Ruaha is a special park that offers a truly adventurous safari experience for those willing to veer a bit off the traditional safari circuit. While it takes more effort to get there than some of the northern parks, visitors to Ruaha find once they arrive that all of the extra planning is worth it, for the experience that awaits is a truly traditional African safari.
Because Ruaha is so vast, you do need to be more patient with regards to seeing wildlife and we recommend 4-5 nights as the ideal stay per camp. You are unlikely to see much other traffic in this wonderful wilderness and that is what appeals to many people in contrast to the Northern Circuit which is far more accessible and as a result much busier.
The terrain of Ruaha will be embedded in your memory long after you leave the park. Rolling hills dotted with ancient, stout baobab trees spread out further than the eye can see; red desert earth, green blowing grasslands and broad, meandering rivers. The park covers an area of around 10,300 square kms and is shaped like a rectangle. The southwest portion of the park is home to the enormous Isunkavyola Plateau, which is a landmark of this rugged land. One-fifth of the park lies along the edge of the Great Ruaha River. This section is filled with woodland and is home to the park's numerous baobab trees.
The wildlife in Ruaha National Park is varied and numerous, and with few visitors to the park there exist ample opportunities for Ruaha safari-goers to view some really amazing wildlife. The elephants are the primary attraction with the park being home to one of the largest elephant populations in all of Africa. The vast open hillsides of Ruaha encourage predators. Visitors will have the opportunity to view leopards, lions, and African hunting dogs tracking down their prey.
The park is also home to a thriving bird population; migratory bird patterns have been identified over the years and have shown that a number of Ruaha birds make the long journey to the Congo during the year. There are estimated to be as many as 475 species of birds in Ruaha including the white stork, hornbill, and kingfisher.
Because of the distance between Tanzania's primary gateways (Dar es Salaam and Arusha) and Ruaha it typically makes most sense to spend at minimum 4 days in the park. The park is often combined with a safari to Selous National Park as well. The dry season (May to December) is the best time to view predators, while the wet season (January to April) is the perfect time of year to view birds and see an astonishing array of flowers.
There are a number of excellent accommodation options in Ruaha National Park. Jongomero Camp is one excellent option for those searching for a luxurious tented safari experience. The camp offers tents with private verandas and the gorgeous rock swimming pool provides the ideal means for cooling down after a long day of safari. Kwihala Camp is another option, providing its guests with six elegant tents whose sandy colour blends perfectly with the bush environment.