Ruaha National Park in Tanzania
Ruaha National Park is the biggest national park in Tanzania and boasts unrivalled wildlife viewing. The park is an unspoiled wilderness where large prides of lion reign over the land, hippos and crocodiles dominate the river waters, and elephants roam free. The rippling waters of the Ruaha River flow through the park, providing a permanent water source for the abundant wildlife. Visit this beautiful wilderness for a perfect safari getaway!
Best Time to Go
June - October
Average Safari Cost
$200-$600 pp/day. Park fee: $30 (adult), $10 (child).
Game drives, night drives, walking safaris, fishing in the river and excellent predator sightings.
Why Visit Ruaha National Park
The Ruaha National Park is an ideal safari destination in Tanzania. The land is brimming with wildlife and is home to great prides of lion and Tanzania's biggest population of elephants. See these magnificent creatures thriving in the vast wilderness, along with elegant antelopes, lean cheetahs and many more. If you're looking for some incredible predator sightings, this is the place to be!
The park derives its name from the Ruaha River, which runs through the south-eastern section of the land. Many animals and birds can be found gathering along the banks of the river to drink and find food. This makes for some excellent wildlife sightings. While the Ruaha National Park is one of the less frequented Tanzanian parks, it is well worth a visit as it provides an authentic safari experience in an untamed wilderness.
Pros and Cons
- Excellent wildlife viewing and predator sightings
- Large prides of lion to see
- Guided walking safaris
- Good place to encounter the endangered African wild dog
- Less busy than other parks
- Limited accommodation options
- Many lodges close during the wettest months
Best Time to Go
The best time to visit Ruaha National Park is during the dry season, from June to October. This is the best time for wildlife viewing as animals gather at the river and water sources and the thinning vegetation makes them easier to spot. Days are warm and dry with average temperatures of 81˚F(27˚C), with nights cooling down to about 59˚F(15˚C). There is also less risk for malaria during these months as there are less mosquitoes.
The wet season is from November to April, which consists of hot days and frequent afternoon rain showers. Average temperatures during the day range from 82˚F(28˚C) to 85˚F(30˚C). Nights and mornings are slightly cooler with an average of about 63˚F(17˚C). The scenery is more lush and green during these months, but the wildlife viewing is more difficult. Heavy rain may disrupt planned activities as roads may become unstable. This is the low season so accommodation rates may be lower. Some lodges close in April and May, which is the end of the wet season and the beginning of the dry season.
For more information when to visit see our Botswana Safari - Complete Travel Guide.
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Popular Tours in Tanzania
One-Week Tembo Escape
Our Deluxe One-Week Tembo Safari offers accommodations at deluxe tented camps and lodges and grants the opportunity to learn and discover Tanzania’s most popular northern parks, such as Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, and the boundless Serengeti Plains.
2 Days Saadani National Park by road
Saadani National Park lies in the center of the historical triangle of Bagamoyo - Pangani - Zanzibar, and is one of the least known of all Tanzania's National Parks. We can plan a variety of safari options: game drives, walking safaris, birdwatching - each of them giving a different perspective on this unique area. A game drive in Saadani is a special experience: see game without twenty other vehicles spoiling the view! The landscape is varied, from grassland and rolling hills, which are the habitats of lion and elephant, to the acacia plains and mangrove forests.
4 Nights / 5 Days on Zanzibar Island
Zanzibar is an archipelago consisting of two main Islands of Unguja (commonly referred to as Zanzibar Island), Pemba and about 51 other surrounding small islets. Zanzibar is a partner state in the United Republic of Tanzania with the Mainland. The name Zanzibar is derived from a combination of two Arabic words, 'Zenj', meaning black, and 'bar', being the Arabic word for land, resulting in the ancient title 'Land of the Blacks'. As Zanzibar absorbed peoples from as far as the Orient and Iberia, Assyria and India. Pemba is the second largest island of the Archipelago, named Al-khudra "The Green Island” by the Arabic mariners. It is famous for its clove production and its channels offer some of the best diving experiences in East Africa. SHOPPING As you stroll through Stone Town , you will find several shops selling wood carvings, Zanzibari chests, clothes, spices, jewellery, paintings and antiques. Most of the gift shops are situated along Kenyatta Road in Shangani, and Gizenga Street behind the Old Fort. Tourists are advised not to buy any products related to protected species on the islands, such as sea shells and turtles. A holiday to Zanzibar would be incomplete without visiting these souvenir shops.
A Day Trip To Saadani National Park
After breakfast you’ll be picked up from your hotel in Dar Es Salaam and driven to Saadani National Park which is about a three hour drive away. On the way you’ll be able to see local villages, historical attractions and rivers including the Wami River where we’ll get on the dirt road to the park.
Wildlife and Birds
- Wild Dog
- Hyena, leopard, cheetah, wild dog
Frequently Seen Animals
- Elephant, giraffe, zebra, hippo, buffalo, lion
There are over 500 recorded species of bird in the Ruaha National Park, which makes it an excellent birding destination. Bateleurs and eagles soar through the clear skies, kingfishers perch along the river banks and many water birds can be seen wading into the river waters. Travel here from November to April to see many migratory birds enter the park.
- Rueppell’s vulture, white-backed vulture, white-headed vulture, Egyptian vulture, hooded vulture, lappet-faced vulture, grey crowned crane, Saker falcon
- Ashy starling, Tanzanian red-billed hornbill, yellow-collared lovebird
Getting There and Safety
For the flights to Tanzania, it is advised to check Skyscanner (for multiple destination flights), to see which airlines can take you there and compare various ticket prices.
If you are based in the UK and Europe, check out these flights to Tanzania.
If you are based in the USA and Canada, check out these flights to Tanzania.
Most foreign visitors require a visa, and a valid passport, in order to visit Tanzania. Visas can be obtain upon arrival in the country. The Tanzania Safari - Complete Country Guide.
The vaccinations recommended for Tanzania are typhoid, rabies, hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Having a yellow fever vaccination certificate is advised. There is also a risk for malaria, especially from November to May, so anti-malarial drugs are recommended as well as using insect repellent.
It is better to check with your local medical authority which vaccinations are required.
Check your local travel health authority for more information:
Going on a safari in Africa comes with obvious risks. We recommend you get travel insurance for all safaris in Tanzania. Make sure your insurance has full medical coverage, emergency air evacuation, repatriation and the standard travel insurance for cancellations, delays and luggage cover.
Check World Nomads’ travel insurance calculator to see the cost of your safari trip cover.
Pack warmly as temperatures are mild during the day and very cold at night. Try to pack neutral, earthy toned clothes and avoid bright colours and white. Other essential items are a hat, sunglasses, sun screen, toiletries, closed shoes, torch, batteries, insect repellent, first aid kit, binoculars and camera.
For more details on what to pack see our Safari Packing List.