Introducing Ruaha National Park
Ruaha National Park, together with neighbouring conservation areas, forms the core of a wild and extended ecosystem covering about 40,000 sq km and providing home to one of Tanzania’s largest elephant populations. In addition to the elephants, which are estimated to number about 12,000, the park (Tanzania’s largest, with an area of approximately 22,000 sq km) hosts large herds of buffaloes, as well as greater and lesser kudus, Grant’s gazelles, wild dogs, ostriches, cheetahs, roan and sable antelopes, and more than 400 different types of birds. Bird life is especially prolific along the Great Ruaha River, which winds through the eastern side of the park, as are hippos and crocodiles.
Ruaha is notable for its wild and striking topography, especially around the Great Ruaha River. Much of it is undulating plateau averaging about 900m in height with occasional rocky outcrops and stands of baobabs, and mountains in the south and west reaching to about 1600m and 1900m, respectively. Running through the park are several ‘sand’ rivers, most of which dry up during the dry season, when they are used by wildlife as corridors to reach areas where water remains.
Although the area around the camps on the eastern side of the park fills up during the August to October high (dry) season, when wildlife watching is at its peak, Ruaha receives relatively few visitors in comparison with the northern parks. Large sections are unexplored, and for much of the year, you’re likely to have things to yourself. Whenever you visit, set aside as much time as you can spare; it’s not a place to be discovered on a quick in-and-out trip.