Welcome To Ruaha National ParkPart of the largest protected area in Africa this elephant lovers paradise framed by beautiful nature and the picturesque Ruaha River.
Ruaha National Park
Ruaha national park is one of Tanzania’s famous wilderness areas where one can have a rare experience of game viewing spiced up by the fascinating landscape. The park is rich of plants and animals such as Greater Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) which can not be found in any other national park. The park boasts an almost untouched and unexplored ecosystem, making visitors’ safari experiences very unique. Often overlooked for the more famous Serengethi or Ngorongor parks in the North, Ruaha offers the hidden beauty of the Southern circuit.
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. Ruaha’s wild and untrammelled feel is what sets it apart from other reserves, making it a popular choice for regular east African safari goers.
Ruaha is well known for its varied dramatic scenery, which includes rolling hills; large open plains; groves of skeletal baobabs and, along its southern border, the Great Ruaha River, from which the park gets its name. This is by far the most dominant geographical feature of the national park and, for the wildlife it is the most important. Ruaha has a hot, dry climate which means the animals don’t tend to stray too far from dependable water sources. This makes predicating game movements far easier particularly in the dry season.
In the pick of dry season, elephants obtain water from dry sand rivers using their front feet and trunks. The remaining water falls along the Great Ruaha River are also important habitat for hippopotamus, fish and crocodiles.
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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Ruaha National Park Flora & Fauna
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 kudu, roan 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.
Ruaha National Park Location & Map
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.
Ruaha National Park has a bimodal pattern of rain forest; the short rainfall season begins November to February, while the long season is between March and April. The annual mean rainfall ranges between 500mm-800mm. The park experiences its dry season between June and October when the temperature at Msembe headquarter reaches 35c.
The middle and end of the dry season (June to October) is the prime time for watching wildlife in Ruaha National Park. Animals are easier to spot because the bush thins out and wildlife concentrates around trusted water sources.
Fast Facts On Ruaha National Park
Total Land Area
10,300 sq km About the same size as Lebanon
Elevation above sea level
About 333 stacked giraffes
Nearest Major City & Airport
About 632 km East
When To Visit Ruaha National Park
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
Mikumi National Park
Ruaha National Park
Selous National Park
Udzungwa Mountains National Park
Saadani National Park
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