Written by: Flo Montgomery at Mdonya Old River Camp in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania
The Ruaha, as it is affectionately known by old Tanganyika hands, is the largest national park in Tanzania. At over 20,000km² it is larger than the Serengeti and the Kruger.
However, it has not always called Ruaha – Germany gazetted the Saba Game Reserve in 1910, and the British changed the name to Rungwa Game Reserve in 1946. In 1964 a large portion in the south was elevated to full park status. Usangu Game Reserve, where the source of the Great Ruaha rises, was added in 2008. The name of the park is derived from the Great Ruaha River, which flows along its south-eastern margin and is the focus for game viewing.
Situated in the center of Tanzania, 130km west of Iringa, the park is composed of several ecosystems: the Rungwa-Kizigo-Muhesi, the Mbomipa Wildlife Management Area, the Usangu Game Reserve and several other protected areas. There are several different ecosystems represented in this extraordinary park – and, therefore, a large number of noted animals, birds and insects, including the African wild dog, which has made a recent comeback in the area. There are also over 570 identified species of birds in the park.
The park can be reached by car on a dirt road from Iringa and there are two airstrips – Msembe airstrip at the park headquarters, and Jongomeru Airstrip, near the Jongomeru Ranger Post in the West.
Here are Adventure Camps‘ 13 favourite reasons for visiting Ruaha: