Ruaha National Park Travel Guide

Discover the beauty of Ruaha National Park with this comprehensive travel guide. Learn about the best places to visit, activities to do, where to stay, what to eat, and much more.

Ruaha National Park is a hidden gem located in Central Tanzania, in East Africa. It is one of the largest national parks in Tanzania, covering an area of 20,226 square kilometers. The park offers a unique and authentic experience for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. It is home to diverse wildlife species, breathtaking landscapes, and rich cultural attractions. In this travel guide, we will take you through a comprehensive tour of Ruaha National Park, including the best places to visit, activities to do, where to stay, what to eat, and much more.

Introduction to Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park is situated on a high plateau with an average altitude of 900 meters above sea level. It is bordered by the Great Ruaha River to the east and the Mzombe River to the west. The park is named after the Ruaha River, which flows through its eastern side. The park is known for its rugged landscapes, not forgetting the varied wildlife attractions.

List of Places to Visit in Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park is a vast wilderness area that offers a lot to see and do. Here are the top places to visit for an unforgettable experience:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  1. Iringa Boma Museum: This museum showcases Tanzania’s rich cultural heritage and history, including the traditional costumes, ornaments, and artifacts used by the native tribes.

  2. Kalenga Historical Site: This site is home to the graves of Tanzania’s first president Julius Nyerere, and other historical figures of the country.

Natural Attractions of Ruaha National Park: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  1. Mwagusi Sand River: Mwagusi Sand River is a dry riverbed that flows through Ruaha National Park. It is an excellent area to see wildlife, especially during the dry season. Visitors can explore the area on foot or by vehicle.

  2. Great Ruaha River: The Great Ruaha River is a major water source in the park and is home to hippos, crocodiles, and a variety of bird species. Walk or drive along the river for scenic views and wildlife sightings.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park offers excellent opportunities for hiking and biking with its varied terrain and picturesque landscapes.

  1. Jongomero Trail: This trail starts from Jongomero Camp and takes visitors through the southern part of the park, where they can view various wildlife species and enjoy the breathtaking views of the plains and hills.

  2. Mdonya Old River Trail: This trail takes visitors through a unique landscape of old riverbeds, baobab trees, and rock formations.

Best Things to Do in Ruaha National Park: Activities and Tours

Ruaha National Park offers a range of activities and tours to visitors, including:

  1. Game Drives: Visitors can take game drives with experienced guides to explore the park’s varied terrain and wildlife.

  2. Walking Safaris: Walking safaris allow visitors to explore the park’s wilderness on foot, and get up close and personal with nature.

Week-Long Itinerary for Ruaha National Park

Here is a suggested itinerary for a week-long visit to Ruaha National Park:

Day 1: Arrival and transfer to accommodation Day 2-3: Game drives and walking safaris Day 4: Visit Iringa Boma Museum and Kalenga Historical Site Day 5-6: Hiking/biking trails Day 7: Departure

Food and Drink Scene of Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park offers unique culinary experiences that are worth trying out. Here are some must-try dishes and local beverages:

Must-Try Dishes

  1. Ugali: A popular dish made from maize flour and water, usually eaten with a side dish of meat and vegetables.

  2. Ndizi Nyama: A traditional East African dish made from plantains and meat stew.

Local Beverages

  1. Kilimanjaro Beer: A popular beer brand made in Tanzania

  2. Konyagi: A locally distilled gin made from grapes and sugar cane

Where to Stay in Ruaha National Park: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Ruaha National Park has a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences. Here are some of the top places to stay:

  1. Ruaha River Lodge: A luxurious lodge located on the banks of the Great Ruaha River, offering excellent views of the park’s wildlife.

  2. Jongomero Camp: An exclusive safari camp located in the southern part of the park, offering a unique and intimate safari experience.

What to Buy in Ruaha National Park: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Ruaha National Park offers unique souvenirs and local products that visitors can take home to remember their trip. Here are some popular options:

  1. Maasai Beaded Jewelry: Traditional beaded jewelry made by the Maasai tribe that can be purchased from local markets.

  2. Tinga Tinga Paintings: colorful paintings of African wildlife and landscapes, hand-painted by local artists.

Local Culture and Customs of Ruaha National Park

The local culture of Ruaha National Park is rich and diverse, with many ethnic groups living in the area. The main ethnic communities are the Hehe and the Bena tribes. Visitors are encouraged to respect the local customs and traditions, such as dressing modestly, removing shoes before entering someone’s home, and greeting people respectfully.

Best Time to Visit Ruaha National Park

The best time to visit Ruaha National Park is during the dry season from June to October, when wildlife is concentrated around water sources, and the vegetation is less dense.

Do’s and Don’ts of Ruaha National Park

Here are some do’s and don’ts to follow when visiting Ruaha National Park:


  1. Follow the park’s rules and regulations
  2. Respect the wildlife and their habitat
  3. Stay in designated areas and paths


  1. Litter or pollute the environment
  2. Feed or disturb the wildlife
  3. Remove or damage anything from the park

Safety and Health

Safety in Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park is a safe destination for visitors, but it’s always essential to follow standard safety precautions, such as staying in designated areas and paths, avoiding confrontations with wildlife, and keeping valuables locked away.

Health in Ruaha National Park

Visitors are advised to take necessary health precautions before visiting Ruaha National Park, such as malaria prophylaxis, vaccinations, and carrying a first aid kit.

Getting to Ruaha National Park: Transportation Options and Logistics

Ruaha National Park is accessible by road, air, and rail.

Airports Near Ruaha National Park

  1. Julius Nyerere International Airport, Dar es Salaam
  2. Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere International Airport, Dodoma

Bus Stations Near Ruaha National Park

  1. Iringa Bus Station
  2. Mbeya Bus Station

Other Options

Visitors can also arrange for private transfers or hire a car and driver to drive them directly to Ruaha National Park.

How to Get Around in Ruaha National Park

The best way to get around the park is by vehicle or walking. Guided tours are usually arranged by the lodges or camps, and a 4x4 vehicle is recommended for game drives and off-road situations.

Where to Go Next from Ruaha National Park: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

After visiting Ruaha National Park, visitors can explore the neighboring areas and other national parks, such as:

  1. Mikumi National Park
  2. Selous Game Reserve


Ruaha National Park is a unique and authentic destination that offers visitors an unforgettable experience with its diverse wildlife, breathtaking landscapes, and rich cultural attractions. We hope that this travel guide has given you a comprehensive tour of the park and helped you plan your trip.