March 6, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
When it was declared as a protected area in 1964, people who lived in the park were forced to relocate. When Tanzania gained its independence from Britain, the south-eastern portion of the Park was re-named Ruaha National Park and at this time, it was also classified as a national park.
The Usangu Game Reserve merged with the Ruaha National Park in 2008, making it Tanzania’s biggest national park covering over 20,000 square kilometers. With the area encompassing rolling hills, plains, rivers, and springs, the park maintained a raw and natural beauty which earned it its reputation as the best game viewing reserve in Africa.
The region has 2 rainy seasons. The main rainy season starts in November and ends in February. The shorter wet season begins in March and ends in April. Annual rainfall is measured at 500mm to 800mm. The park is green and more picturesque from January to June when it gets ample rainfall. The temperature at the park averages 28 degrees Celsius during the rainy reason but during the dry season from June to October the high temperatures rise up to as much as 35 degrees Celsius.
There are different types of accommodations at the park. Besides the high-end lodges that are very expensive there are also plenty of decent, comfortable and safe camping facilities for those travelling on a tight budget. The few lodges within the park offer driven and guided tours around the park while others also offer walking tours.
There is a transition zone in the Ruaha National Park wherein the Miombo woodlands which is natural to Zambia, and the open savannahs that are more characteristic in Kenya and Tanzania. This explains why some areas in the park will have thick vegetation while other parts have flatter and more open terrain. You will see the famous acacia trees that are often depicted in countless African safari photos.
In the southern part of the Ruaha National Park, you will see more buffalos, hartebeest, bushbucks, greater kudus, zebras, giraffes, antelopes, and impalas. Further north, you will find more gazelles and lesser kudus as well as some greater kudus. Elephants are found all over the park especially when they migrate. Predators such as lions, leopards, and cheetahs are also commonly seen at the park as well as jackals, hyenas, and over 580 species of birds. Crocodiles usually inhabit the Great Ruaha River. December to April is the most exciting time of the year to visit the part if you are into bird-watching.