Ruaha National Park



Travel Guide
Tours & Safari
Accommodation
Travel Guide

In the heart of Tanzania where the Zambezi miombo woodlands meet the Tanzanian/Kenyan savannahs, lies Ruaha National Park. This vast park, with its few camps, offers visitors an uncrowded glimpse of untouched Africa, with a huge diversity of game, birds and landscapes. It’s an area known for its incredible animal sightings, including large herds of elephant and plenty of predators.

 HIGHLIGHTS

  • Vast area with few camps, meaning an uncrowded safari experience
  • Interesting mix of habitats and wildlife species
  • An elephant population numbering over 10,000
  • Good predator viewing including large prides of lion
  • One of the few places where you can see greater and lesser kudu together
  • Incredible birdwatching with over 500 species
  • A number of natural springs in the park create water sources in the dry season where game gather

Situated right in the centre of Tanzania, Ruaha National Park covers over 20,000 km² of land. It is a fascinating, game-rich park which includes the Zambian miombo woodlands and the Tanzanian and Kenyan savannahs. This diversity of habitats plays host to an equally diverse range of animals.

Due to its vast size, and the fact that there are not many camps in the park, Ruaha is known as one of Tanzania’s best-kept secret safari spots, promising unhurried, uncrowded game viewing.

The park was established in 1910 by the Germans and initially called Saba Game Reserve. In the late 1940s, the British took over, renaming it Rungwa Game Reserve. In 1964, it was finally named Ruaha National Park, after the Ruaha River, and gazetted. Ruvaha in the local Hehe language means ‘river’. The Usangu Wildlife Management Area was included as part of the park in 2008.

Ruaha is known for its huge elephant population (estimated at over 10,000) and healthy populations of predators. Especially notable, are the large prides of lion (up to 20 together), leopard and cheetah.

With over 500 species of bird (both seasonal and permanent), Ruaha is a birdwatcher’s paradise. Again, the variety of birds is spectacular, including waterbirds and raptors from both the south and north.

Things to see and do in Ruaha National Park

  • Game drives to spot the diverse game, including the Big Five
  • Birdwatching, especially during the wet season (European winter, when the migratory birds are here)
  • Some camps offer walking safaris to get as close to nature as possible
  • Bush breakfasts or sundowners
  • Fly camping; real, wild, African bush camping
  • Visits to numerous historical and cultural sites in and around Ruaha
  • Marvel at the Great Rift Valley which traverses the park

Best time to visit

Ruaha National Park is a typical dry season park, with the best time to see larger mammals and predators being between mid-May and December. As water becomes scarce toward the end of the dry season, game gathers around available water sources, offering unbeatable game viewing opportunities.

During the wet season from January to April the bush becomes lush and green and many migratory birds arrive from the northern climes, making it an idyllic birdwatching paradise.

Getting there

By car – Ruaha is 625 km from Dar es Salaam and 130 km from Iringa. Travel time depends on the traffic and state of the roads but is around 9 hours from Dar.

By air – Daily scheduled flights fly into the park’s two airstrips (Msembe and Jongomero) from Arusha, Dodoma, Kigoma and Dar es Salaam. Chartered flights can also be booked

Tours & Safari

Safaris in Ruaha are wild and beautiful and deliver superb game viewing. With fewer camps, it tends to be less crowded, allowing you to enjoy the African bush and all that it has to offer in peace and tranquillity. Safaris to Ruaha National Park include not only game drives but also guided walks and fly camping, depending on which camp you choose to stay at.

The Ruaha National Park is situated in the heart of Tanzania, where Zambian miombo meets Kenyan savannah. This means it offers an incredibly diverse range of habitats, together with an equally diverse range of game. Here, you can see greater and lesser kudu sharing the same savannah, vast populations of elephant and large prides of lion up to 20-strong. Ruaha safaris are unhurried and uncrowded. This is real Africa at its best.

Accommodation

Ruaha National Park is one of Tanzania’s best-kept secrets. With a minimum of camps within the park, safaris are unhurried and often you may encounter no other humans on safari – just how it should be! Known for its huge elephant population and large prides of lion, be sure to bring your camera.

Ruaha National Park is known for its diverse habitats, where Zambian miombo meets Tanzanian/Kenyan savannah. With this diversity comes a wealth of game and birdlife. There are a number of camps, both within the park and around it. These range from basic camps to high-end luxury camps to mobile or fly camps. Many are located in spectaular positions in the park, offering beautiful views across the savannah, or over the river beds, where the animals come to drink and bathe. Ruaha is seasonal, so speak to our consultants for advice on the best time to go.