Ruaha River Lodge
Located appx 45mins drive upstream from Msembe on the banks of the Ruaha River and amongst rocky kopjes.
It is the only Lodge in Ruaha consisting of 24 private chalets (or bandas) stretching along the Ruaha river bank.
Each banda has panoramic views up and down the river from a large veranda. The spacious interiors with high thatch ceilings have a lounge, writing desk and either twin or double beds with mosquito nets.
At the rear of each banda is a large bathroom with twin basins and shower, heated by solar power and decorated with timber and stone.
In the middle of the bandas is the river side dining area and bar which you will be accompanied to by a Masai guide as Elephant, hippo and lion do walk through the grounds of the River Lodge.
Breakfast is the perfect time to watch the game coming to drink from the river and if one spends the afternoon relaxing at their banda there is no need to go on a game drive as wildlife a plenty will also come and drink from the river.
A troop of baboons, a herd of elephant, some impala, maybe a kudu, some water buck and giraffe are all likely to come and drink within meters of your banda. Not forgetting the resident hippos and (fortunately) small crocodiles who wallow in the deeper pools near the elevated restaurant and bar on the top of the granite kopje.
And listen to the sounds of the wild African night. Before and during the rains a chorus of frogs and cicadas broken by the cry of a jackal or the howl of a hyena and possibly the distant roar of a lion. Just hope that the hippos aren’t in a territorial mode, then you might need ear plugs!
The Game Drives
Guests may choose to either go out with their driver and guide in their specially converted 4WD jeep or landrover for a full day Safari or two half days and returning for lunch at the River Lodge.
The full day safari allows more distance to be driven from the River Lodge and the chance to visit different areas of the park such as the Mwagusi or Mdonya sand rivers. The two half day Safaris allow for a siesta after lunch or the chance to watch the wildlife from your banda before heading out for the evening drive.
It is a Park requirement that all game drives must return before nightfall at appx 1830hrs but as the day cools after 16hrs there is more chance to see wildlife that has been lying up in the shade during the heat of the day, especially lion and leopards. Similarly an even better time to see the carnivores is soon after dawn as they return from their nights hunting.
No two game drives are the same, even if the same route is driven more than once. The wildlife is constantly moving to and from their source of water and food. And when not watching the wildlife look in the trees and in the sky. Eagles and vultures floating on thermals and vividly coloured lilac breasted rollers and bee eaters may be perched on a branch next to your vehicle.
And even if nothing is moving during the heat of the day the park has a great variety of landscapes from the granite kopjes and hills of Kamilamatonge to the palm fringed sand rivers of the Mwagusi and Mdonya. The giant Baobab forests and the savanna near the Ruaha river are all a photographers dream in the ever changing light.
Your guide and driver will have years of experience in spotting wildlife and ensuring your safety. And he will be a wealth of knowledge, don’t be shy to ask any questions about the park and its wildlife.
The Staff of the River Lodge are often away from their families for months at a time and although paid normal wages do appreciate any tips given.
The service on my many visits to the River lodge has always been friendly and always excellent. As for the guides, they are legends.