3 Days Ugalla-River National Park

3 Days



Located just east of Lake Tanganyika and north of Katavi National Park, is the low-lying 5,000 square kilometre Ugalla River Game Reserve in Tanzania. As its name suggests, the Ugalla River Game Reserve is dominated by the seasonal Ugalla River.

The broad meandering river is the wildlife stronghold of the reserve and runs directly through the middle of the open floodplains. During the dry season, the river drys up but creates permanent pans of water which attract a plethora of wildlife. This is the ideal time for game viewing and walking safaris.

Ugalla’s claim to fame is its exceptional landscapes and high densities of predators. The grassy floodplains punctuated by fan palms flank the river, while further afield the Miombo woodlands define the more inland sectors of the reserve. Small hilly termite mounds interrupt the flat landscape, providing good vantage points for predators to spot prey. Wild dogs, lions and elephant thrive on this intricate landscape.

Keen safari-goers can access Ugalla River Game Reserve from either of the gateway towns of Arusha of Dar es Salaam. The small domestic Urambo Airport is the closest airport to Ugalla.


The Miombo woodlands and fragrant grasslands are an important conservation area for bees, and it’s one of the main regions for licensed honey gatherers. These woodlands also provide a natural habitat for lions, wild dogs and elephant.

Throughout the reserve, there is a variety of species such as ostrich, sitatunga, jackal, Lichenstein’s hartebeest, hyena, impala, oribi and East African bush duiker.

Visitors will see topi, roan, kudu and sable roaming the open plains of Ugalla; and find the river teeming with hippo, crocodiles and occasionally the Cape clawless otter. During the dry season, the river dissipates into a few permanent pools of water that are frequented by game.

Avid birders can spot wattled cranes, shoebill storks, pygmy geese and other waders thriving in this watery environment.

Best Time To Visit

The rainy season, which is from January to April, is when the reserve is completely inaccessible. When the rains hit, there is extensive flooding. Despite the rain, this is the perfect time of year for birders to visit. Plenty of migratory birds flock to the area during this time.

The best time to visit is during the dry season when wildlife congregates around the pools of water formed by the river drying up.

Safaris Available

Birding and walking safaris are the main activities in Ugalla River Game Reserve. Guided walking safaris introduce visitors to a host of unique fauna and flora that’s often missed while in a vehicle. Walking safaris are best conducted during the dry season when the landscape is easily navigable.

Birding is another favourite past time in Ugalla. Birders flock to the shores of the river in the hopes finding the elusive shoebill stork and other summer migrant birds. Although birding is best during the wet season, the road for tourism is only open during the dry season.

The Miombo woodlands and fragrant grasslands have an incredible bee population, and for six months of the year, the legal harvesting of honey is allowed. There are several beekeeping projects underway, worth exploring.



Pick Up Tabora and drive to Ugalla-River National Park – afternoon game drive and overnight camping.

After breakfast, full day game drive in Ugalla-RIver National Park or two half day game and later return to the campsite for dinner and overnight

Early morning game drive then breakfast, after breakfast, drive to Arusha / Moshi.

What is unique about the Ugalla River national park?

Ugalla River is reputed to have some of the largest crocodiles ever recorded in Africa making this unique for dinosaur descendants. During the wet season the crocodiles feed mainly on catfish and in dry season they supplement their diet with animals coming down to drink.

What is the difference between Game Park and game reserve?

It’s quite a simple difference but one that can have a big effect on your experience. A national park is owned and managed by the government, whereas a private game reserve is owned and managed by the lodges within it. The biggest benefit of staying in a private reserve is exclusivity.

Why is it called a game reserve?

Game reserves offer terrains, sightings and experiences that are very different from what you’d expect in a national park. The term “game” has its origins in hunting, and while some reserves do allow hunting there are many who have chosen not to support this activity.

Why do people visit game reserves?

Pleasure in observing the animals – There are people who derive great pleasure in observing the behavior of the animals in their natural environment. That pleasure alone is enough for people to insist that the game reserves must be preserved and even others created to serve as a source of happiness to people.

What is the largest game reserve in the world?

The world’s largest game reserve is the Selous Game Reserve of Tanzania, with a total area exceeding 55,000 square kilometres. Uninhabited by humans, and boasting an area bigger than Switzerland, it is named after English explorer-naturalist Frederick Selous.

Price Includes

  • Accommodation during the safari
  • Transport in 4×4 safari vehicle with a popup viewing roof
  • Professional guides
  • Park fees including taxes
  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Bottled Water
  • Flying Doctors (AMREF) insurance during the safari
    Mountain Cooks & Porters

Price Excludes

  • Expenses for optional activities
  • Expenses for personal spending e.g souvenir purchases,etc
  • Drinks (Alcoholic and soft drinks)
  • Visa fees
  • Tips or gratuities
  • Travel insurance

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

3 Days Ugalla-River National Park

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