A trip to the Ruaha National Park is an exhilarating adventure into the unknown. Very few other wildernesses in Africa can convey the sheer isolation and expanse of land that epitomises the Africa of ‘old’ that was felt in times gone by. Far far away from the ‘madding’ crowds which haunt the famous Northern Circuits, Ruaha lies in an untouched and incredibly remote area of Southern Tanzania, and is visited by relatively few tourists making it one of Africa’s greatest and wildest Parks for the safari enthusiast.
The central spine of the Park is the watershed between the Mzombe and the Great Ruaha river, with its dramatic escarpment above which are large stretches of miombo woodland. Below this lie undulating plains with vegetation ranging from dry bush country to treeless grasslands, swamps and evergreen forests intersected by the many sand rivers that are such a spectacular feature of this area. Ruaha represents a transition zone where eastern and southern species of flora and fauna overlap and in all some 1,650 plant species can be found here. Ruaha is a bird watchers paradise with approximately 526 bird species (more than half of those found in the whole country!).
Ruaha is interspersed with numerous seasonal waterways, the most important of which, the Great Ruaha River snakes its way through the Park for most of the year and huge quantities of game can be seen while driving along its banks in the dry seasons.
Elephants swarm the entire area and at certain times of year can form herds of three or four hundred strong in particular areas. Buffalos also congregate in huge numbers during the dry season and herds of five hundred plus are not uncommon. The larger cats majestically prowl the landscape of Ruaha and it is famous for vast numbers of Lions. In particular the Mwagusi sand river area is said to hold one of the highest densities of Lions in Africa.
Its no wonder that we have chosen this region as the base for the Authentic Ruaha safari.
Ruaha is characterised by two distinct seasons – the lush “green” and dry “yellow” season. The green season starts in January and continues into April. It is during this time that the park is transformed into a green oasis with flowing rivers and thick vegetation.
The yellow season usually runs for the remainder of the year, from May to December. This season brings with it dry, dramatic landscapes and dry riverbeds which form some of Ruaha’s most appealing natural features and are the focus of excellent wildlife viewing as the animals search for water. Our Authentic Ruaha Safari has been scheduled to provide the ideal combination between peak season game viewing, competitive rates and dramatic skies as the promise of the first rains builds in the massive skies above.
At this time of year, Lion are abundant and leopard and cheetah are seen often. Large herds of animals such as buffalo group together and the interaction between species at what little water remains is inevitable.
Mwagusi Camp is located on the banks of the Mwagusi river and gives us access to a vast triangle of land flanked by the Great Ruaha and Mwagusi River.
The stage could not be better set.
It will be the peak of the dry season.
We will be based in close proximity to the only water sources in the region.
We will have exclusive use of a vehicle and complete flexibility.
For many years Ruaha has been known for it’s huge elephant populations and “big-tuskers” (old male bull elephants with gigantic tusks). The world’s second heaviest pair of tusks on record came from one of Ruaha’s big tuskers (one tusk weighing over 91kg). In 1970 there were an estimated 40,000 elephants in Ruaha. Sadly by the late 1980’s the elephant population had dwindled to somewhere as low as 4,000 due to ruthless poaching. With the help of an excellent park warden Ruaha was able to curb the poaching and now boasts a good elephant population estimated somewhere between 15,000 & 20,000.
Ruaha also boasts a high density of lions, and large prides of females with cubs are a common sight. It is also possible to see one of the magnificent black-mane males that dominate some of the prides. Those who are lucky can catch a glimpse of their incredible hunting-cat abilities as they stalk and chase down their dinner, a large buffalo or giraffe. Tremendously exciting but not for the faint-hearted!