Ruaha National park Tanzania – One of the country’s most outstanding wilderness areas It is the second largest National Park, covering an area of 20,226 sq.km located in south-central Tanzania. During the dry season, when game viewing is at its best, animals are drawn to the Great Ruaha River and other water sources. The name Ruaha was derived from the hehe word called ‘‘Luhava” meaning the great river.
It is located in the middle of Tanzania about 130 kilometres from Iringa. The park is part of a more extensive ecosystem, which includes Rungwa Game Reserve, Usangu Game Reserve, and several other protected areas.
The name of the park is derived from the Great Ruaha River, which flows along its South-Eastern margin and is the focus for game-viewing. The park can be reached by car via Iringa and there is an airstrip at Msembe, park headquarters.
Ruaha National Park Tanzania has a bimodal pattern of rain forest; the short rainfall season begins November to February, while the long season is between March and April. The park experiences its dry season between June and October.
The park is one of the Tanzania birds’ paradise with more than 571species and some of them are known to be migrants from within and outside Africa.
Ruaha is believed to have high concentration of elephants than any National Park in East Africa. It is also a place where, magnificent mammals like Kudu, Sable and Roan antelopes can easily be spotted in Miombo woodland. The park is also a habitat for endangered wild dogs. Other animals in the park include lions, leopards, cheetah, giraffes, zebras, elands, impala, bat eared foxes and Jackals.
Apart from large animals, the park also harbors a number of reptiles and amphibians such as crocodiles, poisonous and non-poisonous snakes, monitor lizards, agama lizards and frogs
The park is characterized by semi-arid type of vegetation, baobab trees, Acacia and other species. There are over 1,650 plant species that have been identified.
With 574 species recorded in Ruaha, it is difficult to visit this beautiful Park and not be impressed by the number and variety of birds you see.
The resident birds of the Ruaha National Park Tanzania are: the Crested barbet, Dickinson’s kestrel, Pale-billed hornbill, Violet-crested turaco, Racket-tailed roller, Plovers, Kingfishers, Hornbills, Green-wood hoopoes, Sunbirds, Bee-eaters and Egrets.
This is the place where visitors can see both Lesser and Greater Kudu because it is the southernmost limit for Lesser Kudu in African continent.
It is also possible to see, Sable and Roan antelope, Lichtenstein’s Hartebeest, Topi, both Southern and Bohor reedbuck and it is the southernmost limit of Grants Gazelle.
In addition to this, Ruaha boasts a healthy population of Wild Dogs, Leopard, Lions, Cheetah, Buffalo, and Elephant, not to mention all the other species, of which there are plenty
The park is accessible by road and air.
Road. From Iringa town it is 108km to the main gate (Y-Junction), 625Km from Dar es Salaam and 480Km from Mbeya City.
Air. Daily flights from Dar es Salaam and Arusha is the easiest way to Ruaha. Airstrips are located at Msembe and Jongomero. Coastal Aviation, Auric Air and Safari Link all have scheduled flights to Ruaha.
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For larger mammals the best time to visit Ruaha National Park Tanzania is in the dry season between June and October. As a simple rule, the drier it gets, the fewer places there are for the game to drink and the more the animals congregate around remaining water sources.