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.
ANIMALS BIG AND SMALL
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.
A STEP BACK IN TIME
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.
WHEN TO VISIT
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.