Ruaha National Park lies in the Great Rift Valley and dominated by the Ruaha River that forms part of its south eastern boundary. It covers an area of 20,226 sq km and is the largest national park in Tanzania. The river provides permanent water in the park and during the dry season, animal concentration along its bank is amazing. The river is also very rich in hippos and crocodiles. The park is isolated and peaceful unspoiled by large number of visitors; it therefore offers exclusivity to visitors who are keen explorers on their safaris.
The park’s altitude ranging from 750m to 1900m gives its diverse landscapes; from stretches of miombo woodlands above its dramatic escarpment and below lies large plains with vegetations ranging from dry bush to treeless grasslands, swamps and evergreen forests intersected by many sand rivers, a unique feature in this area. The main feature of the park are large herds of elephant and buffalo and also the kudu, majestic sable and roan antelope (hardly seen in the northern parks) can be seen within the same area. In residence are also giraffe, zebra, antelope, lion and the occasional leopard and cheetah. Over 400 species of birds are in residence such as the shimmering sunbirds and hornbills, in addition to the Eurasion migrating birds which make their way to Ruaha twice a year in March to April and October to November.
The best time to travel is from May to December. During this time the foliage dies down and makes it easier to see the animals mainly predators and large mammals. The wet season, between January to April is best for bird-watching, lush scenery and wildflowers. The male greater kudu is most visible in June, its the breeding season.
The park can be reached by scheduled and charter flights from Dar es Salaam, Selous, Serengeti, Arusha, Iringa and Mbeya and there are two airstrips one at the park headquarters, Msembe Airstrip and the Jongomeru airstrip. There is also a year-round road access through Iringa from Dar es Salaam (9 to10 hours drive), via Mikumi or from Arusha via Dodoma.