Kichaka Frontier Camp Ruaha Tanzania 13

Safari Guide: Ruaha National Park

written by
N black orange
Niarra Travel

As the largest national park in Tanzania, Ruaha National Park is a treasure trove of untamed landscapes, bursting with wildlife, and a rich bastion of biodiversity. A hidden gem in the heart of Tanzania; Ruaha National Park is a remarkably untouched wilderness.

Explore savannahs, woodlands, swamps and riverine forests on expertly guided game drives and walking safaris. Housing the world's second largest population of lions and fascinating waterways dotted with hippos and crocodiles, the park serves up a captivating mix of wildlife.

Whether you're navigating the rugged terrain during the dry season or marvelling at the renewed life in the wet season, Ruaha promises an adventure that will resonate with anyone seeking an authentic safari. With less visitors on average, the park is less crowded, giving it an open and secluded feel, for those seeking an immersive off-the-beaten-path experience.

Jabali Ridge plains in Ruaha National Park

The History of Ruaha National Park

Originally established as Saba Game Reserve in 1910 by the German colonial government, it was later expanded and rechristened Ruaha National Park in 1964. The park’s expansion over the years includes the incorporation of the Usangu Game Reserve in 2008.

The reason for this expansion was to protect the wetlands of the Usangu area. In the preceding decades, nomadic pastoralists grazed their cattle on these wetlands. However, by the turn of the millennium, the herds had grown so large that they were disrupting the ecosystem of the region, causing the main Ruaha River to stop flowing at the peak of the dry season, posing a threat to the wildlife inside the region.

As the pastoralists moved on, Ruaha National Park has bolstered its conservation efforts, making it a sanctuary for numerous species and a model of biodiversity preservation.

Kichaka Frontier Camp Ruaha Tanzania 5

Best Time to Visit Ruaha National Park

Dry Season - June to October

Average Temperature - 20°C to 30°C

Average Daily Rainfall - 1mm

This period offers the best game-viewing opportunities, as animals gather in predictable locations, making them easier to spot. The dry season is particularly magical in Ruaha, with vistas containing majestic baobab trees standing proud over the sparse golden terrain. The season’s reduced vegetation and clear skies also contribute to excellent photographic conditions.

Kigelia savannah in Ruaha National Park

Wet Season - November to May

Average Temperature - 25°C to 35°C

Average Daily Rainfall - 91mm

The wet season brings about transformation, as rains replenish the parched earth, turning the landscape into a flourishing paradise.

This season is an ornithologist’s dream, as migratory birds join the local population, enhancing the park’s already rich biodiversity and offering one of the best locations for birdwatching in Africa. The lush vegetation and dramatic skies make for a stunning backdrop to wildlife sightings, though animals may be more dispersed due to the abundance of water.

Pride of lions in Ruaha National Park, a Tanzania hidden gem.

Wildlife in Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park is a home to an impressive array of animals due to its varied and immense habitats. The park is particularly renowned for its large population of elephants, boasting one of the highest concentrations in East Africa.

It's also a predator’s haven, with significant numbers of lions, cheetahs, and leopards on the prowl. You are also likely to spot the black-backed jackal and spotted hyena as they are common in the region, and the rarer striped hyena, though scarcely observed, also resides there. Additionally, Ruaha National Park is one of the last major strongholds for the endangered African wild dog population.

The Great Ruaha River, the park's lifeline, attracts herds of buffalos, giraffes, zebras, and various antelope, creating dynamic predator-prey interactions along its banks. Ruaha’s unique geographical location, bridging eastern and southern African ecosystems, allows for the coexistence of species commonly found in both regions, such as the kudu as well as the elusive roan and sable antelopes.

Ruaha’s birdlife is as diverse as its landscapes, with over 570 bird species recorded. The park’s skies and trees are adorned with colourful inhabitants, from the large ground hornbill to tiny sunbirds, making it an incredible option for bird enthusiasts.

A family of elephants in Ruaha National Park

The best lodges in Ruaha National Park

Niarra Travel has you covered for all the best Ruaha National Park accommodation options. Ruaha’s luxury safari lodges and camps let you feel at one with the natural world around you, whilst offering you a lavish setting to unwind and relax in after a day of exploring the wonders of the African savannah.

Kichaka Frontier

Kichaka Frontier is the perfect camp for an intimate bush experience. Set in the pristine open spaces of the Ruaha area, this pioneer-style camp boasts an atmosphere of tranquil solitude. With just three spacious tents accommodating up to eight guests, it promises an exclusive bush experience. Enjoy vehicle explorations, specialty walking safaris, and three-course meals in the large communal mess tent, all while adhering to the camp’s "leave no trace" principle for minimal environmental impact.

Jabali Ridge

As a stylish camp perched on a rocky kopie overlooking the Mgwusi River and Ikuka escarpment, Jabali Ridge provides you with a chic retreat in the wild. Designed to harmonise with its surroundings, making use of open spaces and natural materials, it incorporates the existing granite boulders to provide privacy and shade. Jabali Ridge features eight spacious suites, a stunning infinity pool, and a spa, promising you exclusivity and immersion in nature's serenity.

Kigelia Ruaha

Kigelia Ruaha offers an authentic escape into the wilderness. Amid ancient baobabs, you can marvel at big cats and elephant herds, with the unique options of night drives and guided walks to explore Ruaha's depths. This camp prioritises a natural ambiance and a sense of belonging, catering to those who appreciate rustic elegance and value attentive care. Nestled under sausage tree canopies, its six spacious tents ensure a serene blend with the surroundings.

Our trips are created with a focus on community, culture and conservation. At Niarra Travel we promise an unforgettable travel experience infused with purpose.

If you would like to experience the vast openness of the Ruaha National Park then get in touch with our expert travel team on +44 (0) 20 3821 5994 (UK), +1 (833) 215 9353 (US) or at and start creating your unparallelled Tanzania safari trip today.

Mountain cutout 2
footer clouds

The world is at your feet

Receive inspiration in your inbox

Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.

Contact a Travel Researcher

We always aim to reply within 24 hours.