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Ruaha National Park

The Rolling River Sets the Pace
Part of the largest protected area in Africa this elephant lovers paradise framed by beautiful nature and the picturesque Ruaha River.

BEST FOR

swamp

RIVERSIDE ADVENTURES

Part of the largest protected area in Africa this elephant lovers paradise framed by beautiful nature and the picturesque Ruaha River.
Our Rating of Ruaha National Park
  • Remoteness 75% 75%
  • Family 75% 75%
  • Animal Viewing 75% 75%
  • Landscape 95% 95%
  • Flora 95% 95%
  • Birding 80% 80%

Our Rating Of Ruaha National Park

%

Ruaha National Park

Part of the largest protected area in Africa this elephant lovers paradise framed by beautiful nature and the picturesque Ruaha River.

BEST FOR

swamp

RIVERSIDE ADVENTURES

The Rolling River Sets The Pace

  • Remoteness 75% 75%
  • Family 75% 75%
  • Animal Viewing 75% 75%
  • Landscape 95% 95%
  • Flora 95% 95%
  • Birding 80% 80%

Our Rating Of Ruaha National Park

%

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Ruaha National Park

Ruaha national park is one of Tanzania’s famous wilderness areas where one can have a rare experience – a combintation of amazing wildlife viewing, low visitor numbers and some of the most intoxicating Tanzanian landscapes.

The flora and fauna of the park is varied and plentiful  and animals such as Greater Kudu (Tragelaphus  strepsiceros) which can not be found in any other national park in Tanzania. 

Stark and untouched wilderness is at the very heart of Africa’s allure, the Ruaha National Park delivers the dream of swollen river banks, Great Plains and vast rugged terrain without compromise. Here you can watch the elephants digging in the sand banks, see the herds sip water from the overflowing natural springs and witness the playful lion cubs tumble in the sun.

The Great Ruaha River winds through the rich landscape providing a life source for all animals’ great and small. Crocodiles soak in the muddy banks, hippos watch from the depths with yellow slit eyes and silver fish dive to break the surface.

Yet it’s not only river animals that merge on the banks in Ruaha National Park, surrounding the river lands wild dogs roam the plains, Sable antelope dart in and out the woodlands and snakes wrap around the branches of the remarkable silver Baobab trees.

When the sunset flames in the sky the park seems to come alive with scuttling lizards, the trumpeting of elephants and the wild calls from the big cats as they ready for a nights hunt.

In 2008 the Usangu Game reserve merged its borders with Ruaha transforming it into Tanzania’s largest national park; it now covers more than 20,000km². Despite the size of the park there are still only a handful of camps found here, which has built Ruaha’s reputation as Tanzania’s best kept game viewing secret. 

Our Top Tips For Ruaha National Park
  • Close to Dar es Salaam and easily accessible.
  • Nearby Udzungwa mountains can be reached in the same safari trip.
  • Safari driving tours
  • Can be part of wider Selous or Ruaha safari trip.
  • One of the best places in East Africa to encounter wild dogs
  • Unusual antelope species like greater kudu, roan and sable antelopes
  • Very exclusive and doesn’t get crowded
  • Long and short wilderness walking safaris with picnic and bush meals.
  • Pretty much everything you want to see in a Tanzanian safari.

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Accommodation In Ruaha National Park

CAMPSITES

LODGES

TENTED CAMPS

3

1

5

Accommodation In Ruaha National Park

CAMPSITES

3

LODGES

1

TENTED CAMPS

5

Flora & Fauna In Ruaha National Park

Thanks to the undulated wilderness and abundance of water, Ruaha National Park is home to a vast variety of species. With over 500 bird species, the air is alive with the beating of wings and vibrant song. The red billed hornbill is a spectacular local species native to this very area. When the rains sweep the skies during the wet season the birds swoop down to perch on branches, catch fish in the rivers and call for mates.

The river boasts a spectacular range of reptiles, from slippery crocodiles snapping their jaws to large turtles that drop in the water with a gentle plop. Frogs strike up a chorus as the stars begin to glisten in the sky and snakes slither across the ground. Plenty of hot blooded creatures prowl these plains, from salivating African wild dogs to sprinting cheetahs. One of the parks biggest allures is the staggering herds of elephants that roam the riverbanks, bathing in the soft mud and hosing each other down in the baking sun. Be sure to catch a glimpse of the magnificent Sable antelopes with their curved horns and impressive stature.

If the ancient fauna and flora doesn’t make you feel like you have stepped into the land of the lost then perhaps the historical significance that surround this park will excite and inspire. The Ruaha National Park is part of the trading route taken by the Arab Caravans back in 1830. They took this very route through the National Park en route to Zanzibar, their wagons loaded with guns and leather which they hoped to trade for silk and spice.

This is also the land of Chief Mkwawa, leader of the fierce tribe that battled the German invasion in the late 19th century. Whilst this beautiful ancient land is stained with blood many believe the landscape holds the secrets of the great and the brave Chief Mkwawa.

Ruaha really has it all. Aside from rhino, all major safari animals are present in good numbers. Lions tend to live in large prides of sometimes more than 20 individuals. To feed themselves, they often attack big animals like buffalo. Ruaha has an unusually high diversity of antelopes, including many of the rarer species like lesser kuduroan and sable antelopes. The male Kudu have beautiful spiralled horns while male Sable antelope have impressive curved horns. Ruaha is also believed to have one of the highest concentration of elephants of any national park in East Africa.

Ruaha genuinely feels wilder than any of the parks in the North of Tanzania, but its real claim to fame are the wild dog packs, which are seen quite easily. There are only a handful of places where these charismatic pack animals are easily observed and Ruaha is one of the best.

Ruaha is also home to the largest population of greater kudu in East Africa.

In terms of vegetation, Ruaha National Park is characterized by semi-arid type of grassland with baobab trees, Acacia and other species populating it. There are over 1650 plant species that have been identified. The park is the transitional point of two vegetation zones, the Zambezian (characterized by Miombo vegetation) and Sudanian (characterized by Acacia vegetation).

Apart from large animals, the park also harbors a number of reptiles and amphibians such as crocodiles, poisonous and non-poisonous snakes, monitor lizards, agama lizards and frogs. The Great Ruaha and Mzombe rivers are presumably the most preferred habitat for crocodiles.

For birdlife, Ruaha National Park is famed as one of Tanzania’s bird paradises with more than 571 species recorded and some of them are known to be migrants from within and outside Africa. Migrating species from Europe, Asia, Australian rim and Madagascar have been recorded in the park. Species of interest in the park include Ruaha red-billed hornbill (Tokus ruahae) which is dominant in the area. The recently annexed wetland, the Usangu basin is one of the country’s important bird area (IBA) as recognized by Birdlife International. Though birds can be seen all the year around, the best time for bird watching is during the wet season.

DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENTS YOU WILL EXPERIENCE

RIVERSIDE

MIOMBO

 

Location Of Ruaha National Park
Ruaha National Park is located in the Southern safari circuit area of Tanzania. Most safaris to Ruaha National Park embark from Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam, probably via charter flight to the Ruaha air strip. In fact, Dar is a great place to relax before and after your trip to the Ruaha Park. Chartered flights can also be arranged from Arusha and other regional airports such as the Selous Game Reserve airstrip, about 90 mins flight away. There are both scheduled and chartered flights into the park mainly from Arusha, Dodoma, Kigoma and Dar-es-salaam.

 Ruaha’s entrance gate is reachable by car in a 130km drive from Iringa town and 625km from Dar-es-Salaam. The road into the park is passable throughout the year.

The climate in Ruaha National Park can vary from hot and humid to very dry. The dry season runs from May through until December and this is prime time for glimpsing the numerous packs of lions and other big game mammals. It is at this time you can observe the elephants digging the banks for water.

However when the sky changes from blue to black and the rainy season floods in the park springs to life with beautiful blooming flowers, the birds descend from the trees and the Greater Kudu come out in full flourish to start the mating season.

Fun Facts About Ruaha National Park

 

 Total Land Area

Elevation above sea level

Nearest Major City & Airport

When To Visit

10,300 sq km About the same size as Lebanon

750 -1830m

About 333 stacked giraffes

DAR
About 630 km East
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec 

 

Fun Facts About Ruaha National Park

 Total Land Area

10,300 sq km About the same size as Lebanon

Elevation above sea level

750 -1830m

About 333 stacked giraffes

Nearest Major City & Airport

DAR
About 630 km East

When To Visit

Jan Feb Mar Apr May  Jun
Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec 

 

Infographic Of Ruaha National Park

Safaris In Ruaha National Park

This is usually in a large vehicle with space for up to 8 guests.

  • Can decrease prices a lot especially for groups less than 3.
  • Great opportunity to meet other people from around the world.
  • You have separate rooms but the benefit of good company during transfers and meals.

View Shared Safaris

This is a private vehicle allowing you complete freedom.

  • You can decide on when you want to start & end your safari day.
  • Complete freedom – stop when & for how long you want.
  • Recommended for specialist photographers, honeymooners and families

View Private Safaris

Safaris In Ruaha National Park

This is usually in a large vehicle with space for up to 8 guests.

  • Can decrease prices a lot especially for groups less than 3.
  • Great opportunity to meet other people from around the world.
  • You have separate rooms but the benefit of good company during transfers and meals.

View Shared Safaris

This is a private vehicle allowing you complete freedom.

  • You can decide on when you want to start & end your safari day.
  • Complete freedom – stop when & for how long you want.
  • Recommended for specialist photographers, honeymooners and families

View Private Safaris

Be Inspired To Visit Ruaha National Park
What To Do In Ruaha National Park

WALKING SAFARIS

BIRD WATCHING

GAME DRIVES

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Read More About Ruaha National Park