When is the best time to visit the Ruaha National Park?
For game viewing:
The best time to visit the Ruaha National Park is June to October. During this period the animals congregate around water sources and are easy to spot.
The best time to visit the Ruaha for birding is January to June.
The Ruaha National Park is accessible all year round.
Why should I visit Ruaha National Park?
Wild Dog, the size of the herds and abundant predators
Which of the Big 5 can I see in Ruaha National Park?
4 of the Big 5: There are no rhino in this park. There are however Wild Dog and Cheetah in good numbers.
Special animals/behaviour in Ruaha National Park
The Ruaha’s claim to fame are the wild dog packs, which are regularly seen.
The Ruaha is also home to the largest population of greater kudu in East Africa.
The lions here live in large prides, sometimes up to 20 individuals.
The park has over 570 bird species, 350 thereof that are not found in northern Tanzania. It is the transition between acacia and miombo woodlands which give it the great diversity of birds found here.
What is the weather like in Ruaha National Park?
The Ruaha has two seasons, the dry season (October to March) and the wet season (April to November). The wet season is characterised by afternoon thunderstorms but seldom does the rain last the whole day. The Ruaha is however overall hot and dry. Temperatures throughout the year do not vary much staying between 28 & 29° C during the day and 18 to 19° C at night. The warmest months are October to March, and the coolest are June to August. It is best to visit the Ruaha anytime, just do it.
About Ruaha National Park
Ruaha National Park is the largest national park in Tanzania and East Africa. In 2008, the Usangu Game Reserve and other important wetlands were added to the park, increasing it size to about 20,226 km². The Ruaha is still largely undiscovered and those who visit can appreciate the feeling of isolation in an unspoiled paradise.
Situated in the South-West of Tanzania, Ruaha sprawls within and along one of the arms of the Great Rift Valley. It covers a unique transition zone where the Eastern and Southern species of both fauna and flora meet against a dramatic topographical background. The Great Ruaha river runs through spectacular gorges and majestic trees it is specially appealing to photographers. Ruaha, due to its location on the rift and surrounding geological formations is extremely diverse with access to several different habitat types. The Ruaha is home to an incredible amount and array of animals with an estimated 20,000 elephants in this one park alone.
The Great Ruaha River flows east through the Usangu wetlands and the Ruaha National Park and eventually empties into the Rufiji River. It is about 475 km long and boasts 38 species of fish. This river is the centre-piece of the park and gives rise to its extraordinary diversity of animals, plants, and birds. There are over 1600 species of tree, twice as many as the great Selous Game Reserve which is also twice the size of Ruaha.
Birds and animals of the Ruaha
530 different species, half of all Tanzania’s of bird species, have been recorded here, making it one of the continent’s premier birding destinations.
The park possesses one of the largest species counts of a large mammal of any other park. The Ruaha is a predator’s paradise. The park is home to plenty of lions, leopards, cheetahs, African wild dogs and other smaller predators. The Ruaha is also home to the second largest population of wild dog in Africa. It is also one of the only national parks in the country where both the greater and lesser kudu co-exist. Ruaha also boasts a large amount of the rarer less seen creatures.
In the Ruaha, it is not uncommon in the dry season to see well over 100 elephants in a single drive and the herds of buffalo are often seen and can reach astronomical numbers with 500 animals plus seen in a single herd. Hippos rule the river and vast pods of these animals can also be seen sunning themselves along the stunning river sandbanks on an early morning.