Ruaha national Park is Tanzania’s 2nd largest national park occupying an area of approximately 10,300sqkms. The park lies west of Iringa town within a greater ecosystem, five times larger, embracing 6 other protected areas. Like Katavi, Ruaha is another best-kept game viewing secret of Tanzania offering abundant wildlife and pristine wilderness. It is an excellent park for predators. Lions are numerous, habituated and prides are large in numbers. Most of the large predators, including the rare cheetah and African wild dog are found here. Ungulates are also in large numbers including some species not common to the northern circuit such as greater kudu, roan and sable. The most significant geographical landmark at the park is the Great Ruaha River, which follows the southeast boundary for 160km. This river is the lifeline of the park and provides a spectacle to tourists with great sights of wildlife coming down to it for drinking water.
Ruaha’s vegetation is transitional to southern miombo and eastern savannah consisting of a wide variety of habitats such as riparian forest along the watercourses, swamps, grassland and acacia woodland. Baobabs are present in large numbers in some parts of the park. Brachystegia woodland is however the dominant vegetation.
Concentration of Game
Ruaha national park has an abundant wildlife population. Both predators and ungulates are numerous and encountered frequently during game drives. It has got the highest elephant population amongst the parks in Tanzania.The park provides a good opportunity of viewing the rare species of cheetah and wild dog. Other predators include lion, leopard, black-backed jackal and hyena. Prominent ungulate species include zebras, eland, impala, buffalo, waterbuck, giraffe, lesser kudu, roan, sable and Grant’s gazelle. Most spectacular of all, perhaps, are the handsome horned males of the greater kudu.
With over 450 species recorded, Ruaha also offers an interesting birdlife. Varieties include a mix of both southern and northern species. Some of the prominent species include: black-collared lovebird, ashy starlings and crested barbet. Raptors include: bateleur, fish eagle and Eleanora’s falcon. The watercourses support a lot water bird variety.
Best time to visit
Ruaha national park is open throughout the year but the best time to visit is between July and November, this is when the animals concentrate around the river. Some internal roads may be impassable during the rainy season.
Game walks with armed rangers are also provided besides the usual game drives.
The most straightforward way of getting to Ruaha is by flying. There are scheduled shared charters operating out of Arusha, Seronera, Selous and Dar es Salaam. The other option would be driving via Iringa, but due to the distance involved, this would not be a very convenient option.
Ruaha is such a vast, interesting and wild park containing a significant variety of wildlife, we suggest you spend at least 3 nights for optimum viewing.
Our Recommendations on Ruaha National Park
Ruaha is one of the most significant national park in the southern circuit, offering great wildlife and pristine wilderness. It will definitely be a perfect extension to your northern circuit safari. Though slightly expensive but worth every extra penny spent.
Customized Itineraries are also available upon request.
Please contact us for a perfect, well-organized and affordable tour of this beautiful park.