Ruaha National Park Tanzania

Background of Ruaha National Park Tanzania

Ruaha is the largest National Park in Tanzania (about 20,226 sq.km in size); covering a huge variety of landscapes from the Great Ruaha River, the rolling hills, rocky escarpments and the vast open plains dotted with the iconic African Baobab trees. Because of its size, Ruaha is in a unique position, to be able to continue uninterrupted as it has always been an untouched, pristine eco-system, which, in today’s world is not only something rare but also special.

This majestically beautiful park is one of the best destinations for Tanzania wildlife safaris with a lot of flora and fauna to see. Ruaha forms an intersection where the eastern and southern African eco-regions converge, resulting in a plethora of rare and diverse species. It is one of just a few places where both greater and lesser kudus can be seen, as well as rare antelopes such as sable and roan.  Grant’s gazelles, elands, oribi, giraffes, zebras, waterbucks, bushbucks, impalas and vast herds of Cape buffalos also call Ruaha National Park home.

Ruaha is also an important habitat for a large number of elephants; the population is estimated at 12,000. In addition, Ruaha National Park is one of the last stronghold of lion populations in Africa and with about 10% of the global population of lions. Also, there are Bat-eared foxes,  jackals, wild dogs, and cheetahs. More than 574 species of birds including ostriches (the world’s largest flightless bird) exist in the park making Ruaha a highly rewarding destination for travellers during their Tanzania birding safaris.

Location of Ruaha National Park Tanzania

Ruaha National Park is more remote than many popular Tanzania safari destinations thus limiting visitor numbers to serious safari enthusiasts. The Park is located in south-central Tanzania about 130 kilometres from the Kizigo-Muhesi ecosystem, which includes the Rungwa Game Reserve, the Kizigo and Muhesi Game Reserves, and the Mbomipa Wildlife Management Area. To the West, there is the Selous Game Reserve and to the south, there is Serengeti National Park. It is also about 455 km from Julius Nyerere International Airport. Ruaha National Park lies in the East (Great) Rift Valley and located at an elevation of 2,500 to 5,200 feet.

Ruaha National Park history

The name of the park was derived from the Great Ruaha River, which flows along its southeastern margin and is the focus for game-viewing. The name “Ruaha” originates from the Hehe word “Ruvaha”, which means “river”.  Ruaha was first gazetted as Saba Game Reserve in 1910 by Germany. The name was later changed by the British to the Rungwa Game reserve in 1946. In 1964, the southern portion of the Game was gazetted as Ruaha national park and in 1974 a small section of the South-Eastern part of the Great Ruaha River was incorporated into the park. Ruaha National Park is part of the Rungwa-Kizigo –Muhesi ecosystem which covers more than 45000km2. In 2008 Usangu game Reserve and other important wetlands in the Usangu basin have been annexed into the park, making it the largest park in Tanzania and East Africa.

Tanzania Safari Attractions in Ruaha National Park Tanzania

Ruaha National Park is endowed with various tourist attractions such as animals in Ruaha National Park Tanzania including elephants, cheetahs, leopard, and lions; birdlife in Ruaha National Park Tanzania like ostriches; vegetation in Ruaha National Park Tanzania including the epic baobab trees; historical and cultural sites in Ruaha National Park such as the trade routes used by the Arab caravan;  rivers in Ruaha National Park, Rift valley in Ruaha National Park like the Great Ruaha River; Natural springs in Ruaha National Park such Maji Moto (hot water) and undulating landscape in Ruaha National Park Tanzania offering mixture of leisure and adventure to travellers during their tours in Tanzania.

1) Animals in Ruaha National Park Tanzania

Ruaha National Park is a superb destination for a Tanzania wildlife safari with one of the largest populations of elephants in Africa. Ruaha is also a place where magnificent mammals like Kudu (both Greater and Lesser) as well as the rare Sable and Roan antelope can be seen. Lichtenstein’s Hartebeests, Topi, both Southern and Bohor reedbucks, Grant’s Gazelles and klipspringers call this park home. Although the sighting of Sable antelopes, Roan antelopes, and Hartebeests is common along the higher escarpment, known as miombo woodland, however, it is possible to find them during the dry season in other sports, such as as as Makinde springs and towards Lunda. Topi, on the other hand, are exclusively found in the Usangu wetland plains. Travellers on Tanzania tours to Ruaha will also have the opportunity to see lions, leopards, wild dogs, cheetah, giraffes, zebras, elands, impala, bat-eared foxes, and Jackals.

The dry season is the best for Tanzania safaris in Ruaha National Park. During the dry season, animals are drawn to the Great Ruaha River and other water sources. The sand rivers such as Mwagusi and the Mdonya have underground water reserves that the elephants know about, so often one can see the elephants digging holes to obtain water, which is also used by other animals too.

  1. a) Reptiles in Ruaha National Park Tanzania

Ruaha National Park also harbours a number of reptiles such as crocodiles, poisonous and non-poisonous snakes, monitor lizards and agama lizards. The Great Ruaha and Mzombe rivers are presumably the greatest areas to see crocodiles during a safari in Tanzania.

  1. b) Predator in Ruaha National Park

The existence of an incredible and globally significant predator population in Ruaha National Park provides a good reason why one should visit Tanzania during a safari in Africa. Ruaha has the second largest lion population left in the world, supporting almost 10% of Africa’s remaining lions. It is also one of only six lion populations in the world numbering over 1000 individuals. This National Park also provides a home to one of only four East African cheetah populations with over 200 adults. In case that might not be enough to convince you, Ruaha also supports the third-largest population of endangered African wild dogs, an abundance of leopards and both striped and spotted hyenas.

2) Birdlife in Ruaha National Park Tanzania

With more than 574 bird species, Ruaha National Park is one of the perfect destinations for travellers on a Tanzania birding tour. The park attracts migrants from within and outside Africa. Migrating bird species from Europe, Asia, Australian rim and Madagascar have been recorded in Ruaha Park. Species of interest in the park include ostriches, Ruaha chat and Ruaha red-billed hornbill (Tokus ruahae) which is dominant in the area. Other bird species include red-billed hornbill, vulture, fish eagles, Eleanora’s falcon, goliath herons, crested barbets, and Black-collared lovebirds.

The recently annexed wetland, the Usangu basin is one of the country’s important bird areas (IBA) as recognized by Birdlife International. Though birds can be seen all year-round, the best time for bird watching is during the wet season.

3) Vegetation in Ruaha National Park Tanzania

The park is characterized by semi-arid type of vegetation, baobab trees, Acacia and other species. There are over 1650 plant species that have been identified. The park is the transitional point of two vegetation zones; the Zambezian (characterized by Miombo vegetation) and Sudanian (characterized by Acacia vegetation).

4) Historical and cultural sites in Ruaha National Park

There are several historical and cultural sites in the Ruaha which offer a visitor on a Tanzania cultural safari a chance to explore the Southern Tanzanian tribes and the early trade routes used by the Arab caravan crossed here. In 1830, these coastal traders expanded their routes northward, and in the year 1857 to 1858 other European explorers such as Burton and Speke used these routes too.

The park area is also often hailed as the land of the brave Chief Mkwawa, the Chief of the hehe people who resisted against the German attack in the late 19th century. The fierce and successful battle tactics against the German invasion made the Hehe tribe famous in the Southern highland of the then Tanganyika (Tanzania). The Hehe tribe under the leadership of chief Mkwawa was dominant around the Ruaha area. Some of the rocky outcrops in the area are known as hiding places of Mkwawa who went into hiding after the fall of his empire (kalenga) to the German in 1894.  In brief, it is believed that this ancient land (Ruaha National Park) holds many secrets of chief Mkwawa. Some of the cultural sites that were used for rituals include;

The Mapenza grave; The Gogo Chief, Mapenza has his burial site in the park. It is located on the road to Mpululu, it requires a full-day excursion from Msembe to visit this site. It is advisable to take a guide with you before you go.

Idinda rock paintings are also another site that consists of rocky paints and traditional materials; the Ganga la Mafunyo rock is a ritual site for people from Pawaga villages; the Nyanywa rock paintings are a historical site with traditional and historical things.

5) Rivers  in Ruaha National Park

The river systems and watershed are of economical, social and ecological significance for the park itself and country at large. Main rivers include the Great Ruaha, Mzombe, Mdonya, Mwagusi, and Jongomero.

The Great Ruaha River runs along the eastern boundary of Ruaha National Park and is the lifeblood of the park and surrounding areas. The park was also named after this river that hosts dramatic dry season predator action when animals line the banks to slake their thirst. The river is also an excellent area where travellers on Tanzania bird-watching safaris will see a variety of water birds, such as White-crowned Plover, Open-billed storks, and African Skimmers.

The Great Ruaha River flows through the Usangu wetlands and the Ruaha National Park east into the Rufiji River. Its basin catchment area is 83,970 square kilometres. The population of the basin is mainly sustained by irrigation and water-related livelihoods such as fishing and livestock keeping. Great Ruaha is about 475 km long and its tributary basin has a catchment area of 68,000 km² and the mean annual discharge is 140 m³/s. Ruaha River supplies 22 per cent of the total flow of the Rufiji catchment system. Thirty-eight species of fish have been identified in the river.

The river’s headwaters are in the Kipengere Range also known as the Livingstone Mountains, in southwest Tanzania at the northern end of Lake Malawi. From there the Great Ruaha River descends to the Usangu plains (named for the Sangu people), an important region for irrigated agriculture and livestock in Tanzania. The river eventually reaches the Mtera Dam and then flows south to the Kidatu Dam. It continues southwards and flows across the Selous Game Reserve before reaching the Rufiji River. The major drivers contributing to the Great Ruaha River are Lukosi, Yovi, Kitete, Sanje, Little Ruaha, Kisigo, Mbarali, Kimani and Chimala whereas the small ones include Umrobo, Mkoji, Lunwa, Mlomboji, Ipatagwa, Mambi, and Mswiswi rivers.

6) Rift valley in Ruaha National Park

The Great Rift Valley crosses the park. The escarpment wall along the western valley side is about 50-100m high in the north-eastern parts, increasing in height to the southwest. It is considered that the valley of the Great Ruaha River is an extension of the Great Rift Valley. The Great Ruaha River flows for 160km long along the entire eastern boundary through rugged gorges and open plains.

7) Natural springs in Ruaha National Park

Natural springs occur throughout the park and they are associated with the base of the Western Rift Valley escarpment, most notably Mkwawa, Mwayembe, Makinde, and Majimoto (hot water) springs. These are dry season refugees for wildlife and when most of the rivers get dry.

Maji Moto (hot water) spring adds an unusual point of interest to visitors’ experience as not many have touched naturally hot water hence making it be a good attraction to visit while on a Tanzania holiday. The hot spring is located in the Jongomero area approximately 20km from Jongomero tented camp.

8) Undulating landscape in Ruaha National Park Tanzania

Ruaha National Park offers travellers with the breathtaking landscape during their trips to Tanzania. The Usangu plains and wetland is a fabulous attraction for the park. Ruaha also has undulating hills including kilimamatonge, Nyamasombe, Nyanywa, Chariwindwi, Igawira, Mwayiui, Kibiriti, Magangwe, Ndetamburwa, and Isukanvyiola. These act as kopjes creating a good habitat for animals such as klipspringer which normally can be seen in some of these hills. From the mighty Ruaha River, the rolling hills, rocky escarpments, and the vast uninhabited open plains dotted with the iconic silhouettes of African Baobab trees, Ruaha offers something for everyone. Nowhere will you be more spoilt for choice when it comes to a spectacular setting to enjoy some of the finest sunsets and sunrises Africa has to offer.

Tanzania Safari/Tourist Activities in Ruaha National Park Tanzania

Ruaha National Park offers various tourist activities to visitors. The safari activities that can be done in the park include walking Safaris in Ruaha National Park Tanzania, game viewing in Ruaha National Park, bird watchingin Ruaha National Park and Tanzania cultural tours in Ruaha National Park Tanzania. All activities are conducted after paying a park entry fee including US$30 for Non-East African citizens of or above the age of 16 years, US$ 10 for Non-East African citizens between the age of 5 and 15 years. Expatriates/residents of or above the age of 16 years pay US$15 while children between the age of 5 and 15 years pay US$5.

1) Walking Safaris in Ruaha National Park

Travellers on Tanzania vacation to Ruaha National Park will have the possibility to view nature from a different dimension, through walking safaris. When on foot a whole new world opens up providing unique physical, mental and spiritual adventure through pristine wilderness.

Walking with an experienced and skilled guide or ranger is a wonderful way to expand your perception of how the animals, birds, and plants work together to create the immense variety of life forms you will see around you. The walks offer tourists a truly special and unique perspective of the park’s fascinating inhabitants. A not-to-be-missed attraction is the park’s towering baobabs who stand vigil over the landscape. Their striking appearance makes for great photographic opportunities. Another prominent feature of Ruaha is the sparkling waterways that attract an abundance of game. The best time to embark on a walking safari is in late June.

Short walks: This is a walk that lasts between 1-4 hours costs US$20  (adults) and US$10 (children).

Long walks: Lasts for a period of more than five (5) hours per single walk. Long walks cost US$25 (adults) and US$15 (adults). Long walks can also last several days and are normally accompanied by overnight fly camping en route.

2) Game viewing in Ruaha National Park Tanzania

Ruaha is a great wildlife watching destination where travellers will see a variety of predators during their tours in Tanzania. With 10% of the global population of lions living in Ruaha, the predators are never far away. A morning spent examining spoor and racing through the bush after these majestic animals is an exhilarating safari experience.

Game drives will traverse a range of environments, including the Great Ruaha River; seasonal riverbeds like Mwagusi, Jongomero, Mdonya, Mzombe, and Ihuguru, as well as miombo and acacia woodland, baobab forests, open savannah, and granite kopjes.  There are morning, afternoon and night game drives.

Night Game Drives in Ruaha National Park

Night drives are the perfect way of experiencing the nocturnal animals including the elusive leopard, genet, civet, porcupine and giant eagle owl. The big cats tend to be more active at night and visitors find themselves following lion on the hunt.

Night game drives costs US$50 (adults) and US$25 (children).

3) Bird Watching in Ruaha National Park Tanzania

Tanzania Birding trips in Ruaha National Park is extremely interesting and rewarding. There are over 574 bird species recorded within the Park. The life along the Ruaha River Valley is varied and very interesting. Here you can find many of the water-related birds, such as White-crowned Plover, Open-billed storks, and African Skimmers. We have a very healthy population of raptors, including Black Eagles. There are also many other species, such as both the Bare-faced Go-away bird and the White-bellied Go-away bird. Others include Bare-eyed thrush, Yellow-collared lovebirds  Speckle-fronted wavers, Ashy starlings Superb starlings D’arnauds Barbet, White-headed buffalo weaver Blue-capped cordon-bleu and of course the Ruaha red-billed Hornbill to name just a few!

Many of the birds in the extensive miombo woodland areas are different species to the ones along the Ruaha Valley. These include various ‘miombo specialists’ along with other interesting species. These include Racket-tailed roller, Spotted Creeper, Miombo grey tit, Yellow-bellied hyliota, Miombo scrub robin, Thick-billed Cuckoo, Schalow’s turaco and Spot-flanked Barbet.

In addition, there are unusual forest species you may see in the highland areas many of which have not previously been recorded this far east. These include Black-backed Barbet, Southern citril and the African Hill-babbler.

Ruaha is also on one of the migration routes for Eurasian and Palearctic birds. Some years witness hundreds upon hundreds of Hobbies and Amur falcons passing through. On one occasion they came in ‘en mass’ flying in front of a huge storm. It was late evening and they stopped for the night, roosting on the branches of the bare miombo trees. They looked completely exhausted, bedraggled from the weather and their arduous journey. It is humbling to observe such a feat of determination first hand. Most of them left by dawn.

Tanzania Safari Accommodation in Ruaha National Park Tanzania

Ruaha National Park contains some of the finest camps and Tanzania safari Lodges among which would like to take their stave as the best in Africa. The choice of accommodations ranges from luxury lodges in Ruaha National Park Tanzania, Midrange lodges in Ruaha National Park Tanzania, and Budget lodges in Ruaha National Park Tanzania.

1) Luxury lodges in Ruaha National Park Tanzania

  1. a) Jabali Ridge Lodge-Luxury

Jabali Ridge is set on and around a prominent kopje stretching from east to west, with views all the way to the Mwagusi River. The location ensures that game drives start as soon as the vehicle leaves camp, taking guests straight into one of the prime wildlife areas of Ruaha National Park.

Accommodation at Jabali Ridge Lodge comprises;

8 suites hidden amongst the rocky boulders. With views over Ruaha from every corner of the room, the guest suites are designed to maximize the stunning landscape beyond. Be it from the bed, the desk or the bathroom, every space is a viewpoint and open to nature. Louvred shutters can be opened completely, blurring the lines between building and nature, or closed for privacy. King-sized beds are the perfect place for an afternoon siesta, or simply relax outside on your private deck. Bathrooms are fully equipped with rain showers and flushing toilets.

Facilities and services at Jabali Ridge Lodge comprises;

Dining/bar: the dining area provides a social atmosphere with a seating area and bar with large trees providing shade in the afternoons.

The Jabali Ridge chefs pride themselves on ensuring that everything served is homemade, from fresh bread, cakes, and biscuits to fresh fruit salads, sorbets, and homemade ice creams. A ‘bush bonnet’ picnic breakfast is available to enjoy during morning game drives, or a cooked brunch is another option and is served back in camp.

Light buffet-style lunches are served in the mess tent during the heat of the day and include plenty of salads to pair nicely with the main course. Delicious gourmet-style dinners are a three-course affair served outside under the stars.

Library and spa; library and spa offer a peaceful retreat after days of game drives.

Swimming pool; The lodge has an infinity pool.

Lodge: private outdoor lounges

Internet: Free Wifi in rooms

  1. b) Ruaha River Lodge-Luxury

Ruaha River Lodge is set on one of the stunning stretches of the Great Ruaha River. It is built out of local stone and thatch around natural Kopjes and capitalizes on its exception position on a bend in the river.

Accommodation at Ruaha River Lodge comprises;

Chalets

Ruaha River Lodge is the only lodge in the park consisting of 24 stone chalets stretching along the river bank.

Each chalet has stunning views from a large veranda out of the front

The huge interior features a sitting area, a writing desk and either twin or double beds.

At the rear of each chalet is a large bathroom decorated with timber, a shower, and double basins.

Banda

The lodge has a banda with ramp access close to the riverside dining room. The bathroom is large with a wide doorway.

Facilities and services at Ruaha River Lodge include;

Dining/bar: The first dining area is along the banda by side of the river. Breakfast is the perfect time to watch the game meander down for a drink while evening can be spent around the fire pit looking down the river, or curled up in one of the sofas with a drink or a book.

The second is positioned atop the largest kopje in the area, situated on the bend and enjoys commanding views down two sections of the river.

  1. c) Ikuka safari camp-Luxury

Perched on the edge of the Mwagusi escarpment, commanding spectacular views across the Ruaha valley, Ikuka offers a classic luxury wilderness experience. Comprised of just 6 beautifully appointed rooms, each with its own panoramic vista of the Ruaha wilderness. Ikuka offers a compelling insight into the dramatic wilds of Ruaha and Tanzania.

Accommodation and amenities at Ikuka safari camp

  • 6 Tents plus 1 Family Tent
  • In-tent fan
  • A well-stocked bar
  • A comfortable lounge area
  • An airy dining space
  • A swimming pool with a lounging deck A
  • An upstairs chill-out library area.
  • Wifi available in the main area
  • 24-hour electricity (no hairdryers)
  • Laundry service included-In tent safe
  1. d) Mwagusi Safari Camp-Luxury

Mwagusi Safari Camp is situated in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania’s largest national park, situated in the southern circuit of Tanzania. This well-established camp was started in 1987 and is an expression of the unwavering love and passion of its owner Chris Fox for the Tanzanian bush, its wildlife and its people.

Accommodation  at Mwagusi Safari Camp;

Mwagusi Safari Camp offers its guests a unique and comfortable tented safari experience. Almost all of the camp is built from natural materials such as grass thatch, timber, driftwood, stones, and reeds, allowing the camp to be in perfect balance and harmony with its surroundings.

Each “banda” (meaning ‘temporary shelter’) consists of a large spacious tent sheltered by a cooling thatch roof and set on a polished red floor. Each banda has en-suite facilities with flushing toilets, an unlimited supply of hot water, shower, sink, shelving, a large mirror, and good night-time lighting. Built using stones, driftwood and bones the bathroom is an area of the interesting, unique and original design. Thick comfortable towels and locally produced clove soap are provided.

All the “bandas” are built into the sandy banks of the Mwagusi River providing their own private and secluded view. Each has a large covered verandah, with a comfortable cushioned seating area and swinging hammock, making this the perfect place to relax and view the passing wildlife.

Facilities and services at Mwagusi Safari Camp comprises;

Food; food is prepared fresh every day in camp, using local produce supplied by nearby farmers and the nearest town market. An early morning wake-up call includes tea or coffee in bed. Breakfast includes various pastries, the infamous cinnamon bread, fruit, freshly squeezed orange juice, a traditional hot breakfast, toast, and confections. Breakfast can be eaten in camp or guests can opt for a highly-recommended bush breakfast. Set out early to catch the African sunrise followed by a picnic breakfast in the cooling shade of a tree out in the bush.

Lunch is buffet style and consists of a large variety of salads with meat or chicken dishes accompanied by a variety of delicious breads. Lunchtime pudding consists of fresh fruit desserts and creamy fruit pastries. Tea, coffee and a delicious cake is served each day in the late afternoon.

Dinner is a special occasion, with soup or vegetable starter followed by a cleverly created outdoor buffet of steamed vegetables, meat or chicken dishes, and mixed casseroles. Pudding is served next which is sinfully chocolate or zesty and fruity.

Dining; meals are eaten together with managers and other guests in any of our two main dining areas in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Private dinings can be arranged for large groups or newly-wed honeymoon couples. The main dining area is built looking onto the riverbed and has two large and comfortable seating areas where you can relax with an afternoon drink.

During the yellow season (June-December) guests have treated to unforgettable bush dinners under the African night sky in surprise idyllic settings.

Adjacent to the main dining is the reading room – equipped with tables and chairs, a comfortable seating area and shelving with reading books. Feel free to swap a book you’ve already read for another.

Laundry services; an efficient same-day laundry service that is free of charge is offered.

Living area: the tented living area includes dressing table and mirror, trunk for storage, comfortable beds with high-density mattresses, safari-style chairs and bedside tables for night-time reading.

  1. e) Tandala camp-Luxury

Our team has real depth of Africa experience and share our passion. We have the right expertise and all the advantages of a mid-sized specialist. We are highly respected throughout Africa for one of the best quality safari experiences in the country. We, at Tandala Tented Camp and Safaris, offer luxurious tented accommodation, fine cuisine, and great safari experience. Our trained game scouts and trackers are here to share their knowledge and experience of the bush with you. We look forward to making your dreams come true.

Tandala Tented Camp and Safaris is named after the majestic antelope, the Kudu, who frequents the surrounding area. (Tandala is Kiswahili for Greater and Lesser Kudu).

Tandala Tented Camp and Safaris is more than merely a lodge, it’s your home away from home. With our simple comforts, intimate atmosphere and friendly staff to make you feel welcome and relaxed, you will be as part of our family.

​Tandala also supports the Mbomipa Village Project helping towards the awareness and conservation of wildlife by the surrounding villages, whereby, they benefit by being able to become more self-sufficient and able to build schools and dispensaries.

Whether visiting and talking to the local people, attending cultural performances, purchasing local handicrafts or discovering the local wilderness on foot, we can offer you, by prior arrangement: A traditional and authentic Maasai Boma visit, and between June to November also ‘Walking Safaris’.

Excursions are undertaken either in the early mornings for half a day including a bush breakfast, or for a full day which will include a bush breakfast and a picnic lunch. It is a maximum 10-minute drive from our camp to our destination. 3 pax minimum. Children of all ages are welcome.

Where required, we have open-sided four-wheel vehicles and you will be accompanied by an experienced guide and driver.

Accommodation at Tandala camp comprises;

There are eleven spacious, elevated, luxury tents offering a variety of twin or double bed arrangements. Extra beds are available for children or to accommodate a third person. All lighting is provided by 24 hr solar and each tent stands at least eight meters away from the next ensuring absolute seclusion and privacy. The en-suite bathroom at the back of each tent is enclosed in thatch and rockwork overviewing the bush. Hot showers are provided by solar. At the front of each room is a sizable verandah with comfortable seating perfect for relaxing in private to watch out for game along the Mdweka sand river.

You can enjoy the diversity of animals such as warthog, giraffe, greater kudu, dik-dik, mongoose, bushbuck, reedbuck and baboon, and every now and again we are visited by African hunting dogs during the early mornings. The biggest attraction at Tandala is without a doubt the abundance of elephants who come and go regularly attracted by the water holes.

Askaris (guards) are present around the camp throughout the day and night and will escort you to and from your tent during the night and early mornings.

Meals: Each morning is a breakfast feast. Sausages, bacon, eggs the way you like them, fresh milk, fresh fruit juice, homemade hot baked bread, jam or honey, exotic fruit salad, and Tanzanian coffee or tea. The two-course lunch can be served in the dining room or out of a picnic lunch during a game drive. A three-course candlelit dinner is usually served under the stars in the courtyard, by the campfire. Our meals are carefully prepared by our Chef and we are renowned for our delicious home-style Mediterranean cuisine complemented by a selection of wines.

Tandala Bar: All is calm, restful, untamed. The bar lounge area and its generous colonial style leather sofas invite you to sprawl or play a game of pool, backgammon or cards. Our well-stocked bar provides a venue for sun-downers. You may laze by our rock swimming-pool underneath a giant baobab tree and enjoy the beauty of the African sun.

2) Midrange lodges in Ruaha National Park Tanzania

  1. a) Ruaha Hilltop Lodge-Midrange

Nestled on the slopes of the Ideremle Mountain, Ruaha Hilltop Lodge has breathtaking panoramic views overlooking vast savannah plains. The lodge is a mere 15 km from the gate of Ruaha National Park which has some of Tanzania’s richest concentrations of animal, bird and plant life.

​We are committed to offering exceptional service at an affordable price for all of our guests to experience a truly Tanzanian safari.

Accommodation at Ruaha Hilltop Lodge include;

Ruaha Hilltop Lodge offers 27 cottages or ‘bandas’. Whether you are looking for a romantic escape, family getaway or group adventure, we have the perfect cottage to suit your needs.

Standard Cottages

This cottage is ideal for single travellers and couples, with all the amenities that you need to completely relax after a day of adventure. The room can include one double or twin beds.

In-room amenities

  • Shower
  • Work Space
  • Towels
  • 24-hour ElectricityHot Water
  • Linen
  • Mosquito Net
  • Slippers
  • Toiletries

Family Cottages

Ideal for families looking to spend some quality time together, our Family Cottages offer all the amenities for a comfortable stay. This cottage features 2 adjoining rooms and a shared bathroom. Accommodates 4 people. It features Double and/or Single Beds.

  • Shower
  • Work Space
  • Towels
  • 24 Hour Electricity
  • Hot Water
  • Linen
  • Mosquito Net
  • Slippers
  • Toiletries

Group Cottages

The fun, relaxed atmosphere of this cottage makes it the perfect getaway for large families or groups. The spacious adjoining rooms accommodate up to 16 guests and can be designed to suit your family or group, with a double and single bed. Relax and enjoy the beautiful views of Ruaha National Park.​

Option 1 accommodates 4 – 8 guests (2 adjoining rooms, each with independent bathrooms)

Option 2 accommodates 8 – 16 guests (4 adjoining rooms, each with independent bathrooms).

Beds: Double and/or Single Beds

In-room amenities

  • Shower
  • Work Space
  • Towels
  • 24 Hour Electricity
  • Hot Water
  • Linen
  • Mosquito Net
  • Slippers
  • Toiletries

Luxury Cottages

This cottage is ideal for single travellers and couples, with all the amenities that you need to completely relax after a day of adventure. The room can include one double or twin beds.

Accommodates: 2-Beds: 1 Double or Twin Beds

In-room amenities

  • ​Indoor and outdoor shower
  • Coffee/tea station
  • Bar fridge
  • Swing chair
  • Lounge
  • Work Space
  • Towels
  • 24 Hour Electricity
  • Hot Water
  • Linen
  • Mosquito Net
  • Slippers
  • Toiletries

Facilities and services at Ruaha Hilltop Lodge include;

  • Restaurant, bar and large terrace to enjoy the spectacular African sunrise and sunset
  • Free Wi-Fi at the lodge
  • Airport and bus stand transfers available
  1. b) Jongomero Tented Camp-Midrange

Under the magnificent shade trees, on the banks of a seasonal river in the remote southern sector of the Ruaha National Park, Jongomero is gloriously isolated.  Far from the madding crowds, this secluded idyll offers a chance to discover true unadulterated wilderness.

The Camp

Blending in beautifully with its surroundings, the camp is tucked below a dappled riverine canopy on the banks of the Jongomero sand river, a natural pathway for animals in search of water.
Positioned on one of the meanders, with sweeping views of the bank beyond, lies the camp bar, lounge, and restaurant; which comprises an open wooden terrace shaded by a high thatched roof and filled with sumptuous sofas and striking furniture made of reclaimed dhow wood.

Accommodation

Accommodation at Jongomero comprises eight large and well-appointed tented suites, built on raised wooden platforms, under enormous thatched roofs that also encompass a spacious private instant veranda which overlooks the riverbed.

Snuggle under warming quilts in an eight-foot-wide dhow wood emperor bed; fall asleep to the hum of Africa beyond the canvas, and wake up to the morning tea tray and animals ambling past your mosquito net windows.  The quintessence of luxury in the wilds.

Dining & Amenities

Jongomero is an inviting spot to relax with a cup of tea whilst leafing through one of the camp library’s reference books, or socialize with camp managers and fellow guests around the bar with an ice-cold drink in hand.

Alternatively, laze around the pool on warm days, and enjoy the sights and sounds of being so close to nature.

  1. c) Grand Ruaha Tented Lodge-Midrange

Situated in a remote location next to the Great Ruaha river, it offers an inspiring lodge and suites thoughtfully nestled into the landscape and surrounded by a prolific diversity of wildlife.

Accommodation

The camp features six large and well-appointed suites, including two Grand Suites, all with hardwood floors and tiled washrooms, and two queen beds each. The main lodge offers rustic elegance, with both indoor and outdoor dining, a comfortable lounge area, a bar, and a library.

Moreover, we know full well how hard it is to travel with everything so we include the use of all the small necessities photographers require, including computers with image editing software, card readers, any and all possible cables, adapters, chargers, tripods for night photography and more.

  1. d) Mdonya Old River Camp-Midrange

Mdonya Old River Camp is located in a remote region of southern Ruaha National Park. The main area of the park is the southern boundary by the Ruaha River.  Mdonya is luckily north of the few other camps in this area.  It is a 45-minute drive from the airstrip.  Often used in conjunction with its sister camp in the Selous, Mdonya is a vital piece of your Tanzanian safari holiday jig-saw.

The main area of Mdonya is open on all sides.  The roof is a large khaki canvas that creates an enormous area over a number of armchairs, cabinets and a small bookshelf.  It looks empty but when you are sitting in this area with elephant, buffalo, zebra, impala and the rest walking past, you really get a sense of how alive this camp is.

Accommodation at Mdonya Old River Camp include;

The rooms are basic Meru-style tents and all 11 of them are well spread out creating good privacy.  Each has an extended bathroom with a shower under the stars.  During midday, you can even enjoy some peace and quiet from a deck chair on your veranda. A great Ruaha Safari to say the least!

Facilities and services at Mdonya Old River Camp comprise;

Food and Drink; dinners are eaten outside beside a campfire, with many dishes prepared using a wood-fired oven, including pizza. When out on safari you can enjoy bush breakfasts and lunches, allowing you to explore further during the day without the need to return to camp. Sundowners can also be enjoyed while out in the bush or around the campfire in the evening.

Lounge; in the lounge you can enjoy tea and coffee while browsing wildlife books, or you can relax on the veranda with a pair of binoculars while looking out for wildlife.

Game drives; The full and half-day game drives are flexible to each guest and allow you to explore a variety of ecosystems, from forests and rivers to open grasslands; home to a diverse range of wildlife.

3) Budget lodges in Ruaha National Park Tanzania

  1. a) Ruaha Hilltop Lodge-Budget

Nestled on the slopes of the Ideremle Mountain, Ruaha Hilltop Lodge has breathtaking panoramic views overlooking vast savannah plains. The lodge is a mere 15 km from the gate of Ruaha National Park which has some of Tanzania’s richest concentrations of animal, bird and plant life.

​We are committed to offering exceptional service at an affordable price for all of our guests to experience a truly Tanzanian safari.

Accommodation at Ruaha Hilltop Lodge include;

Ruaha Hilltop Lodge offers 27 cottages or ‘bandas’. Whether you are looking for a romantic escape, family getaway or group adventure, we have the perfect cottage to suit your needs.

Standard Cottages

This cottage is ideal for single travellers and couples, with all the amenities that you need to completely relax after a day of adventure. The room can include one double or twin beds.

In-room amenities

  • Shower
  • Work Space
  • Towels
  • 24-hour ElectricityHot Water
  • Linen
  • Mosquito Net
  • Slippers
  • Toiletries

Family Cottages

Ideal for families looking to spend some quality time together, our Family Cottages offer all the amenities for a comfortable stay. This cottage features 2 adjoining rooms and a shared bathroom. Accommodates 4 people. It features Double and/or Single Beds.

  • Shower
  • Work Space
  • Towels
  • 24 Hour Electricity
  • Hot Water
  • Linen
  • Mosquito Net
  • Slippers
  • Toiletries

Group Cottages

The fun, relaxed atmosphere of this cottage makes it the perfect getaway for large families or groups. The spacious adjoining rooms accommodate up to 16 guests and can be designed to suit your family or group, with a double and single bed. Relax and enjoy the beautiful views of Ruaha National Park.​

Option 1 accommodates 4 – 8 guests (2 adjoining rooms, each with independent bathrooms)

Option 2 accommodates 8 – 16 guests (4 adjoining rooms, each with independent bathrooms).

Beds: Double and/or Single Beds

In-room amenities

  • Shower
  • Work Space
  • Towels
  • 24 Hour Electricity
  • Hot Water
  • Linen
  • Mosquito Net
  • Slippers
  • Toiletries

Luxury Cottages

This cottage is ideal for single travellers and couples, with all the amenities that you need to completely relax after a day of adventure. The room can include one double or twin beds.

Accommodates: 2-Beds: 1 Double or Twin Beds

In-room amenities

  • ​Indoor and outdoor shower
  • Coffee/tea station
  • Bar fridge
  • Swing chair
  • Lounge
  • Work Space
  • Towels
  • 24 Hour Electricity
  • Hot Water
  • Linen
  • Mosquito Net
  • Slippers
  • Toiletries

Facilities and services at Ruaha Hilltop Lodge include;

Restaurant, bar and a large terrace to enjoy the spectacular African sunrise and sunset

Free Wi-Fi at the lodge

Airport and bus stand transfers available

  1. b) Tourist cottages-Budget

Tourist cottages are located just close to Park Headquarter a distance of 4KM from Msembe Airstrip Gate and 22KM from Y-junction Gate. The cottages provide a comfortable bedroom consisting of self-contained rooms, local television with solar lighting.

The cottages have a capacity of 23beds in 23 bedrooms hence can accommodate up to a group of 45 visitors (double basis) at any time.

Restaurant service is available to all tourists staying in cottages at an affordable price; however, self-catering service in family cottages is available.

Ruaha Tourist cottages are ideal for families, small groups of friends and couples wishing for a more private retreat.

Fees

Ruaha cottages, self-contained (B&B) Family: 2 adult, 2 children)-US$100

(Single with sitting room) per head- US$50

(Single without sitting room) per head-US$50

  1. c) Rest House-Budget

The rest house is located at Park Headquarter, close to Park Office. The rest house has a capacity of 4 bedrooms with 8 beds, two beds in each room. The rooms are self-contained and can accommodate up to 8 tourists at a time.

Rest Hous fees: US$30

  1. d) Tourist Old Bandas-Budget

Tourist Bandas is located in the heart of Ruaha National Park on the bank of the Ruaha River; Ideally, the bandas are located to see lots of games up close i.e Elephants and giraffe frequently walk between the huts.

Ruaha bandas costs US$30

How to Get to Ruaha National Park Tanzania

The two ways to reach Ruaha National Park are by air and by road. Since the construction of a bridge across the Great Ruaha River, visitors can enter the park year-round, not only in the dry months but also during the rainy season when the river runs strong.

By road

Safaris to Ruaha usually start from Dar es Salaam which is about 448 km from the park and your point of entry for the country will be Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR). In most cases, your tour operator will pick you up from the airport and handle all further transportation.

The drive to Ruaha from Dar es Salaam takes about 9 hours, and a lot of it is on a dusty, bumpy road. Many people travelling to Ruaha make a stopover at Mikumi National Park. From Mikumi, the distance to Ruaha is about 320km/200mi, and the drive takes roughly five hours.

By air

Daily flights from Dar es Salaam and Arusha is the easiest to travel to Ruaha. Airstrips are located at Msembe and Jongomero. Coastal Aviation, Auric Air and Safari Link all have schedules to Ruaha.

Flying is obviously more expensive but will save long and arduous travel hours as it takes about 1 hour.  It’s also beautiful to discover Ruaha National Park from the air.