RUAHA NATIONAL PARK

Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park is one of the largest parks in Africa. 2008 saw the Usangu game reserve, along with other important wetlands in the the Usangu basin, incorporated into Ruaha making it the largest park in Tanzania with an area of 20,000 square kilometres. This region is one of Africa's best kept secrets with an astonishing variety of both plant and animal life.

The park takes its name from the Great Ruaha River which flows from south-western Tanzania eastwards, until it meets the Rufiji River. During the dry season - mid May to December - the rivers in the region, including Mzombe, Mdonya, Mwagusi and Jongonmero, become a significant water source for the wildlife.

You may well see elephants taking a drink as Ruaha has one of the highest elephant populations in East Africa estimated at 10,000. AS the dry season progresses, pools form which can be a welcome sight to the park's hippos.

The river banks attract zebra, giraffe, buffalo and gazelle, perhaps one of the reasons for the huge densities of lion. This collection of predator and prey can create some of Africa's most ferocious encounters.

It is not just big game that can be experience whilst taking a safari through Ruaha National Park, the diversity of wildlife is staggering. Endangered wild dogs, kudu, jackals, antelope, impala, elands all roam the habitat. Reptiles and amphibious creatures including crocodile, snakes and monitor lizards can also be found.

A Ruaha safari can be a bird watchers delight! A true ornithological paradise, Ruaha National Park over 500 species to look for - especially during the migratory seasons from of March/April and October/November. The recently annexed Usangu basin is one of Tanzania's most important bird areas. The wet season provides the best time for bird watching but all year round there are some fabulous birds to be seen. Some note worthy birds include the Ruaha red-billed hornbill (Tokus Ruahae) which is only found in central Tanzania; the Goliath heron; the Marabou Stork; the Ashy starling, which is endemic to Tanzania.

Overall Ruaha National Park is still quite unknown providing an almost untouched wild experience. It is an incredibly rewarding place to safari. The rivers, natural springs, rugged gorges and undulating landscape provide an encounter that is a diverse as it is stunning.