Ruaha National Park

Land of the elephants

Ruaha National Park is the largest national park in Tanzania, covering an area of about 13,000 square kilometers. It is located in the middle of Tanzania, about 130 kilometers from Iringa. Most often, it is reached by plane, but it is well worth the drive by car. The great Ruaha River is the source of life in this immense park.

Ruaha’s relative inaccessibility means it gets far fewer tourists than the Selous and less than any comparable park in the Northern circuit.  The rewards of traveling this far are a wild landscape with baobab studded hills and rocky escarpments, with superb wildlife; Ruaha safaris have reliably exciting predator concentrations, it is home to 10% of the world’s lion population, contains one of four cheetah populations in East Africa and has the third-largest wild dog population in the world. This is accompanied by huge elephant and buffalo herds and a cross-over of the game from southern and Eastern Africa

Tanzania’s largest National Park, Ruaha is a wilder and more remote park than its southern neighbor Selous Game Reserve and ultimately has the better wildlife, albeit without boating safaris.  We love this park! Safaris here are some of the best you will find in the country and are superb value for money. It is a wild and authentic environment that remains relatively untouched.

One of Tanzania’s best-kept (and more affordable) secrets, Ruaha is a particularly good complement and contrast to the Selous, although it would be a great addition to any Tanzania safari.  The lion viewing around the Mwagusi area is especially rewarding and general predator concentrations across the park are better than many of the other parks in the country.  Overall it is an absolutely excellent safari destination.


This Largest remote park is found in southern Tanzania

The convergence of vegetation zone in this huge Park has resulted in an unusual combination of animals, Particularly Greater and Lesser Kudu, together with sable and roan antelopes in the Park a feature that is not found in other National Park in the country.

Key animals found in Ruaha National Park includes elephant,zebra, lion, giraffe, hunting dog, ostrich, greater and lesser kudu, grants gazelles, striped hyena, sable and roan antelopes, crocodile and hippos mainly in Ruaha River

Where is Ruaha National Park in Tanzania? 

Ruaha is a big and wild park to the West of the Selous Game Reserve and South of The Serengeti. It is a really amazing destination with its unbelievable wildlife, but also its geographical location means it is a longer and more costly flight which keeps the volume of visitors low; all adding to its raw and uncommercial feel. There is a new flight connecting the Serengeti and Ruaha, but you can also get flights from Dar es Salaam and The Selous.

Ruaha National Park – The Game

Ruaha has all the predators on show, with very good lion, leopard, and cheetah as well as wild dog and hyena. Buffalo and elephant herds are found throughout the park but it is the park’s crazy combinations of species from east and southern Africa that excites wildlife and birdwatching enthusiasts.  It is not uncommon to see sable antelope, Grant’s gazelle, the greater kudu, and lesser kudu in the same area as east Africa’s common species such as zebra, defassa waterbuck, impala, and giraffe.  Put in the hours and travel across the park to find sable, roan, hartebeest, and over 500 species of bird! 

Ruaha Safari – The Activities

The main activity is a Ruaha Safari daytime game drive.  Night safaris are not permitted.  Due to the high numbers of elephants in Ruaha, some camps have chosen not to operate walking safaris.  Those that do (Kwihala, Jongomero, and Kigelia) have some superb guides and can offer amazing walking safaris.  Jongomero is the only camp to operate fly camping trips with adventurous nights spent out under the stars.

Ruaha Safari – When to go

Like the Selous, Ruaha is a classic dry season park.  The game gets progressively better towards the end of the dry season as the water holes and rivers dry up and the game concentrates around water.  Like the Selous, traveling to Ruaha out of season will virtually guarantee that you see no other people whilst on safari and there are pockets in the park where the game concentrations are good at any time of the year.  The birding from December through to March is exceptional.

Contact us how you can incorporate Ruaha National Park into your safari itinerary.