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Ruaha National Park

General information

Ruaha National Park is the largest national park in Tanzania. The addition of the Usangu Game Reserve and other important wetlands to the park in 2008 increased its size to about 20,226 square kilometres (7,809 sq mi), making it the largest park in Tanzania and East Africa.

Size
20,226 square kilometres (7,809 sq mi).

Location
130 kilometres (81 mi) west of Iringa. The park is a part of the 45,000 square kilometres (17,000 sq mi) Rungwa-Kizigo-Muhesi ecosystem, which includes the Rungwa Game Reserve, the Kizigo and Muhesi Game Reserves, and the Mbomipa Wildlife Management Area.

How to get there
The name of the park is derived from the Great Ruaha River, which flows along its southeastern margin and is the focus for game-viewing. The park can be reached by car on a dirt road from Iringa and there are two airstrips – Msembe airstrip at Msembe (park headquarters), and Jongomeru Airstrip, near the Jongomeru Ranger Post.

What to do
The park formerly was known for its large elephant population, numbering 34,000 in the Ruaha-Rungwa ecosystem in 2009 but only 15,836 (plus or minus 4,759) in 2015. But more than 571 species of birds have been identified in the park. Among the resident species are hornbills. Many migratory birds visit the park.

When to go
The best times to visit for predators and large mammals is during the dry season (May–December) and for birds and flowers, during the wet season (January–April).

Price for this tour is $300 per person.

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Accomodation

Volunteer placement

There is a wide selection of accommodation in or near the park. The only lodge inside the park is the Ruaha River Lodge. There are also permanent or seasonal tented camps inside the park. There are also several park-operated public and special campsites, a hostel, self-catering bandas, and cottages. Just outside the park boundaries are several accommodation facilities.