In the heart of Tanzania where the Zambezi miombo woodlands meet the Tanzanian/Kenyan savannahs, lies Ruaha National Park. This vast park, with its few camps, offers visitors an uncrowded glimpse of untouched Africa, with its huge diversity of game, birds and landscapes. It's an area known for its incredible animal sightings, including large herds of elephant and plenty of predators.
- The vast area with few camps translates into an uncrowded safari experience
- An interesting mix of habitats and wildlife species
- An elephant population numbering over 10,000
- Good predator viewing, including large lion prides
- One of the few places where you can see greater and lesser kudu together
- Incredible birdwatching with over 500 species
- A number of natural springs in the park create water sources in the dry season where game gather
Situated right in the centre of Tanzania, Ruaha National Park covers over 20,000km² of land. It is a fascinating, game-rich park that includes the Zambian miombo woodlands and the Tanzanian and Kenyan savannahs. This diversity of habitats hosts an equally diverse range of animals.
Due to its vast size, and the fact that there are not many camps in the park, Ruaha is known as one of Tanzania's best-kept secret safari spots, promising unhurried, uncrowded game viewing.
The park was established in 1910 by the Germans and was initially called Saba Game Reserve. In the late 1940s, the British took over, renaming it Rungwa Game Reserve. In 1964, it was officially renamed Ruaha National Park, after the Ruaha River. Ruvaha in the local Hehe language means 'river'. The Usangu Wildlife Management Area was included as part of the park in 2008.
Ruaha is known for its huge elephant population (estimated at over 10,000) and healthy populations of predators. Especially notable, are the large prides of lion (up to 20-strong), leopard and cheetah.
With over 500 species of bird (both seasonal and permanent), Ruaha is a birdwatcher's paradise. Again, the variety of birds is spectacular, including waterbirds and raptors from both the south and north.
Things to see and do in Ruaha National Park
- Game drives to spot the diverse game, including the Big Five
- Birdwatching, especially during the wet season (European winter, when the migratory birds are here)
- Some camps offer walking safaris to get as close to nature as possible
- Bush breakfasts or sundowners
- Fly camping; real, wild, African bush camping
- Visits to numerous historical and cultural sites in and around Ruaha
- Marvel at the Great Rift Valley which traverses the park
Best time to visit
Ruaha National Park is a typical dry season park, with the best time to see larger mammals and predators being between mid-May and December. As water becomes scarce toward the end of the dry season, the game gathers around available water sources, offering unbeatable game viewing opportunities.
During the wet season from January to April the bush becomes lush and green and many migratory birds arrive from the northern climes, making it an idyllic birdwatching paradise.
By car - Ruaha is 625km from Dar es Salaam and 130km from Iringa. Travel time depends on the traffic and state of the roads but is around nine hours from Dar.
By air - Daily scheduled flights fly into the park's two airstrips (Msembe and Jongomero) from Arusha, Dodoma, Kigoma and Dar es Salaam. Chartered flights can also be booked.
Unique Art Deco style safari tented accommodation.
Sophisticated suites are perfect for the romantically inclined seeking adventure.
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