Ruaha is one of the largest national parks in Tanzania and it is kind of a secret tip for safaris, because it is relatively inaccessible that means it will see far fewer tourists than other comparable parks. It is part of the so-called southern circuit in Tanzania. This restricted accessibility means it is best to fly into the park and this is exactly what we did. There are several lodges in the park, we did stay in the Ruaha River Lodge which proved to be an excellent decision.
The southern neighbour park of Ruaha is Selous Game Reserve that we will discuss in another post, but the big advantage of Ruaha is that it is generally wilder and has more wildlife to offer. One of the stunning things to see here is the wild landscape where the hills are covered with baobab trees.
You can find here many giraffes, especially down at the Ruaha riverbed, as well as elephant herds mixed with all different kind of gazelles including Grant’s gazelle, but also greater and lesser kudu, waterbuck and impala
And zebras, where we had the opportunity to find especially beautiful representatives like this one without searching too long.
You could spend easily hours of watching all these animals and how they interact together, of course always sensitive to any potential danger that might appear out of nowhere.
Giraffes are actually so beautiful to watch and when moving this looks like slow motion.
Sure enough you can see many baboons around and when having your meal or making a stop in the bush it is generally a good idea to watch all your belongings so that the monkeys cannot escape with them.
One of the strengths of this park is the sheer combination of all different kinds of species from South and East Africa in such a relatively small space.
Especially the concentration of different kinds of birds is what makes Ruaha very appealing to birdwatchers as well and we are talking about over 500 species of bird!
You can find all predators in this park as well like cheetah, leopard, wild dog, hyena and of course lions. This lioness was resting in the shadow near the Ruaha riverbed when we passed by and almost ignored us totally, well obviously a very lazy afternoon.
Herds of elephants can be found everywhere, but especially again close to the riverbed, where they easily find lot of greens.
When approaching elephants it is a good thing to have an experienced guide like we did, because it can happen that especially some males can feel disturbed and this shows easily in their gestures.
If you like to photograph sunrise or sunset this is the right place for you. For me especially sunrise was bringing the better results, only thing you have to take care is to get out of bed early enough and have your camera ready.
But it is often not only the sun itself that makes up for stunning photos, it can also be the colours of the sky in that phases of the day that offer worthwhile motives.
It is always very impressive to see the wideness of the country, which was demonstrated very nicely down at the Ruaha riverbed the other morning.
So my secret tip is visit Ruaha National Park as you will for sure not be disappointed with either exciting game watching, stunning landscape or lodges offering great hospitality on the most beautiful places you can dream of.
Learn more about safari tours including Ruaha National Park on our African Safari Tours page with a variety of sample tours.
Peter Tomsu for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa