Ruaha National Park
Named for the Great Ruaha River that traverses the southeast portion of the park, Ruaha National Park is one of the roads less traveled by tourists. While not as popular a destination or as accessible as the parks to the north, its rugged terrain, and rocky escarpments offer a richly diverse and less crowded safari experience. The horizons are dotted with Baobab trees and Acacia, while herds of elephants wander in search of water and food. The annexing of the Usangu Game Reserve into the park in 2008 made Ruaha the largest national park in Tanzania.
A high concentration of diverse plants, animals, and birds, as well as a rugged and primarily untouched ecosystem, make the park a good choice for visitors looking to get off the beaten path.
At the base of the Western Rift Valley escarpment, these pockets of natural springs provide much-needed water for the wildlife in the park during the dry season (May-December).
The leader of the Hehe tribe, Chief Mkwawa led his tribe in a fierce resistance against a 19th-century German invasion. Although ultimately not successful, his bravery and leadership remain a strong part of the Ruaha area’s history. Many sites within the park believed to be ritual spots and hiding spots for the great chief still exist.
More than 10,000 elephants call Ruaha National Park home - believed to be the largest concentration of elephants in any east African national park. African wild dogs, sable antelope, buffalo, lions, cheetah, giraffes, bat eared foxes and jackals among other game can be spotted throughout the park.
Over 570 species of birds are found in the park, including kingfisher and hornbills.
- established as a national park in 1964
- size: With the addition of the Usangu Game Reserve, the park grew from 13,000 sq km to 20226 sq km, (5,000 sq mi to 7,800 sq mi) making it the largest National Park in Tanzania.
- location: 130km (80 mi) west of Iringa in central Tanzania.
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