us with grey clouds approaching and the clear scent of rain all around. Baobab trees are starting to flower and a cool breeze in the evening refreshes our minds.

Lion kill Ruaha - giraffe

Ruaha lions

Ruaha lions

Sightings have been good of numerous prides of lions along the sand rivers, the massive buffalo herd following the water sources, elephants with some very young calves, leopards, herds of herbivores and even a rare encounter with a Caracal!

Mdonya elephant in camp

Mdonya elephant

In camp there has been a decline of elephants wandering through as they wander other areas of the park searching for food.

Ruaha baby

We have however experienced a baby boom in our resident Vervet monkeys’ family with adult females carrying tiny babies clinging to their stomach.

red-cheeked Cordon-Bleu  Jamesons Firefinch  Ruaha Hoopoe

Green-winged Pytillia and red-cheeked Cordon-bleue

Red-cheeked cordon bleu

Birdlife is increasing noticeably with many small granivores hoping around and some migrating species appearing.

We have had very active nocturnal animals with frequent pictures of civet, lions, leopards and even on several occasions two “honeymooning” leopards pictured together and even occasional serval sightings on our camera trap.

Watch the video of this month's nightlife.

Ruaha Leopard Tortoise  Ruaha Combretum bracts

Monitor Lizard in the office

Savannah Monitor Lizard

And there is always the small life....

Giraffes mating Ruaha  Giraffes mating Ruaha

So many honeymooners... Spring is on the way

From Rebecca, Andrea and the whole Mdonya Team.


Guest Comments

"Abbiamo avuto la cerimonia di matrimonio piu' bella che potessimo desiderare!!!
Sposarsi in Ruaha National Park e' un'emozione indescrivibile!!!
Grazie a tutti!"
Barbara e Diego, in Mdonya 6.10.15

"Thank you so much to everyone at Mdonya: all of the wonderful and attentive staff, the always smiling and welcoming Rebecca - all of whom making it look as a piece of cake to run such an incredible camp even though so much obvious work, effort and attention to details lies behind it all. Everything beautifully decorated and comfortable tents, outdoor showers, wildlife in camp and in 'porini,' superb driving and guiding. The amazing cooking, breakfast in camp with fabulous views over the dried out river, delicious lunches in the bush, dinners under the magical African sky - it has just all been perfect. No wonder I keep coming back! Will miss you all, but I will definitely see you again. Keep up the good work and please stay just the way you are. Mdonya is a true gem well hidden at the end of the world, in the unforgettable Ruaha."
Sara, in Mdonya 21.10.15 

"Chaleureux, tres bon accueil, un personnel tres a' l'ecoute de nos besoins, le camp est magnifiquement bien entretenu. L'equipe est au top avec un parfait respect de l'environnement. Je vous remercie mille fois pour votre acceuil et pour m'avoir permis de vivre quelques moments de vie exceptionnels".
Jocelyn Castry,in Mdonya 25.10.15 

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Mdonya Old River Newsletter - September 2015

News from the Wild side

September is the month of incredible sightings:

Ruaha wild dog

Ruaha Wild dogs

The elusive and rarely seen wild dogs,

Ruaha Leopard  Ruaha Leopard climbs tree

Ruaha Leopard

Powerful and elegant leopards so close often caught stalking some potential prey,

Ruaha Cheetah 

Ruaha Cheetah  Ruaha Cheetah

Unexpected cheetahs in a mixed woodland tending to Miombo forest on the Mdonya riverbed,

Ruaha lions kill elephant

Ruaha lions kill elephant

There were two different episodes in which Lions were hunting, killing and eating an elephant, one of these at 10 minutes drive from the camp

Ruaha Serval cat 

Ruaha Serval

Serval cat and Caracal crossing the road early morning during the game drives.

Ruaha Elephants Bathing

Ruaha Elephants at Mdonya camp

Having elephants in camp is always an emotional experience. Our friends are giving us encounters at the dinner table or around the campfire, grazing and browsing.

Night camera catches lion drinking  Night camera catches leopard drinking

At night the Mdonya pride of lions is often around and sometimes in camp, giving us exciting moments and at least two different leopards are coming every night to have a drink.

Ruaha Bushbuck

Ruaha Warthog

Impala graze in the Mdonya river bed

Bushbucks, warthogs, giraffes, slender and banded mongooses are around and impalas are grazing at night around the tents. A big change is coming slowly, the Acacia sieberiana trees have finished to put out the new leaves and still covering themselves by beautiful white flowers. “Spring” is coming.

Thanks for our guests Anna de’ Capitani, Piera Grella and Leo Eaton for sharing with us their wonderful pictures.

By Rebecca, Andrea and the whole Mdonya Team.

Guest Comments

"We enjoyed our stay in Mdonya very well. Staff is very friendly and helpful, we saw a lot of animals! We specifically liked the open camp where even elephants walk through. I hope to come back."  
Ria and Kees Lourens, in Mdonya in September 2015.

"WOW! What can I say? Rebecca and Andrea have been perfect hosts. A beautiful, wonderful camp. Exceptional food and service.  A most wonderful experience, well recommended. Sad to leave."
Lackey and Rick Ayton.  England, in Mdonya in September 2015.

"This has been a truly amazing 4 days, leopards, lions, and, on our final morning, 3 cheetahs!!!!! The food is fantastic, the bush camp experience really great, especially a pride of lions roaring just outside our tent one night. Thank you to everyone, guide, driver, Andrea and all staff. I look forward to come back"
Leo, Jeri and Alex Eaton. New Windsor, MD, U.S.A, in Mdonya in September 2015. 

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Mdonya Old River Newsletter - August 2015

News from the Wild side

One of the thrills of being in the bush and going on safaris is that the wildlife behaviour continues to surprise you and give you unexpected encounters.

This month we had several unusual carnivore sightings that surprised even our most experienced guides.

Ruaha Leopard

We saw a male leopard who had killed and was eating a small lion cub just minutes drive from camp.

Ruaha Wild Dogs

Some of our guests then had a rare sighting of 6 wild dogs and the remains of a cheetah which they had killed.

Watch a short video with the elusive dogs.

Watch the video “National Geographic - Predators: wild dogs

Another unusual sighting of interaction between different carnivores occurred when two female lionesses chased a leopard off its recently killed impala, the lionesses then fought over the impala and in doing so tore the impala in half.
Leopards are notoriously solitary animals so it was an special sighting to see two honeymooning leopards together during the middle of the day in the shade of a big tree.

Ruaha Lion cubs

Ruaha lions 

Fierce lion cub, Ruaha

Lion sightings have been numerous this month, lions eating kills, lions mating and to everyone’s delight the Mdonya Pride and Ifuguru Pride have small cubs and have been seen regularly.

By Rebecca, Andrea and the whole Mdonya Team.

Guest comments:

Truly amazing! Everything I experienced was breath-taking!
The tent was so comfortable, I wish I could stay longer. By far the best experience I have had. A lifetime experience! A thrilling sensation.
Thank you for such great hospitality.
Shahz, 03.08.15

Dearest Old Mdonya River Camp,
With deepest, heartfelt thanks to you all for a brilliant safari in Ruaha and warm hospitality at the camp.
Thank you to all the staff at the camp Ð comfy, clean beds, bathroom, always lit bathrooms and thank you to Taiko and Matayo for
faithful protection. An enormous and special thanks to Thomas and Zac, our guides/driver, for the most spectacular birding ever in a dry season;
your eyes, wit, attention and confidence is inspiring, wishing you both great success.
Then to Rebecca and Andrea who head up the operation, THANK YOU! Who understand fully what it is to manage and run such a great establishment
and provide the ultimate Essential Safari- well done! We love Old Mdonya! Please donÕt let it change, only for the better :)
Sharlene and Cornelis, 08.08.15

My first experience like this ever and you set the bar so high that matching it in my next trips will be a huge challenge!
It has been fun, emotional, relaxing, exciting, simply amazing! Thank you for your hard work and kindness, you have been great.
Hoping that our paths will cross again, for now youve left you footprint.
Bea, 09.08.15

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