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  • Writer's pictureJaime Thomas

Tantalizing Tanzania Part 4: Ruaha

For some reason I can’t quite explain, our time in Ruaha was and remains my favorite part of this trip. Maybe it is the seclusion and isolation that you get in being in a park that is both considerably larger than the Serengeti, while also being much less visited than its famous counterpart. Being so remote really puts the wild heart at peace as your experience of being at one in nature and the universe becomes visceral.

There are few camps in this massive national park and being in Southern Tanzania, you are incredibly far from any major urban area. Looking across the vistas of towering Baobab trees, plains, and riverbeds of Ruaha captures the soul with its haunting beauty and soft pastel watercolor pallet. Its wildness and mystique, wrapped up in an incredible adventure, as you must look harder for sightings of animals in this vast and dense park. We were here for the wild dogs, which alas, we didn’t see, but Ruaha turned out to be so much more.

Each morning and subsequently each evening, we were greeted with some of the most stunning colors. The wilderness here is vast, and you really feel like you are in a part of the world seldom seen by others. You’d think finding wildlife here would have been difficult, but our we found it thriving in abundance. In one morning we saw three leopards… Three!!! Most people are lucky to see one in a safari or really lucky to see a couple of sightings on different days, because these cats are elusive.

We also saw a pack of lions that was notorious for bringing down elephants. In fact, unbeknownst to us at the time, one such hunt was going on overnight. We heard the elephants trumpeting during the night, but it was not until the following day that we came across the evidence as to why.

It was here that we spotted some of the more interesting small wildlife too, like the genet, red headed rock agama, the Verreaux Eagle owl and our camp companions, the family of rock hyrax, that inhabited the large boulders around us, which is Interestingly one of the closest relatives of the elephant.

Ruaha is vast, we explored different corners of the park each day. We were surprised at how much each section had its own feel and landscape. Our favorite was the forested areas, full of majestic baobabs. We sat atop a dried riverbed one morning with a gourmet bush breakfast spread out before us. It was nothing short of magical to sit there and see the wild taking part in its morning ritual all around us.

This park had my favorite lodge that we stayed at and also our most knowledgeable guide yet. Here we sat with the whole staff nightly, partaking in storytelling from our different adventures, while eagerly awaiting the appearance of our French trained chef, whom would come out to go over in loving detail, the preparation of his highly delectable meals. Our final night, we had such a beautiful celebration and the most memorable evening of our trip, surrounded by a natural boulder boma in which we toasted new friendships and made promises to return.

While this park is off the beaten track in the distant Southern circuit, it is a journey I’d highly recommend taking. Contact us to learn more about the lodge options in Ruaha. We are happy to help you plan a custom safari adventure for you in this wonderful country.

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