Hot, dry and wild, the Ruaha National Park is Tanzania’s best kept wildlife secret.
Tanzania’s largest national park; it now covers more than 20,000km². Despite the size of the park there are still only a handful of camps found here, which has built Ruaha’s reputation as Tanzania’s best kept game viewing secret. mMaking it a popular choice for regular east African safari.
Ruaha does not have an extensive history like other areas in Tanzania. It is thought that early permanent settlers were dissuaded by the semi-arid climate. The transformation of this vast area into a national park was first proposed Two years later all the residents were forced out of this protected area and in 1964 Britain elevated Ruaha to full national park status. In 2008 the Usangu Wildlife Management Area was incorporated into the park creating the 20,000Km² Ruaha National Park that we know today.
Whether in Ruaha National Park.
The climate in Ruaha works slightly differently to what you might expect. Ruaha is located to the west of the Udzungwa Mountains, which run roughly north-south through central Tanzania.
This geographic divide results in Ruaha having one long rainy season rather than the typical long rains and short rains found in Tanzania’s more famous safari areas. The rains in Ruaha usually start around November or early December, becoming heavier in January and February, and then start towards the end of March.
Do bear in mind that climate change has been altering the typical weather patterns for some years, so forecasting the weather you will have on your trip can be extremely difficult. However, it’s fair to say that Ruaha can often be a surprisingly good destination in the so-called low season of April and May, with clear blue skies and the park appearing lush and green.
Animals and birds in Ruaha.
The dry seasons shrink the river, which draws wildlife in for drinking. It becomes an excellent game viewing area. The large gatherings of elephant, giraffe, buffalo, kudu, and impala can often be seen in herds around the riverbeds. The Mdonya woodlands are a great area for seeing hartebeest, sable, and roan antelope. The Mbage-Mwagusi circuit provides a good chance for seeing elephants.
The largest collection of elephants is located here in Ruaha compared to anywhere else in Tanzania. Similarly, there is almost a guarantee that safari-goers will see Great Kudu because of their population.
The park predators feature lion, leopard, cheetah, spotted hyena, and wild dog. The park serves as one of Tanzania’s Lion Conservation Units. Giraffe, buffalo, hippopotamus, zebra, warthog, and sable antelope are some of the popular species found within the park.
Ruaha is also a bird lovers paradise with over 570 species of birds found within the park. Hornbills, raptors, bee-eaters, rollers, and many other species make bird-watching a popular activity in the park. This is also home to the rare Eleonora’s Falcon during the months of December and January.
The park offers hides and tree houses which are situated in places which provide excellent views of the watering spots most frequented by wildlife. These are inspirational opportunities to have stunning views of the wildlife apart from the traditional vehicle safari.
There are only a few safari lodges in Ruaha National Park; they all offer drives and some offer guided walks as well as fly camping. Each lodge differs considerably.
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