Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park

If you want a superb wildlife experience in beautiful scenery and with few people, Ruaha in southern Tanzania has got to be near the top of your list.

Ruaha is the largest park in Tanzania, at over 2,020,000 hectares. It is defined by varied scenery with open plains, hills, baobabs and the mighty Ruaha River, diverse wildlife and remote location. It takes about 2 hours to fly here from Dar – well worth it to reach this untamed wilderness free from crowds and rich in wildlife. Many come back again and again. Ruaha combines well with Nyerere (Selous).

Things to do in Ruaha National Park

  • Game drive – Varied habitats, diverse game and predators. 4 of the Big 5 are found here (no rhinos) as well as many species of antelope, zebra, giraffe, cheetah, hyena and wild dog (no wildebeest).
  • Put your best foot forward – Many of the camps offer walking safaris – a superb way to experience this stunning wilderness area.
  • Fly-camping – If sleeping out under the stars is something you would like to experience, Jongomero Camp offers fly camping during the dry season.
  • Bird watching – Birding in Ruaha is particularly rewarding with about 575 species recorded. Migratory birds are present from November to April. Some of Tanzania’s endemics are found here such as the ashy starling and Ruaha hornbill.
  • Photography – With dramatic, varied scenery and an abundance of wildlife, you will certainly leave with thousands of images.


When to visit Ruaha National Park

The best months for wildlife viewing are May to early/mid-November – the dry season – though May can get a little rain, and there are not as many flights coming here in May due to it still being a wet month in Selous which is often connected with Ruaha on safaris. (We actually still think May’s a gorgeous, lush month to come if you don’t mind the chance of a little bit of rain). There is less vegetation in the dry season, especially by July onwards at which time animals also start to congregate at water sources.

The green season is from about late November to April, though during this time some months tend to be worse than others – March often being one of them (though it still tends to be drier than Selous). November is usually one of the driest, hottest months, but rains can start later in the month.




  • May can be wet sometimes, but it’s still a lush month to come
  • Wildlife viewing is at its very best from about July to November
  • Animals gather at water sources as the land dries out, and elephants dig in the sand river beds.
  • Thin vegetation, especially from July, makes wildlife easier to see
  • There are fewer mosquitos at this time of year
  • There is hardly any rain to spoil your experience
  • Ruaha River Lodge stays open all year
  • Early mornings and evenings can be surprisingly cold
  • The landscape is dry and dusty
  • It’s the busier season as regards visitors
  • Early to mid-November can be hot and dry (until rains come)



  • Vegetation is lush and green, perfect for photography
  • This is the quiet time, with fewer tourists
  • Some camps offer special rates
  • Birding is excellent at this time of year
  • Wildlife viewing is not as easy as dry season (tall grass, plentiful water …)
  • Ruaha River Lodge is open all year
  • Some of the roads will be muddy, making travel more tricky
  • It’s a hot and humid time to travel
  • There are fewer (and more costly) flights here in April/May.
  • You can drive here but it’s a difficult journey, especially if it is wet.
  • March/April are the wettest months (still drier than Selous).
  • Most properties close April and May (some from mid-March).

Ruaha holidays

Below you will find some Ruaha itineraries that we’ve put together as recommended suggestions. You might find one of these is perfect for your needs as we’ve put a lot of thought into including some wonderful experiences in each of these safaris, and we really love what they offer. However, if none of these quite fit the bill for you, do call us and let us know what you’d like. We ready to help you plan your perfect Tanzania safari holiday..

Selous & Ruaha Safari

Prices from £3,600 pp for 8 days
(exc. intl flights)

If you are looking for a week’s safari in southern Tanzania, and you want unpretentious but comfortable lodges for a good price, this safari in Selous and Ruaha using the Fox family lodges…

The Explorer Safari

Prices from £5,080 pp for 10 days
(exc. intl flights)

Safari and beach for the connoisseur. This holiday takes in two of Tanzania’s best safari destinations, Ruaha National Park and Selous Game Reserve…

Serengeti, Ruaha & Zanzibar in Style

Prices from £7,150 pp for 13 days
(exc. intl flights)

A stunning north and south Tanzanian wildlife safari combined with Zanzibar beach relaxation…

Where to stay in Ruaha National Park

As you might imagine with its remote location, there are a handful of camps in Ruaha. They tend to be a little more rustic than in other areas, but the service and guiding is still excellent, focus here is on the wildlife and the safari experience rather than the thread-count on your sheets.