Ruaha National Park 537

Crocodile in Ruaha

This park is sometimes know as Giraffe Park as it has in excess of 8,000 Maasai giraffe. The outstanding Kudu is also prolific in this park and when surprised this animal will stand as a statue, blending perfectly into the background. It has been known for visitors to the park to drive right up to the Kudu before seeing it.

Access to the park is by light aircraft; or by tarmac road and is reached over the Rubeho Mountains. Descending to the Ruaha River offers views along the Ruaha Gorge and the first thing to strike visitors as they enter this area is the profusion of the unusual and huge baobab trees. Although in general the park is covered by Combertum woodland with a thinning out to acacia.

The rare and endangered African hunting dog are fairly common in Ruaha. Known as the painted wolf [Lycaon Pictus] these endangered animals are sociable if not noisy and it is a real treat to see them whilst on a safari drive in the park.

Ruaha is probably the most arid of Tanzania's parks. It is the most southerly extension of the Maasai Steppes. The Great Ruaha River bisects the park. The flora and fauna of southern Africa overlaps with the distinctive east African species; to see greater and lesser Kudu as well as sable and roan in one park is part of the attraction of Ruaha. There is a rich selection of plain animals, predators and Elephants in this park.

As in most areas of Tanzania bird life here is spectacular. The park is known for large numbers of the rare Eleanor's falcons from December to January. Over 456 species of birds have been identified to date with new species discovered every year. January to May is the best time to visit this park for bird and butterfly collectors; otherwise October to November is warmer and recommended if a bird safari is not on the agenda.

Few visitors visit this park. Although in recent years visitors to Tanzania have begun to succumb to the Southern Circuit Parks and in particular the magic of Ruaha.

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