Ruaha National ParkEnquire Now
One of the most important wildlife areas left in Africa, the remote Ruaha National Park in south-central Tanzania is an untouched wilderness of outstanding biodiversity. At 20 226km2, Ruaha is the largest national park in East Africa and the second largest in Africa. It takes its name from the Great Ruaha River, which flows through the Usangu wetlands into the Ruaha National Park and then east into the Rufiji River. Its position at the intersection/transition zone of the eastern and southern African eco-regions translates to amazing wildlife diversity.
Located at an altitude of 750 to 1 868 metres, the vast wilderness area of Ruaha National Park encompasses constantly changing landscapes. Rocky escarpments and hillsides dotted with mighty baobabs give way to vast open grassland plains, rolling hills and shady woodland and thickets alongside the mighty Ruaha River. The four main ecological zones that comprise the park each support their own animal and plant life. The banks of the Ruaha and its tributaries are covered with green woodland (fig, acacia, tamarind, baobab and doum palm). Between these water courses and the rising escarpment you will find Combretum-Terminalia woodlands or Southern Acacia-Commiphora bush- and woodlands, with mighty baobabs dotted throughout the park. The southwestern region is dominated by miombo woodland and black cotton grassland, which is impassable in the wet season.
Ruaha is true big cat territory. It is home to over 1 000 lions, the second-largest lion population in the world (after Selous). It also hosts one of only four large cheetah populations left in East Africa, the third-largest wild dog population and globally important populations of spotted hyena, leopards and smaller carnivores. You will find one of Africa’s most important elephant populations here. Given the convergence of vegetation zones in this vast park, it is home to an unusual combination of mammals – for example, the Greater and Lesser Kudu, as well as sable and roan antelopes. (Ruaha is the southernmost limit for Lesser Kudu in Africa.) Additional key wildlife species found in Ruaha National Park include buffalo, zebra, giraffe, ostrich, Grant’s gazelle (again, the southernmost limit for this species), Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, topi, both Southern and Bohor reedbuck, striped hyena, Nile crocodiles and hippos.
You can also expect a birding bonanza, with over 574 recorded bird species, including several critically endangered vulture populations. Here again, Ruaha’s location on the convergence zone of south and east benefits its bird list, with a mix of southern and northern species. Look out for fish eagles, Eleanora’s falcon, goliath herons, crested barbets, black-collared lovebirds, and the Tanzanian red-billed hornbill.
Your safari experience is enhanced by a superb range of activities with expert guides, including day and night 4×4 game drives, walking safaris, birdwatching, cultural visits, stargazing, hot-air balloon safaris and nature walks.
While Ruaha is Tanzania’s largest national park, its relatively inaccessible location means it has remained one of the least explored. Despite its vastness and rich wildlife populations, Ruaha is a remote wilderness with low visitor numbers – which means you can enjoy an uncrowded safari with a rare sense of isolation and tranquillity.