Two young elephants from the herd play to test their strength, Ruaha National Park, Tanzania
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Ruaha National Park

Top choice in Southern Highlands

At approximately 22,000 sq km, Ruaha National Park is Tanzania’s largest. It forms the core of a wild and extended ecosystem covering about 40,000 sq km and providing a home to Tanzania’s largest elephant population. In addition to the elephants, which are estimated to number about 12,000, the park hosts large herds of buffaloes, as well as greater and lesser kudus, Grant’s gazelles, wild dogs, ostriches, cheetahs, roan and sable antelope, and more than 400 different types of birds.

Ruaha is notable for its wild and striking topography, especially around the Great Ruaha River, which forms its heart. Much of this topography is undulating plateau averaging about 900m in height with occasional rocky outcrops and stands of baobabs. Mountains in the south and west reach 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.