Southern tanzania
Swahili Coast
Hippo tours
Southern Tanzania
Selous Game Reserve
Ruaha National Park
Mahale Mountains
Katavi National Park
Best time to visit
Year-round but again, but wildlife viewing becomes easiest at the end of the dry season when the wildlife roams close to water sources and

Ruaha is the safari connoisseur's destination of choice, a vast and unexplored tract of wilderness that maintains a reputation for prolific and rare wildlife. Undeserved and unjust references to tsetse and impassable mud left this park tragically overlooked for many years, but as word creeps out of the sheer diversity of game that roams Ruaha, the park gains the notoriety that bolsters its reputation now.

Ruaha is a large park, far from most other destinations, and its size and wilderness requires a carefully-planned safari in order to do full justice to its excellence. Thankfully, most of the properties and camps located inside the park are professional in their operation and outlook, dedicated to the park in which they are based. Experienced guides are available to lead the client through this most uninhabited of parks, their knowledge and familiarity with every aspect of the park is unsurpassed.

Intimate knowledge is important if visitors are to take full advantage of what Ruaha has to offer. In addition to some vast herds of elephant and buffalo, all of the main mammal species abound here, with populations of large antelope unheard of anywhere else in East Africa. Both Greater and Lesser Kudu are present in significant numbers, as well as Roan and Sable Antelopes and Liechtenstein's Hartebeest, evidence of Ruaha's location at the convergence of Southern and Eastern mammal zones. Wherever there are large herbivores, large carnivores are present to keep the numbers in check, and Ruaha has them in droves. Lions, hyaena - spotted and striped - leopard and sizable packs of the rare African Hunting Dog are not unreasonable expectations on a game drive.

Ruaha is also a great birding park with over 500 species listed, including a few Tanzanian endemics, spread across the wide range of biospheres. Mountains and rivers, woodland and floodplains that make up this park's terrain. Whilst only slightly smaller than the Serengeti, Ruaha has a far more tangible wilderness feel and, in conjunction, with Selous or Katavi, offers a very genuine feeling of what safaris should be about.

The best of the Ruaha properties, Mwagusi is also considered to be one of the genuine tented camp experiences of East Africa. Run and managed by Chris Fox, who has been in this area for longer than anyone, visiting Mwagusi is considered to be as much about Chris' knowledge of the Ruaha as a simple night in camp.
Nestled into a bank of the Mwagusi Sand River, this small exclusive tented camp overlooks a watering hole in the riverbed, the sight of over 2,000 buffalo flooding the riverbed below the tents and dining banda is not uncommon. The 10 tents are designed in the traditional safari camp manner, with a verandah which occasionally provides the best of the Ruaha game viewing.

Given the knowledge of the hosts of this camp, their familiarity with every mammal in the area and the detailed sighting log that goes back to the camp's inception, this is a camp that we recommend to those highly serious about their safaris.

Ruaha River Lodge
Ruaha River Lodge is also an enclave of the Fox family, who have been living in the area for generations. This larger and older lodge was the first property in Ruaha and has become something of an institution in the park. Like Mwagusi, it occupies a premium position (at the nexus of two kopjes overlooking the Ruaha River and always has a coterie of wildlife in the area.

The camp has 20 rooms, split into three smaller sub-camps, with a main central area, site of one of the camps. The others, Kopje Camp and River Camp, take their name from their locations. It has been said that Ruaha River Lodge is starting to look old, but this is unfair. Camps should age and given the obsession with antiques and nostalgia in the safari world it is a strange accusation to make.

Ruaha River Lodge is a solid, dependable camp that offers a reliably cheaper option for visitors to Ruaha, with good food, good guiding and good wildlife, all the ingredients of a good safari experience.

A few more days…