The Ruaha National Park was named after the Great Ruaha River which flows on the south eastern border of this beautiful national park. A river naturally attracts many animals in search for water, making this national park a great choice for game viewing. The river flows through the eastern side of the park and is also home to hippo, crocodile and many water birds. Sadly over recent years the Ruaha River has started drying up which is of great concern for the wildlife around it… but, only time can tell whether the wildlife will migrate to other areas.
Ruaha National Park is a vast wilderness area which hosts one of the largest elephant populations in Africa. In addition to the elephants, which are estimated to number at least 12,000, the park has large herds of buffalo, as well as kudu, Grant’s gazelle, wild dog, ostrich, cheetah, sable antelope, and more than 400 different bird species. The bird species that can be found within the Ruaha National Park include hornbills, kingfishers, sunbirds and occasionally white storks… bird lovers will be captivated for days! Rhinos have unfortunately become distinct within the borders of Ruaha National Park due to poaching.
With an area of almost 22,000km2, Ruaha National Park is Tanzania’s largest reserve, and is part of an extended ecosystem that also encompasses the adjoining Rungwa and Kisigo game reserves. Much of the park is an undulating plateau averaging about 900 m in height with occasional rocky outcrops, and mountains in the south and west reaching to about 1600 m and 1900 m, respectively.
Large areas of Ruaha are unexplored and undeveloped; one of park management’s goals is to preserve as much of the territory as possible in a pristine and undisturbed state. Due to Ruaha’s vastness and character, you should set aside as much time as you can spare to visit – it’s not a place to be discovered on a quick in and out safari.