​Overview – Ruaha NP

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Bradt guidebooks to African destinations, including the guide to Tanzania.

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Bradt guidebook to Tanzania.

Philip is the author of the Bradt guidebook to Tanzania.

Ruaha National Park is a favorite safari destination for many Africa aficionados. And that is for good reason: when it comes to a combination of wilderness appeal and diverse wildlife viewing, Ruaha is hard to beat. Its untrammeled bush vibe extends to its limited accommodation options, which mostly consist of exclusive rustic lodges and tented camps, all spread out over a vast area.

Best Time To Go June to October (Best wildlife viewing)
High Season June to October (Ruaha is rarely crowded)
Size 20,220km² / 7,807mi²
Altitude 721-1,863m / 2,365-6,112ft

Pros & Cons

  • Top wildlife viewing in the middle and end of the Dry season
  • Superb for spotting predators, including big prides of lion
  • One of the best places in East Africa to encounter wild dogs
  • Unusual antelope species such as greater kudu, roan and sable
  • Very exclusive and it doesn't get crowded
  • Tanzania’s second-largest national park (after Nyerere)
  • Relatively expensive, with limited budget options
  • Animals are scattered during the Wet season
  • Most lodges are closed from March to May

Ruaha NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

Predator viewing in Ruaha is exceptional. The park is known for its big prides of lion and healthy wild dog population. While lions are very territorial, wild dogs, with their big home ranges, are a lot more elusive. The best time to see them is when they are denning. Elephants and a wide variety of antelope are another big draw to the park.

Scenery

The main geographical feature of Ruaha’s untamed wilderness is the Great Ruaha River with its sandy tributaries. Away from the river, miombo woodland is interspersed with savannah grassland dotted with ancient baobab trees and rocky outcrops.

Activities

The best way to see and photograph wildlife in Ruaha is on early morning and late afternoon game drives. It’s also worth doing a night drive to see nocturnal animals and to marvel at the night sky. A different way to experience the wilderness is on a walking safari with an armed ranger. You’ll mostly discover tiny creatures that are not often seen from a vehicle, but you might have some thrilling encounters with big animals too.

Weather & Climate

Due to Ruaha being near the equator, temperatures don’t change much from month to month. The area is at its coolest during the Dry season (May to October), when the average afternoon temperature is around 27°C/81°F. The Wet season (November to April) is hot and humid, but it rarely rains for long.

Best Time To Visit

The heat is less intense in the Dry season (May to October). This is also when animals are attracted to the Great Ruaha River and are therefore easier to see. It can be uncomfortably hot in the wetter months, and some roads may be inaccessible at this time.

Want To Visit Ruaha NP?

63 Ruaha Safaris

Ruaha NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Expert
Philip Briggs  –  
South Africa ZA

Philip is an acclaimed travel writer and author of many guidebooks, including the Bradt guides to Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa.

The Connoisseur’s Choice
5/5

Many seasoned East African safari-goers regard Ruaha to be the most rewarding of all East African game reserves, and while I’d rate it slightly below the Serengeti for overall game viewing, it is certainly one of the region’s very...

Full Review

Latest User Review
N Nagaraj  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Dec 13, 2023
5/5

Great experience !

Full Review