Ruaha National Park

Ruaha is an astonishing park which can provide even the most experienced travellers with something new.

The undulating topography, glorious river and majestic trees combine to produce one of Africa’s most captivating landscapes. Since visitor numbers are quite few, it possesses a true wilderness atmosphere. Symbolized by the kudu, it  is believed to have the highest concentration of elephants than any other national park in East Africa, as well as an amazing number of carnivores (lions, hyenas, wilddogs, leopards, cheetahs, ...).

Many who know Africa’s national parks consider Ruaha to be one of the best kept secrets, listing it as their favourite.

Size and situation: 20 226 km2.

Situated in central Tanzania, Ruaha, with Usangu Game Reserve, is now Tanzania's, and even East Africa's largest park.

Landscapes: Ruaha’s scenery includes rolling hills, large open plains, groves of skeletal baobabs and, along its southern border, the wide Great Ruaha River.
Ruaha’s ecosystems represent a transition between the miombo woodlands and the more open savannah. This is evident in the park’s vegetation, which is thick in some areas and yet wide open in others.
The variation in altitude and topography has given rise to wide diversity of plants and wildlife, which is greatly enhanced by the permanent water of the Ruaha River. Enormous baobab trees are a key feature of the park, where Ruaha’s huge elephant populations relish the succulent bark of Baobab trees.

 

Wildlife: The park has over 12,000 elephants, which is the biggest population of any national park in Tanzania (Selous Game Reserve, with 55-65,000 elephants, has a larger population). The park is famous for its huge buffalo herds and its variety of antelope. Ruaha is the only east African park with both Greater and Lesser Kudu, and sable and roan antelopes.
It also offers an unusual combination of East and Southern African wildlife and birds.

It is one of the most important areas in the world for large carnivores, with 10% of the lions remaining in Africa, as well as large populations of wild dogs, cheetahs, leopards and spotted hyenas.

For birdwatchers, Ruaha’s birdlife is extraordinary, with over 450 species recorded including turaco, racquet-tailed roller, red-billet fire finch and Dickinson’s kestrel. There are six species of both vultures and hornbills, and raptors abound.


Activities:
A fine network of game-viewing roads follows the Great Ruaha and its seasonal tributaries, where, during the dry season, impala, waterbuck and other antelopes risk their life for a sip of life-sustaining water.

Fly camping can be organized through untouched bush. An early morning bird walk will let you discover the environment of the lodge’s surroundings.

Night game drives are now possible, but only from some camps (please ask us).

The visit of a traditional and authentic Maasai Boma is an activity exclusively offered at Tandala Tented Camp.

Climate: Like the rest of Southern Tanzania, Ruaha has two rainy seasons - at least in theory - although weather in Africa is just as unpredictable as anywhere else in the world.
The short rains fall in Ruaha National Park between October and late November; this is a period in which things start to turn green.
Most of the rains fall in March and April. This is the time when the sand rivers like the Mwagusi and the Mdonya are most likely to flood.

The best time to visit the Park, especially for predators and large mammals, is probably in the dry season. Although, the wet season is propitious to bird-watching, lush scenery and wildflowers while the male greater kudu is most visible in June, the breeding season.

Ruaha National Park Accommodations