Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park covering an area of 20,226 located in south-central Tanzania and approximately 660km west of Dar es Salaam is one of the country’s most outstanding wilderness area. The name Ruaha was derived from the hehe word called ”Luhava” meaning the great river. During the dry season, when game viewing is at its best, animals are drawn to the Great Ruaha River and other water sources. The Great Ruaha River as other rivers like Mwagusi, Jongomero and Mzombe save as the life line of the park. During dry season, these rivers become mostly the main source of water for wildlife. There are few natural springs saving the same purpose. Ruaha National Park has a high diversity of plants and animals including elephants, buffalos, antelopes and some of rare and endangered species like wild dogs and this park serves as water shade both for wildlife and human being.In the pick of dry season, elephants obtain water from dry sand rivers using their front feet and trunks. The remaining water falls along the Great Ruaha River are also important habitat for hippopotamus, fish and crocodiles.

Park Attractions

Not only does Ruaha enjoy abundant wildlife, but the magnificent and constantly changing landscapes add a magical touch to the whole experience. Baobabs dot the rocky hillsides, the cool green shade along the River, the open grassy plains, all make a wonderful and exciting trip.

Wild Animals

This is the place where visitors can see both lesser and Greater Kudu because it is the southernmost limit for Lesser Kudu in the 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 and many more. 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 (both Greater and Lesser), Sable and Roan antelopes can easily be spotted in Miombo woodland. The male Kudu have beautiful spiraled horns while male Sable antelope have impressive curved horns. 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.


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 park is one of the Tanzania birds’ paradise with more than 571 species and some of them are known to be migrants from within and outside Africa. Migrating species from Europe, Asia, Australian rim and Madagascar have been recorded in the park. Species of interest in the park include Ruaha red-billed hornbill (Tokus ruahae) which is dominant in the area. The recently annexed wetland, the Usangu basin is one of the country’s important bird area (IBA) as recognized by Birdlife International.

Baobab ”Upside down tree”

The park is known for having baobab trees scattered all over the park. During dry season the baobab trees shed leaves, leaving only bare branches that resemble roots.Therefore people nick named it “roots up tree”.

The Great Ruaha River

”The life of Ruaha” and one of the main attraction for many tourists.

Park activities

Various activities are available in the park, such as day and night game drive, walking safari, cultural tourism, bush meal, bird watching, star gazing, balloon safari and picnicking.

Baloon safari

Experience hot air baloon safaris and enjoy spectacular aerial game viewing and remarkable landscapes If you want a unique perspective on the beautiful landscape of Ruaha, yet still search for wildlife then a balloon safari is perfect for you. The sense of floating above the never-ending wilderness gives you a tranquility that is hard to be matched anywhere else. The price of the balloon adventure is $550 per person

Walking Safari

This activity takes a visitor more close to nature as it provides a chance of tracking animals by their footprints, stopping to admire birdlife in the trees, and watching smaller creatures and their behaviors.

Night game drive

A night drive gives you the opportunity to see Ruaha like never before with a chance of seeing nocturnal wildlife and predators when they are more active

Cultural and Historical sites

The Mkwawa Museum, Isimila Stone age site and natural pillar, Mapenza grave, Nyanywa, Ganga la Mafunyo and Idinda rock painting will add unforgettable story tales on your visit

Game drive

Venture into the pristine wilderness of the Ruaha in a 4*4 safari vehicle hosted by experts. The Park is hailed for its vast herds of buffalo which roam the magnificent plains as well as for its flourishing elephants, lions, leopards, crocodiles and hippo populations

Bush meal

Visitors can enjoy taking their meals at the middle of the bush after a short or long day game drive

Accommodation facilities


Owned by the park, are strategically located on top of a hill with scenic views, available, in single/double or family suits.

Bandas and Rest houses

Bandas (uniport huts) and Rest house are available at Msembe Hq and Booking is advisable

Public camp sites

The Park offers Public camp sites that are equipped with toilets, showers, kitchen and dining area.

Best time to visit

The best game viewing in this national park is generally from May to November, but the bush is greener and prettier from January to June, and birding peaks during the European winter months of December to April.

Getting there

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.