Ruaha National Park
Tanzania Destinations | northern circuit
It is the largest national park in Africa, covering over 15,000 sq. km. This new park itself is at the heart of a much larger ecosystem covering over 40,000 sq km. The highlight of a trip to Ruaha is watching the huge elephant herds (the greatest concentration in Africa) gathered around the mighty Ruaha River, the lifeblood of the park.
Ruaha is a visually stunning park with an undulating plateau of about 900m with occasional rocky outcrops and mountains reaching heights of 1900m. Running through the park are “sand rivers”, which dry up completely in the dry season and act as roads for the game to move from waterhole to waterhole.
Although the eastern camps get full during the high season, Ruaha does not experience visitor numbers like its more illustrious neighbours in the north of the country. Large sections of the park are unexplored and, during much of the year, you will have the place to yourself.
We recommend spending a minimum of three days at Ruaha. Ruaha National Park is a good place to see lions, buffalo, elephants, and painted dogs (African Wild Dogs). Grant’s gazelle, ostrich, and cheetah may be seen on the plains.
For bird enthusiasts, the park offers over 465 species. The rainy season from January to June is particularly spectacular as the normal abundant birdlife is enhanced by numerous migrant species.
Best time to go
The best time to visit is between July and November when the animals congregate around the water holes, but the park is stunning all year round. Their cover is blown during the dry season (May to December), when the foliage dies down and animals become easier to see. Twice a year, in March/April and October/November, Eurasian migrating birds arrive to boost the already high numbers of exotic and colorful species in this park.