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ruaha national park

Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park: Background Info

In 2008 the Usangu Game reserve merged its borders with Ruaha transforming it into Tanzania’s largest national park; it now covers more than 20,000km². Despite the size of the park there are still only a handful of camps found here, which has built Ruaha’s reputation as Tanzania’s best kept game viewing secret. Ruaha’s wild and untrammelled feel is what sets it apart from other reserves, making it a popular choice for regular east African safarigoers.

Despite being the largest National Park in Tanzania and having a substantial elephant population in addition to other big game, there are very few lodges in Ruaha National Park. Known as one of Tanzania’s best kept secrets, Ruaha receives very few visitors each year, meaning it offers some of the most remote and untouched wilderness in Tanzania. Its’ rolling hills, gigantic baobab trees, vast open plains, miombo woodlands, and the Great Ruaha River yield a myriad landscapes from which to view the diversity of game inhabiting this park. One has the feeling of delving deep into the African wilderness surrounded by so many animals and so few, if any, vehicles.

Ruaha National Park: Destination Preview

ruaha national park

Wildlife

Lounging under the shade of a baobab tree, a baby elephant eagerly awaits her afternoon snack. Her mother, the matriarch, tears off a branch to the delight of the infant. Ruaha has the highest concentration of elephants anywhere in East Africa. Here, you're at crossroads between southern and eastern safari ecosystems. Amongst wildlife enthusiasts Ruaha is revered for its distinctive blend of Southern African species and those commonly found in East Africa. The predator numbers in the park are impressive with an abundance of cheetahs, leopards, wild dog and spotted hyennas indigenous to the area.

The park is inhibited by unusually large prides of lions and 10% of the entire worlds lion population can be found in this vast park. In addition, Ruaha is home to vast herds of buffalo and over 530 recorded species of birds. With a hot and dry climate the Great Ruaha River serves as a critical water source for most of the animals in the park and therefore makes for unrivalled game viewing, particularly in the dry season.

Birdlife

Ruaha's great diversity of birds is a function of its location, which is transitional to the acacia savannah of East Africa and the miombo woodland belt of southern Africa. The park has a checklist of 450 birds. The crested barbet – whose persistent trilling is a characteristic sound of the southern bush – occurs in Ruaha, alongside central Tanzanian endemics (restricted to Central Tanzania) such as the yellow-collared lovebird and ashy starling. Migratory birds are present from November to April.

The birdlife in Ruaha is good year-round, but at its best from November to April when the migratory birds from Europe and northern Africa are present. At this time, many resident bird species are nesting and are in breeding plumage. For wildlife viewing, the middle and end of the Dry season, from June to October, is best for visitors to the park.

Ruaha National Park: Location

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