Ruaha National Park is renowned for its excellent wildlife-sighting opportunities. Combined with the low numbers of visitors, this makes it a spectacular destination.
The wider Ruaha area hosts 10% of the world’s lion population and has been a Lion Conservation Unit since 2005. It’s not uncommon to find pride of more than 20 lions in the park. The leopard stalks the thicker woodland areas, while cheetah can be found scanning the plains for prey. The wild dog is endangered, but Ruaha is home to almost 100 of them. There are healthy populations of hyenas and black-backed jackals too.
Elephants are seen in high densities during the dry season when they gather around the dry riverbed to dig for water with their trunks and front feet. There is a real mix between species more commonly associated with southern areas of Africa, and species that are widespread in the south such as; buffalo, zebra, Defassa waterbuck, impala, bushbuck, giraffe, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, greater kudu (some of the most handsomely horned males you’ll come across anywhere in Africa) also the more elusive roan and sable antelope. Grant’s gazelle and lesser kudu are also found here and are good examples of a game that is more typically associated with areas further north. (It’s also one of the few places where you can see both greater and lesser kudu in the same area.) Ruaha National Park is also home to the largest elephant population found in any Tanzanian national park, with some 12,000 elephants migrating through the greater Ruaha ecosystem each year.
It is also an excellent park for predators. Lions are not only numerous and very habituated to vehicles, but the pride tends to be unusually large, often numbering more than 20 individuals. Cheetah can often be seen hunting on the open plains, and the park has a particularly good reputation for leopard sightings. It is one of the last major strongholds for African wild dog populations with more than 100 found here. Black-backed jackal and spotted hyena are both very common and easily seen, and the rarer striped hyena, though seldom observed, also lives here. Apart from large animals, the park also harbors a number of reptiles and amphibians such as crocodiles, poisonous and non-poisonous snakes, monitor lizards, agama lizards, and frogs. The park is characterized by semi-arid types of vegetation, baobab trees, Acacia, and other species. There are over 1,650 plant species that have been identified. Which makes Ruaha National park the gemstone of the southern highland of Tanzania