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Iringa Travel Guide | Iringa Safari Tours

Iringa Travel Guide | Iringa Safari Tours

Iringa Travel Guide

Iringa is a town in central Tanzania. It sits on a cliff overlooking the Ruaha River Valley, in the Southern Highlands region. The town center has German colonial buildings and a popular market. The Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery memorializes soldiers who died in local battles during WWI and WWII. From Gangilonga Rock, which was once an important chieftain meeting spot, views stretch over the town.

Getting around Iringa

Transport within Iringa town is not a problem! You can easily travel from one place to another with ease and within a very short time using small passenger busses known as Daladala. It will cost you approximately 400 Tshs per trip. A Daladala is the most common mode of transportation used in the town, as well as the safest.

Education in Iringa

The Tanzanian educational system operates on the 7-4-2-3 system: 7 years of primary school, followed by 4 years of secondary school (Ordinary Level) leading to 2 years of Advanced Level. After the 13th year of secondary school students may take the Advanced Certificate exam and attend college for 3 to 4 years.

Health Care in Iringa

There are a few healthcare facilities available in Iringa which each provide a various range of medical services. Currently, the paramedic services are limited in the city only. In case an emergency, please call 112. Ambulances generally perform patient transfers to the city’s hospitals. Feel free to email us and ask for any help in Iringa

Where to Eat in Iringa

The following are some of the specific areas you may visit to meet your hospitality and shopping needs. At the following locations, may enjoy some typical mainland Tanzanian local foods including Wali (White rice), Pilau or Biryani (Spiced rice), Ugali (Cornmeal), Chapati, Nyama Choma (Roasted meats), roasted fish, or Plantain with meat.

Iringa expat community

Iringa Expat Community

#1. Connect with fellow expats in Iringa #2. Join exciting events and groups #3. Get information in our Iringa guides #4. Exchange tips about expat life in Iringa. Get information about Iringa from your fellow expat, you dont have to start from scratch, get help, directions, and advice, Fell free to join and be a part of Iringa Expat Community ... Welcome to Iringa.

Iringa Apartments

Hotels & Apartments in Iringa

There are many nice and cheap B&B inns and hotels in Iringa town. Apart from this, I can say that Iringa has it all when it comes to accommodation, from cheap, Budget, Mid-range, and Luxury, there is every accommodation for everyone! You also have an opportunity to book for a private furnished apartments for as low as $20/night.

Best Safari tours from Iringa

Often overlooked by many safari operators in favour of the northern parks, the southern parks of Nyerere National Park (formerly the Selous Game Reserve) and Ruaha National Park are worth serious consideration and are the preferred destination for most who are really keen on their safari. 

The benefits of heading to the south is that, where the very north of the Serengeti gives the numbers of game, along with some seclusion, the southern parks are still very much “frontier” parks and so are noticeably less busy (they also feature the same spread of species as the north, but more like a thousand, rather than 2 million). 

The second important point is that, where the average lodge cost in the north is around $700 per person per night, the lodges in the south, where they offer a similar experience, are around $2-300 less.

Selous walking Safari
Best safari tours from Iringa
The south and west of Tanzania are often overshadowed by the more famous and iconic Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater in the north.  Some agents feel that the south and west are better suited to the seasoned safari-goer and don’t recommend them for a first timer  –  however we would disagree! We have sent thousands of first timers to southern Tanzania where they have had an excellent safari experience.

Tanzania Safari by Circuits

Safari from Mwanza
4 Days flying safari to Selous
4 Days Gombe Chimpanzee Trekking

Iringa Town Map and Safari

Northern Tanzania flying Safari

Ruaha National Park in Iringa

Located in central to southern Tanzania, Ruaha National Park is around 130km west of Iringa. Covering an area of 20,226km², Ruaha National Park is the largest protected area in Tanzania and East Africa.

The park derives its name from the Great Ruaha River which flows through the south-eastern section of the park and attracts a broad range of wildlife.

Ruaha is an integral part of the Rungwa-Kizigo-Muhesi ecosystem. The ecosystem spans across an area of 45,000km², and it includes the Rungwa Game Reserve, the Kizigo and Muhesi Game Reserves, and the Mbomipa Wildlife Management Area.

The Rungwa-Kizigo-Muhesi ecosystem fuses the best of Southern and East African nature.

In 1910, the German colonial regime created the Saba Game Reserve, and the British colonial authorities renamed it as the Rungwa Game Reserve in 1946. In 1964, the southern part of the reserve was elevated to national park status.

Ruaha has a stunning and diverse landscape with a vast savannah, a river which attracts a plethora of wildlife, and mountains in the south and west. Ruaha is home to rare species, including wild dogs, cheetahs, and leopards.


Ruaha is often overshadowed by its bigger sisters on Tanzania’s northern safari circuit. This – in many ways – is one of its biggest strengths. 

At Ruaha, you can experience Tanzania’s wilderness without the drone of surrounding safari engines. Its remoteness – and utter vastness – is what makes it so compelling. Ruaha is part of Tanzania’s southern safari circuit, often combined with Selous.

Although Ruaha does not contain rhinos, it is home to the largest concentration of elephants in Tanzania, lions, and even crocodiles on the shores of the Great Ruaha River.

Ruaha’s remote location means that it is difficult to access, but the long journey is rewarded ten times over by the secluded safari paradise that awaits. The Southern Safari Circuit is less popular, so flight connections are not as frequent.

You can reach Ruaha via plane or car, although we recommend the former for ease and comfort. If you do decide to drive, you’ll get a wonderful insight into rural Tanzanian life, and you can enjoy the changing landscapes that never fail to impress. If you decide to stop over in Morogoro or Iringa, you can even get a taste of traditional village life.

Ruaha is 625 km away from Dar es Salaam and the road journey takes around 9 hours. You can also drive from Iringa which is only 130 km away.

By plane, the journey is a lot shorter. There are frequent flights from Dar es Salaam, Arusha, the Serengeti, Kigoma, and Dodoma to the local airstrips, Msembe and Jongomero.

Coastal Aviation and Safari Airlink operate flights from Dar es Salaam. Private flights can be booked on request.

If you have booked your adventure with us, all transport will be arranged for you. 


Like most other Tanzanian national parks, it is best to visit Ruaha during the long dry season from June to October. It is relatively cool during this period compared to the hot dry season from mid-December to mid-March.

The dry season also provides great conditions for wildlife viewing because animals are drawn to the dwindling water sources and the grass is too short for them to hide.

For bird enthusiasts, the European winter months (December to April) are the best time to visit as migratory birds make their way down to Tanzania. Some lodges close in the long-wet season (March-May), so you will need to be flexible when you are finding your accommodation.

Morning game drives and walking safaris are the most popular activities at Ruaha. Night drives are not permitted.

Walking safaris with an experienced ranger allow you to get even closer to the wildlife. There’s nothing quite like getting within metres of a 6-tonne elephant. 

Safaris at Ruaha offer great wildlife photography opportunities. Visitor numbers in the park are much lower than in the Serengeti or Ngorongoro, which means you can feel like you have the park all to yourself. 

Hot air balloon trips are another great way to discover Ruaha National Park, and they offer a unique perspective of the wilderness. These trips are quite expensive (around US$550 per person), but soaring above the wild plains of East Africa is an experience few can put claim to, and is worth every penny. 

Ruaha has the largest concentration of elephants in East Africa with a population of around 10,000 of these gentle giants. Ruaha is also home to 10% of global lion populations.

You also have a chance of seeing leopards, cheetahs, zebras, elands, giraffes, impalas, bat-eared foxes, snakes, crocodiles, and jackals.

Ruaha’s unique position on the verge of Southern Africa means that it is home to species from Southern and Eastern Africa. The greater and lesser kudu can both be found at Ruaha. Whilst the greater kudu is traditionally found in Southern Africa, the lesser kudu is found in East Africa.

Ruaha is home to dozens of rare species, including the sable and roan antelopes.

Cheetahs and leopards are difficult to spot in most places, but they are often sighted as they pursue their prey in the open plains of Ruaha. The wild dog is endangered worldwide, but around 100 wild dogs live in the park.

Ruaha is a birdwatcher’s paradise and 571 bird species have been sighted at the park. Ruaha also has beautiful landscapes which are dotted with acacias, baobabs, and over 1,650 plant species.

Take a break from game drives and experience some cultural tourism in Iringa, one of Tanzania’s largest cities.

Iringa has a fascinating history, and the legacy of its German colonial architecture is still visible. Ruaha has also been shaped by the influences of more recent Tanzanian architecture, giving the city an authentic feel of Tanzanian town life.

Iringa is a great place to buy souvenirs, try local street food, and learn about Tanzanian culture with the help of a local guide. The town has fascinating ancient history and there is spectacular rock art at Igeleke which dates to the Iron Age. It has been established as a site of protected cultural heritage.

The Isimila Stone Age Site dates back even further to 1.5 million to 200,000 years ago. Both sites provide fascinating insights into pre-historic Tanzania, and they are captivating alternatives to exhibits about Tanzania’s colonial history.

Ruaha’s remote location means that transport costs are high, and flights can cost up to US$380.

Accommodation rates are in line with the prices at most other national parks in Tanzania.

Like all TANAPA-owned national parks, visitors are required to pay entry and conservation fees. At the time of writing, these cost US$30 per non-Tanzanian adult and US$40 per foreign-registered car. However, they frequently change.