Safari Destination: Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

Lions are a common sight in Ruaha National Park, TanzaniaFor decades Tanzania has been one of the top destinations for travelers looking for a classic African safari experience. After all, the country’s Serengeti National Park is home to hundreds of thousands of animals and is one of the few places where you can witness the amazing spectacle that is the Great Migration. But anyone who has ever visited the Serengeti knows that during the peak season it can get rather crowded, which can certainly diminish the mystique of the place.

Travelers looking for an alternative destination may want to consider visiting Ruaha National Park instead. Located in central Tanzania, Ruaha is the country’s second largest park and a spectacular natural environment in its own right. Named for the Great Ruaha River that passes along its eastern border, the park marks the transition from forests in the south to the more arid grasslands of the north.

Covering more than 13,000 square miles of wilderness, Ruaha is home to a dizzying array of wildlife including the largest population of elephants in East Africa. With an estimated 10,000 elephants living within its borders, Ruaha is one of the best places on the continent to spot those enormous creatures. The park is also home to a large number of predators, including hyena, leopard, cheetah and several very healthy prides of lions. There are even a few packs of the increasingly rare and endangered African wild dogs too.

Even though it is located in a remote area of Tanzania, there are no less than six lodges to stay at when visiting Ruaha. Those lodges include places like the Tandala Tented Camps, Ruaha River Lodge and Jongomero Camp, each of which offer rustic, yet still luxurious, accommodations for adventurous travelers.

It may be a bit more challenging to get to but for those looking for a unique and decidedly uncrowded African safari, Ruaha is well worth the journey.