Extraordinary Journeys

Destination Overview

Ruaha National Park is second only to Katavi National Park in its aura of untrammelled wilderness, but far more accessible, Ruaha protects a vast tract of the rugged, semi-arid bush country that characterises central Tanzania. Its lifeblood is the Great Ruaha River, which courses along the eastern boundary in a flooded torrent during the height of the rains, but dwindling thereafter to a scattering of precious pools surrounded by a blinding sweep of sand and rock. 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. And the risk is considerable: not only from the prides of 20-plus lion that lord over the savannah, but also from the cheetahs that stalk the open grassland and the leopards that lurk in tangled riverine thickets.

This impressive array of large predators is boosted by both striped and spotted hyena, as well as several conspicuous packs of the highly endangered African wild dog. Ruaha’s unusually high diversity of antelope is a function of its location, which is transitional to the acacia savannah of East Africa and the miombo woodland belt of Southern Africa. A similar duality is noted in the checklist of 450 birds: the likes of crested barbet, an attractive yellow-and-black bird whose persistent trilling is a characteristic sound of the southern bush, occur in Ruaha alongside central Tanzanian endemics such as the yellow-collared lovebird and ashy starling.

What to see and do

Ruaha National Park is home to an enormous variety of animals, plants and birds with an estimated 20 000 elephants in the park. The birding is spectacular with a recorded 530 different species of birds, which is almost half of all bird species found in Tanzania.

The park has one of the biggest counts of large mammal species compared to any other park, as well as having the second largest population of wild dog in Africa. The park's wildlife includes elephant, huge herds of buffalo, giraffe, zebra, impala, eland, hippo, crocodile, lion and leopard. Sable antelope can sometimes be seen in the Miombo areas and in the springs in the Western part of the park. Roan antelope are also sometimes seen in the eastern area of the park.

In Ruaha, guests can enjoy superb walking safaris with an armed guides from one of the lodges and gain huge insight into the ecology of the area. Classic game drives take place on a daily basis and guests will find there are not many other visitors in the park at one time.

Where to find Ruaha National Park



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