Ruaha National Park – Tanzania

June 28, 2013

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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Completing an internship in Tanzania offers you an unparalleled experience, both professionally as well as personally. At a professional level, it allows you to get hands-on health care experience under some of the most challenging settings. A stint in a Tanzanian hospital will prepare you for anything that hospital life throws at you back home in the US.  On a personal level, you get to experience firsthand the splendor of Tanzania’s majestic Ruaha National Park – something that most people couldn’t even dream of doing in their lifetime. 

Spanning an area of 22,000 km², right in the center of Tanzania, this is the largest national park in the country. The beauty of Ruaha is that it is not just an isolated park. It is in fact part of a more extensive ecosystem that includes several protected areas; these being the well known Usangu Game Reserve and the Rungwa Game Reserve.

Enjoying the spectacular views in Ruaha national parkOne of the most striking features of Ruaha National Park is that it is made up of the most amazingly diverse physical features. The Great Rift Valley and the rolling hills and mountains mingle together with numerous river systems, kopjes, natural springs and hot water springs. Amidst it all is the 475 km long Great Ruaha River that starts in the Kipengere Mountains and meanders through the park, then on to the Selous Game Reserve before it finally reaches the Rufiji River. This river plays a significant role in the ecosystem of the area. It is home to 38 different species of fish and it supplies almost a quarter of the total flow of the main catchment system.

The many natural springs that lay scattered across the park act as dry season oases for wildlife when most of the rivers run dry. If you’ve ever dreamt of seeing a herd of zebras at a watering hole, this is your best chance of making that dream come true.

Wildlife of Ruaha National Park

Of course, while the stunning beauty of the park is an attraction on its own, the highlight for any tourist venturing into the park is to spot some of the rare inhabitants. Imagine being able to tell everyone back home about your up close and personal encounter with the rare and endangered African wild dog or a herd of elephants crossing the park a short distance away from your vehicle.

Ruaha National Park is famous for being home to the largest population of elephants in any other national park in East Africa. Other rare animals that you can look forward to seeing here, and which are unique to this region are the Greater and Lesser Kudu, Sable and Roan antelopes, leopards, giraffes, jackals, elands, zebras, lions, cheetahs, impalas and bat eared foxes.

A group of Gap Medics students on safari at Ruaha National Park, TanzaniaWith an estimated 475 species of birds, Ruaha National Park is also a true birdwatcher’s paradise. Don’t forget to carry along your binoculars for a rare opportunity to spot some beautiful species, from tiny sunbirds and kingfishers to the magnificent Ruaha red-billed hornbill, which calls this area home.

A visit to the Ruaha National Park can be refreshing, energizing and awe-inspiring and should be top of your list of things to do during your visit to Tanzania. 

Take a look at Gap Medics placements in Tanzania by clicking HERE.