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Ruaha Advice/Information Request

Level Contributor
491 posts
17 reviews
25 helpful votes
Ruaha Advice/Information Request

Hey all, I have done the northern circuit previously, including Ndutu in February and wanted an idea of how Ruaha in June/July compares to the norther parks. Looking to plan my next trip to Tanzania and considering Ruaha... it seems much less traveled and wanted input as to game concentration, housing options (numerous/limited) and my interest is more in big cats, buffalo and of course elephants.

Any insight is appreciated, looking to either do budget camping or tented camps, not luxury as the budget will not allow it. Thinking of flying into Dar and then over to Ruaha and possibly Mikumi as well.

Thanks in advance

Orebro, Sweden
Level Contributor
98 posts
15 reviews
12 helpful votes
1. Re: Ruaha Advice/Information Request

We have done 3 full days in Ruaha this summer at the end of june. (budget safari).

What are you questions?

Edinburgh, United...
Destination Expert
for Uganda, Kenya
Level Contributor
3 619 posts
8 reviews
6 helpful votes
2. Re: Ruaha Advice/Information Request

Ruaha is a fine fine park that I would recommend wholeheartedly. I'd say of the parks it reminds me the most of elsewhere in Tanzania it's probably closest to Tarangire- quite wild feeling with a fairly varied environment (not so much swamp) and huge baobab trees. June is good game viewing, though not as dense as perhaps in September or October- again comparable to Tarangire as you asked for a comparison to the north, though obviously they're also quite different areas.

Given the remoteness, Ruaha is an expensive park to get to. If you are on a budget I would either do a driving safari via. Selous and Mikumi, or I think there is an option to fly into Mbeya and be picked up from there by a locally-based safari co. Someone called Cynthia gave a trip report on this recently that you can search for.

Cheap options within the park are either to have someone set up dome tents for you or to use the national park bandas. If you're looking at tented camps then this will mean flying in and some comparatively expensive options. Most affordable will definitely be Mdonya- a really bush style camp that is huge fun.

I have had spectacular big cat and buffalo sightings in the Ruaha. Not so much elephants, though my understanding is that these have been a lot better in the heart of the park recently.

Hope this helps!

Alexandra-Extraordinary Africa

London, United...
Destination Expert
for Zambia, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park
Level Contributor
9 034 posts
3. Re: Ruaha Advice/Information Request

I have been to Ruaha twice in early June- once back in 2012, once this year. In 2012 I had excellent game viewing and didn't find it that much different to August, but a lot cheaper as most camps will charge low season rates in June. However, this year was a bit disappointing to be honest. There was a lot more tall grass around, possibly because there were late rains this year but possibly because TANAPA have stopped controlled burning which they used to do. That made spotting and photographing game a bit more difficult.

So I think you would be safer in July, late June if you want the saving on low season rates (although that probably only makes a lot of difference if you stay in a fixed camp rather than more budget options).

Ruaha doesn't have many permanent camps- only about 8 or 9 inside the park. Of these, Mdonya and Ruaha River Lodge are probably the least expensive options, and my preference would be for Mdonya which is a tented camp rather than Ruaha River Lodge which is a larger lodge.

My personal favourite is Kwihala. I have noticed Mwagusi having some quite attractive rates recently and they might be worth a look.

All of these are fly in type camps, where you would do activities with their guides in an open vehicle.

For budget options, you would need to get your own vehicle and guide, and you could stay at the TANAPA bandas or camp. I think Warthog Adventures in Iringa has a good reputation and I have seen their vehicles around in the park.

Authentic Tanzania also have their own mobile camp at Kilimatonga which I have seen a trip report from and which sounds like a good more budget option.

Depends what your budget is really. I think ShepofBristol paid something like 400-450pppn using Mdonya and Lake Manze in Selous in November (and June should be about the same). So I would say any less than that and you would need to look at camping or the TANAPA bandas.

Of course, with fly in safaris, the per night cost comes down the more nights you stay, and don't rule out camps just because you think they look too expensive. With a couple of new camps opening in Ruaha, there are some good special offers around from the newcomers, and some of the older camps seem to be getting a bit competetive with their rates.

In terms of game viewing, Ruaha is amazing for lions and pretty good for leopard. Cheetah have been elusive the last few years but I have just seen Kwihala post a sighting on FB of a family of 5, so that could change. Wild dogs you will be very lucky in June/July (more chance in the green season but still unlikely). I have always found elephants very plentiful in Ruaha- they especially like digging in the Mwagusi sand river to uncover the water just below the surface.

Ruaha is also great for variety of antelopes, with both lesser and greater kudu, impala, bushbuck, grants gazelle (but no tommies). You might even be lucky enough to see roan. There are lots of giraffe and big herds of buffalo. Lots of birds too.

4. Re: Ruaha Advice/Information Request

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