Ruaha National Park
Ruaha National Park is undoubtedly one of Tanzania’s best dry season locations. As the national park dries out between June and October, water sources become scarce, and animals are forced to come into the centre from the surrounding dispersal areas. The Great Ruaha River, the Mwagusi, Mdonya and Jongomero sand rivers become the focal point for large numbers of animals during the heat of the day
The dry season in Ruaha National Park rivals any location in Tanzania for sheer action and variety and today offers one of Africa’s best walking experience. This is somewhere you’ll see a wide range of species from lion, buffalo and elephant to Greater and Lesser Kudu, Sable and Roan antelope and even a good chance of wild dogs. Low tourist numbers make it an idea place to visit.
The park has a wild and exciting feel and some truly extraordinary game sightings. Elephant, Lion, buffalo in huge herds, Giraffe and Greater Kudu are just some of the more common species you’re pretty much guaranteed to see. Lesser Kudu, Sable and Roan Antelope are amongst the rare species you’re likely to see.
The prodigious numbers of buffalo in Ruaha are relentlessly trailed by some very large prides of lion, which can number over 20 individuals. Particularly along the Mwagusi Sand River and the Great Ruaha River there’s regular interaction between the buffalo and lion, which can produce game viewing as good as anything we have seen.
In addition to the mammals, there are more than four hundred species of birds in Ruaha and until a few years ago, new species were still being found there – an indication of how little visited the area has been. (And we’re not talking little brown birds; in 1994 the Black Eagle wasn’t on the bird list for this area, despite the fact that a pair of these birds, resembling bombers with 9ft wingspans were nesting on Kimilamatonge Hill close to the airstrip).
Ruaha: Where to stay
There are a couple of great top end camps in Ruaha, with Jongomero leading the way for luxurious accommodation. It’s a very beautiful, remote safari camp that is probably one of the best camps in Tanzania. Mwagusi is the oldest lodge in the park, this place can provide a safari experience to knock you sideways. The less expensive kwihala camp is a very affordable luxury tented camp whereas its sister camp Mdonya Old River is a great option for the adventurous with less of a budget. Ruaha River Lodge is by far the largest of camps in Ruaha in a superb location, though is not up to the standard of the others.