News from Mdonya Old River in Ruaha National Park
Guides with special mention: Emmanuel, Ayoubu, Kahimba, Henry and Hassan.
Milky way sky above Ruaha, by Ian Johnston
Clear chilly nights have provided us with bright visions of the sky dotted by billions of stars with the brilliant Milky Way and we can now spot new constellations such as Taurus, Aries, Cassiopeia, and Pisces as they appear to rotate above us.
Guinea fowl and Banded mongooses at the waterhole near Mdonya camp - caught by camera trap at dawn
The sun is rising earlier and the rapid morning light quickly accompanied by the heat reminds us how important the shade is for surviving in the dry bush. The dry grass is all but gone and the big buffalo herd has gathered on the banks of the Great Ruaha River. Visibility is perfect for spotting exciting wildlife behaviour such as young cubs following their mother to where the rest of the pride were feasting on a buffalo after a nocturnal hunt.
Wild dogs have been seen hanging around the dry riverbed searching for a bit of shade to rest under before again moving far away. Leopards on the trees are frequently seen, small families of bat-eared foxes and even cheetahs in the open grassland are more often observed. In camp the quiet nights have been broken by the roars of the lions and we have been pleased to see them on numerous occasions.
A particular highlight was when an enormous male leopard walking into the dry Old Mdonya sand river interrupted our dinner with his presence. The image above shows two leopards caught on the camp camera trap while visiting the waterhole nearby.
The number of elephants seen in camp has decreased since last month as the majority of the elephants have moved on to other areas of the park though there are a few young bulls that still pass by. On one occasion we had three young bulls resting in the shade of the Faidherbia albida tree in front of the dining tent and to our delight one of the bulls was so relaxed that he lay down flat on the ground and took a good nap.
Other unusual sightings have been recorded: a clawless otter on the Mdonya River and a big white-tailed mongoose at dusk just outside the camp, searching for something to harvest from a hole close by the road.
Zebras are brilliant at presenting their behinds to you....
Baby giraffe - with mother camouflaged in the background
What a fantastic place! Ruaha is a spectacular National Park- the baobabs, acacia and river beds create an amazing backdrop to the wildlife and creates an atmosphere of wilderness. Elephants, leopards, lions, antelope… we were not disappointed. Mdonya camp is perfect, stars, wildlife – even an elephant outside our tent! We were looked after very well – ahsante sana! Our guides Emmanuel and Ayoubu were fantastic and really made our trip. As did our wonderful safari companions Dave and Jenny. Hope to be back some day!
Anna and Luke, 03.10.16
What can I say about this wonderful camp! Rebecca is one of the finest managers you’ll find and her staff are all just fabulous, especially our guides Emmanuel and Ayoub who we thoroughly enjoyed our time with. The game spotting was absolutely first class – 21 lions and 2 leopards in one day – not to mention the wild dogs and unforgettable elephant sightings. A truly special camp and to be highly recommended.
Dave and Jenny, 06.10.16
We had an amazing stay here!! Welcome to the real wild African life! Andrea and his staff were perfect guest keeper. Thanks a lot for this lovely stay. Kahimba and Henry were perfect guides on our trip from the little lion-ant, to the giant eagle owl up to the lions it was just amazing! Also for our 3 kids!
Alex and family, 10.10.16
Fantastic location , truly an into the wild Africa experience. We have been doing safari for many years and this was the purest, most ‘honest’ experience of the raw Africa. Ahsanate sana to the team, hopefully we will be back!
My stay and safari exceeded all my dream and expectations! The meals, in camp and on the safari, were exquisite, the staff friendly and most accommodating, the fellow guests were engaging and enthusiastic. But most of all, our guide (Hassan) and driver (Ayoub) made the entire safari experience exciting, educational, exhilarating and very memorable. They were endlessly patient with photo requests, amazingly sharp-eyed in spotting animals and very flexible in accommodating every request and need. I hope to return with my family and I will specifically request Hassan and Ayoub! Thanks for everything.