How to plan a best safari to the remote Ruaha national park in Tanzania? : Ruaha, one of Tanzania’s biggest national parks, covers more than 20,000 square kilometers right in the middle of the country. It is named after the Great Ruaha River, which runs along its southeast margin and is a part of the vast Rungwa-Kizigo-Muhesi ecosystem. Ruaha National Park is one of Tanzania’s hidden treasures and a great place to go if you want to get away from the masses on the Tanzania Northern Safari Circuit because of its intriguing scenery and inaccessible locations.
Ruaha National Park is not as well-known as the Serengeti National Park, Kilimanjaro National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Arusha National Park, and Tarangire National Park, possibly due to its isolation, but it offers one of the best safari experiences in Tanzania and is the best place to visit and explore if you’re interested in seeing the real African bush because it doesn’t get as many visitors and this allows it to be their habitat to stay natural.
Originally known as the Saba Game Reserve when founded in 1910 by the Germans, Ruaha National Park’s name was changed to the Rungwa Game Reserve in 1946 when the British assumed control. It wasn’t until 1964 that a portion of the reserve became the Ruaha National Park and later expanded to include the marshes and game reserve of Usanga. The word “Ruaha” is derived from the Hehe word “Ruvaha,” which means “river” and designates the park’s main location for seeing wildlife and its source of life.
In the lower sections of the Great Ruaha River, Ruaha National Park supports human settlements and agricultural endeavors in addition to being known for its extensive variety of plant and animal life. With few alternative natural water sources in the park during the dry season, animals gather on the river banks to rehydrate. Elephants utilize their feet and trunks to access water through seemingly dry sand river beds, while crocodiles and hippopotamuses wallow in the river’s waterfalls, which serve as a crucial habitat for them.
Due to its isolated location, Ruaha receives many fewer people than the Selous Game Reserve (also on the Southern Circuit) and just a small portion of those who visit the famous parks and reserves in the north of Tanzania. However, those who do travel here are rewarded with stunning escarpments and hills covered with baobabs, which serve as a backdrop for some excellent animal viewing opportunities.
The convergence of species from Southern and Eastern Africa is just one of the highlights, along with dense populations of predators and massive populations of elephants. Both lion spotting and bird watching during the lush, rainy season are particularly gratifying in the Mwagusi region.
Due to its relative inaccessibility, Ruaha is frequently disregarded. However, a new flight from the Serengeti is about to change all that. It’s a reasonable location for those who want to see one of Tanzania’s most captivating national parks off the beaten path.
WHAT ANIMALS CAN YOU SEE IN RUAHA NATIONAL PARK?
All the big predators that thrill safari goers may be found in Ruaha National Park, including thriving populations of lions, leopards, and cheetahs. Along with enormous herds of buffalo, giraffes, and sable antelope, the park is also home to wild dogs, hippopotamuses, and hyenas. In Ruaha, elephant populations are thought to be among the highest in all of East Africa. The combination of species from both East and Southern Africa, including Grant’s gazelle, greater and lesser kudus, zebra, impala, and waterbuck, is one of the true draws of wildlife viewing here, though.
More than 570 different bird species have been identified in Ruaha National Park, making it a superb place to go bird watching. Birdlife International has designated the Usanga Basin as an Important Birding Area, and during the rainy season, migratory species from Europe, Asia, Australia, and Madagascar congregate here in great numbers. On your Ruaha National Park birding safari watch out for the rare red-billed hornbills of Ruaha, as well as the enormous kingfishers, spur-winged geese, and bateleur.
Ruaha National Park is primarily explored via daytime game drives, with most tour companies departing in the early morning and late afternoon when the wildlife are most active. Due to the abundance of elephants present, night safaris are not permitted in the park, and only a few camps and lodges offer walking safaris. A fly camping tour offers another wonderful way to see Ruaha, complete with a bush dinner and a night spent outside under the stars with the sounds of the surrounding wildlife.
HOW TO GET TO RUAHA NATIONAL PARK
The main entry point for most travelers to Ruaha National Park is the Julius Nyerere International Airport, which is around a 10-hour journey from Dar es Salaam to Ruaha National Park. Many safari providers include a stop at Mikumi National Park to break up the drive, which is primarily on dusty, uneven roads. Ruaha National Park is 320 kilometers away from Mikumi and can be reached there in around five hours by car.
To skip the lengthy drive, many tourists choose to take a scheduled or private flight from Dar es Salaam to one of the two airstrips in Ruaha National Park. The Jongomero airstrip is close to the Jongomero Ranger Post, while the Msembe airstrip is situated at the park’s administrative center in Msembe.
You can also catch flights from Arusha Airport directly to Ruaha or from the Serengeti National Park if you’re connecting from the north of Tanzania. There are charter flights available from their airports directly to Ruaha National Park if you’re touring the Southern Circuit, which includes Katavi National Park and the Selous Game Reserve.
THE BEST TIME TO VISIT RUAHA NATIONAL PARK
Generally speaking, the dry season, which lasts from June to October, is the ideal time to explore Ruaha National Park since wildlife congregates around the few available water sources during this time. Though there are some areas of the park where you’ll be treated to thrilling spectacles all year round, game watching improves gradually near the conclusion of the dry season, How to plan a best safari to the remote Ruaha national park in Tanzania?
The dry season is the best time to go on game drives because of the clear, sunny skies and the welcome drop in mosquito activity in the evenings. It’s crucial to remember that it can still get chilly in the mornings and evenings, so pack enough warm clothing.
The “short” rains, which begin in November and go until February, are followed by the “long” rains, which bring heavier downpours. The best months to go birdwatching are between December and March, making this the perfect time to go. Migratory birds congregate in Ruaha from all over the world, producing a spectacular show for bird lovers. Due to the generally predicted showers, you can still schedule your Tanzania safari game drives around the rain and take advantage of cheaper lodging and significantly fewer other tourists.
WHERE TO STAY IN RUAHA NATIONAL PARK
In and around Ruaha National Park, there is a wide range of lodging options, from year-round tented camps to permanent lodges. You can choose to stay in one of the high-end camps equipped with all the modern conveniences you require, or you can choose one of the simpler campgrounds or self-catering cottages.
Choose one of the opulent lodgings that are perched on the escarpment for some of Ruaha’s best views, or indulge your adventurous side at one of the farther-flung campgrounds. As an alternative, you can get a room at the Ruaha River Lodge, which is set against a picture-perfect background of undulating hills.