We spend a few days and decide quickly to travel further to Malawi, with a stopover in Ruaha National Park – should be very nice and not so expensive.
No sooner said than done, we sit in the car and move southward. The main route to the south leads through the Mikumi National Park, but without an admission you may not stop or leave the car. We need to stop because a giraffe is crossing the road.
The route goes from Mikumi passing Iringa and Makumbako to Mbeya and goes from there to Malawi. Overall, still about 500 kilometers to the border. The landscape changes quickly in hilly terrain on which traffic is only partially dense only if you catch up the long-distance trucks, which early in the morning left Dar es Salaam. They like to drive in convoy, presumably for security reasons, although we have never heard of robberies.
In Iringa we turn on a dirt road that leads to the Ruaha National Park.
Outside we find a nice campsite. The owner is nice and helps with the tire repair.
The next morning we succeed once again and smuggle Tara into the national park, and soon we see a herd of elephants.
The park is relatively young, founded in 2007 and is located at the Ruaha River, which the park derived its name from. We observe the animals for a while and continue to the river, which currently has no water, because it is the dry season.
Here we can stop and and leave the car. A bridge crosses the river.
In recent years, the Ruaha become increasingly drier, only a few watering holes are left where crocodiles and hippos gather.
However, once the rainy season begins, this results in a rapid stream, which has its peak level in April.
The drier it is, that is during the months of July to October, the more wildlife you see in the remaining remnants of the Ruaha. From mid-November the first rain starts, but you can tour the park until early February without any problems. Thereafter, during the rainy season it’s only four-wheel.
Among the most impressive sites are hippo and crocodile pools and Nyamakuyu rapids, between the bridge and Ruaha River Lodge. The wildlife here is abundant. There are waterbuck and giraffe found in the park. Of course there are zebras.
We go a step further and run into a herd of buffalo in search of a dense thicket shelter from the heat.
Difficult to detect are Lesser and Greater Kudu, sable and roan antelope and wild dogs.
Ruaha National Park is the largest park in Tanzania. It became an insider tip for safaris, yet it has far fewer visitors than the northern parks, which is probably due to the distance to Dar es Salaam. The management has in recent years tried to fix the road network.
Again and again we see animals in the dry riverbed. We take our time in the park time stop, watch, drive on a bit and watch again.
Our day is coming to an end, we want to come again at some point, maybe in the rainy season in order to know the other vegetation. At the bridge we just stop again.
We see hippos dozing on a sand bank. And the sign that warns of the hippos and crocodiles. Over the bridge we leave this great National Park.