Ruaha national park in tanzaniaDocument Transcript
Ruaha National Park in Southern TanzaniaRUAHA NATIONAL PARKOne of Tanzania’s best kept wildlife secrets is the Ruaha National Park. Previous inaccessibilityhas ensured it has remained virtually unchanged for centuries, unaffected by the ravages ofmankind. Covering 10,300 sq km it is the country’s biggest elephant sanctuary. Its name derivesfrom the Great Ruaha River which flows along its eastern border, creating spectacular gorges.Flowing into the Rufiji River, the Great Ruaha is home to hippo and crocodile. Waterbuck,reedbuck and buffalo venture to the river’s edge to drink, attracting the attention of lion, leopard,hyena, wild dog and jackal. Various antelope species, such as greater and lesser kudu, impala,sable and roan antelope, Grant’s gazelle and the tiny dik-dik thrive in the grasslands borderingthe river alongside giraffe, zebra, warthog, mongoose, porcupine, wild cat and civet. Birdlife isprolific, over 370 species have been recorded, some of which are not found in northern Tanzania.Eurasian migrants flock to Ruaha twice a year - March to April and October to November -joining the resident kingfishers, hornbills, sunbirds, egrets and plovers.Dramatic landscapes, a huge variety of plant and bird life and an abundance of animals makeRuaha the perfect safari holiday destination. Situated in Southern Tanzania, Ruaha National Parkmakes up part of the less-frequented southern tourist circuit. Currently only one third of Ruaha’s20,226 sq km area is used for tourism leaving a greater majority of wilderness untouched andundiscovered.The central spine of the Park is the watershed between the Mzombe and the Great Ruaha river,with its dramatic escarpment above which are large stretches of miombo woodland. Below thislie undulating plains with vegetation ranging from dry bush country to treeless grasslands,swamps and evergreen forests intersected by the many sand rivers that are such a spectacularfeature of this area. Ruaha represents a transition zone where eastern and southern species offlora and fauna overlap and in all some 1,650 plant species can be found here. Ruaha is a birdwatchers paradise with approximately 526 bird species (more than half of those found in thewhole country!).Size and Area
Previously the park covered an area of 10,330 sq km but in early 2008 the park was extendedvirtually overnight to its much larger current size of 20,226 sq km including an additional 4,500sq km of grassland and swamp.Ruaha isnow the largest National Park in Tanzania (the second largest park in Africa) and formsthe core of a much larger ecosystem of 150,000 sq km, named the western corridor.Altitude and GeographyRuaha’s average altitude is around 1000 m. above sea level. Though elevations vary from 750 m.in the Ruaha valley to 1,868 m. at the summit of the escarpment. These peaks and hills contributeto the appealing visual landscapes of the park.The escarpment, an offshoot of the Great Rift Valley further west, bends towards the Ruaha oneither hand, enclosing, that area of the park (about one fifth) presently used by tourists, leavingthe plateau beyond largely covered by Miombo and rising gradually from the escarpment, rarelyvisited.Plant LifeThe park consists of 4 main ecological zones, each with its own animal and plant life. The Ruahaand its tributaries are banked by green woodland, namely fig, acacia, tamarind, baobab and doumpalm.The area between these water-courses and the rising escarpment are mostly Combretum /Terminailia or Commiphora woodland with majestic baobabs found all over the park. Blackcotton grassland which is impassable in the wet season and Miombo woodland dominates thepark’s southwestern region.Ruaha is well positioned as a transition zone between East Africa and the south, and boasts anastonishing 1,600 species of plants.Average Rainfall And Temperature
The South West area of Tanzania where Ruaha is located has the lowest rainfall in Tanzania.June to December are the driest months with the focus of wildlife viewing around the dryingrivers and permanent waterholes.The average rainfall varies from 800mm per year above the escarpment to 520mm per year in thelower Ruaha valley. The rains generally fall between November and April, starting with shortrains which grow in intensity. The coolest month is normally June with a daytime maximum of30 C dropping to 15 C at night. Temperatures continue to rise throughout the year with a daytimetemperature of 40 C during the day falling to only 25 C at night.Average Rainfall and TemperatureThe South West area of Tanzania where Ruaha is located has the lowest rainfall in Tanzania.June to December are the driest months with the focus of wildlife viewing around the dryingrivers and permanent waterholes.The average rainfall varies from 800mm per year above the escarpment to 520mm per year in thelower Ruaha valley. The rains generally fall between November and April, starting with shortrains which grow in intensity. The coolest month is normally June with a daytime maximum of30 C dropping to 15 C at night. Temperatures continue to rise throughout the year with a daytimetemperature of 40 C during the day falling to only 25 C at night.When to VisitRuaha is a great year round park due to its good road network and is beautifully spectacular nomatter when you visit. Rain or shine – Ruaha is magnificent! Ruaha is characterised by twodistinctive seasons – the “green” and “yellow” season.The green season starts in January and continues into April. It is during this time that the park istransformed into a green oasis of life with an abundance of birds, insects and blossomingflowers.The yellow season runs for the remainder of the year (from May to December) and ischaracterised by dry and dramatic scenery with less vegetation making game viewing easier.
Sand river tributaries and watering holes become the focal point for animals as they search forwater.