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Mdonya Old River Camp, Ruaha National Park

Mdonya Old River Camp

Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

Mdonya Old River Camp is a traditional safari camp situated close to Mdonya Falls in Ruaha National Park. Lit by candles and kerosene lanterns, it has a warm, rustic atmosphere harking back to the early days of safaris. Its position next to a dry riverbed means that wildlife sightings from the camp are common, with animals such as elephant, buffalo and antelope using the sand river as a corridor.

The dining and lounge tents lie in the shade of fig trees and offer comfortable seating, while the open-air campfire provides an atmospheric setting for sharing sundowners to the sound of crickets and the distant roars of lion.


Mdonya is a simple, wild camp, but we think that’s part of the appeal. It will suit anyone looking for an authentic safari without the frills and who don’t mind animals passing through the camp.


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The tents are set beneath large sycamore trees on the banks of the sand river. They’ve maintained the feel of those used during original explorations of Tanzania, lit by candlelight and featuring en suite bathrooms with open-air solar heated showers and flush toilets. Simple but comfortable, they’re each furnished with double or twin beds veiled by mosquito nets, as well as private verandas where you can sit back and observe the passing wildlife. They’re also equipped with a wardrobe, writing table and lockable chest. Torches, candles, matches and drinking water are provided.


The camp is located in the western side of Ruaha National Park, which is Tanzania’s second largest game park. Mdonya Falls is just a few kilometers away, and the airstrip is a one to two-hour game drive away. The park is home to good populations of cheetah, lion, leopard, giraffe, elephant, hippo, buffalo and a variety of birdlife.

Food and drink

Dinners are eaten outside beside a campfire, with many dishes prepared using a wood-fired oven, including pizza. When out on safari you can enjoy bush breakfasts and lunches, allowing you to explore further during the day without the need to return to camp. Sundowners can also be enjoyed while out in the bush or around the campfire in the evening.


The camp welcomes children aged six years and over. Some of the tents can have an extra tent room added on the veranda to accommodate families. As the camp is unfenced, children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Facilities and activities

In the lounge you can enjoy tea and coffee while browsing wildlife books, or you can relax on the veranda with a pair of binoculars while looking out for wildlife. The full and half-day game drives are flexible to each guest and allow you to explore a variety of ecosystems, from forests and rivers to open grasslands; home to a diverse range of wildlife.

Environmental and social responsibility

The camp supports the Ruaha Conservation Fund, selling maps and t-shirts to raise funds for the cause, which works with local communities to ensure they see benefits from the area’s tourism, which in turn secures the long-term future of the wildlife.

Solar power is used for electricity and heating water, and rechargeable batteries are used to reduce waste. The wood-fired oven uses sustainably-sourced logs so as not to contribute to deforestation in the park, and ingredients are freshly produced in the local area to avoid long distance transportation.

Location & places nearby

Places & hotels on the map

    Alternative places to stay nearby

    Where possible, we like to offer a range of accommodation for each stop of your trip, chosen by our specialists as some of their favorite places to stay. To help you make the right choice, we give each property a rating based on its facilities and service, but we also look for hotels with distinct character or a location that can't be bettered.

    Experiences while staying here

    The following activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences of the area where you're staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident's eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can also suggest outdoor pursuits and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the traditions of the area's inhabitants.

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    Ruaha National Park and nearby places