Recently expanded to become the largest national park in East Africa and, after Kafue National Park in Zambia, the second largest in Africa, Ruaha is home to more than 10,000 elephant. Its name derives from the Great Ruaha River which flows along its eastern border, creating spectacular gorges. Flowing into the Rufiji River, the Great Ruaha is home to hippo and crocodile. Various antelope species, such as eland, grant’s gazelle, impala, greater and lesser kudu, reedbuck, waterbuck and the rare sable and roan antelope thrive in the grasslands bordering the river alongside buffalo, giraffe and zebra. Predators include lion, leopard, cheetah, both striped and spotted hyena, and wild dog – or African hunting dog as they should correctly be called. Birdlife is prolific, over 370 The Southern Circuit species have been recorded, some of which are not found in northern Tanzania. Eurasian migrants flock to Ruaha twice a year – March to April and October to November – joining the resident kingfishers, hornbills, sunbirds, egrets and plovers. Best months for game viewing are during the dry season from July to November, when the animals are concentrated around the shrinking water-courses. The park has an airstrip for light aircraft on the western bank of the river.
Tanzania’s climate is tropical, the temperature ranging between 22 and 30 degrees centigrade. December to March are the hottest months, while June to august is the coolest. Coastal areas are usually hot and humid. There are two rainy seasons: long rains from mid march to June and short rains form November to January.