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Southern TanzaniaTourism

Tanzania’s biggest park opens its doors for tourist investments

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Apolinari Tairo  Apr 14, 2008

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (eTN) - Local companies in the rich but dormant southern Tanzania tourist circuit are rushing to invest in Ruaha National Park hoping to take advantage of the park’s global publicity and expansion.

At least ten tourist lodges operating inside and outside of the park will be expanded to become the biggest wildlife protected area and the most wild in Africa.

Sunset Mountain Lodge, with its head offices in Tanzania’s capital of Dar es Salaam, is the new tourist accommodation facility operating outside the park. The company is looking ahead to attract more international tourists to the park.

Another company, registered as Sifa Tours, has recently launched tailor-made and special tour packages that will attract tourists to travel by passenger buses from the capital of Dar es Salaam to southern highlands of Tanzania for the park’s tour.

Unlike northern Tanzania tourist circuit where schedule flights operate on daily basis, the rich tourist areas in Tanzania’s southern highlands lack air connection, debilitating tourism development in the circuit.

When this eTN staff writer visited the park last week, he observed positive developments that had been taking place there.

The newly-established Sunset Mountain Lodge has been a model and is the biggest tourist accommodation facility outside Ruaha National Park offering services to international class visitors.

Accommodation to the visitors will be available on a full board basis at Sunset Mountain Lodge and the Iringa-based MR Hotel, during the visit with arrangement of park entrance fees, game drives and a tour guides.

The lodge is located on a mountain with its eleven self-contained chalets overlooking a vast expanse of natural forest of indigenous trees to the horizon, with a magnificent view of an overwhelming experience of wildlife and nature.

Ruaha National Park will be combined with Usangu Game Reserve to cover over 15,000 square kilometers to make it the largest National Park in Africa.

Tanzania National Park’s director general, Mr. Gerard Bigurube, said the aims of the Tanzania government in annexing Usangu to Ruaha is in part to save the biodiversity of that area as well as to increase tourism to the southern highlands of Tanzania.

Ruaha, which boasts 10,000 elephants, the largest population of any East African national park, 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 of the park. 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.

Also, the park is the home to over 450 bird species. The Usangu Game Reserve includes the Ihefu Wetland, the natural water reservoir for the Great Ruaha River which supports life to a big number of wildlife in the area.

Tanzania’s biggest park opens its doors for tourist investments

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