Ruaha National Park Ruaha River Lodge

Set on one of the most stunning stretches of the Great Ruaha River, you can see game throughout the day from the comfort of your veranda; there can surely be few other camps as perfectly situated. Ruaha can be visited at any time of year, however the best time for game viewing is during the dry season from June to December when wildlife converges on the dwindling water reserves notably the river in front of the Lodge.

This remote lodge creates an authentic Tanzanian experience, ideal for guests who prefer a more personal safari adventure. The Lodge is rustic, unpretentious and relaxed yet comfortable and well suited for those on a tighter budget. It offers incredible views over the vast surrounding wilderness.

Although the lodge is relatively large, guests are divided between two different dining and lounge areas when it is full, so the atmosphere is slightly more personal than you might expect, and the service generally friendly. The design and decor is simple, open and airy – yet very appealing to look at!
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At A Glance
Bars / RestaurantsChild FriendlyHotel / LodgeGame ViewingHikingOff Road / 4x4



Ruaha River lodge is the only ‘lodge’ in the Ruaha, consisting of 24 stone chalets stretching along the river bank.

Each chalet has stunning views from a large veranda out the front equipped with a couple of directors’ chairs – a peaceful place to watch animals coming down to the river to drink, while the huge interiors feature a sitting area, writing desk and either twin or double beds.

Large double doors lead from the veranda into the bedroom and lounge area, subdivided by a low wooden counter which also acts as an area to store clothes. In front of this a comfortable sofa and chair are set around a coffee table.

Behind the counter are the comfortable beds and bedside tables. Cool stone floors and walls help to keep the room at an even temperature, further helped by gauze over the windows to allow a through breeze.

Like the rooms, the en-suite bathrooms are also very large, with a flush toilet, twin ceramic washbasins and shower, with complimentary soaps and water heated by solar panels; there is everything that you might need.

Dining & Entertainment

One of the two main lounge and dining areas at Ruaha River Lodge is under a large thatched roof, with open sides, reed walls at the back and views across the river. In the dry season this is a great place to watch out for animals coming down to drink. Polished russet-red stone floors, dark leather sofas and chairs grouped around coffee tables, and the occasional set of antelope horns on the walls give a rustic yet colonial feel. The design is simple, open and airy – yet very comfortable, with tables and directors’ chairs set up in the adjacent area for dining.

A second lounge/dining area, similar in style, is an impressive structure built on top of a high kopje/hill, with spectacular views across the river and the park. Although the walk up is quite demanding, it’s well worth the effort, for this is a lovely place to have a spot of lunch or relax with a book. This area is generally used for self-drive visitors, but those who have flown in are welcome to use the facilities, too.

Ruaha River Lodge also has a small book exchange, and a shop where you can buy postcards, T-shirts and the odd gift, though don’t expect a variety of high-quality curios.

Activities at the lodge focus on morning and afternoon safari drives in 4×4 vehicles, though you can also head out for the whole day with a packed lunch to explore deeper into the park. The guides at Ruaha River Lodge are friendly and have a good level of knowledge, although we do not currently recommend that our guests do any walking safaris from this camp.


Ruaha was recently expanded by incorporating adjacent wildlife reserves to become the largest National Park in Tanzania. Ruaha lies in the convergence zone where northern and southern hemisphere birds and mammal species overlap. This results in an overwhelming number of birds (530 recorded) plants (1400) and a correspondingly large number of mammal species.

There is nothing more refreshing to the eye than the band of green that clings to the banks of the Great Ruaha River as it winds it’s way through the rocky outcrops and mountains that punctuate this huge area of Tanzania. Away from the river, the landscape transforms dramatically from arid scrublands and grassland to lush green leaves and grasses once the rains begin.

Birdwatching: Ruaha’s position at the centre of Tanzania, north of Selous but south of most of Tanzania’ other parks, gives it an interesting cross section of birds – and makes it a fascinating park for birdwatching in Tanzania.

Wildlife safaris: You’ll find all of the usual big game species in Ruaha, including elephant, large herds of buffalo, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, lion, leopard, particularly good cheetah and even wild dog. Ruaha also has a few species associated with the parks further north, including Grant’s gazelle and lesser kudu; it’s an excellent park for wildlife.

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