Ruaha National Park
Few camps in East Africa boast such diversity and quantities of big game. It's not just about the big stuff though; from the great baobabs to the colourful barbets - this is nature's full spectrum on display. And we're in the thick of it.
No other National Park in Tanzania has the diversity of Ruaha. Elephant in huge numbers are a common site and the population seems to be growing. Giraffe are everywhere, as are zebra and impala among the other herbivores. Both the greater and lesser kudu occur here, as do the magnificent eland, sable and roan antelope. The Ruaha River also provides an ecosystem on its own with its huge Nile crocodiles, pods of hippo and all the other smaller mammals and reptiles.
Ruaha has an abundance of predators, and a particularly healthy lion population - it's not uncommon to see a pride with twenty or more. We are treated to regular sightings of large males with magnificent manes. The rugged terrain of Ruaha is perfect for leopard and they are seen regularly. The African hunting dog also occurs in the Park although their huge ranges make them a little more difficult to find. The same is the case with cheetah. Hyena and jackals are a common camp visitors and their cries are often heard after dark.
At the centre of the Park is the Ruaha River which flows into the Rufiji River in the Selous, and on to the Indian Ocean. A number of smaller seasonal rivers all flow into the Ruaha including the Mzombe and the Mwagusi. These waterways are a vital life-source and make for a picturesque backdrop to the animal action. Complimenting this picture are the many low hills and the escarpment that is actually part of the Great Rift Valley. Between this and the plateau that rises in the southwest and runs all the way towards Lunda in the north is the low lying bush at Ruaha's heart.
Much of this area is combretum, acacia and commiphora woodland, with a mosaic of riverine habitats that line the many watercourses. This central valley is covered by numerous baobab trees and the four distinctive main ecological and vegetation zones that occur in the Park. The Ifuguru River, where our Kigelia Camp is located is a seasonal sand river. Along the river are baobab forests, jackalberry and ebony, sausage (Kigelia Africana), tamarind, acacia and Sycamore fig trees. From here there is a gradual change to miombo woodland. This part of the Ruaha region has its own unique flora and fauna, dominated by the brachystegia family. This makes for fascinating walking and driving country, and there is always good resident game around the camp area.