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Ruaha National Park Guide | Why visit Ruaha National Park Tanzania?

Ruaha National Park Map Ruaha National Park (NP) is a park of 5,000 square miles in south-central Tanzania and was originally part of the Rungwa Game Reserve. The Ruaha National Park Safari is one of the best in the southern-central circuit of Tanzania. Located 6 miles west of the town of Iringa, Ruaha was officially made a national park in 1964.

It is the 2nd largest national park in Tanzania and unique due to its wilderness area and game viewing in a fascinating landscape comprising plains, forested highlands, significant rivers, lakes, and wetlands.

Why visit Ruaha National Park Tanzania?

Safari in Ruaha NP

A safari in Ruaha National Park Tanzania offers visitors the chance to go on guided walking safaris and see big wildlife on game drives including large numbers of elephants along the Great Ruaha River, huge crocodiles, grunting hippos as well as buffaloes, kudus, and sable antelope.

Ruaha is popular with Tanzania honeymoon safaris also due to the breathtaking scenery, range of big game wildlife viewing on show, superior luxury lodges on offer, and bird watching to rival Selous Game Reserve (Nyerere National Park) and the Ngorongoro Crater. Visitors on this African safari can also make use of hot air balloons to view the incredible range of wildlife from above as well as being one of the best places in East Africa to see big cats and the African wild dog. Accommodation is also excellent with numerous luxury lodges and camping grounds.


Visitors will be in awe of the variety and numbers of large animals with the big five presents including the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and buffalo as well as the cheetah, zebra, kudu, bushbuck, roan and sable antelope, hartebeest, the crocodile, and the hippo, amongst others. In addition, with large herds of elephants and 10% of the world’s lion population, the park is also known for harboring smaller animals including monitor lizards and snakes.


Over 450 species of birds can be found here, particularly by the riverside waters including the glossy ibis and hadada, fish eagle, kingfisher, goliath, night heron, stilts, storks, scops, and pearl-spotted owls. The giant eagle owl is also sighted regularly.


Lying in the Eastern (Great) Rift Valley, the park, established in 1964, consists mostly of rolling plains east of the Great Ruaha River. Vegetation consists of clumps of palms and patches of open grassland; in the north, there are baobab trees & scrubby woodland. Ruaha National Park Tanzania is full of plants such as the Greater Kudu which can not be found in any other national park and an almost untouched and unexplored ecosystem.

Other activities on a Ruaha National Park Safari

There are multiple activities and things to do in Tanzania that can be added to your safari including walking safaris. Here are some other activities which visitors can consider during their visit:

Hot air balloon safaris: A magical way of seeing the wildlife in a hot air balloon flight over the landscape offers a very unique perspective.

Walking safaris: Explore the wildlife with a local Ruaha safari company on foot, an authentic and economical means of exploring the wildlife and exploring the Udzungwa mountains to the east of the Park and the hot springs of Maji Moto.

Boat cruise: Choose a luxury boat or speedboat and feel the Great Ruaha River breeze while savoring views of the surrounding scenery.

Sleep under the stars: Also known as fly camping in a simple tent whilst viewing the most incredible African skies in a hand-carved​​ four-poster ‘starbed’ encased in soft white netting.

Bird tours: With an incredible range of birds to view including the crested barbet and the yellow-collared lovebird, experience birding in a tranquil setting.

Useful information

Geography: Located in south-central Tanzania and accessed via chartered or scheduled flight from Dar es Salaam to the park’s airstrip.

Weather: Day-time high temperatures range from 26C/78F to 30C/86F with the last of the rain falling in May.

Best time to go: The middle and end of the Dry season (June to October) is the best time of year for watching wildlife in Ruaha National Park Safari. Animals are easier to spot because the bush thins out and wildlife concentrates around trusted water sources.

Understanding the best time to visit Tanzania is useful as this impacts flight prices and availability.

Health: Visitors should seek medical advice from their doctor and consider antimalarial medication before traveling to Ruaha.