Ruaha National Park
One of Tanzania’s best kept wildlife secrets is Tandala Safari Camp, and the Ruaha National Park. Previous inaccessibility to the park has ensured it has remained virtually unchanged for centuries, unaffected by the ravages of mankind.
Ruaha National Park, which lies in the central part of Tanzania just west of Iringa highlands.
Gazetted in 1964, and with an area today of 20,0226 square km, Ruaha National Park is the largest park in the whole of Tanzania and East Africa.
Ruaha National Park derives its name from the Great Ruaha River, which flows through the Rift Valley on the eastern part of the Park, creating spectacular gorges. The name ‘Ruaha’ originates from the Hehe word ‘Ruvaha’ which means ‘river’. Flowing into the Rufiji River, the Great Ruaha is home of hippo and crocodile. Waterbuck, reedbuck and buffalo venture to the river’s edge to drink attracting the attention of lion, leopard, hyena, wild dog and jackal.
Ruaha National Park also possesses the world’s largest elephant sanctuary. Groups of elephants frequent many areas of the Park.
Crocodiles and Hippos are numerous in the Great Ruaha River.
Bird life is prolific. Over 520 species have been recorded in the Ruaha National Park some of which are not found in Northern Tanzania. Eurasian migrants flock to Ruaha National Park twice a year – March to April and October to November - joining the resident kingfishers, hornbills, sunbirds, egrets, plovers and fish eagles
Best months for game viewing Ruaha National Park are during the dry season (yellow season) from May to December when the animals are concentrated around the shrinking watercourses.
The best time for keen bird watchers to visit Ruaha National Park is between January to April (green season).
1,650 plant species are found in Ruaha National Park.
The Usangu flats 50km southwest of Ruaha National Park provide the source of the Great Ruaha River. The Mzombe River forms the Ruaha National Park's northern boundary and also flows into Mtera dam. Mtera and Kidatu dams were created to provide electricity for Dar es Salaam and most of Tanzania. Below Kidatu, the Great Ruaha then joins the Rufiji River and flows through the Selous Game Reserve and into the Indian Ocean.
In recent years the Great Ruaha River has stopped flowing towards the end of the dry season and is reduced to pools which teem with fish, Crocodiles and Hippos.
There are about 38 species of fish which have been identified in the Great Ruaha River. They traditionally provide an important part of the diet of people living along the river.
Within Ruaha National Park crocodiles have apparently increased in recent years and now some very large ones can be seen along the riverbank. There are also many hippos that use the river by day and come out to graze at night on the surrounding grassland.
One of Tanzania’s best kept wildlife secrets is Tandala Safari Camp, and the Ruaha National Park. Previous inaccessibility has ensured it has remained virtually unchanged for centuries, unaffected by the ravages of mankind.