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Overview

A firm favorite of many seasoned safarigoers and East African residents, Ruaha is the second-largest national park in Tanzania, set at the core of a vast complex of contiguous conservation areas known as the Greater Ruaha Ecosystem. The park is named after the near-perennial Great Ruaha River, which is fed by a succession of seasonal tributaries as it runs along the eastern boundary. Ruaha is probably best known for its dense population of elephants, but it also ranks among the select few African parks where casual visitors regularly encounter all three of Africa’s large cats – leopard, cheetah and prides of 15 or more lion – as well as the ...

A firm favorite of many seasoned safarigoers and East African residents, Ruaha is the second-largest national park in Tanzania, set at the core of a vast complex of contiguous conservation areas known as the Greater Ruaha Ecosystem. The park is named after the near-perennial Great Ruaha River, which is fed by a succession of seasonal tributaries as it runs along the eastern boundary. Ruaha is probably best known for its dense population of elephants, but it also ranks among the select few African parks where casual visitors regularly encounter all three of Africa’s large cats – leopard, cheetah and prides of 15 or more lion – as well as the endangered African wild dog. A transitional location between the eastern Africa’s northern acacia woodland and southern miombo belt also means the park supports an unusually high variety of antelope, including Grant's gazelle and lesser kudu at the southern extent of their range alongside the miombo-associated sable and roan antelope, and the spectacular greater kudu. The exceptional birdlife displays a similar dichotomy, with central Tanzania endemics such as Tanzania red-billed hornbill, ashy starling and black-collared lovebird seen alongside southern species such as the bright and noisy crested barbet. Yes what really draws the cognoscenti back to Ruaha again and again is its rugged wilderness atmosphere, one epitomized by the bulbous baobab trees scattered across its rocky slopes.

Philip Briggs
About the Expert

Philip Briggs has written or contributed to 50-plus editions of Bradt, Insight, AA and Berlitz guidebooks to African destinations.

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Philip Briggs for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Ruaha National Park is the largest national park in Tanzania. It covers an area of about 22,000 km². It is located in the middle of Tanzania about 130 km from Iringa.
  • Language: Kiswahili or Swahili, English and Arabic
  • Currency: Tanzanian Shilling
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    May to November, the dry season. Internal roads may be closed during the rains.