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What we love

Fewer visitors than the Northern parks, and vast herds of big game.

Ruaha Safari

Tanzania

The destination

Ruaha National Park is one of the little-known gems of 'Safari Africa', and Tanzania's largest national park.

Located in a remote region in the south of Tanzania, Ruaha National Park is far from the beaten track and has a unique topography, as the acacia savannahs of East Africa merge to the miombo woodlands more prevalent in the south of the continent.

This spectacular environment is rich in wildlife and big game, with sightings of large prides of lion and vast herds of elephant common. 

Daily flights are now available from Selous Game Reserve and Serengeti National Park, making a visit to Ruaha easily combinable with a safari in other parts of the country.

The guides here are amongst the best in Africa, and with much fewer visitors than many of the other parks, now is the perfect time to explore the unrivalled beauty of this spectacular destination.

MORE INFORMATION

WHERE TO STAY?

Ruaha has some of the best value accommodation in all of Tanzania, as the lower visitor numbers mean the operators have to be much more competitive than they are in other areas.

Kigelia Ruaha, run by the wonderful people at Nomad Tanzania, is one of the most authentic safari camps you will find in all of Tanzania, if not Africa. All sorts of safari activities are available from here, and the Nomad guides are amongst the best in the business. Combined with the fact that they often run very special offers to combine with their sister camps, Kigelia Ruaha is one of our favourites.

Jabali Ridge Camp is the new kid on the block in Ruaha National Park, and is run by one of East Africa's leading safari operators, Asilia. Jabali Ridge Camp is set to raise the bar in the standard of accommodation available in Ruaha National Park, and will be the first true luxury safari camp in the area. We are very excited by its arrival on the scene!

Ruaha National Park has a wide variety of camps and lodges to choose from, with a selection of our favourites listed below. However, we have visited a large range, suitable for all budgets, so if you don't see something you like on our website, or you're not sure which is best for you, please don't hesitate to give us a call on 01993 899 430, or email inspire@oxfordprivatetravel.com, we would be delighted to craft your own tailor-made safari.

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GAME VIEWING

Ruaha National Park is known for spectacular game viewing!

If the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo, elephant) is what you've come to Africa for, then you've got a good chance of seeing all of them here, with the exception of rhino (sadly, rhino sightings across Africa are becoming more and more rare with the illegal demand for rhino horn). On our last visit, we saw huge herds of elephant and multiple prides of lion. As Ruaha has many rocky areas (particularly around Msembe airstrip), leopard sightings are also common. You may even be lucky enough to view a pack of wild dog, also known as the painted wolf.

If you're looking to see the great migration, it's not here. But then again, neither are the vast numbers of people who come to see the migration each year. 

One of the reasons wildlife are present in such great numbers is the vast Great Ruaha river, which dissects the park. The river is an important water source all year round, but animals are particularly drawn to it in the dry season of July to October when the smaller rivers run dry. Hence, this is the best time of year for viewing large numbers of game.

As Ruaha National Park has a unique ecosystem, it's the only park in Africa where species common to East and Southern Africa can be found in the same place, such as the greater and lesser kudu. The variety of birdife in the park is phenomenal, with almost 600 species sighted. Bird viewing really comes into its own after the short rains of November, through to the long rains of April/May. 

WHO SHOULD VISIT?

Ruaha National Park is the perfect location for first-time safari goers, or experienced old hands looking for the genuine article.

The range of accommodation options for families are not as plentiful as in other parks, so if you have young children we would advise waiting until they are a little older before visiting.

For active visitors, the walking safaris that the area is known for are a great way to add variety to your safari, but we only recommend taking a walking safari with an operator that has their own licensed guides, which all the properties featured on our website do.

Honeymooners looking for a true wilderness experience can be truly spoiled here, as many drives will be private, particularly out of high season.

WHEN TO VISIT?

For sheer numbers of wildlife the dry season of July to October is without doubt the prime time to visit Ruaha National Park, as large herds flock to the Great Ruaha river, providing plenty of food for the abundant predators.

However, as with many of the safari areas in Tanzania, prices at the camps drop significantly from November until April, so if you are not tied to school holidays, the first two weeks of November can provide excellent value for money. After all, the animals aren't looking at their calendars and suddenly go into hiding on November 1st!

Location

Top tips

  • Ruaha National Park combines perfectly in a twin-centre safari with Selous Game Reserve, and with the islands of the Zanzibar archipelago.
  • Best times to visit are July - October, during the height of the dry season. However, game viewing is spectacular all year round.
  • Accommodation in Ruaha National Park offers extremely good value compared to some of the more famous safari areas in the country.
  • Sundowners looking out across the vast landscapes are tough to beat! 
  • Local currency: Tanzanian Shilling
  • Accepted currency: USD
  • Accepted credit cards: Visa and MasterCard (most places)
  • Timezone: GMT +3 hrs

Hotels in Ruaha National Park

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