If you’re looking for a traditional walking experience, supported by a mobile camp, then in our opinion, few of the alternatives come close to this safari in Ruaha
Breathtaking and varied scenery combines with massive herds of elephant and buffalo, endless prides of lion and antelope of every race, crede and colour and mercifully few tourists. Vistor numbers are low anyway in Ruaha, but in the eastern end of the park where these walks take place, they are non existent.
Based at a Kichaka, a small traditional safari camp, well away from the busier areas of the park, you’ll strike out on walks, lead by an armed guide with many years of experience on foot in Ruaha. Walks are for anything from one night to ten nights for those going for total immersion.
DAY 1 - 5
RUAHA NATIONAL PARK
Complementing the abundant wild game, there’s a particular softness to Ruaha especially in the early season. The sepia haze of grass seeds in June and July contrasts with delicate white-blond grasses backlit against the morning sun, the strong orange-red laterite soil and the deep blues of the distant hills and sky.
DAY 1 - 5
ELEPHANTS OF RUAHA
Elephant are omni-present; signs of their penchant for baobab bark mark virtually every tree without exception. Their dung with its evocative musky smell is much in evidence. Their wide tracks, unique as finger-prints and overlaid with the tracks of other creatures, criss-cross nearly every road or sand river bed you come across.
They are also central to the survival of Ruaha, from seed dispersal to fertilization of the soil, to their critical role digging for water during the dry season (something that few other animals can manage).
As you’d expect then, approaching elephant on foot is one of the main objectives of these walks.
Climbing up one of the many the loaf shaped rocky kopjes to find a herd, entirely unaware of your presence relaxed and feeding gently just a few metres below you is an experience that is hard to beat.
DAY 1 - 5
MOBILE CAMPS IN REMOTE RUAHA
Like many of the best safaris, this one is underpinned by real quality and relatively simple ingredients. Tents are large walk-in safari tents and dining is - as often as possible - en plein air.
DAY 1 - 5
SLEEP UNDER THE STARS
Flycamping is an incredibly exciting way to explore a park like Ruaha. The ideal way to support a walking safari, it brings only the things that really matter - a comfortable bed roll, freshly cooked food and plenty of cold drinks. Try it for at least one night.
DAY 1 - 5
Baobabs and open skies
DAY 1 - 5
DAY 1 - 5
A NOTE FROM ALEX
INSPIRATION FOR THIS TRIP
In 1993 fresh out of university with a resoundingly moderate degree under by belt and a passion for wildlife miraculously undamaged by three years studying biological sciences, I set out for Africa. By complete good fortune I washed up in Ruaha National Park, which was, at the time, virtually unvisited.
Guide books of the early 90s wrote of mud and tsetse flies being the dominant features of a safari to Ruaha - something I've been grateful to them for ever since; the park remains steadfastly off-radar to this day and is without doubt one of the best wildlife destinations I know.
From my arrival in Ruaha - under a November night sky creased with distant lightening and redolent with the caramel smell of impending rain - to our arrival in camp seronaded by roaring lions (god's truth) I never looked back. This park was - and is - one of the most remarkable places to spend time.
From our mud hut perched on a dry river bed and with no guests in camp, we were regularly visited by lion, leopard and elephant walking within feet of where we slept, not to mention thousands of buffalo that would thunder into the river bed under a full moon to drink at the last remaining pools. So began an enduring love story with the African bush.
Some people will tell you that Ruaha isn't a suitable destination for the first time traveller or that it pales in comparison to the Serengeti. But as one whose first experience of Africa was Ruaha - and who stayed not the intended 3 months, but almost 3 years - I would say this view is simply uninformed.
If you have the chance to go to just one place in Africa - make it Ruaha. And if you have the chance to walk there, seize it with both hands!
Our experienced travellers include:
It takes genuine local knowledge to craft trips that go beyond the ordinary.
All of us at Natural High have over 20 years’ experience in the countries we offer. We’ve lived there, worked there and arranged countless one-off journeys for clients. We live to travel – and love to share our tips on what’s really worth doing. For expert advice (and a traveller’s tale or two), speak to one of our team. They’ll be happy to let you in on their travel secrets, and help you plan a tailor-made trip that’s truly unforgettable.
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