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“The best wake-up eperience ever.”
Review of Ruaha River Lodge

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Ruaha River Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Varsseveld, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
68 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“The best wake-up eperience ever.”
Reviewed November 17, 2012

First impression: perfect location, nice banda's, roomy with a large bathroom and a shower giving good hot water in the evening. All day elephants are wandering around the premises. In the morning you van have coffee brought to your banda at 6:30, so you start the day sitting on your veranda watching lots of hippo's, pelicans, baboons and much more.

Breackfast is served at the table and is good with eggs-to-order, toast and fruit. Lunch buffet is quite good, dinner buffet is ok as well.

Game drives are quite good, saw kudu's really close, a nice elephant show (standing on their back legs trying to reach some high leaves) and a leopard for about 2 seconds. Despite what their website says, they don't do the walking safari anymore, as they feel the park rangers are nog qualified for this. In 2010 there were two incidents where a tourist was killed by an elephant, and a park ranger was killed by a hippo. They want to get the walking safari's organised by own professionally trained staff but that seems to take a lot of paperwork.

The lodge consists of two groups of banda's, each having an own restaurant. I think the river banda's with the lower restaurant are the best choice, as you are closer to the river. This is also the place for some pre-dinner drinks around the camp-fire. Also the steps to the the higher restaurant are quite steep.

All in all an excellent lodge with everything you could wish for during a safari.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Walter077
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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199 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (41)
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Worcester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
44 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed October 31, 2012

I made the mistake of driving from Dar es Salaam to Ruaha and would advise anybody thinking of visiting to fly, as it took 9 hours to drive. Having said that, it was was worth it when we got there. We crossed a small bridge to see a "thunder"of hippos in the river below, after several minutes of video and dozens of photographs we made our way to the lodge, passing Impala, Elephants and Giraffe on the way.
We got tout Banda overlooking the river and couldn't believe our eyes, I felt like Ace Ventura, on our verandah were lizards, squirrels and Helix and by the river were more elephants, giraffe, wart hogs, baboons, impala, meerkats, zebras, hippos and kudu, as well as more species of bird than I knew existed! It really did make us question whether we needed to go on a game drive, but of course we did and added lions and crocodiles to the above list. We could hear lion roar from the camp, which gave it a special feeling. The one thing I wou.d criticise is the lack of a pool, just a plunge pool would do, which in think the Foxes know, but after a long hot day it would be most welcome. The Banda I thought was good, the limited time to use electrical equipment ( 1830 to 2230) didn't cause us any problems as we took a 4 way gang plug to charge cameras, video cameras and phones etc.

Room Tip: I guess the grass is always greener on the other side, but the lower number Bandas seem to have the...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Grabone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wimborne Saint Giles, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed October 31, 2012

After a long drive from Dar a Salaam, the lodge was a very welcome sight and when we walked through to the reception which sits high above the river and plain our breath was taken away - this is the stuff dreams are made of! We were shown to our 'banda' which was spacious and blended in with the environment - especially liked the shower and the veranda overlooking the the river - this gave us what seemed like our own private viewing of the animals. Whilst we sat relaxing we were visited by elephants, giraffes, baboons, impala, kudu, meerkats, hippos, various birds, helix, zebras and lizards! Not sure we needed to go out on a game drive the next day.. but we did and added lions and crocodiles to the list. The bandas and communal areas are very clean and the meals well catered. All the staff were friendly and made sure we were safe and got to see as much as could on our short stay. A magical once in a lifetime visit to a wonderful national park. The only thing I would say was needed was a pool to cool off as temperatures reached 40 degrees and if you aren't used to the heat having a pool to jump into would be very welcome.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank JayneandGraham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
35 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed October 15, 2012

Spent two nights here on a recent safari to Tanzania. Had read many reports and also had it first hand that we might be in for something special.
Wrong.
We were met at the airport and transfred to the lodge. On arrival greeted and given the run down of the camp. However all the rooms were along the Ruaha River and we drew the short straw and had the second last cabin. It was at least 500-700 metres from the dining room. Not only that but the path to the room was in bull dust.The room was very large but very outdated. The shower was serviced by solar hot water but on all occasions was luke warm to say the least.
I had to use stones from the outside path to hold both the front and bathroom door opened.
The Elephants were struggling for food and wandered through the camp day and night.
The only highlight animal wisw that we did mange to track down a cheetah and three well grown cubs.
I think that it would have been better at anothetr time of the year.

Room Tip: When booking request a room that is in close proxcimity to the main dining area.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank horse6633
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manningtree, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
67 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed October 11, 2012

In almost every respect, the Ruaha River Lodge is the perfect base for a safari holiday.
Its location deep inside the Ruaha National Park gets you right up close and personal with a huge number of animals who wander right by your cottage daily on the way to and from the river to drink.
We sat quietly on our veranda watching breathlessly as elephant, zebra, giraffe, impala, hippo, crocodiles, baboons and a huge variety of birds played out their own domestic dramas in front of us.
At any time in the day, the animals have no fear in walking through the camp - which means yoiu do have to keep your wits about you.
We arrived at the Ruaha after a four day safari in the Selous Game Reserve, and on the 45 minute drive to the camp from the airstrip we counted 95 elephants...many of which caused us to stop the transport as they walked slowly across in front of us.
Greg, the camp manager when we were there at the end of September, was helpful, attentive, and worked out how we could get the best of our three days.
Meshak, our guide, and Ndanzi our driver, were absolutely brilliant. They went out of their way to ensure we saw lions, leopard and cheetah on our all day game drives - and the bush lunches out in the park were fantastic.
I said at the beginning the Ruaha River Lodge was perfect in almost every respect. Sadly, what stopped it being a perfect ten was the standard of service in the dining lodge. While I am sure they were trying their best, the team of waiters worked as though it was their first time in a dining room.
But don't get me wrong...slow and frustratingly poor srvice in a dining room could never take away the breathtaking setting, the close encounters with the animals, or the tru enthusiasm and knowledge of the guides and drivers.
I would recommend this camp to anyone thinking of a safari...and I would recommend a swift training course for the waiting staff.

Room Tip: All of the bandas sit facing the river, but the closer to the central lodge the better
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Dick L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cascais, Portugal
Level Contributor
40 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed October 9, 2012

Went there in the end of August and loved it. Amazing location and amazing scenary.
All bandas face the river and we stayed next to the restaurant. Everyday there were elephants by our door. In the top restaurant you have an impresive view of the river and all the wildlife that comes there.
The bandas are excellent with a hudge bathroom and a big balcony to watch the game.
Game safaris were incredible.
All staff and guides are incredibly nice. Great food always with an amazing view.
One of the best places to stay. Amazing!!!!!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Vera S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scottsdale, Arizona
Level Contributor
238 reviews
78 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 182 helpful votes
Reviewed September 14, 2012

We stayed at the Ruaha River camp for a week in August and would highly recommend it to anyone going to the Ruaha. We had stayed there previously in 2007 and had thought it was wonderful. All of the things that were great about it before are still great. The location is superb. From your porch you can watch elephants, impalas, giraffe, as well as hippos. In fact, one afternoon we had 2 elephants eye to eye while we were sitting on our porch. The stone bandas are large and have good cross ventilation. Nice bathrooms with running hot and cold water, as well as flush toilets. The laundry service is also terrific. Same day with everything coming back ironed! And, there is no additional charge for the laundry service. Another terrific service is that someone will bring coffee to your banda at 6:30 am (you sign up in the dining banda the night before) so that you can have coffee before breakfast.

Greg, the camp manager, and Mette do a fantastic job of making sure that everything runs smoothly. Greg is at every meal to greet people. He also was at the car park when people left for the game drives and when they returned.

The Ruaha River Lodge is everything a safari lodhe should be.

Room Tip: We stayed at a river banda and I would recommend asking for one of those. We had number 13 which is...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank jscottjoplin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ruaha River Lodge

Property: Ruaha River Lodge
Address: Ruaha National Park, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Iringa Region > Ruaha National Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Ruaha National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Ruaha River Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 118
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Also Known As:
Ruaha River Hotel Ruaha National Park

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