Ruaha National Park which is the largest National Park in Tanzania covering an area of 20,226 sq km. It is located in south-central Tanzania. Because of its huge size and location it offers tourists a unique chance to get right into the wilderness as it was thousands of years ago before man. It is a mostly untouched and pristine eco-system.
Ruaha National Park enjoys only one rainy season, usually from the end of November to May. The average rainfall in Ruaha varies from 500mm around the Msembe HQ area in the Rift Valley, to 800mm in the western high plateau area of the Park. Rainfall plays a huge role in the ecology of the Park which is reflected in the vegetation and the movement of animals.
During the dry season, when game viewing is at its best, animals are drawn to the Great Ruaha River and other water sources. the sand rivers (Mwagusi and the Mdonya rivers among others) which are now dry, have underground water reserves that the elephants know about, so often one can see the elephants digging holes to obtain this sweet water, which is also used by other creatures.
In the rainy season, it is green and lush, and very beautiful with full rivers. At the end of rainy season, the park looks magnificent in its view cloaks of grass and levees with amazing flowers of all description, yellow, daisies, pink cleome, and huge swathes of brightly colored ipomoeas and hibiscus. The seasonal variations in the park are grace the landscape superb; it will be wise to visit more than once, so that you can experience the vast changes that occur.
The coolest time to visit Ruaha is normally from June to the end of July, when the temperatures range from max of 30c during the day dropping to as low as 8c at night. The temperature slowly increases over the next few months resulting in the hottest time, with daily highs of +/- 40c and a night time low of approximately 25c, which is generally just before the rain begins to fall, in November and December.
The park has endowed with various places of interest where tourists can visit, normally for its intrinsic or exhibited natural or cultural value, historical importance, natural or built beauty, offering leisure, adventure and delighted.
One of the special attractions to Ruaha National Park is that visitors are able to see both lesser and Greater Kudu, this unique fact is because this is the southernmost limit for Lesser Kudu. It is also possible to see, Sable and Roan antelope, Lichtenstein's Hartebeest, Topi, both Southern and Bohor reedbuck and it is the southernmost limit of Grants Gazzelle.
Although sighting of Sable, Roan and Hartebeest is common along the higher escarpment, known as miombo woodland, however it is possible to find them during the dry season in other spots, such as Makinde springs and towards Lunda. Top, on the other hand, are exclusively found in the Usangu wetland plains.
In addition to this, Ruaha boasts a healthy population of wild Dogs, Leopard, Lions, Cheetah, Buffalo, and Elephant, not to mention all the other species, of which there are plenty.
With 574 species recorded in Ruaha, it is difficult to visit this beautiful park and not be impressed by number and variety of birds you see. The great cross-section of vegetation types and altitude help to contribute towards this.
The Ruaha Red-billed Hornbill, and the Ruaha Chat, were first observed here in Ruaha, and named accordingly.