Ruaha National Park

With a short stop over in Iringa, some challenges in finding the right way and eating a lot of dust on the about 100 km gravel road we finally arrive at the head quarters. First we check out where to stay for the nex few nights. Our plan is to just camp on one of the camp sites. As they don't really look very inviting combined with the fact that the simple tourist bandas are even cheaper than camping and in a nicer location we go for that option.


Today we are already too late for a game drive. So we decide to unpack our stuff and get something to eat. Suddenly there are strange noises in the bushes next to the bandas. A few seconds later an elephant passes by followed shortly after by a few more of his friends. No need for a game drive, the animals just come to us to say hello. Great! :-)

"The early bird catches the fish." That is very true when you want to see something on a game drive. So we get up even before the sun rises to drive the along the Ruaha River. We see impalas, yellow baboons, dik diks and many other animals including a large herd of elephants passing by. There are almost no other tourists here but we do see one jeep further along. Seems there is something to see. Indeed, very close to the path we are on a huge lion family is feeding on an impala they caught. We count at least six lioness with their lion babies fighting over the food.


Cameras are clicking away, one of the lioness is circling around our jeep to determine if we are more food and after quite  a long time us watching the lion family we decide to move on. Hm ... that is the plan. Unfortunately the car decides otherwise. No click, no sound, no nothing. The car does not want to start and we are stuck. Getting out of the car is sort of not an option next to a big lion family either. Manuel and Caro are getting very nervous but for us thi is just another episode in car problems. Of course we have enough water with us so all we can do is continue watching the lions and wait until they move on or another car comes. The second thing happens. We ask them to push  us and Michael manages to get the car going again. We drive a bit further away from the lions to stop and see if we can find the problem. In the end it is only a loose cable.


Staying in the bandas was a very good decision as it turns out. As we are taking a break in the middle of the day we  just need to sit and watch over the river that is close by. We see many elephants passing by while having lunch. It can't get any better. We think. Shortly after a giraffe steps into the camp to say hello. It is a male and he really likes the fresh leaves from the trees that surround the bandas. We call him Willi and he comes back the next few days on a regular basis.


The next few days we do a few more game drives early in the morning and later in the afternoon. Unfortunately the car continues to cause us problems and so we have to flat tires. Not a problem as such but annoying and time consuming withouth the right set of tools. Especially when you have more than 40C it is exhausting.


Another highlight on this trip is again the walking safari we do on the third day. This time we can sleep a bit longer as we only start at 7 am. Together with an armed guide we make our way to another section of the river. For the first time we see a hippo outside the water on its way back from the nightly excursion. Better not get in his way. Our target is the crocodile and then the hippo pool a bit further away. Both a pretty full with animals as overall there is not much water around at this time of the year. After three hours of walking it is again reaching the 40C mark and we turn back to the camp.


The Ruaha National Park is really worth a visit. We have seen a lot of different animals and could get very close to them. It is far less touristic compared to other parks and we really had the feeling we where alone out here. An amazing experience but now it is time to leave. Good by until next time.


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