Ruaha National Park is one of Africa’s great wilderness parks, offering excellent big game viewing.
Ruaha was previously part of the huge Rungwa Game Reserve, with which it shares its north-western boundary, but gazetted as a National Park in 1964. The terrain within the park is well wooded and undulating.
Generally, the park is divided into four different habitats consisting of mixed miombo woodland, undulating hills dominated by baobabs, albida woodland along the main river courses, and areas of open ‘black cotton’ grassland. The Great Ruaha River (which forms much of the south-eastern boundary), numerous waterholes, swamps and seepage areas provide the park with a permanent supply of water, but there are also numerous sand rivers which become raging torrents during the rains (from December to April).
Mammal viewing is superb particularly in the dry season (June to October) when the animals are forced to congregate around the water sources – elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog, impala, zebra, giraffe, hippo, waterbuck, roan and sable antelope, eland, greater and lesser kudu, and Grant’s gazelle are just some on the many species to be seen. The birdlife is exceptional with some 540 species recorded.
Despite Ruaha being a terrific wildlife area, it is still attracts relatively small numbers of tourists. Game viewing is mostly limited game drives by day, though some camps may offer walks and night drives. Tsetse fly are present in the park, particular in certain areas and around certain camps!