Ruaha National ParkThe Ruaha National Park is one of the largest in Tanzania famous for its safaris. The park is spread over an area of around 12,950 sq km. Though it was created as long back as 1910 but it was always a part of some other adjoining game reserve. It was only in 1964 that the present boundaries of the Park were demarcated and it was given the name Ruaha National Park after the great Ruaha River that flows through the park. It is located at a distance of about 128 km from the central Tanzanian city of Iringa on the western side. The road from Iringa to Ruaha is an all weather road but it is a ten hour ride that can leave you with a sore back. Therefore for people travelling from Dar es Salaam it is advisable to take the aerial route to the park that takes only about one and a half hour.The park has a beautiful landscape that spreads around the river Ruaha and in particular the watershed between the rivers of Ruaha and Nzombe. Along this, is the large stretches of the woodlands comprising of mainly miombo, baobab and combertum trees. Towards the end the thinning woodlands have the acacia trees as well. The entire park has many plains that have vegetation ranging from areas of only dry bushes to the vast grasslands minus the trees. Swamps and evergreen forests are ever present with many sand rivers intersecting them. This makes for a very ripe setting for the growth of innumerable species of flora and fauna and this is exactly what one finds here. In fact, being a transitional area it is home to the flora and fauna of the eastern as well as the southern region of the wild ecosystem. Therefore the number of plant species in the park crosses over 1650. The park is a fantastic place to spend a holiday or go for a vacation trip as it has the drama of the daily lives of the animals on clear display along the banks of the river. These scenes are really a treat for the eye when one sees these animals fighting, feeding and mating freely in their natural wild habitats.Amongst the animal population the most prominent in the park are the elephants and the buffaloes along with herds of antelopes, kudus, lions, leopards, African hunting dogs, zebras and giraffes. The park is often called the giraffe park because of the presence of over 8000 Masai Giraffes and the other animal which is present in large numbers is the elephant which frequently roam the plains and have been numbered at about 10,000. In fact is one of the largest gatherings of elephants in Africa. The African hinting dog, which has been classified as an endangered species is commonly visible here as compared to any other Tanzania safari. Apart from the animals there are more than 456 species of birds that are found in the Ruaha national park making it a paradise for birdwatchers. Most of the birds are migratory and can be seen during migration seasons. The variety consists of many like the white stork, open billed and the yellow billed storks, goliath heron, whydah, Egyptian geese etc. And amongst the resident birds the prominent ones are the hornbills, kingfishers and the sunbirds.The visiting time of the safaris should be planned according to the interest; if the safari is meant to witness the animals of Africa then the period suitable would be May-Nov, whereas if the tour is meant to see the birds then the advisable period would be Dec-Apr.
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