16-20 July 2021
This National park is the second largest in the country after Nyerere. Located in central Tanzania, it is named after the Ruaha River that flows through it. It was established in 1964 by the government of the newly independent Tanzania. The main ecosystem of this region is semi-arid savannah. The only permanent water source is the Ruaha River, which results in dense forest and a high diversity of mammals on its banks. It is home to the largest population of Elephant in East Africa.
We stayed in the Rangers headquarters a few meters from the river in the heart of the Park, some small and simple bungalows, but as always in Tanzania, very clean! The setting is fantastic, the encounter with Hipopotamus is daily, especially in the evening, sometimes a little too close!
The government has built a small shelter just above the river from where you can observe birds and mammals very closely. In the evenings groups of more than 50 Striped Mongooses came to hunt together with Baboons. Elephants and other Ungulates come to drink! An unforgettable atmosphere, without any human disturbance!
In terms of birds, we were able to see, among other new species, two endemic birds of this region: the Ashy Starling, Lamprotornis unicolor and the Tanzanian Red-billed Hornbill, Tockus ruaha.Also noteworthy are the daily sightings of the Pearl Owl, Glaucidium perlatum, and the nest sightings of the Verreaux's Eagle-Owl, Bubo lacteus in the nest.
Like the other national parks in the south, Ruaha is very little visited even outside the "covid periods". We only saw one tourist vehicle and one researcher. One of the best memories is without a doubt the very intimate encounter with a family of lions, who, for once, were active: beautiful scenes between very young cubs following closely their mother and an adult male trying to mate with a female. This moment was all the more special because, unlike in the Serengeti where you can be surrounded by 30-40 other vehicles, we were alone to enjoy it.
We also saw two sightings of the Leopard, which is rather rare and shy!
With the Reptiles, we had a superb sighting of the Puff adder, Bitis arietans.
Once again, we were very sad to leave this fabulous place and to have stayed only a few days!
The other visited regions:
- Nyerere National Park (Big river, lots of hippos and crocodiles)
- Katavi National Park (Lots of water, birds and hippos)
- Mahale National Park (Chimp!!)
- Burigi-Chato National Park (new!) and Rubondo island (Victoria lake)
- Lake Mburo and Bwindi impenetrable National park (Uganda, Gorillas and co)