Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park  : It is one of the national park in Tanzania rich with wildlife and other attractions, but also above all the park has some of the undisturbed natural environment that always make visitors visiting this park feels the true nature of African bush. Usangu Game Reserve joined with Ruaha National Park in 2008, becoming Tanzania’s largest national park, covering more than 20,000 km2. Despite the park’s immensity, there are only a few camps, earning Ruaha the title of Tanzania’s best kept game viewing secret. Ruaha stands out from other reserves because of its wild and unspoiled nature, making it a popular choice for regular East African safari goers.

The Great Ruaha River, with its deep gorges, churning rapids, and great fishing, is the reserve’s main point, The River is a great place to go fishing. Ruaha is a wildlife enthusiast’s dream, with over 10,000 elephants, 30,000 buffalo, 20,000 zebra, and large populations of lion and leopard (not to mention more than 400 bird species) to thrill while on Tanzania Safaris Tours.

Large predator sightings are extremely common in Ruaha National Park. According to research undertaken by the Ruaha Carnivore Project, which was founded in 2009, the park is home to 10% of Africa’s lions, including big prides of 20 or more.

Where is Ruaha National Park located?

What is the location of Ruaha National Park? Ruaha National Park is 130 kilometers west of Iringa in central to southern Tanzania. Ruaha National Park was Tanzania’s and East Africa’s largest protected area, covering 20,226 square kilometers, the reputation taken by the new establishment park-Nyerere national park which covers over 30,000 square kilometers.

Climate of the park

Ruaha National Park features a bimodal rain forest pattern, with the short season beginning in November and ending in February, and the long season beginning in March and ending in April. The typical annual rainfall is 500-800 mm, with an average annual temperature of around 280 °C. The park’s dry season runs from June to October, when the temperature at Msembe headquarters exceeds 350 degrees.

Park history

The park’s history begins in 1910, when Germany designated it as the Saba Game Reserve, which was later altered to Rungwa Game Reserve by the British in 1946. Ruaha National Park was established in 1964 with a short piece of the Great Ruaha River added in 1974. “Ruaha” is a Hehe word that means “river.” Usangu wildlife reserve and other major wetlands in the Usangu basin were annexed into the park in 2008, making it Tanzania’s and East Africa’s largest park, with a total size of 20226km2.

 Park significance

Elephants, buffalos, antelopes, and other rare and endangered species such as wild dogs can all be found in Ruaha National Park. Both wildlife and humans benefit from the park’s water sources. This makes it economically important because it supports agricultural activities downstream and contributes to the country’s hydroelectric power (HEP) generation at the Mtera and Kidatu dams.

The Best Time to Visit Ruaha National Park

The dry season is the greatest time to explore Ruaha because wildlife congregates around the Great Ruaha River. The rocky outcrops of Ruaha are dotted with the hiding sites of Hehe tribal Chief Mkwawa, who fled into hiding after killing a German captain in an ambush in 1895. This ancient area hides many species in its vegetation and preserves many secrets. During the dry season (May to December), when the foliage dies down and the animals become more visible, their cover is blown.

Tourist attractions in Ruaha national park


With over 571 species, some of them believed to be migrants from within and outside Africa, the park is one of Tanzania’s birders’ paradises. The park has been home to migratory species from Europe, Asia, the Australian rim, and Madagascar. The Ruaha red-billed hornbill (Tokus ruahae), which is the dominating species in the area, is one of the park’s most interesting species. Birdlife International has designated the Usangu basin, a recently annexed wetland, as one of the country’s important bird areas (IBAs). Birds can be spotted all year, but the wet season is the ideal time to see them.

Ruaha National Park
Birding in Ruaha


Together with Tarangire and Amboseli national park, Ruaha is home to more elephants than any other East African national park. Miombo woodland is also home to spectacular creatures such as Kudu (both Greater and lesser), Sable, and Roan antelopes. Male Kudu antelopes have spiraling horns, while male Sable antelopes have curved horns. In addition, the park is home to endangered wild dogs. Lions, leopards, cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, elands, impala, bat-eared foxes, and jackals are among the other animals found in the park.

Reptiles and amphibians

Crocodiles, venomous and non-poisonous snakes, monitor lizards, agama lizards, and frogs are among the park’s reptiles and amphibians. Crocodiles prefer to live in the Great Ruaha and Mzombe rivers making it an ideal location to spot them if you’re interested in seeing these creatures during your Tanzania safari tour to Ruaha national park.


The park is known for its semi-arid vegetation, which includes baobab trees, acacia trees, and other species. Over 1650 different plant species have been recognized inside the park making it an ideal safari destination for botanist. The park lies at the crossroads of two vegetation zones: the Zambezian (marked by Miombo vegetation) and the Sudanian (defined by Sudanian vegetation) characterized by Acacia vegetation.

Historical and cultural sites

The park contains various historical and cultural monuments that allow visitors to learn about the Southern Tanzanian tribes. The Arab caravan’s early trading routes passed through here. These coastal traders moved their routes northward in 1830, and other European explorers like Burton and Speke used these routes in 1857 and 1858.

The park is frequently referred to as the land of the courageous Chief Mkwawa, the Chief of the Hehe people who fought the Germans in the late 1800s. The Hehe tribe became famous in the southern highlands of Tanganyika after their ferocious and successful war tactics against the German invasion (Tanzania). Chief Mkwawa went into hiding after his empire (kalenga) fell to the Germans in 1894, and several of the outcrops in the area are recognized as his hiding sites.

In summary, it is thought that this ancient area (Ruaha National Park) has many of Chief Mkwawa’s secrets


For the park and the country as a whole, the river systems and watersheds are economically, socially, and environmentally important. The Great Ruaha, Mzombe, Mdonya, Mwagusi, and Jongomero are the major rivers found in the Ruaha national park.

Rift valley

The park is bisected by the Great Rift Valley. The escarpment wall along the western valley side is around 50-100m high in the north-eastern portions and gradually increases in height to the southwest. The Great Ruaha River’s valley is thought to be an extension of the Great Rift Valley. The Great Ruaha River flows through rocky gorges and broad plains for 160 kilometers along the eastern border.

Natural springs

Mkwawa, Mwayembe, Makinde, and Maj moto springs are found throughout the park and are related to the base of the Western Rift Valley escarpment. These springs are wildlife refuges during the dry season, when most rivers are dry.

Ruaha National Park
Ruaha National Park

Tourist activities in Ruaha national park

Game viewing, long and short wilderness walking safaris, bird watching, picnics, and bush dinners (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) in the undisturbed bushes are among the park’s tourism activities. Bird gazing, beautiful scenery, and wildflowers are best experienced during the rainy season (January–April).

How to get there

By air- Scheduled and chartered flights are available from Arusha, Dodoma, Kigoma, and Dar-es-Salaam to the park. Msembe and Jongomero are the park’s airstrips to land in during your safari flight to Ruaha national park.

By road-Iringa town is 130 kilometers away, while Dar-es-Salaam is 625 kilometers away. The entrance road to the park is open all year.