How to get to Ruaha National Park
How to Get to Ruaha National Park should be a question to every traveler because the national park is relatively far in the remote areas of Tanzania which is part of the reasons why a few visitors go to this park, however, the park’s inaccessibility has given it an advantage of remaining untouched with fascinating best-kept adventures and thus still reasonably accessible. There are different ways on how to get to this park but the easiest id by using Air Transport. Ruaha National Park is a big and wild park located west of the Selous Game Reserve and south of Serengeti National Park, it is a really an amazing destination with its unbelievable Wildlife but its geographical location is a long distance from the big towns in Tanzania.
One way on getting park is by using road transport in a comfortable vehicle from Iringa or Dar – Es Salaam which is 130km drive from Iringa town and 625km from Dar-Es-salaam, driving from Dar es Salaam can be quite challenging as the roads are bumpy and dusty as well as tiresome as it is a very long distance and takes about 10 hours’ drive on the road. The easiest way on getting to the park is by Air, there are daily chartered flights with coastal aviation and safari Air link serving mainly from Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, Arusha, and Kigoma that land onto the park’s airstrips which are Msembe Airstrip at Msembe (park central station) and Jongomero Airstrip close to the Jongomero Ranger Post.
There is also a new flight offered by coastal aviation connecting the Serengeti National Park and Ruaha National Park, in case you are adjoining safaris in different National Parks, there are flights connecting all the national parks in the southern circuit safaris and in this case these flights usually leave from Mikumi National Park or the Selous. From Arusha you can get flights to the Northern circuit that can as well connect to Ruaha National Park.
3 ways to go to Ngorongoro Crater
Difference between fly and go by a car is 76 km.
Ruaha National Park FAQ's
Ruaha National Park is renowned for its excellent wildlife-sighting opportunities. Combined with the low numbers of visitors, this makes it a spectacular destination. The wider Ruaha area hosts 10% of the world’s lion population and has been a Lion Conservation Unit since 2005.
Ruaha National Park is renowned for its excellent wildlife-sighting opportunities. Combined with the low numbers of visitors, this makes it a spectacular destination.
The wider Ruaha area hosts 10% of the world’s lion population and has been a Lion Conservation Unit since 2005. It’s not uncommon to find prides of more than 20 lion in the park. Leopard stalk the thicker woodland areas, while cheetah can be found scanning the plains for prey. The wild dog is endangered, but Ruaha is home to almost 100 of them. There are healthy populations of hyena and black-backed jackal too.
Elephant are seen in high densities during the dry season, when they gather around the dry riverbed to dig for water with their trunks and front feet. The park is also home to plentiful buffalo, zebra, giraffe, greater and lesser kudu, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, waterbuck, bushbuck, and impala.
There are more than 570 species of birds, including the eponymous Ruaha red-billed hornbill. Migrant birds from Europe, Asia, Australia and Madagascar arrive during the rainy season between February and April.
The scope of wildlife in Ruaha is extraordinary, with 80 animal species, a checklist of over 550 recorded bird species, and 10% of the world’s lion population calling this region home. Lion prides swell up to numbers of 25 adults, bringing down large game such as buffalo and giraffe.
Why visit Ruaha National Park?
- Ruaha is well known for its high densities of elephants, with over 10,000 individuals.
- The park also houses enormous numbers of predators like the 20 prides of lions, lions, and cheetahs.
- Ruaha also houses over 500 permanent and seasonal bird species, making the park a birders’ paradise.
- The park is renowned for its excellent wildlife viewing opportunities with only a few visitors, making it an ideal destination for those who dislike touristy parks.
- It is the biggest safari park in Tanzania, with a pleasantly dry climate and dramatic scenery, perfect for picture-taking opportunities.
- The park offers a rare game-viewing experience spiced up by Ruaha’s incredibly stunning landscape.
A safari to Ruaha National Park costs anywhere from $150 per person to $1750 per person. This is for safari expenses like flights, park entrance fees, accommodation, meals, and additional activities like game drives and hot air balloon rides.
Trips to Ruaha National Park tend to be pricier due to its location in the heart of Safari Country in Southern Tanzania. Its remoteness also means less foot traffic from other tourists in the area, which makes for a more exclusive safari experience.
|Distance: 487.2||Time: 9 hrs|
Ruaha National Park
Ruaha is now Tanzania’s second largest national park (after Nyerere NP) and offers excellent wildlife viewing. It is particularly good for spotting predators, including very large prides of lion and the endangered wild dog. Elephants and a variety of antelope species are another big draw to the park. It also has outstanding wilderness appeal, with limited exclusive, luxury camps available.
Serengeti Trips Tanzania
Find all the transport options for your trip from Arusha to Ngorongoro Crater right here. We displays up to date schedules, route maps, journey times and estimated fares from relevant transport operators, ensuring you can make an informed decision about which option will suit you best.
Lodges and Tented Camps in Ruaha National Park
Ruaha National Park
There are numerous accommodation options offered in Ruaha National Park, with beautiful locations in distinct areas both inside and outside the Ruaha National Park. These Accommodations in Ruaha National Park is well designed in its natural setting perfectly blending with nature in categories of lodges, bandas, hostels and tented camps and have varying standards of rustic luxury, mid-range, and affordable budget facilities which all greatly have value for money while they provide the perfect wild stay experiences.
Luxury Accommodation in Ruaha National Park include;
Jongomero Camp is also another luxury camp that gives true secluded luxury for an unspoiled, African wilderness experience, Set back in the shady Acacia trees, in the southernmost part of the Park, it is far from any other camps, providing unmatched privacy. While at the camp tourists have high chances of Watching the elephants stroll down the Sand River right from the veranda, or watch hippos frolic in the permanent water nearby. Jongomero has eight large and well-appointed tented suites, under enormous thatched roofs that also encompass a spacious private veranda, all eight tents are raised up on wooden platforms, spaced along the river bank. They are large and stylish and the word ‘tent’ does not do Jongomero justice. Inside there are high-quality furnishings on polished wooden floors and special touches throughout to create a luxury feeling in the bush.
Jabali Ridge is a stylish luxury camp in the wildlife-rich Ruaha National Park, set on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Mwagusi River and Ikuka escarpment, the lodge has 8 suites including 1 private house each with ensuite bathrooms, flushing toilets, private outdoor lounges, and the lodge also has a swimming pool and spa. While at stay at Jabali, during the rainy season, you can hear the incredible thundering of the Ikuka waterfalls and even witness the Mwagusi beginning to flow after being dry for seven months. The dry season is equally exciting, with opportunities to spot buffalo herds in the riverbed and elephants digging in the sand for water.
Mwagusi Safari camp
Mwagusi Safari camp is a uniquely designed camp with a friendly and peaceful atmosphere, the camp is built almost entirely from organic natural materials with guests being treated to a “unique” tented safari experience, each en-suite tent is comfortably secured under a cooling thatched roof and nestled snuggly into the sandy banks of the Mwagusi River.
Ruaha River Lodge
Ruaha River Lodge is the only luxury ‘lodge’ in the Ruaha, consisting of 24 stone chalets stretching along the river bank. Each chalet has stunning views from a large veranda out the front, while the huge interiors feature a sitting area, writing desk, and either twin or double beds. At the rear of each chalet is a large bathroom decorated with found timber, a shower, and double basins.
Kigelia Camp is located on the Ifguru Sand River, close to the confluence of the Mwagusi River and the Greater Ruaha River making the likelihood of seeing the game (especially the big 5) incredibly high, The Camp is an intimate luxury camp that offers six large double tents with ensuite flash toilets and showers and can be booked individually or alternatively, exclusively by families and groups of eight people or more traveling together. Children of 8 years are also welcome.
Mid- Range Accommodation in Ruaha National Park include;
Kwihala Tented Camp
Kwihala Tented Camp is a refreshing combination of adventure and style, designed for those who would like to be that little bit closer to the wildlife and thus is located in the Northern part of Ruaha in the Mbagi area. The camp is only 45 minutes’ drive from the airstrip at Msembe and also close to the river and the best game driving circuits in Ruaha. Kwihala Camp is a small camp with just six, well-spaced tents giving guests a very private opportunity to enjoy this magnificent park.
Ruaha Hill Top Lodge
Ruaha Hilltop Lodge is a mid-range lodge built on a hill with a wonderful panoramic view. The Lodge is 100km from Iringa on the Iringa – Ruaha main road and 5km from Tungamalenga village and near the boundary of Ruaha National Park. The self-contained cottages are very comfortable and private, each with its own balcony with a beautiful view. The water is heated by solar power. At your stay at Ruaha Hill Top, Giraffes, elephants, and baboons and kudus can sometimes be glimpsed not far away.
Other Accommodation in Ruaha National Park include Mdonya Old River Camp, Ikuka Safari Camp, Kichaka Lodge, and many others like Ruaha River Campsite, Mdonya River Campsite, etc. outside the park you can choose from options like Sunset Mountain Lodge, Tandala Tented Camp, Chogela Camp and many others.
Ruaha National Park has a bimodal pattern of the rain forest, the short rainfall season which begins November to February while the long wet season is between March and April. The park experiences its archetypal dry season between June and October. The Best time to visit Ruaha National Park can be determined based on these two climatic seasons received in the National Park. As a simple rule of thumb, the drier it gets in the National Park, the fewer the places for Game to access drinking water and usually, animals will always congregate on the remaining water holes, thus creates high chances for easy viewing Game in these particular places.
Ruaha National Park is crisscrossed with a network of rivers including Ruaha River which tends to dry up during the extreme dry season of June to October leaving very few sandy water pools many of which retain good clean drinking water through and these occasionally attract more of the park animals to congregate around thus easy Game viewing and thus during the dry season is preferably the best time to visit this park. In addition also as the park dries out, the bushes and thick vegetation becomes less dense thus easier to spot quite a number of animals, however, it is not to say that the short rainy season starting from November to February is still not the Best Time to Visit for your safari because the vegetation starts to flourish prettily and the shrubby bushes are also getting greener and beautiful making beautiful sceneries.
Also with the prolific and abundant Birdlife in Ruaha National Park which includes migratory birds for great bird watching during the wet season especially in March and this makes Ruaha National Park a great deal to visit all year round.
Ruaha National Park is Tanzania’s biggest National Park, covering about 13,000 sq km and lies in the southern part of this beautiful, premium safari destination country. Ruaha National Park is a far cry from the busy tourist circuits of northern Tanzania, it boasts a baobab-decorated landscape and excellent game viewing for untouched Game and wilderness, through Game drives or foot safaris. However tourists are now exploring wildlife in Ruaha national Park by an adventurous experience on a floating ride in a Hot Air Balloon safari in Ruaha National Park – the biggest wildlife protected park in Tanzania.
This luxury experience of Hot Air balloon safari in Ruaha National Park is the invention from the Serengeti Balloon Safaris, which has been operating in central Serengeti since 1989 with a repute of having flown more than 250,000 visitors, The first official balloon ride in this Ruaha National Park successfully took flight on 15th June 2018 and thus still welcomes safari-goers visiting the Ruaha National park to enjoy an open-air wildlife ride from the top.
Renowned for its thick elephant population and remote location, Ruaha National Park has a distinguished topography of vast dry landscapes with the flowing the Great Ruaha River, a lifeline to wildlife in the region and thus Ariel views of a herd of elephants digging in the giant baobab trees; kudus and giraffes quenching thirst by the river, vigilant of the predators; a hundred birds chirp around your open-air flight will make your Hot Air Balloon Safari a redefined one.
This trip has the early morning flights that take up to 12 passengers for a spectacular wildlife game viewing experience which usually lasts for a full hour, passing above the river and seasonal tributaries where antelopes such as impalas and waterbucks are spotted around schools of hippos, hungry crocodiles and leopards, you will further view pride of lions, roaming free in the vast savannah, the cheetahs stalking in the grasslands along sneaky leopards tucking behind large rocks.
The minimum age for Hot Air Balloon Safari in Ruaha National Park is 7 years, there is no maximum age, though passengers must be relatively fit and able to climb in and out of the basket, hold on to rope handles and bend their knees. Ballooning is not recommended for anyone with health or mobility issues, or for pregnant women.
In the heart of Tanzania far in its remoteness on the southern circuit is Ruaha National Park, the largest National Park of the country covering an area of about 13,000 square kilometres. The area includes Rungwa Game Reserve, Usangu Game Reserve, Kizigo and Muhesi Game Reserves, and several other protected areas. Its ecosystem represents a transition zone between the miombo woodlands common in Zambia, open savannah biomes, typical of Northern Tanzania and Kenya’s, fascinating rolling hills & landscapes.
Tourist Attractions in the Park
Ruaha National Park is among the least visited National Parks which makes it a great opportunity to go on safari without meeting other tourists along the way. The flora and fauna is as interesting as most other national parks in Tanzania with over 1,650 plant species as well as numerous birds and mammal species from both Southern and Eastern Africa that inhabits the National Park simultaneously. Species such as lions, cheetahs, leopards, striped hyenas and the largest population of African wild dogs in the world can be found here. The park also harbours a number of reptiles and amphibians such as Crocodiles, poisonous and non-poisonous Snakes, Monitor Lizards, Agama Lizards, and Frogs.
The birdlife in Ruaha National Park is prolific, whopping 580 bird species have been recorded with an abundance of Raptors, Vultures, Hornbills and numerous waterbirds as well as migrating species from Europe, Asia, the Australian rim and Madagascar. Birds in Ruaha National Park can be seen all the year-round but the best time for Bird Watching is during the wet season, especially in March.
Game drives here are the main adventure that most tourists undertake as they enjoy the amazing wilderness with its rich diversity of wildlife and beautiful sceneries such as the great Ruaha River. On your game drive, you can spot fantastic animals such as lions, elephants, cheetahs and many more, while sitting in a comfortable 4×4 customized safari vehicle.
Get up close to nature and soak yourself into the real wonders of the park while on a walking safari through the virgin bushes to encounter the tiny animals living in the park that can’t be spotted in a safari vehicle. All walking safaris are accompanied by your professional park ranger/guide to ensure your security as well as responsiveness to any of your questions about the animals and the park itself.
Participate in a bird-watching safari here and you will be able to enjoy fantastic views of over 500 bird species that are home in the national park.
Night Game Drives
The majority of big cats are nocturnal predators, which means that during daytime game drives, they are likely to be seen lounging about in the shade. However, a night game drive is an excellent opportunity to explore the night whispers of the park with an armed park ranger and enjoy watching these nocturnal creatures at their peak as they make moves on their unaware sleeping prey. They are always active and on the prowl which will make your safari one of a kind.
Nothing will put you in the heart of an African adventure quite like including a cultural safari to the neighbouring local communities around the park. Add to your game drive some interaction with the amazing local people namely the Masai people and have an insight into their unique cultures, traditional beliefs and lifestyle which will leave you with wondrous moments.
Best Time to Visit the Park
The park experiences its archetypal dry season between June and October. As a simple rule of thumb, the drier it gets in the National Park, the fewer places there are for the animals to access drinking water. This is turn increases the concentration of animals on one spot and makes it easier to spot them from your safari vehicle. However, it is not to say that the short rainy season starting from November to February is still an excellent time for your safari because the vegetation starts to flourish prettily and the shrubby bushes are also getting greener and making beautiful sceneries.
How to Access Ruaha National Park
The park can be reached using the road from Iringa or Dar – Es Salaam which is 130km drive from Iringa town and 625km from Dar-Es-salaam. By Air, there are both scheduled and chartered flights that land on the park’s airstrips. Please contact us to get more information on how to reach the park.
Accommodation in Ruaha National Park
Numerous accommodation options are offered in Ruaha National Park with beautiful locations in distinct areas both inside and outside the park. With different categories of lodges, hostels and tented camps and varying standards of rustic to super high-end luxury, every type of traveler will find a suitable accommodation for their trip to the national park.
Ruaha National Park is extraordinary with a wide range of Tourist Activities offered in the National Park, tourists who are interested in visiting this Tanzania’s largest national park can undertake Tourist activities in Ruaha National Park which include;
Game drives here are the main and quintessential adventure things to do in Ruaha National Park that most tourists undertake as they enjoy the amazing wilderness with its rich diversity of wildlife, beautiful sceneries from fascinating landscapes, the great Ruaha River and various bird species while seated comfortably in a safari vehicle. On your game drive you can enjoy the fantastic Predators – Lions on the shores of the river, Cheetah on the open plains and Leopard although as elusive as ever, in quite substantial numbers accompanied by other majestic wildlife.
Get up close with nature and soak yourself into the real wonders of the park while on a walking safari through the virgin bushes stretching up your legs too, encounter with the tiny animals in the park that can’t be spotted in a safari vehicle and get to appreciate all the intricate details of this wilderness while being accompanied by your park ranger/guide.
Among the great ideal Tourist Activities in Ruaha National Park is Bird watching, for avid bird watchers, just with a great pair of your Binoculars, birding pack, your brimmed hat, comfy footwear, and all that you need to spot your great birds of interest, participate in bird watching safari here and enjoy the fantastic abundance of over 575 recorded bird species that inhabit Ruaha.
Night Game Drives
The majority of the Big Cats are nocturnal Predators, which means that during the daytime game drives, they are likely to be seen lounging about in the shade however, a night Game drive is an excellent opportunity to explore the night whispers of the park with an armed park ranger and enjoy watching these nocturnal creatures at their peak as they make moves on their unaware sleeping prey. They are always active and on the prowl that will make your safari one of it’s kind.
Nothing will put you in the heart of a unique African Adventure quite like including a cultural safari to the neighboring local communities around the park additional to your Game adventure safari thus these cultural tours are other Tourist Activities in Ruaha National Park, get to interact with the amazing local people namely the Masai people and have an insight into their unique and yet interesting cultures, traditional beliefs and lifestyle which will leave you with wondrous moments
Tourist Attractions in Ruaha National Park are excitingly diverse and remarkably on a wide range because of the national park’s thrilling atmosphere emanating from its unrestricted wilderness which has a great combination of untouched vegetation and fascinating landscapes characterized by different species from the East and the South that supports the animal’s reliability.
Ruaha National Park though it is among the least visited National Parks due to its relative inaccessibility, unique Tourist Attractions in Ruaha National Park feature numerous plants of over 1,650 plant species, prolific birdlife and mammal species from both Southern and Eastern Africa inhabiting the National Park simultaneously.
Wildlife Animals are the major Tourist Attraction in Ruaha National Park, there is an exciting high Predator concentration of Lions, Cheetahs, Leopards, striped hyenas, the National Park is home to 10% of the world’s lion population contains one of four cheetah populations in East Africa and has the largest population of African wild dogs in the world usually accompanied by herds of elephants, buffaloes, and a cross-over of prolific game. Also, Ruaha National Park is believed to have the highest concentration of herds of Elephants in East Africa.
Ruaha National Park is also a place which inhabits magnificent mammals such as the greater and lesser kudu, grant gazelle, impalas, elands, sable and roan antelopes, defassa waterbucks, ostrich, giraffes, black-backed jackals, bat-eared foxes and hartebeests, as well as hippos and crocodiles, usually seen from the great Ruaha River. Apart from large mammals, the park also harbors a number of reptiles and amphibians such as poisonous and non-poisonous Snakes, Monitor Lizards, Agama Lizards, and Frogs.
The Birdlife in Ruaha National Park is prolific, whopping 580 bird species have been recorded with an abundance of Raptors, Vultures and Hornbills and numerous water birds as well as migrating species from Europe, Asia, Australian rim and Madagascar that comes to the river especially the sooty falcon from the Sahara desert and rare Eleanora’s falcon from the Mediterranean have been recorded in the park, other Species of interest that tourists usually don’t miss out include Ruaha red-billed hornbill which is dominant in the area, goliath herons, saddle-billed storks, white-headed plovers, white-backed night heron plus many others. The recently annexed wetland, the Usangu basin is one of the country’s important bird area (IBA) as recognized by Birdlife International. Birds in Ruaha National Park can be seen all the year-round but the best time for Bird Watching is during the wet season especially in March.