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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.
Download Ruaha National Park Guide

BEST FOR

HOT AIR BALLOON SAFARIS

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%
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BEST FOR

ACCESIBILITY

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%

The Rolling River Sets the Pace

[saswp-reviews id="41454"]
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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 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.

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.

DOWNLOAD OUR TANZANIA SAFARI GUIDE

Full of useful information about planning your Tanzania Safari

Find Out More About Ruaha National Park

when to go on a tanzanian safari

Shared Safaris To 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

private tanzania safari

Private Safaris To Ruaha National Park

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

CAMP SITES

3

SAFARI LODGES

1

LUXURY CAMPS

5

WALKING SAFARI

BIRD WATCHING

GAME DRIVES

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 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.

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 kuduroan and sable antelopes.

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.

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).

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.

SWAMP

SAVVANAH

MIOMBO

Ruaha National Park Location

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.

 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 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.

Ruaha National Park Location

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.

Ruaha National Park Map

 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 632 km East

When To Visit Ruaha National Park

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun

Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec

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Pictures From Ruaha National Park

Read More About Ruaha National Park

Click On The Articles Below To Find Out More Details About The Park
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