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Best 8 Reasons To Visit Ugalla River National Park in Tanzania

The best 8 reasons to visit Ugalla River National Park in Tanzania are; River Ugalla, Wildlife, Walking safaris, Sport fishing, Bird watching and Game viewing. The park is a dream come true for typical wild African safari enthusiasts like you and I.

Regardless of how very busy life gets as we become older, in each of us is a young version of ourselves patiently waiting for the right time to come out. This is one of those rare opportunities to let the inner child out on an adventure that will forever be embedded on our hearts and minds.

Located in the Western part of Central Tanzania in the Tabora Region, Ugalla River National Park is a typical safari site beaming with a variety of wildlife species like; zebras, Elephants, giraffes, dik-dik among others. It is also comprised of several swamps, tall savannah grasslands, woodlands, landscapes and beautiful scenery.

Situated on 3865 square kilometers, this park was established in 2019 after being a game reserve since 1965. This happened when the Tanzanian parliament decided to form a National Park from a portion of Ugalla River Game Reserve (The Reserve and National Park co-exist).

River Ugalla on which the park is situated is famous for its slow-moving nature, oxbow lakes, shallow pools and swampy stretches. It is home to several bird species especially water birds like the shoebill storks, pygmy geese and Wattled cranes. Here are the best 8 reasons to visit Ugalla River National Park;

1. River Ugalla in Ugalla River National Park

This beautiful river is found within the National park and is the main source of water to the birds and wild animals especially during the harsh dry season. It meanders slowly in the middle of the park and is a major source of tourist attraction at the reserve.

River Ugalla has the largest crocodile species to have ever been recorded in all of Africa. You will find several water birds and crocodiles using the river banks as their breeding grounds. Several hills and valleys are drained by river Ugalla, they are dominated by tall savannah grasslands and Miombo woodlands.


2. Wildlife at Ugalla River National Park

The park is a sanctuary to several wild animals both big and small, examples include; Baboons, leopards, elephants, giraffes, hyenas, bush pigs, zebras and so many more. The swampy sections of the park are common grounds for sitatunga antelopes, cape clawless otters among other animals.

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3. Walking Safaris at Ugalla River National Park

This is among the best and most interactive activities at the park. You will get a chance to stretch your legs and tour through the park on foot. Under the guidance and supervision of well-trained tour guides, you will follow known trails and explore the beautiful sites in the park. Several animals like dik-dik, elephants, zebras and others will be in full view.

Birds too are not an exception because they will be chirping all around. Remember to come with your camera so that you can take pictures of all your wild findings.

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4. Sport Fishing at Ugalla River National Park

This is simply fishing for fun. At Ugalla River, tourists get to experience fishing like the local fishermen, these will show you how to capture the fish and later release it back into the river without it being hurt in anyway, tilapia is the most common fish specie found. It is so fun and it passively gives u an opportunity to spot other animals around the river banks and other water dwellers like crocodiles.


5. Bird Watching/ Birding at Ugalla River National Park

There are several bird species at the park and most of them are water birds like Wattled cranes and shoebill storks. These can be spotted swimming in the river or flying about. Other bird types that you will enjoy watching include; pygmy geese, honeyguide greenbul, the African paradise fly-catcher, African emerald cuckoo and so many others.

This activity is fun and relaxing, remember to come with your camera to take pictures of these birds so that you can show your loved ones when you go back home.


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6. Game Viewing at Ugalla River National Park

Tourist have the opportunity to see different animals especially when they come together near the banks of Ugalla river. This is common during the dry season when animals such as; lions, elephants, buffalos, giraffes and others gather to drink from the river. It is so fun to watch animals as they co-exist in their natural habitats.

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7. Bee Keeping at Ugalla River National Park

The Miombo woodlands and savannah grasslands provide wild flowers from which bees collect nectar to make honey in their hives. Tourists are given an opportunity to harvest honey for consumption and fun while at the park. Please come participate in this fun and rewarding activity.


8. Vegetation at Ugalla River National Park

As stated earlier, the park is made up of savannah grasslands and Miombo woodlands. During the rainy season (Between January and April) the bushes look radiant and water birds like geese and shoe bill stalks are all over the place, Bird watchers would find this super entertaining. Other than the best 8 reasons to visit Ugalla River National Park, there are so many things for you to love about this beautiful park.

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When To Visit Ugalla River National Park

The park is always open through out the year however, due to its swampy and wet spots here and there I would encourage you to visit between July and October (Dry months). The dry season simplifies movements around and within the park. Animals like Sitatunga antelopes have their offspring during this season, you should not miss this out.


How To Get To Ugalla River National Park

You can get to the park either by road or air.

By Road

The park is 814km away from Dar es Salaam (The capital city of Tanzania). By use of 4×4 vehicles, you will be able to get to the park. This can be in by public or private means.


By Air

This is the fastest way to get to the park, you can book a chartered private flight from Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam to the park.


Accommodation at Ugalla River National Park

You do not have to worry about where you will be staying when you visit Ugalla River National Park because there are several lodges, hotels and spaces to let that within and in areas around the park. These offer luxury, mid-range and budget accommodation. Examples are as follows:


Luxury Accommodation

This is top-notch first-class treatment given to clients who are willing and able to spend on luxurious services. These include;

  • Palahala Luxury Camp; It is located in Tabora and it is a permanently tented camp with great services.
  • Lupita Island Private Resort.
  • The Grand Penta Hotel; Has a bar and restaurant, free WIFI and other great services. Most of these are located at Tabora which is in close proximity to the park.


Mid-Range Accommodation

This is good enough accommodation and is offered to tourists who are willing to spend but nit extravagantly. These include;

  • Mwafrika Hotel; It is located in a busy commercial place at Tabora and offers free WIFI, bar and security.
  • Tabora Belmonte Hotels;


Budget Accommodation

This is accommodation offered for tourists who have a fixed budget. This is also the most affordable class. Examples include;

  • Barcelona Lodge; This is found in Tabora 2.3km from the park.
  • Deluxe Lodge; This is near the park in Mpanda city.
  • Kinday Lodge; This is also in Mpanda city in Katavi region just near the park.

The Tanzanian National Park Association headquarters in Arusha also provide private camping services which you can also consider for accommodation. I encourage you to book your stay at least a month 0r two  before your trip. This will help you to secure a spot since most places get fully booked often.

Great technology has made online bookings are possible and available which makes it more affordable compared to traveling and making bookings in person. Please endeavor to make your bookings at least one month before your visit.


My conclusion about Ugalla River National Park

Other than the best 8 reasons to visit Ugalla River National Park, it is actually huge and equipped with a variety of animal, bird and plant species. Its forested nature, plateau, Masito hills and narrow steep valleys will quench your safari desires. Please do not be hesitant to come through and explore with Kubwa Five Safaris, you will not regret it.