Ruaha is known not only for its rugged and magnificent landscapes or its remoteness and wild immensity but also its spectacular concentrations of game. Large herds of elephant and buffalo are a common sighting and lion and leopard are abundant.

One of Ruaha’s principal attractions is the incredible variety of antelope among them eland, roan, oribi, grants gazelle and sable.

Ruaha also provides a safe haven to rare species such as African wild dog and the ever-elusive striped hyena. Ruaha boasts a huge variety of wildlife that can be found throughout the year, but specific sightings are more common depending on the season.

Common Sightings

For many years Ruaha has been known for its huge elephant populations and “big-tuskers” (old male bull elephants with gigantic tusks). The world’s second heaviest pair of tusks on record came from one of Ruaha’s big tuskers (one tusk weighing over 91kg). In 1970 there were an estimated 40,000 elephants in Ruaha. Sadly, by the late 1980’s the elephant population had dwindled to somewhere as low as 4,000 due to ruthless poaching. Gradually the population increased to 32,000 only to crash again due to more heavy poaching between 2009 and 2015 back down to 12,000. With the help of an excellent park warden and the Government for the moment regaining control over ivory poaching Ruaha was able to curb the poaching and now boasts a good elephant population estimated somewhere between 15,000 & 20,000.
Ruaha also boasts a high density of lions, and large prides of females with cubs are a common sight. It is also possible to see one of the magnificent black-mane males that dominate some of the prides. Those who are lucky can catch a glimpse of their incredible hunting-cat abilities as they stalk and chase down their dinner, a large buffalo or giraffe. Tremendously exciting but not for the faint-hearted!