Ruaha National Park
Bounded by the Ruaha River the Ruaha National Park is the second largest in the country. Its 10,300 square kilometres of plateau, kopjes and wooded hills lies in the central region of Tanzania.
The Ruaha is particularly fascinating to those interested in natural history because this is the only protected area where the flora and fauna of eastern and southern Africa overlap. Animals are nowhere else seen in these combinations - both roan antelope and sable antelope, greater kudu and lesser kudu and this is the furthest south that you will find the Grant's gazelle. There are about 8,000 elephant, the largest population of any national park in East Africa. The intriguing wild dog, once hunted almost to extinction partly because of its perceived cruelty to its prey, still runs in packs here.
The terrain in the Ruaha is nothing if not varied: acacia tortilis woodland; grassy plains; miombo woodland; stunning granite ridges; and the lifeblood of the park, the great Ruaha River. As in most areas of such variety the birding is excellent. During the dry season, from May to December, the buffalo come to drink twice a day at the waterholes in the dry beds of the seasonal rivers where lions lie in wait for them. These sand rivers, tributaries of or even the Ruaha itself, are the gathering place for wildlife. Troops of baboons play along the river bank, elephants dig for water, lizards bask on the rocky outcrops, gazelle leap away at any imagined sound. This is the wilderness experience par excellence.
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