Ruaha National Park

Ruaha national park is under the management of Tanzania National parks Authority as the largest protected park in Tanzania near Iringa city with a land size of 20,226 square kilometers after adding up Usangu national reserve and some of the important wetlands it was named after River Ruaha that traverse the park attracting several wildlife species thus providing the best wildlife viewing spot. Ruaha national park started as a game reserve then changed to national park in 1964 to protect several species of fauna and flora including primates, mammals which include a large population of elephants, birds, butterflies and its stunning ecosystem.

Tourist attractions in Ruaha national park

Mammals: Being the largest park in East Africa, Ruaha national park thrills with several mammals including those seen occasion mammals, rare mammals and common mammals including Elephant, Giraffe, Hippo, Buffalo, Zebra, Wildebeest, White Rhino, Black Rhino, Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Hyena, Wild Dog, greater kudu, antelope, lesser kudu, antelopes and many more seen while on wildlife viewing adventure in Ruaha national park.

Birds: Ruaha national park is a home to more than 570 different species of birds including the endemic species, near endemic species, migratory bird species, among others that are frequently seen in the park. Some of these bird species include; Giant kingfisher, Goliath heron, Ashy starling, Emerald-spotted wood dove, Southern ground hornbill, crested barbet, Yellow-collared lovebird, Black-bellied bustard, ashy starling, Bateleur, Tanzanian red-billed hornbill, African fish eagle, collared palm-thrush, Spur-winged goose, collared palm-thrush, Long-crested eagle, Yellow-collared lovebird and many more easily spotted in the savanna woodland. The best time for birding in Ruaha national park can be all year round or around November, December, January, February, March and April which is the best season for breeding of resident birds and yet the best time to spot the migratory birds.

Vegetation cover : The vegetation cover of Ruaha national park comprises of both savanna grassland and woodland thrilling with flat plains, acacia trees, bush land, swamps, rolling hills, kopjes, and the stunning 160km Ruaha River. The entire vegetation provides the best habitats and viewing grounds for different species of flora and fauna including wildlife such as mammals, birds, butterflies and many more that are seen during the wildlife viewing safari in the park.  

River Ruaha:  River Ruaha is the top tourist attraction of the park and yet the source of the parks name. Ruaha River flows through Usangu plains, provides water for irrigation to the farmers around the park as well acts as the source of water to the park that keeps the park wet during dry months. Several wildlife species are seen congesting along the shores of the river to quench their thirst in dry months. River Ruaha also supplies water to the dam that is used to generate hydroelectric power to the people of Tanzania and many more.

Tourist activities in Ruaha national park

Game drives: Like any other savanna park in Tanzania, Ruaha national park is one of the best destination for tourists who intend to explore the Tanzanian Southern circuit on a game drive adventure. The Ruaha national park offers both day game drives and night game drive with plenty of encounters of different species of wildlife in the wilderness of this remote park. Starting the day with an early game drive creates an opportunity to encounter with Leopards, cheetahs, serval cats, wild dogs and many other nocturnal wildlife and hunters. Proceed with an afternoon game drive to spot elephants, hippos, antelopes, lions, kudus, zebras, crocodiles, impala and many more. During the night game drive, there is a possibility of spotting mammals similar to those seen during an early morning game drive. Game drive in Ruaha national park is conducted in different parts of the park including along Ruaha River, in the open savanna plains, in kopjes, and along the forest. 

Guided nature walks: This is always the best way to enjoy the stunning nature of Ruaha national park. Take a guided walking safari alongside well experienced local guides via well-established walking trails through the bush, shrubs, swamp and forest while sighting out different fauna and flora species.

Bird watching: Ruaha national park is one of the parks where both unexperienced and experienced birders can truly enjoy birding activity. The park is a home to over 570 species of birds are spotted throughout the park. The best birding season is between the months of November to April where the park receives migratory birds from Europe and other parts of Africa. It’s through this season also where there is a high breeding rates of several species of birds.

Other activities to enjoy while on a Tanzania safari to Ruaha national park include Photography and star gazing that is usually conducted at the lodges.

Getting there

One gets to Ruaha national park either by air or by road transport depending on the choice of travelers.

By road transport, Most of the trips to Ruaha national park start from Julius Nyerere international airport in Dar es Salaam which is about 10 hours’ drive though it’s also possible to combine Ruaha national park with Mikumi national park both situated in the southern circuit with Selous Game Reserve. The road drive from Ruaha national park to Mikumi national park takes about 5 hours. 

By air transport, this is the easiest way to get to the park in a shortest time possible using either charter flights or scheduled flights such as Costal Aviation, Auric Link, Safari Air Link that sets off from Dar es Salaam to the airstrip in the park though it’s also possible to connect from other parks like Mikumi national park and Selous game reserve all situated in Tanzania’s southern circuit. It’s also possible to connect to Ruaha national park from other parks in Tanzania northern circuit such as Serengeti national park.

Ruaha National Park
Ruaha National Park

Accommodations in Ruaha national park

Ruaha national park thrills with plenty of accommodation facilities including camps, hotels and lodges available to cater for both budget, midrange and luxury travelers which include; Ikuka camp, Ruaha River Lodge, Kigelia camp, Ruaha hilltop lodge, Jongomero camp, Mwagusi safari camp, Mdonya old river camp, Kwihala Camp, Kichaka Camp, Msembe rest house, Jabali Ridge, Kilimatonge Camp, Tandala tented camp, Chongela camp, Sunset mountain lodge among others situated in different parts of Ruaha national park.