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Ruaha National Park
Volunteers who make the long journey to Songea will want to consider a safari at Ruaha National Park
The following photos of animals and the Ruaha River Lodge were taken by two Songea's Kids volunteers on a fascinating three-day safari in October 2010.

Ruaha lodge lobby and bungalow

The park is a half-day bus ride from Songea. The game viewing starts the moment you enter the park. A giraffe browses beside the road and a herd of zebras gallop by.
In the distance, beneath a huge baobab tree, a few representatives of Ruaha's 10,000 elephants - the largest population of any East African national park, form a protective huddle around their young.

Elephants grazing

Second only to Katavi in its aura of untrammeled wilderness, but far more accessible, Ruaha protects a vast tract of the rugged, semi-arid bush country that characterizes central Tanzania. Its lifeblood is the Great Ruaha River, which courses along the eastern boundary in a flooded torrent during the height of the rains, but dwindling thereafter to a scattering of precious pools surrounded by a blinding sweep of sand and rock.

An alligator

A fine network of game-viewing roads follows the Great Ruaha and its seasonal tributaries, where, during the dry season, impala, waterbuck and other antelopes risk their life for a sip of life-sustaining water. The risk is considerable: not only from the prides of 20-plus lions that lord over the savannah, but also from the cheetahs that stalk the open grassland and the leopards that lurk in tangled riverine thickets. Striped and spotted hyena, as well as several conspicuous packs of the highly endangered African wild dog, add to this impressive array of large predators.
Ruaha's unusually high diversity of antelope is a function of its location, which is transitional to the acacia savannah of East Africa and the miombo woodland belt of Southern Africa. Grant's gazelle and lesser kudu occur here at the very south of their range, alongside the miombo- associated sable and roan antelope, and one of East Africa's largest populations of greater kudu, the park emblem, distinguished by the male's magnificent corkscrew horns.

Kudu and Zebras

On Safari in Ruaha National Park