In this Newsletter from Mdonya Old River camp in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania, we editors found it too hard to choose from the photos - some by guests and others by Andrea and Rebecca, the managers. Something is going on here - either they are just too good as photographers, or there are too many animal sightings! Its pretty unbelievable, we couldn't bear to leave any out...
The rains have passed and the seasons have changed here in Ruaha, the grass is drying out, the sand rivers have ceased to flow and a cool wind blows reminding us that winter is just around the corner.
Serval in Ruaha - photo by Lawrence and Julia Murphy
We have had an exceptional start to the season with wildlife sightings in abundance as well as a couple of rare wildlife encounters that our guests were treated to. This included several sightings of a serval, a baby impala that had just been born, a leopard enjoying a free meal of a baboon that had accidentally hung himself in a fork of a tree and to top it all off a sighting of a pangolin.
Pangolin in Ruaha - photo by Lawrence and Julia Murphy
The pangolin is a magnificent nocturnal creature that is sadly threatened due to the illegal trade in its scales for supposed medicinal purposes. The Swahili name for a pangolin is Kakakuona which directly translated means ‘brother come see’, isn’t that a wonderful name!
Andrea gazing thoughtfully at a young bull elephant passing through camp - photo by Rebecca
Elephant encounters in camp - photos by Rebecca Phillips
Around camp the elephants have been gradually gathering in the woodland and we are now seeing bull elephants in and around camp daily. We are very pleased to see the return of many of our resident bull elephants that we know and recognise such as Sikio Mbovu, Ol’jale, Charlie and Louise.
Zebra mare and foal in Ruaha - photo by Rebecca Phillips
Impala, monkeys, zebras, baboons and a couple of warthog can be found around camp seemingly undisturbed by our presence as we go about our daily lives. Jasiri, our resident female bushbuck and her now nearly fully-grown offspring are around regularly.
Leopard near Mdonya - photo by Rebecca Phillips
Other wildlife activity near camp included a male leopard (supposedly the famous Fundi) with an impala kill just past tent number 11.
Alert lioness - photo by Andrea Pompele
Magnificent male lion captured on film by Rebecca Phillips
The Mdonya lion pride have passed through camp a few times during the night and were seen feeding on a big male kudu.
Eland herd, Ruaha - photo by Rebecca Phillips
Buffalo Mum with young, Ruaha - photo by Rebecca Phillips
Among this month's grazers around the camp were a herd of eland and a big herd of buffalo that have been frequenting the Mdonya river to drink.
Ruaha safari - photo by Susy and Pasi Aithea (the camp is very spread out and there is always a Masaai on guard to let the guests know if there are animals wandering through.)
A big thank you to Julia and Lawrence Murphy who have shared with us their pictures of the serval and pangolin, and to Susy and Pasi Aithea for pictures from their safari.
written by Rebecca and Andrea, Mdonya Old River Camp, Ruaha
Guest comments from June 2017:
Our visit has been an experience of a lifetime. This is the Africa we came to see. What makes this place special are the exceptional hospitality and the food – totally unexpected. Thank you so much for the most memorable stop of our African journey. This destination is a must for any new visitor to Africa.
Meg and Carol, 04.06.17
Dear Rebecca & Andrea, and all your wonderful team.
Thank you all for your hospitality at Mdonya. It’s been an experience we will never forget, maybe one day we will return and meet with you again. Your dedication to conservation is remarkable and attention to visitors need goes without question. Keep up the good work.
Erik and Mel, 14.06.17
To all at Ruaha,
A wonderful, beautiful place with memories that will linger in our hearts for always. Magical moments, have fallen in love with Africa. Take care of this place it is one in a million that hopefully will continue to bring tears of joy to many others. With love,
Julia and Lawrence, 17.06.17
Our stay at Mdonya Old River Camp could not have been more enjoyable thanks to the enthusiasm, passion and knowledge of Andrea and Rebecca and all the team. It has been a memorable experience and the trip of a lifetime for my daughter Astrea. We hope to be back soon!
Amanda and Astrea, 18.06.17
Dear Rebecca and Andrea,
Our stay at the Mdonya Old River Camp has been an adventure we will never forget. All the sights and sounds of the bush right outside our tent. Your dedication to conservation and providing the true African Safari experience is exceptional! Thank you to you and your caring team (drivers, guides, waiters, chefs and maasai) for your time, knowledge, dedication and kindness to ensure our stay was truly memorable. A special thanks to our driver Godson and guide Henry whose passion and skill made each excursion special. Asante sana, thank you very much. We hope to return one day.
Ginny and Nick, 21.06.17