Tanzania’s Wild West

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Embark on a wilderness adventure into some of the least explored lands on the African continent. The national parks of Mahale, Katavi and Ruaha serve up a feast of spectacular wildlife interactions with very few tourists.

Prices: On request

Duration: 11 nights

Availability: June – February

Destinations: Mahale Mountains National Park, Katavi National Park, Ruaha National Park


i) Enjoy night drives and walking safaris at wild and wonderful Ruaha National Park

ii) Marvel at the excessively large lion prides of Ruaha National Park

iii) Experience undoubtedly the most authentic chimpanzee interaction on the planet

iv) Get that shipwrecked feeling at award-winning Greystoke Mahale on the shores of remote Lake Tanganyika

v) Witness hundreds of Nile crocodiles and hippopotamus wallow in the waterholes at Katavi National Park

vi) Escape to another world at little visited Katavi National Park located in the far reaches of Western Tanzania

All about Tanzania’s Wild West.

Tanzania Wild West Overview - Ultimate Wildlife Adventures


An exciting and exhilarating trip introducing you to the secrets of the remote reaches of Western Tanzania. The trip has been deliberately designed to offer a wide variety of safari activities in diverse ecosystems for the purpose of delivering you an adventure packed with excitement, wildlife abundance and variety, and new experiences.

Visit the secluded Mahale Mountains National Park for undoubtedly the best chimpanzee interactions in the world. Feel like you have escaped to another world as you enjoy the passing of time in this true tract of African wilderness. Embark on a more traditional safari at Katavi and Ruaha National Parks where again you will be confronted by an abundance of wild animals and very few other tourists.

The accommodation has been carefully selected in keeping with the wild and authentic feel of the trip but without in any way compromising on comfort.

Best time to visit?

So what is the best time of year to take this trip to maximise your overall experience? Without knowing you yet this is a difficult question to answer. With so many variables to consider we need to know what is important to you before we advise on the preferable time for you.

There are many variables to consider such as the whereabouts of migratory animals, the effect the density of the vegetation and height of the grass has on wildlife viewing, special wildlife moments such as the birth of baby animals, and the effect weather patterns has on wildlife behaviour. Other factors to consider are the variation in prices at different times of the year, visitor traffic, whether you prefer a lush or relatively arid environment and of course the annual climate, including temperature and rainfall values. To add more confusion it isn’t unusual for locations to contrast.

For this reason we present detailed information under each individual location in the locations section to help you understand what may work better for you. We will of course have an in-depth discussion with you prior to making a booking so you are completely happy with the time of year you decide to travel.

Included activities:

  • Game drives in open 4WD vehicles
  • Walking safaris
  • Chimpanzee trekking
  • Night drives
  • Fly camping
  • Sundowners and bush picnics
  • Lake Tanganyika kayaking & fishing

Optional activities:

  • All available activities are included in the price
The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the tour price.

Tanzania Wild West Overview 2 - Ultimate Wildlife Adventures

  • All domestic flights as stated in the daily itinerary
  • All airstrip transfers as stated in the daily itinerary
  • All activities as described above
  • 11 nights accommodation as stated
  • All meals as stated in the daily itinerary
  • All drinks as stated in the daily itinerary
  • All relevant taxes and surcharges
What is not included in this tour?Items that are not included in the tour price.

Tanzania Wild West Overview 3 - Ultimate Wildlife Adventures

  • International flight to Tanzania
  • Airport transfers in home country
  • Meals not stated
  • Drinks as stated as excluded in the daily itinerary
  • Applicable VISAS
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Health innoculations and medications
  1. Day 1 Your Ultimate Wildlife Adventure Begins

    Board your overnight international flight from your chosen airport to Julius Nyerere International Airport, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

  2. Day 2 Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

    Receive a warm welcome to Tanzania as you are greeted by your safari representative. Today is a day of leisure for you to choose to spend it how you wish. You may wish to do a little exploring around Dar es Salaam or alternatively you may choose to take advantage of the hotel’s facilities and rest and recuperate before your adventure begins tomorrow.

  3. Day 3 Kigelia Ruaha, Ruaha National Park (B, L, D)

    Wake early and transfer to the airport for your early morning flight to Ruaha National Park. Upon arrival you will be met by a representative from Kigelia Ruaha Camp. The transfer to camp will act as a game drive. You will arrive at camp in time for lunch where you will receive a warm welcome and introduction to camp life. Enjoy a game drive in the park before getting out of the vehicle for sundowners in the bush. Watch the sun disappear as you reflect on a long but exciting first safari day.

  4. Days 4-5 Kigelia Ruaha, Ruaha National Park

    Enjoy these two days at a much more leisurely pace. You will be settled in camp and in your environment with the knowledge there is no travel, simply adventure and exploration. Camp life will start early, usually with a life-giving cup of steaming hot coffee to awake your senses. Days are split into early morning activities and late afternoon/ early evening activities when the heat isn’t too oppressive and the animals are at their most active. You can decide how you want to spend your time as the camp offers excellent walking safaris or 4WD game drives. These are made more interesting with a bush picnic or sundowners spontaneously thrown in. Ruaha offers excitement at every turn. The large lion prides are constantly at war with the buffalo and have even learnt to hunt and take down large ungulates such as giraffe. Elephants occur in huge numbers here and it is one of the most reliable places in Africa to observe the endangered African wild dog. The middle part of the day is a good time to eat, read a book, rest or even snooze.

  5. Day 6 Chada Camp, Katavi National Park

    Today you will say goodbye to Ruaha but be buoyed by the promise of new experiences at one of Africa’s last true wilderness destinations, Katavi National Park.

    You will again board the light aircraft and make the short journey west to Katavi. You will be greeted by one of the team from Chada Camp and transferred to camp on a game drive. Chada is a dry season park and when in season produces a phenomenal abundance of wildlife. Marvel at 1000-strong buffalo herds, thought to be the largest herds in Africa. Escape the heat in the middle part of the day before heading back into the bush on your afternoon activity.

  6. Days 7-8 Chada Camp, Katavi National Park

    As with days 4 and 5 you have two full days to explore the secrets of the park. Chada Camp has a superb selection of activities on offer to maximise your game viewing and increase the diversity of species observed. Choose from game drives or high quality walking safaris during the day. The park is renowned for intense hippopotamus and crocodile action as the waterholes shrink as the dry season progresses and competition for space, even survival, intensifies. Night time is made interesting with the offer of night drives which are super exciting and bring the promise of seeing more elusive nocturnal creatures such as Cape porcupine, common genet, African civet, or if you’re particularly lucky, aardvark or Cape pangolin. Maybe you have an urge for an even greater adventure? If so fly camping is an excellent way to spend the night. Essentially, you will be taken to a remote area of the park where you will spend the night in a minimalist makeshift camp with the most basic of amenities. It is a true adventure and not to be missed.

  7. Day 9 Greystoke Mahale, Mahale Mountains National Park (B, L, D)

    Today is your last day at Katavi and by now you will have enjoyed plentiful sightings of a huge abundance and diversity of game. You will have made cherished memories and will not be disappointed. It seems fitting that you now fly out to Mahale Mountains National Park to enjoy new life experiences. Here it is quite different, you will have a feeling of being even more remote. The lack of any vehicles or even signs of human life makes Mahale feel like another world. The real draw to this lonely corner of Tanzania is the promise of interacting with wild chimpanzees in a place not interfered by man.

    You will fly out of Katavi and into Mahale airstrip. From here you will have a further 90 minutes journey by boat to the award-winning Greystoke Mahale Camp. Today you will acquaint yourself with the camp and the phenomenal environment you find yourself lucky enough to have arrived in. If there is time you may choose to kayak or go fishing on the lake or just relax and enjoy fresh food in camp.

  8. Days 10-12 Greystoke Mahale, Mahale Mountains National Park (B, L, D)

    The next 3 days are focused on chimpanzee trekking. Each day you will head into the forest with your trained guide and hike the trails in search of the chimpanzees. The distance and duration of the hike can vary from an hour to several hours each day depending on the location of the chimpanzees within the forest. The hike usually lasts longer in wetter conditions and less in dry conditions due to their preference for the higher and lower slopes in these respective seasons. Once the chimpanzees have been located you will have an hour each day to observe their behaviour and take photographs. It must be noted that sightings are never guaranteed but over a 3 day period it would be unlucky not to locate them on at least one of the days. Depending on how long the hike takes you may have time in the afternoon for activities on the lake such as fishing.

  9. Day 13 The End Of Your Ultimate Wildlife Adventure

    This morning marks a sad day as your ultimate wildlife adventure comes to an end. You can leave with a mind and heart full of reward and great memories as you will have undoubtedly had experiences that you will relive through photographs and conversation for years, even decades to come.

    We will try and arrange flights so you are able to fly into Dar es Salaam from Mahale Mountains before connecting with your international flight home. This is a long day and extremely tiring so if you have time we will discuss the possibility of a stopover in a hotel in Dar es Salaam.

Our Recommendations

Nomad Greystoke Mahale
Mahale Mountains National Park

Overview: Greystoke Mahale is a unique camp strung along the Kangwena Beach on the edge of Lake Tanganyika in the Mahale Mountains National Park. The forested peaks rise dramatically behind camp adding to its sense of solitude. This idyllic setting and the high levels of service provided in camp are what draws us to recommending this property. It truly is magical.

Accommodation: Six open fronted double bandas set on the edge of the forest. The bandas have been built using reclaimed dhows from the lake shore and each has its own unique character. Each has a mezzanine top floor level which can accommodate a child over 8 years of age. All bandas are equipped with powerful indoor showers with hot and cold running water and flush toilets.

Facilities & Amenities: Large central dining area with communal dining table. Library. Open air bar

Power & Communication: Communication is poor with limited to no mobile phone network. No WiFi availability deliberately to allow you to completely relax.

Activities: The main activity is chimpanzee trekking. This activity is included in the accommodation rates for every full day you are in camp. Other activities include catch and release fishing, kayaking, and sundowner lake cruises on the dhow, as well as sunlit dinners on the beach. Guests are also able to visit Katumbi Village to see the great work done by the Nomad Trust.

Children: Youngsters of 8 years of age and older are welcome in camp. However, it must be noted chimpanzee activities have a minimum age of 12 years. The camp is generally safe for children but parental supervision must be appropriate for the nature of the environment.

Availability: Please note Greystoke Mahale is closed during the months of April and May.

Access: By air only as the 500 km trip from Arusha can run into days. Shared charter flights are available twice weekly every Monday and Thursday and we will build these flights into your itinerary so everything runs smoothly. Upon arrival at the airstrip there is a magical boat transfer into camp taking approximately 90 minutes.

Chada Camp
Katavi National Park

Overview: Chada Camp is located deep in the heart of the remote Katavi National Park in Western Tanzania. It has been strategically sited under a shady canopy of acacia and tamarind trees overlooking the wide Chada Plain. The camp is extremely authentic and effortlessly combines traditional African bush camping and a low carbon footprint with all the necessary home comforts.

Accommodation: Six spacious classic safari tents all with large shade net windows to let in lots of light and cool breezes. Each tent is equipped with an en-suite bathroom with traditional safari style bucket showers, and eco-flush toilets. Hot and cold water are available on demand.

Facilities & amenities: Well stocked library. Officer’s mess style dining tent. Outside fire pit. Observation decks.

Power & communication: Solar power with central charging facilities. Deliberately no WiFi. Poor mobile phone network coverage.

Activities: The relaxed park regulations at Katavi allow for a variety of game activities. Epic walking safaris are a real highlight with the option of fly camping for the more adventurous. Game drives in open 4WD vehicles are offered, as are exciting night drives in search of the parks nocturnal species.

Children: The camp welcomes children aged 12 years and over. However, due to the open nature of the camp and the regularity of wildlife passing through camp suitable supervision of children of all ages is recommended at all times. It must be noted that walking safari carries a minimum age of 16 years.

Availability: The camp is only open between June and early November as Katavi is widely recognised as a dry season park. Weather, poor road conditions, and a relatively sparse wildlife scene in the wet season does not reward visitors for the difficult journey they make to get here.

Access: Katavi is accessible by light aircraft twice weekly on a Monday and Thursday and the flight schedule links to Arusha, Serengeti, Mahale and Dar es Salaam via Ruaha.

Nomad Kigelia Camp
Ruaha National Park

Overview: Nomad Kigelia Camp is a traditional bush camp designed to blend in with its wild surroundings. It is located in arguably the best wildlife area of Ruaha National Park, on the banks of the Ifiguru seasonal sand river.

Accommodation: Six large safari tents with comfortable beds, wide verandas and thatched roofs. Each tent has a traditional safari en-suite bathroom with flush toilets and outdoor safari style bucket shower. Hot and cold water is available on demand. The camp is also equipped with one family tent with two-en-suite tented bedrooms under one thatch roof.

Facilities & Amenities: Thatched mess area. Bird baths. Relaxing swing seat. Campfire for sundowners at the end of your day on safari.

Power & communication: Solar power throughout the property. Deliberately no WiFi to allow guests to reconnect with nature. Limited mobile phone coverage.

Activities: The camp is able to operate exciting and varied activities thanks to the relaxed national park regulations at Ruaha. Game drives in search of big game are conducted in open-sided 4WD vehicles, walking safaris enable guests to interact closely with their surroundings and appreciate the smaller fauna. Sundowners and bush picnics add that little bit of extra charm to proceedings.

Children: The camp permits children aged 8 years and older. Please note walking safaris here have a minimum age of 12 years.

Accessibility: Due to the remote location of Ruaha National Park Kigelia Ruaha is almost always accessed by air into the nearby Msembe Airstrip. Representatives from the camp will collect you at the airstrip. Ruaha is perfectly located to connect with the western circuit reserves of Mahale and Katavi, as well as the Selous and the islands of the Zanzibar Archipelago such as Zanzibar, Mafia and Pemba.

Availability: It should be noted the camp is open most of the year except for when it closes after the rains in April and May.

Nomad Greystoke Mahale
Mahale Mountains National Park


Tanzania Wild West, Nomad Greystoke Mahale - Ultimate Wildlife Adventures


Tanzania Wild West, Nomad Greystoke Mahale 2 - Ultimate Wildlife Adventures


Tanzania Wild West, Nomad Greystoke Mahale 3 - Ultimate Wildlife Adventures


Chada Camp
Katavi National Park


Tanzania Wild West, Chada Camp - Ultimate Wildlife Adventures


Tanzania Wild West, Chada Camp 2 - Ultimate Wildlife Adventures


Tanzania Wild West, Chada Camp 3 - Ultimate Wildlife Adventures


Nomad Kigelia Camp
Ruaha National Park


Tanzania Wild West, Nomad Kigelia Camp - Ultimate Wildlife Adventures


Tanzania Wild West, Nomad Kigelia Camp 3 - Ultimate Wildlife Adventures


Tanzania Wild West, Nomad Kigelia Camp 2 - Ultimate Wildlife Adventures

Tanzania Wild West, Mahale Mountains National Park - Ultimate Wildlife Adventures

Quick Facts

  • Special Status: N/A
  • Location: Lake Tanganyika, Western Tanzania
  • Land mass: 1650 km²
  • Mammal species: 71 including 9 primate species
  • Bird species: 473
  • Big 5 reserve: No


  • Chimpanzee tracking
  • Chimpanzee habituation experience
  • Kayaking and boating on Lake Tanganyika
  • Swimming in the lake
  • Catch and release fishing

Tanzania Wild West Itinerary 2 - Ultimate Wildlife Adventures


  • Interacting with chimpanzees in their natural habitat
  • Experience a humbling feeling of solitude in this true wilderness location
  • Relaxing and enjoying time on the lake

Mahale Mountains National Park is nestled up against the shores of Lake Tanganyika in the far west of Tanzania. It is little known other than in the enthusiastic safari community. The park naturally combines with other destinations in this part of the world such as Katavi National Park and Ruaha National Park.

It is 1650 km² in size and protects the largest groups of chimpanzees in Africa. Mahale is unanimously recognised as the best place in the world to interact with wild chimps. Although, the park is relatively small by African standards it represents a huge tract of wilderness as it is surrounded by areas free from significant human habitation.

Mahale Mountains National Park is very different from other national parks and wouldn’t be described as a typical safari destination. It is extremely remote and in all reality can only be reached via light aircraft. After disembarking you will reach your accommodation by onward boat journey across Lake Tanganyika. The park consists of steep forested slopes descending down onto the shore of the vast lake. There are no roads within the park so the only modes of transport are your own two legs on dry land and boat when navigating the lake.

The overwhelming reason for guests to visit Mahale is to experience the most authentic chimpanzee wildlife interaction on the planet. It is that good. Visitors are able to partake in a standard trek or a once in a lifetime chimpanzee habituation experience. Both are outstanding. Other activities include kayaking and boating on Lake Tanganyika, swimming in the lake and catch and release fishing.

Chimpanzees are the flagship species in the park. There are about 800 individuals and 60 have been habituated to human beings. There are also 8 other recorded primates in the park and five are likely to be encountered on a visit. These being yellow baboon, red colobus monkey, blue monkey, red-tailed monkey and vervet monkey.

The park is also populated with common African mammals such as forest elephants, zebra, giraffe, leopard, lions, and antelope such as roan, sable, and hartebeest. It must be noted that these species are not regularly seen by tourists.

Tanzania Wild West, Mahale Mountains National Park 2 - Ultimate Wildlife AdventuresTanzania Wild West, Mahale Mountains National Park 3 - Ultimate Wildlife Adventures

Best Time To Visit

The climate of Mahale Mountains National Park can be divided into very distinct dry and wet seasons. The dry season runs from June to October and is undoubtedly the best time to visit when everything has been taken into consideration. For most people the main reason to visit Mahale is to spend time with wild chimpanzees, therefore most visitors would agree the best time to visit is when this experience is at its most rewarding.

During the dry season the chimpanzees forage much lower on the forest slopes and on occasion coming as low as the shoreline. This makes them much more accessible and interactions are much more reliable. Rainfall is extremely low during this time and you would be unlucky to catch any precipitation. Temperatures are lower at this time of year but still extremely comfortable. All in all it’s a great time to visit for both the weather and chimpanzee viewing opportunities. The only real notable downside is prices are naturally higher at this time of the season.

The wet season is between the months of November and May. The two main camps close in March and do not reopen again until June. The chimpanzees have often moved into the upper reaches of the slopes and coupled with the treacherous conditions on the forest paths your chances of interacting with the chimps significantly diminishes. The rain and grey skies detracts from the natural beauty of the place, humidity can reach uncomfortable levels and insects such as mosquitoes and tsetse flies are much more prevalent. The obvious advantage to the early part of the wet season are the reduction in prices.

Visitor numbers to Mahale are restricted at all times of year due to the limited number of beds at the two camps. In addition, it is logistically difficult and relatively expensive to reach.

Tanzania Wild West, Katavi National Park - Ultimate Wildlife Adventures

Quick Facts

  • Special Status: N/A
  • Location: Western Tanzania
  • Land mass: 4471 km²
  • Mammal species: Unrecorded
  • Bird species: 420+
  • Big 5 reserve: No (Rhino is absent)


  • Game drives
  • Off-road driving
  • Night drives
  • Walking safari
  • Fly camping

Luangwa Zambezi Explorer Overview 2 - Ultimate Wildlife Adventures


  • Dry season hippopotamus and crocodile battles for river space
  • 1000 strong buffalo herds
  • True wilderness almost void of human life
  • Very wild and intense
  • Exceptional dry season park
  • Excellent variety of game activities

Katavi National Park is located in the far west of Tanzania. It is this remote location that keeps it on the periphery of traveller’s minds when they consider visiting safari Africa. It is this lack of awareness that makes it so magical for those who do make the journey west as they are rewarded with vast tracts of African wilderness to themselves.

Katavi is a small to medium sized national park by the grandiose standards of Africa. However, with a land mass of just shy of 4500 km² it is still a sizeable chunk of pristine wilderness. To gain perspective, it is almost the size of the United Kingdom county of Northumberland. Its location out on the far west ensures it combines well with Mahale Mountains National Park to the north and Ruaha National Park to the east. These destinations, when combined, make up the so-called western circuit.

Its remote location ensures it is undoubtedly a fly-in destination. Aviation routes link it well to the above named national parks twice weekly. Arrival by road is unheard of as it can take over two days on unsealed roads from both Arusha and Dar Es Salaam.

Although Katavi is a national park it doesn’t suffer the heavy regulations that blight some of the better known parks such as the Serengeti. Game drives are the main activity and have the added benefit of being able to go off-road. This significantly increases your chances of seeing interesting behaviours such as animals hunting and improves opportunities for those interested in photography. Night drives and walking safaris are also permitted in Katavi. Both these activities lend themselves well to enhancing the diversity of wildlife you are able to see on safari. Fly camping is also permitted inside the national park. This is an activity where a basic camp is set up in the middle of the bush and you walk to camp as part of the daily activity before spending the night in the absolute wilderness.

Katavi is an excellent destination for wildlife viewing. However, although animals are present in the wet season it must be noted this is predominantly a dry season park. It is at this time of year that wildlife viewing is at its best. Katavi is characterised by its grandeur. Guests report the animals appearing larger here than in other parks and the herds of animals are what sets it apart from its peers. Buffalo roam the park in 1000-strong herds, reportedly the largest herds in Africa. Elephants, giraffe, zebra and impala are in abundance, as are the variety of antelope species such as sable, roan, eland and topi. The park is renowned for the conflict that occurs in the rivers. As the water level begins to recede as the dry season draws on hippopotamus and crocodile numbers are simply too great for the amount of available water to sustain them. Therefore, things turn nasty as they literally fight for their survival.

Carnivores are well represented by lions and hyenas. Although present cheetah, leopard and wild dogs are more elusive and rarely seen. Unfortunately, the absence of rhinoceros means Katavi is not a Big 5 park. However, visitors to this area are usually more experienced safari-goers so are looking for solitude and wilderness as opposed to ticking off the Big 5.

Tanzania Wild West, Katavi National Park 2 - Ultimate Wildlife AdventuresTanzania Wild West, Katavi National Park 3 - Ultimate Wildlife Adventures

Best Time To Visit

Katavi National Park has two very distinct seasons, the dry season which is very dry and the wet season which can be very wet and difficult to travel.

The dry season runs from May through October and is characterised by clear skies and no rainfall of note. Katavi is a hot park with average temperatures failing to fall below 30 degrees Celsius all year. Humidity is lower than in the wet season and this helps keep nuisance insects such as mosquitoes and Tsetse flies at bay. Wildlife viewing is at its absolute best in the dry season. As the season rolls on water sources become scarce and wildlife congregates around the few remaining spots competing for the life giving fluids. This makes their movement very predictable and game viewing becomes extremely reliable. One downside to the dry season is the cost. Prices are higher at this time of year to reflect the increase in demand.

The wet season runs from November to April and is characterised by slightly higher temperatures, an increase in humidity and nuisance insects, and lots of rain, especially in December to March. Wildlife viewing is less reliable as many of the animals are dispersed in the vast woodlands or even beyond the park’s boundaries as water is plentiful. However, the wet season does bring positives to those intrepid travellers brave enough to tolerate the hardships. As with most national parks, birding is at its best during the wetter months, and with over 420 resident and migratory bird species Katavi is an excellent destination for birders. Prices are lower at this time of the year too. The life giving rains encourage animals to give birth at this time of year as there is enough vegetation and water to support baby animals. The park is at its most beautiful as the bush is in bloom.

Katavi has the benefit of being a true wilderness area so a visit at any time of year is quiet on the human front. If you’re lucky it isn’t unheard of for you to have the entire park to yourself.

Tanzania Wild West, Ruaha National Park - Ultimate Wildlife Adventures

Quick Facts

  • Special Status: N/A
  • Location: Southern Tanzania
  • Land mass: 20,226 km²
  • Mammal species: Unrecorded
  • Bird species: 575
  • Big 5 reserve: No (Rhino is absent)


  • Game drives
  • Night drives
  • Premium walking safari
  • Fly camping

Walking with Giants Tanzania, Ruaha National Park 3 - Ultimate Wildlife Adventures


  • Heart-pounding walking safaris approaching large and potentially dangerous game
  • Observing rare and elusive nocturnal species on night game drives
  • Revel in a truly authentic wild tract of Africa
  • Outstanding guiding and tracking

Ruaha National Park is the largest national park in Tanzania and indeed East Africa. With a total land mass of 22,226 km² it is equal in size to the country of Israel. It is also 1.5 times larger than the more illustrious Serengeti National Park in the north of the country but receives only 1% of the smaller park’s annual visitors.

It is located in the south of the country and is one of the southern circuit reserves alongside the Selous Game Reserve. Its remote location and poor accessibility ensure it is predominantly used as a fly-in safari location. The aviation infrastructure serves Ruaha well and it is easily connected to the Selous Game Reserve and the islands of the Zanzibar Archipelago, via Dar Es Salaam. Flights to the northern circuit are also possible, as are twice weekly connections to the western reserves of Mahale Mountains National Park and Katavi National Park.

Although Ruaha is a national park it does benefit from relaxed regulations with usually restricted activities such as night drives, walking safaris, and off-road driving being permitted here.

Ruaha National Park is renowned for its biodiversity due to it being seen as a somewhat ecological transition zone between the archetypal open plains of East Africa and the quintessential miombo woodland of Southern Africa. This ensures the park provides perfect habitat for species suited to both types of ecosystems. The park has solid predator numbers. The famous Ruaha lion prides exceed 20 individuals and specialise in taking down ungulates as large as giraffes. Other well-represented cats include leopard, cheetahcaracalserval, and African wildcat. The dogs are represented by the presence of bat-eared foxside-striped jackal and black-backed jackal, as well as one of Tanzania’s densest populations of the critically endangered African wild dog. Three of the four hyena species are present. Spotted hyena are the most abundant but you may get lucky and see striped hyena and the aardwolf. Do not expect to see a brown hyena as their natural range does not extend this far north.

Smaller carnivores present include African civet, blotched genet, common genet, as well as 5 species of mongoose.
Ruaha is renowned for its huge numbers of elephants, the largest populations in Tanzania. Specialist antelope species such as roan and sable are present in the park, as are the largest antelope species, eland. The park also supports smaller antelope such as klipspringerimpala, and Grant’s gazelle. It is the only park to support both lesser kudu and greater kudu. Large ungulates include hippopotamusgiraffe, and Cape buffalo. Despite its huge biodiversity, Ruaha National Park unfortunately isn’t a Big 5 reserve due to the absence of the black rhinoceros.

Tanzania Wild West, Ruaha National Park 2 - Ultimate Wildlife AdventuresTanzania Wild West, Ruaha National Park 3 - Ultimate Wildlife Adventures

Best Time To Visit

The climate of Ruaha National Park can be divided into the dry season, wet season, and green season. Each season, and indeed the months within each season, offers you a different experience. There is no time of year that offers you the best of everything so we provide you with a balanced account throughout the year so you are able to make an informed decision on the best time to visit based on your preferences.

The dry season runs from June to November, the wet season from December to March, and the green season from April to May. Ruaha is located close to the equator, ensuring temperatures remain pretty consistent throughout the year. Temperatures are ever so slightly cooler from June to August with the warmer months occurring between October and March. However, these slight fluctuations won’t impact your safari either way. Rainfall is at its highest from December to March with scattered showers still being a feature in April and May. However, the persistent heavy rains have passed by this time so rainfall should not impact your enjoyment. June to November is the dry season and there is little chance of rain or even clouds at this time of year.

Wildlife viewing, as with most locations, is more prolific in the dry season and this improves month on month as the season wears on. The dry landscape exposes wildlife and their behaviour becomes predictable as they congregate around permanent water sources. Ruaha National Park is considered to be a dry area with relatively low annual precipitation, therefore wildlife are often not too far from permanent water sources at any time of year.

Unfortunately, the best time to view wildlife coincides with the highest prices of the season. The low season is generally considered to be January to March, some camps then close April and May while others stay open. July to October is the high season with some camps even including the months of June, November and December.

Ruaha is blessed with extremely low tourist numbers throughout the year, therefore crowding around sightings is unheard of. Even sightings of other vehicles is a rarity.

The bush is at its most lush during and soon after the rains. This is usually the best time of year for those wanting to see a large abundance of migratory birds. As the dry season wears on the vegetation dies off and the land takes on a parched appearance.