Ruaha National Park

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Ruaha National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Purple On The River.jpg
Map showing the location of Ruaha National Park
Map showing the location of Ruaha National Park
Location Tanzania
Nearest city Iringa
Coordinates 7°30′S 35°00′E / 7.500°S 35.000°E / -7.500; 35.000Coordinates: 7°30′S 35°00′E / 7.500°S 35.000°E / -7.500; 35.000
Area 20,226 km2 (7,809 sq mi)
Established 1964
Visitors 21,267 (in 2012[1])
Governing body Tanzania National Parks Authority

Ruaha National Park is the largest national park in Tanzania. The addition of the Usangu Game Reserve and other important wetlands to the park in 2008 increased its size to about 20,226 square kilometres (7,809 sq mi), making it the largest park in Tanzania and East Africa.[2]

The park is about 130 kilometres (81 mi) west of Iringa.[2] The park is a part of the 45,000 square kilometres (17,000 sq mi) Rungwa-Kizigo-Muhesi ecosystem,[2] which includes the Rungwa Game Reserve, the Kizigo and Muhesi Game Reserves, and the Mbomipa Wildlife Management Area.[3]

The name of the park is derived from the Great Ruaha River, which flows along its southeastern margin and is the focus for game-viewing. The park can be reached by car on a dirt road from Iringa and there are two airstrips – Msembe airstrip at Msembe (park headquarters), and Jongomeru Airstrip, near the Jongomeru Ranger Post.[2]


Germany gazetted the Saba Game Reserve in 1910.[2] British colonial authorities changed the name to the Rungwa Game Reserve in 1946.[2] In 1964, the southern portion of the reserve was excised and elevated to full park status.[2]


The park formerly was known for its large elephant population,[2] numbering 34,000 in the Ruaha-Rungwa ecosystem in 2009[4] but only 15,836 (plus or minus 4,759) in 2015.[5]

More than 571 species of birds have been identified in the park.[2] Among the resident species are hornbills.[2] Many migratory birds visit the park.[2]

Other noted animals found in this park are cheetah, African leopard, lion (Africa's second largest population, representing 10 percent of the world population), African wild dog (third largest population in the world), spotted hyena, giraffe, hippopotamus, African buffalo, and sable antelope.[2][6] The best times to visit for predators and large mammals is during the dry season (May–December) and for birds and flowers, during the wet season (January–April).[2]


There is a wide selection of accommodation in or near the park. The only lodge inside the park is the Ruaha River Lodge.[2] There are also permanent or seasonal tented camps inside the park.[2] There are also several park-operated public and special campsites, a hostel, self-catering bandas, and cottages.[2] Just outside the park boundaries are several accommodation facilities.[2]



  1. ^ "Tanzania National parks Corporate Information". Tanzania Parks. TANAPA. Archived from the original on 17 September 2008. Retrieved 22 December 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Ruaha National Park, Official Website, Tanzania National Parks, accessed 23 November 2014. Retrieved on 14 September 2016.[dead link]
  3. ^ Mbomipa Wildlife Management Area. Retrieved on 14 September 2016.
  4. ^ Karl Mathiesen (2 June 2015). "Tanzania elephant population declined by 60% in five years, census reveals". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 March 2017. 
  5. ^ Adelhelm Meru, Permanent Secretary, Tanzania Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism (2 November 2015). "PRESS RELEASE: RUAHA-RUNGWA ECOSYSTEM ELEPHANT CENSUS RESULTS, 2015". Retrieved 15 March 2015 – via Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute. 
  6. ^ "Research". Ruaha Carnivore Project. Retrieved 15 March 2017. 

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