Game viewing starts the moment you arrive. A pair of giraffe race beside the airstrip, all legs and neck yet elegant in their awkwardness. A line of zebra parades across the fields in their wake while protective elephants guard their young under the shade of a fat baobab tree.
Wildlife is concentrated along the cascading Great Ruaha River that is the parks lifeblood. Home to hippo and crocodiles snacking on schools of fish, it is a flooded torrent after the rains, dwindling to precious pools surrounded by a blinding sweep of sand in the dry season. Waterbuck, impala and the worlds most southerly grants gazelle risk their lives for a sip of its waters a permanent hunting ground for lion, leopard, jackal, hyena and packs of wild dog â€“ rare elsewhere. Ruaha’s 8000 resident elephants remain the largest population of any national park in east Africa, recovering strongly form ivory poaching in the eighties.
Scouring the vast wilderness of rocky outcrops and wooded hills, you may see the say kudu’s corkscrew horns gleaming like worn metal behind a camouflage of thorny thicket. Unique combinations of animals’ co- exist here â€“ both the greater and lesser kudu, sable and roan antelope â€“ Ruaha being the only protected area in the world where the flora and fauna of eastern and southern Africa overlap.