Ruaha National Park – Tanzania Safaris
Ruaha National Park – Tanzania Safaris
Ruaha National Park for Tanzania Safaris
Ruaha National Park is Tanzania’s largest national park. Located in the heart of the country, Ruaha is a predator-rich remote wilderness that is far off the beaten track. An office favourite for value alone, Ruaha is a hidden gem.
The remote location only adds to the park's appeal, leaving it wonderfully devoid of travellers. Big cat viewing is superb here and the overall quality of guiding is probably the best in the country. Usually booked in conjunction with Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park is an off-the-beaten-track destination that is often described as ideal for old safari hands. However, we believe that this park is for everyone who has an interest in true wilderness and big game viewing. There is no reason that this ridiculously good safari park should be ignored by adventurous safari novices!
Ruaha has one of the highest concentrations of predators anywhere in Africa, and a wonderfully wild character that is rare to find nowadays. The camps here are adventurous but very high quality – guiding standards are truly exceptional. We love this park for its lack of visitors and incredible game viewing. There is an argument that, if you want to get the full Ruaha experience, then you need to stay in the Mwagusi area, which is a good two hours’ drive north of Jongomero and approximately 45 minutes from Mdonya. Mwagusi is why Ruaha has gained its high reputation – this is where you see the huge concentrations of game. There are a couple of camps in this area, but the two stand-out properties are Mwagusi Camp and Nomad Tanzania's Kigelia Ruaha.
Can I see the big five in Ruaha?
In Ruaha the only missing member of the Big Five (lion, buffalo, elephant, leopard and rhino) is rhino - there have not been any in the park for years. There is no doubt that Ruaha is one of Africa’s finest destinations for big cats. The lion concentration here is as high as anywhere we know. A very strong lion population virtually goes hand in hand with healthy buffalo herds whilst Ruaha’s elephant herds are seriously impressive. Leopard are always found in the park with the majority of travellers seeing this elusive feline!
General game in Ruaha
Ruaha is an outstanding safari park due to the fact the park showcases a crossover of East and Southern African species in terms of flora and fauna. One reason for the hordes of animals in Ruaha is the Great Ruaha River, a vital water source throughout the year but especially during the dry season. The reliability of the river owes much to the success of game drives in this region, as animals congregate predictably on the long shores.
Lion live here in large prides, often numbering over twenty individuals! Leopard and cheetah love hunting on the open plains, while many smaller species are equally at home here – serval, caracal, civet, genet and banded wildcat. Cheetah are remarkably common making seeing the three main cat species very likely – something that’s rare anywhere in Africa nowadays.
Other mammals also thrive in Ruaha in abundance. The park’s elephant herds are absolutely humongous! Buffalo are plentiful too, as are zebra, giraffe, hippopotamus and an exciting assortment of antelope species such as roan, sable, eland, impala, gazelle, reedbuck, hartebeest, klipspringer – and the largest population of greater kudu in all East Africa! Predators, in addition to the cats, include black-backed jackal, spotted hyena and (less common) striped hyena. The park is also an important area for wild dog, hosting over a hundred dogs at last count.
When to go to Ruaha for game?
The best time of year to be in Ruaha is from July through to the end of October. This is the peak of the dry season and a time of year that guarantees Ruaha’s immense volume of game will be focussed around the parks rivers.
Activities in Ruaha on Tanzania Safari
Ruaha is a National Park and is therefore bound by the rules of TANAPA (the National Park authority). Game drives are standard in every lodge whilst walking safaris are also possible at the majority.
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