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Female lion resting in the shade.
  Ruaha NP
Size: 13,000 km2/5,019 sq mi.
Best time to visit: July to October.
Wildlife: Elephants, greater kudu, African wild dog. The park has fairly few visitors.
Getting there: Ruaha is 620 km/385 mi inland from Dar es Salaam, much of the distance on the fairly good tarmac main road to Zambia, but also on poor bush roads. It's too far to drive in one day.
Most visitors come to Ruaha by air. There are scheduled flights from Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and Arusha.
Ruaha map
Ruaha map.
Tanzania map
Tanzania map.
  More web sites
Ruaha National Park
By Tanapa.
Rungwa Game Reserve
Safari glossary
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This page in Swedish
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Ruaha National Park
Ruaha National Park is situated 620 km/385 mi inland west of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. It's a large and comparatively unexploited park that receives fewer visitors than the prime parks in the north (for example Serengeti and Ngorongoro) and in Kenya. It is one of the parks of the Tanzanian so-called southern circuit, also including Selous, Mikumi and Udzungwa. Map of Africa Namibia Botswana South Africa Zambia Mozambique Malawi Rwanda Tanzania Kenya Uganda
Most game driving is done in the south-eastern parts of Ruaha, where two rivers cross the landscape. Good numbers of animals can be found here during the best season from July to October. It's one of the better elephant parks, and among the other species you may see are greater and lesser kudu, Lichtenstein's hartebeest, sable, roan, oribi, lion, leopard, cheetah and African wild dog. Some birds of the area are Eleonora's falcon and turacos.

Other parts of the park are less accessible, and include mountains and plateaus. Some areas are favoured by tsetse flies.

Ruaha is more than a day's drive from Dar es Salaam. Most visitors arrive by air, by scheduled flights from Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar or Arusha. Some flights stop over in Selous, making it easy to combine with Ruaha.

Rungwa Game Reserve and Kizigo Game Reserve
Northern Ruaha borders Rungwa Game Reserve and Kizigo Game Reserve (together 14,160 km2/5,467 sq mi), which are even more unexploited than Ruaha and lack facilities for safari tourists. Both parks have stable populations of African wild dog, and offer fair chances of seeing these.

Usangu Game Reserve
Usangu Game Reserve borders southern Ruaha National Park, protecting forests and wetlands. The Tanzanian government has decided to add Usangu to the national park, to protect the resident wildlife and to safeguard the wetlands as a natural water reservoir for the Great Ruaha River. The hydroelectric power plants of the river provides a large part of Tanzania's electricity.

The southern circuit
The southern circuit, i.e. the safari region in central/southern Tanzania, is situated in a transition zone between two main vegetation zones: the acacia zone to the north and the miombo zone to the south. Animal and plant species from both zones may occur here, which means that you may see species not found further north, for example in Serengeti or Ngorongoro in northern Tanzania or in Kenya.

The southern circuit has fewer visitors than both the northern circuit (Serengeti, Ngorongoro etc) and Kenya. This means that you're likely to see a lot fewer vehicles out in the bush.

Tree euphorbia (Euphorbia candelabrum).

Apart from lodges and tented camps in and outside of the park, there are also bandas.

Ruaha River Lodge is situated by the Great Ruaha River in Ruaha National Park. The lodge has a restaurant, a bar and rooms in some 20 stone bungalows. It is set very close to nature, and animals may be seen around. Good safari feeling!

More about Ruaha River Lodge

Web site:

Jongomero is a small luxury tented camp in the south-western part of Ruaha, offering much safari atmosphere. It has eight large tents with quality interiors, ensuite bathrooms and private verandas, built on raised platforms. The camp has a dining area, a lounge and a swimming pool, and offers game drives, including full days with bush picnics.

Web site:

Mdonya Old River Camp is a small tented camp situated along the Mdonya sand river, a 1–2 hour drive from the airstrip. The overall design of the camp is meant to offer a genuine safari atmosphere rather than a luxurious. The 11 tents (3 are family tents) are set right in the bush, and all have ensuite bathroom. The camp also has a dining and lounge tent, and a small library. The main safari activities are game drives and bush walks (July–January only).

Web site:

Mwagusi Safari Lodge is a small tented camp by the Mwagusi Sand River, offering ten basic safari tents with ensuite bathrooms and verandas facing the river, a central dining area that doubles as reception and bar, and a location right in the bush; it's one of the best game areas in Ruaha. The camp does game drives and bush walks, and has a good reputation for good guiding and bush atmosphere.

Web site:

Tandala Tented Camp is a tourist class tented camp just outside the gate to Ruaha. It has ten tents with ensuite bathrooms, verandas and solar lighting, and a dining area with outside campfire. The camp offers game drives, bush walks, visits to local villages, and the night game drives that are not allowed inside the park.

Web site:

Kigelia Camp is a new tented camp in Ruaha. It has six nicely designed tents with ensuite bathrooms, and dining facilities. Game drives and bush walks are arranged.

Web site:

Kwihala Camp is a semi-mobile tented camp that can be pitched in different parts of Ruaha depending on season. Being mobile, it's set right in the bush, with no permanent structures. It has six spacious tents and a dining and lounge tent. The camp, which was formerly called EMC Ruaha, has solar power and fairly light and pleasant interiors.

Web site:

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Page updated 27 April 2013