Ruaha River Lodge

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When landing at the airstrip in Ruaha National Park we saw elephants, giraffes and zebras on our way down.

It was the most breathtaking landing that we have ever experienced (on the positive side!).

The transfer to the Ruaha River Lodge took about 40 minutes (40 beautiful minutes!). We were welcomed on arrival by Mette (the site manager from Denmark).

Mette was fully updated on the fact that one in our family had special needs regarding food (gluten free) and that was managed by the lodge in a very good way during our stay.

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When the flight landed there were elephants, giraffe and zebra in abundance near the landing strip.

On exiting the plane, we spotted a lioness about 50 yards away. Within 10 minutes she had chased a zebra, catching it by the flanks but it got away.

A pretty good start to our safari!

We were amazed at how lush and green everywhere was, it was a very pretty location. The lodge itself was in a lovely setting right next to the river.

Our banda, no 16a, was perfectly located to watch hippos playing right outside in the river in the morning. We also had a family of squirrels living on the balcony which afforded much amusement.

The banda itself was very spacious although I thought the shower floor was a bit unpleasant.

It was made from rough uneven stones so the water puddled and didn't always drain away and I'm not convinced it was ever give a good scrub to swill away any dirt.

The only other negative was the lack of electricity - it was only on from 6pm - 10pm during our stay.

Enough to recharge batteries but that was about it. You WILL need a torch! Other than that it was great.

Oh yes, you won't sleep because the hippos make a lot of noise - but hey - you go on safari to be near the animals!

Food was plentiful and there was always a good section of vegetables.

There was a wide range of drinks available and from memory I think they wine was all $20 a bottle, and about $4 a glass.

Lunches concerned me slightly - again, plenty of food, nicely cooked but not refrigerated and it was all kept on the jeep in tupperware boxes which were hot and sweaty (it was about 33 degrees in the sun while we were there) by the time we stopped to eat.

We both ended up with a stomach upset one night but nothing too bad. Strangely, the drinks on the jeep were always chilled!!

The game drives were fun although my only comment would be that on our first drive (an evening one) we sometimes felt a bit rushed - once we'd seen the animals and taken a photo the guides seemed to think that was all that was required and we zoomed off to see what else we could find. We always went out with other people but this wan't a problem.

We did 2 full day drives with Frank who was very knowledgeable and on these trips we saw a lot of different things, including a bull elephant who chased the vehicle - rather scary but an experience that you don't get every day!!!

We saw a lot of animals, the scenery was stunning, the main lodge was a great place to have a drink in the early evening and to catch up on what all the other guests had seen that day.

I would recommend this place, particularly if you also visit Selous for a contrasting area.

Just one other thing to mention - although you are told that there is a staff tip box at the lodge, it's worth bearing in mind that generally the Game Drive Guides and Drivers should be tipped separately. We didn't realise this at first because it wasn't made very clear to us!

Ruaha River Lodge is one of the best lodges in Ruah National Park Tanzania. This River Lodge is also an enclave of the Fox family, who have been living in the area for generations.

This larger and older lodge was the first property in Ruaha and has become something of an institution in the park.

The camp has 20 rooms, split into three smaller sub-camps, with a main central area, site of one of the camps.

Ruaha Lodge is a solid, dependable camp that offers a reliably cheaper option for visitors to Ruaha, with good food, good guiding and good wildlife, all the ingredients of a good safari experience.

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