RUAHA NATIONAL PARK.
This one of the few national parks in Tanzania’s that is known wilderness area where one can have a rare experience of both game viewing and the supportive fascinating landscape. The park is known for have a rich game viewing and the common animals here include, greater Kudu (tragelaphus strepiceros) that can be only found in this national park.
The national park has rivers such as, Ruaha river, Mwagusi Jongomero and Mzombe are still used as the source of water for these animals within this national park and they are much better of use during the dry season where most of the rivers dry out though the par has a small number of springs saving the same purpose in the park
In the dry season, when all the streams have fade away, elephants obtain water from dry sand river using their front feet and the trunks. The remaining waterfall here along the Great Ruaha River is also important habitat for hippopotamus, fish and crocodiles
Historically, the national park was gazetted as a game reserve called Saba Game Reserve by the Germany colonialists back in 1910 and was later changed into Rungwa National Park by the British government in 1946. The southern portion of the game reserve was gazetted as Ruaha national park and in 1974 a small section of the south eastern part of the great river was incorporated into the park. The name “Ruaha” originates from the Hehe word “Ruvaha” that means a river. Ruaha national park of Rungwe-Kizigo-Muhesi ecosystem that covers more than 45000km2. In 2008 Usangu game Reserve and other important wetlands in Usangu basin have been annexed into the park, making it the largest park in Tanzania and East Africa, making it the largest park in Tanzania and East Africa with an area of about 20226km2 with animals such as, elephants, buffalos, antelopes. And some of the rare endangered species like wild dogs.
TOURISM ATTRACTIONS IN RUAHA NATIONAL PARK
This national park inhabit a number concentration of elephants than any other park in the whole of East Africa. This is a place where the magnificent Kudu (both Greater and Lesser), Sable and Roan antelopes can easily be seen in the Miombo woodland. The male Kudu have beautiful spiraled horns while male Sable antelope have impressive curved horns. The national park is also known to harbor for endangered wild dogs. Other animals include lions, leopards, cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, eland, impala bat eared foxes and the jackals.
This national park is also known to harbor a number of reptiles such as crocodiles, poisonous and non- poisonous snakes monitor lizards, agama lizards and frogs. The great Ruaha and Mzombe rivers are presumably the most preferred habitat for crocodiles.
The park is one of the Tanzania birds’ paradise with more than 571 species have been recorded and some of them are migratory birds and more of them came from Africa and the west and north Africa, Madagascar, Asia, Australian rim have been recorded in the park. Some of the birds include, Ruaha red-billed hornbill that dominates most of the area. The recently annexed wetland, the Usangu basin is one of the country’s important bird area (IBA) as recognized by Birdlife International. Though birds can be seen all the year around, the best time for bird watching is during the wet season.
This national park is characterized by semi-arid type of vegetation, baobab trees, acacia and other species. There are over 1650 plant species that have been identified. The park is the transitional point of two vegetation zones, the Zambezian (characterized by Acacia vegetation) and Sudanian characterized by acacia vegetation)
Historical and cultural sites.
There are several historical and cultural sites in the park which offer a visitor a chance to explore the southern Tanzania tribes. The early trade routes used by the Arab caravan crossed here. In 1830 these coastal traders expanded their routes northward, and in year 1857 to 1858 other European explorers such as Burton and Speke used these routes too. The known Chief Mkwawa used the same trade routes
The park area hailed the land of the brave chief Mkwawa, the chief of the Hehe people who resisted against the German attack in the late 19th century. The fierce and successful battle held by the Hehe people made their land and themselves to be famous. Chief Mkwawa as the under the Hehe in the land of Ruaha was much successful and tactical. Some of the outcrops and caves in the park are said to be the hiding places used by the Chief of Hehe and his warriors to fight the Germans but still they went to those places after and near to the collapse of the Hehe kingdom this means the land of Ruaha where the Hehe and Mkwawa is having a lot of attractions and secrets about the ancient native people. Some of the cultural area that were anciently used for rituals still exist at Ganga la Mafunywa and Chahe. The historical sites near the park include Isimila pillars near Iringa town, Kalega, Mlabalasi, Lugalo and the so called Gods bridge
There are also physical features, rift valley, rivers wetland and natural springs.
Activities at Ruaha National Park
There are many activities taking offered by the Ruaha national park of which visitors coming to this place can engage in of which include, bird watching, nature walks, game viewing, picnic experience, bush dinners, and the best season for nature viewing is between January to April.
How to get to Ruaha National park
Going to Ruaha National park is by many ways, there are, by air there are both scheduled and chartered flights into the park mainly from Arusha Dodoma Kigoma and Dar el salaam. The parks airstrip s is located at Msembe and Jongomero areas and those willing to use the road, its 130km drive from Iringa town and 625km from Dar-es-salaam city and the road into the park is passable through the year.
There are several luxuries tented camps, Jongomero, Kigelia, Mwagusi safari, Old Mdonya River, Kwihala and Fly catcher and lodge namely Ruaha River lodge. And these are privately owned
Besides the inner accommodation facilities, there are facilities that were constructed outside the national park and some of these include, Hill top lodge, Sunset lodge, Tandala tented Camp and many others.