A vast tract of rugged, semi-arid bush country, Ruaha National Park is unique for many reasons. The first is its proportions - the park is one of Africa's largest. With 12,950sq kilometres of untamed and often inaccessible bush there is plenty of space for the park's massive elephant population, herds of antelope and large numbers of predators.
And positioned as it is, Ruaha is on the transitional zone between the ecosystems of southern and eastern Africa. Here Grants gazelle and lesser kudu occur at the very south of their savannah acacia range mingling with wildlife from the miombo woodland belt of southern Africa. This same duality is noticeable in the birdlife, with many species from the Southern and Eastern regions habituating the area.
The life-blood of the region is the Ruaha River. It flows strong deep and brown after the rainy season and its many tributaries provide much needed sustenance to the land and its inhabitants. In the dry season the mighty river is reduced to scattered pools and dry sandy banks where thirsty antelope risk life and limb to quench their parched throats. Preyed on by prides of hungry lion, stealthy leopard and speedy cheetah, the buck are understandably nervous. Even when the thirsty creatures reach the water they risk the jaws of huge crocodiles. It's a wonder the antelope aren't reduced to quivering wrecks.
With this is mind, we do recommend you visit the park in the dry seaon, when the game is concentrated around the last pools of water, the grass is trimmed short by hungry grazers and the predators seem to be constantly on the hunt.
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