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If you want to see animals, go not just to Africa, but to Ruaha

December 21, 2006

Ruaha is Tanzania’s unexplored National Park.

It’s raw and it’s real 
Few tourists know of this beautiful wild life sanctuary tucked away in the heart of Tanzania – the Ruaha Wild Life Sanctury. Ruaha is teeming with animals and birds, but because of it’s remoteness, it is one of the least frequented.

Animals are really wild. You can see it in the look in their eyes
lioness-close_1_1.jpgWe were there for just two days, but we saw wild lions just a few feet away…and I mean really wild! Growling, feeding, watching. We saw a leopard too. Also, herds of wild buffaloes, hyenas and as for elephants…almost every time we ventured out. elephants_1_1.jpgHippos and crocodiles right in front of our hut – in the river. Giraffes and zebras were everywhere. There were all kinds of birds. Storks and vultures too. We felt the odd ones out. This was how the world was supposed to be. We felt so small…and so superfluous.
The best part about this park is it’s isolation from the rest of the world… gives you a feel of the world before man took it over. It’s not just the animals. It’s the thick and singing jungle, spectacular scenery, the baobab trees, the sounds of the animals…we will carry this in our hearts forever.
The sights
ruaha-deer-zebras_1_1.jpgThe terrain is wide and varied and quite fascinating. The streams and rivers are pure, yet scary, as there are dangerous animals in it. The expanse of wilderness inspires a feeling of awe…because no human has traversed it. There are fig trees, grassy lands and baobab trees. The rivers are inhabited by crocodiles and hippos.
Ruaha is a hunting ground for lions, jackals, hyenas, wild dogs, zebras, antelopes, elephants and buffalo. And there is no doubt that you will see it all. There are Eurasian migrating birds as well and they come to the park during March/April and October/November. Ruaha has it’s own birds – kingfishers, hornbills, egrets, and sunbirds.
The best time to see large animals is May to December as it is dry, as the animals gravitate towards the water holes. In the rainy season, January to April, you can see a lot of birds. There is lush scenery and wildflowers but roads can become slushy and difficult to navigate because of the rains. Remember that Tanzania is in the southern hemisphere and May is winter, not summer.
Things to do in Ruaha:
Watch the animals and birds during the safaris.
Take walks and hiking safaris.
Chill out and breathe in the dark dark nights, the pure air and listen to the jungle sing.  Get that once-in-a-lifetime experience of being in a remote jungle.
Some facts
Ruaha National Park is Tanzania’s second largest park.
Ruaha is approximately two hours by air from Dar es Salaam or an 8 -10-hour drive. We drove. And the road was fairly good but it was the dry season. It is possible to break the journey at Iringa, which is what we did.
You will need insect protection (Malarial area.)
Best time to visit:
Between July and November when the animals surround the water holes, but ofcourse the park is beautiful all the year round.

We stayed at the Ruaha River Lodge . There was no electricity, but this was a deliberate choice (other accomodation is available) as we wanted to experience nature as it was. All we wanted were clean toilets…but  we got more than that. The huts were a decent size and very clean. And bang on the river. What was exciting was that if we wanted to reach our hut after dark, we needed torches.  Even more thrilling – in the middle of the night we were warned not to open the door…for fear of bumping into a wandering animal! We turned in…listening with a strange sort of thrill to the sounds of the jungle.

(Photos are copyrighted)  

You can also read about Dune rides in Dubai, How Indians can get the most out of their trip to Egypt, and whether it’s worth going to Daman.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 25, 2006 4:51 pm

    thanks for the link , May be I should plan my trip there next time.


  1. Tanzania Tryst | DesiPundit

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