Ruaha Safari Holiday Guide – Great Diversity and Ruaha River
Ruaha National Park is named after the river that runs through the southern portion of the park. The word Ruaha is a corruption of ‘luvaha’, which means river, brook or stream in Kihehe, the local tribal language of this area. The real name of the river is Lyambangari, but this is largely forgotten except by the very eldest of tribesmen.
The area that is now known as Ruaha National Park was originally part of the Saba River Game Reserve which was established in 1910; following on from this it became part of the larger Rungwa Game Reserve (est 1946). It was only gazetted as a ‘National Park’ in 1964 and has recently been extended to create a much larger ecosystem including the original Rungwa Game Reserve which adjoins the northern boundary and the Kizigo Game Reserve which continues on north east.
The Ruaha River valley is commonly thought to extend from the Great Rift Valley and it runs for the entire 160 km boundary of the park, which takes it through rugged gorges and open plains. To the south and west the land rises to 1000m and 1830m respectively and there is corresponding differences in rainfall with an average of 500mm in the flat areas to 800mm on the escarpments.