Ruaha National Park

A Ruaha National Park safari is a must if you are considering visiting the quieter southern National Parks for your Tanzania safari. Most Ruaha National Parks tours will start in Dar for international visitors, as that is the closest airport for the southern sector and provides options for a vehicle-based safari connecting Selous, Mikumi and Ruaha as a classic wildlife circuit, or indeed fly-in options choosing small aircraft transfers. Over the years Ruaha National Park has gained a great reputation as one of the best places for leopards in Africa and also for its stunning scenery and several excellent wildlife lodges which will leave you wanting to return to Ruaha again and again. The park derives its name from the Great Ruaha River which is a major feature of the park and a focus for the Ruaha National Park game drives, as the water attracts both prey and predators during the dry season from June to October.

Popular Itineraries in tanzania

Big Cat Magic in the Serengeti and Mara

Can you really wish for more than three dream wildlife destinations in the same safari? This amazing private big cat safari in Tanzania and Kenya, combines a 3 night stay in the northern Serengeti to coincide with the great wildebeest migration, with a full day drive into the world famous Ngorongoro crater, before heading back to Arusha via a quick visit to Tarangire national park. You then fly to Nairobim where you have a night to catch your breath, before driving to the Masai Mara for a 4 night stay at the dearly loved Mara Bush Camp – where you will stay in the private wing. All your safaris will be in a Covid-19 secure vehicle, with just yourself and the driver/naturalist heading out on the game drives.

Style - Bespoke Wildlife
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 13
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
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Price (Excl. flights)
£4490
Visiting Ruaha, Mikumi & Selous

After a nice nights sleep in a quality hotel in Dar, it’s time to start the adventure with your private naturalist with a visit to the world-famous Selous game reserve – famous for big cats and the chance to see African wild dogs. From Selous, we visit Mikumi and it’s large lion prides, before ending up in a beautiful camp on the Great Ruaha River, where big game regularly walks through the camp to the excitement of all visitors.

Style - Small Group Photographer
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 12
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
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Price (Excl. flights)
£3750

Wildlife to see in Ruaha National Park

As indicated above it is famous for big cat safaris and in particular lions and leopards are regularly sighted on safari. A Ruaha National Park safari represents a transition between a more extensive woodland habitat that changed to the more open savannah typical of northern Tanzania and Kenya. This habitat diversity is reflected in the animals you will see in Ruaha, which also includes cheetahs, both species of Hyena and Jackals. It has also been a good place to see the highly endangered African wild dogs or painted dogs. It is one of the few places you can see the greater and lesser Kudu and all the many different antelope species found here attract large lion prides numbering up to 20 individuals.

Best time to visit Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park is known for being very dry and it is mainly the Great Ruaha River that keeps the wildlife coming into the areas and creates the Ruaha safari experience. With such a dry area it is interesting to consider how would the park look during the rainy season? Would this be a spectacular time to see both resident and migratory birds as well as some of the Apex predators, even with the longer grassed and more dense foliage?

Best wildlife lodges in Ruaha National Park

Before you even think too much about how beautiful your lodge room will be, the amazing ‘rain shower’, or how superb the bush breakfast will taste while on safari in Ruaha. Consider the fundamental principle of choosing the best wildlife lodges in Africa and that is location, location, location. Even that principle can be translated in different ways. For the wildlife lovers and wildlife photographers, they will want the closest lodges to the entry of the National Park, but many – including us at Wildlife Trails – want to feel immersed in the landscape and have a view from our wildlife lodge that makes our heart jump. Ruaha River lodge is one of the oldest lodges in Ruaha National Park and it is also bigger than some of the more intimate properties found inside the park. However, it has one of the best riverside locations out of any property and is both authentic and reasonably priced. Add to that an area where elephants often pass through due to the proximity of the river and you have every reason to spend 3 or 4 nights there soaking up the atmosphere and wildlife. If you are looking for a smaller and more intimate Ruaha National Park safari then you might want to reserve several nights at the well established Mwagusi safari camp located on a beautiful bend of a seasonal river. Because the camp has been operating since the 1980’s, the resident wildlife is more habituated to the camp and its visitors and this can lead to some memorable wildlife sightings in camp.

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