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Ruaha National Park Tanzania

The Ruaha National Park can be found in the very heart of Tanzania and is one of the best places to go on a Tanzania Safari. Part of the Southern circuit, Ruaha National Park is notorious difficult to get to and because of this, it has seen fewer tourists visiting compared to the Selous Park and any of the safari parks on the Northern circuit.

What makes the Ruaha National Park worth visiting?

Because of its inaccessibility, visiting the Ruaha National Park becomes a matter of weighing the cons of actually making the journey to the park against the pros of what you experience whilst there. But for those who want to truly experience the wild natural beauty of Tanzania on safari, then Ruaha is the park that must be visited. With rocky escarpments and baobab trees scattered across the wild and untamed landscape, there very few lodges and Ruaha offers one of the best opportunities to see game in all of Tanzania, though it doesn’t offer any boating safari tours.

What animals can you see on a Ruaha Safari?

Ruaha is also one of the best value Tanzania Safaris that you will come across as the park is gigantic and largely untouched so you can see a wide variety of game in their natural habitat, knowing it hasn’t been tampered with.

There are lots of predators to be seen on a Ruaha Tanzania Safari. The Mwagusi area boasts a lion viewing experience that is far better than any you will find on the Southern circuit and you can also see leopards, cheetahs as well as packs of wild dogs and hyenas roaming across the landscape.

Predators are not the only creatures living in the Ruaha National Park, if you want to see herds of elephants and buffalo that can be seen throughout the park, but there are lot of other animals that come from the eastern and southern Africa that inhabit Ruaha such as zebras, defassa waterbucks, impalas, giraffes, Grant’s gazelles, and the greater and lesser kudu.

Ruaha is also home to a myriad of different species of bird, with over 500 varieties calling this Tanzania Safari zone home. You will also be able to see roan, sable and hartebeest if you explore the landscape for long enough.

What activities are there in the Ruaha National Safari Park?

Because Ruaha is a much wilder Tanzania Safari experience than you will find in any of the other parks, night safaris are strictly prohibited. The main activity offered by the Ruaha National Park is daytime game driving, though it should be noted, that due to the large numbers of elephants in Ruaha, some of the camps have elected to not operate walking safaris. There are three that do if you are Kwihala, Jongomero and Kigelia and have friendly and knowledgeable guides that will happily guide guests on walking safaris.

There is only one camp within Ruaha National Safari Park that operates fly camping trips, where you can enjoy the thrill of adventure not  only exploring the beauty of the park but nights out under the stars and rates as one of the best fly camping trips in all of Africa.

When is the best time to go on a Tanzania Safari in Ruaha?

One concern that many have about going on safari in Tanzania is the number of people that will be in the park at the same time. However, if you choose to go Ruaha out of season, you are almost certain not to see any other living souls.

The Ruaha National Park is a classic dry season park. This means that the park will have a dry season where the water whole and rivers start to dry up. If you are planning to go out on a Tanzania Safari, then it is important to know that in Ruaha the best time to see game is towards the end of the season. This is due to the limited supply of water meaning that the game concentrates around what little water there is.

This being said, Ruaha is a fantastic Tanzania Safari at any point during the season. If you are particularly interested in seeing a large number of birds as well as predators and other creatures of the plains, then between December and March is the best time to visit.

Where is the best place to stay on Tanzania Safari in Ruaha?

When it comes to accommodation in Ruaha National Park, there are decidedly few camps to choose from, especially compared to other parks on the Southern and Northern circuits. This is due in part to the number of visitors that frequent the park and also the largely unspoilt nature of Ruaha.

The accommodation that it does provide, however, is absolutely outstanding. There are a handful of different camps which are suited to different budgets and offer varying levels of luxury.

The best camp, according to those that have visited the park, is Mwagusi, then there is the Kwihala Camp that is more expensive but does have some extremely knowledgeable guides. Jongomero is another highly rated and costly camp that you can stay in when visiting Ruaha and is the only camp that offers fly camping trips as well as a swimming pool. The Ruaha River Lodge is the most rustic and cheapest place to stay when on a Tanzania Safari in Ruaha National Park.

Another cheaper option for those who are looking for a much more basic and earthy experience of Ruaha National Park is the Mdonya Old River Camp. Arguably the best value for money, it consists of 11 Meru-style safari tents and can be found in the southern area of the park, but slightly further north that Kigelia and Mwagusi. The main area of the camp is open on all sides with a large khaki canvas roof that creates a canopy over a bookshelf, some cabinets and a number of armchairs. This area offers a breathtaking experience as elephants, buffalo, impalas, zebras, Grant’s gazelles and other animals have been known to walk by. The Mydonya Old River Camp doesn’t have electricity, instead it is lit by candles and lanterns, creating a wonderful atmosphere in the evenings.

Finally there is Kigelia, which is by far the most expensive and luxurious camp in Ruaha. However, the price you pay for a Tanzania Safari here not only includes the luxurious tents that you sleep in, but one of the most intensive and unique experiences of Tanzania Safari in the park. The camp is found the south eastern area of Ruaha and is 45 minutes away from the Msembe airstrip and the Mwagusi Camp, its closest neighbour, is around half an hour away. Accommodation is limited to only six tents which come complete with bathrooms that contain flushing toilets, outdoor bucket showers, but no running water in the sinks. Food is served out on the plains, in the river bed under the stars and there is always the option of a nightcap around the campfire before you turn in for the night.