Mikumi National Park
Mikumi National Park occupies 3,230 square kilometers / 1,250 square miles, and is the fourth biggest park in the whole of Tanzania, as well as a section of the much bigger ecosystem located on the exceptionally large Selous Game Reserve. It serves as the entryway to the various game parks located in the southern section of the Tanzania-safari-circuit. The park is joined to the Selous game reserve in the south and after a short drive to the southwestern direction, you will find Udzungwa National Park. Udzungwa was established majorly to safeguard the plant-life rather than the wild animals. Ruaha National Park a lovely yet isolated park is just 4 hour drive in the southwest direction from Mikumi.
Adjoined to the northern border of largest game reserve in Africa – the Selous, Mikumi National Park is the most easily reached park in southern Tanzania that extends over an expanse of 75,000 sq km / 47,000 sq miles. It is a big territory of wilderness that extends further east approximately reaching the Indian Ocean.
The major road that connects from Dar es Salaam to the town of Iringa cuts across the northern part of the park; which area is referred to as the Mkata-Flood-Plain. Animals normally follow the highway using it as a game-trail hence making it a wonderful destination to take photographs. These flood plains are prominent for their extremely fine black cotton-soil, so when the rains come, the soil compacts into a sticky-clogging mud hence making the region very inaccessible by road transport.
The rains change these plains into a verdant grazing land. It is because of this that this section of the park is inhabited by large Elephant herds, wildebeest, zebra, buffaloes, giraffes, impalas, eland, warthogs and lions. These migrate across the floodplain moving from the compacted ends of termite-mounds, and at times, during the rainy season, from branches up in the trees. Giraffes scavenge for pastures in the secluded acacia trees that border River Mkata, whereas some elephants take shade on some of the islets within Mikumi.
The Mkata Floodplain is intersected by a stunning circuit of wildlife-viewing roads, and is possibly the most dependable destination in the whole of Tanzania where you can enjoy sightings of the potent eland which is the largest antelope in the world. The equally fascinating greater kudu as well as the sable antelope preoccupy the foothills covered with miombo on the mountains that project from the border of the park
A natural road extends through the park from the beautiful Vuma hills and stretches through the narrow valley and forested part of the country crossing the boundary all the way into the northern part of the Selous. This trail has for centuries been used by Elephants that prefer to keep their legs dry rather than crossing the rivers.
Over four hundred bird species have so far been recorded in this park, among which are colorful residents like the yellow throated longclaw, bateleur eagle plus the lilac breasted roller, and together with a swarm of European migrants that come through the rainy season. Hippopotami are the main dwellers around the two pools located 5 kilometers north of the major park entry gate, together with numerous species of water birds.
Today, the park is increasing becoming very popular among tourists with many using it as a weekend vaction from their busy lifestyle in the adjacent Dar Es Salaam city. Many use this park as the beginning of their safari adventures through Tanzania’s southern parks.
How to get there
there is a well-maintained surfaced road that connects Mikumi to the city of Dar es Salaam through Morogoro, approximately four hours drive. In addition, a road links to Selous- in the dry season, Ruaha and Udzungwa. However, charter flight coming from Dar Es Salaam city, Arusha town or Selous can also get you there. The local buses come from Dar Es Salaam to the park head quarters where game drives may also be organized.
What to enjoy in Mikumi National Park
Game drives as well as guided walks. Explore the adjacent Udzungwa, or visit Selous game reserve or Ruaha.
When to visit
the park is accessible all year round
There are 2 lodges, 3 luxury tented-camps, 3 campsites, as well as guest houses in the town of Mikumi on the border of the park. However a new lodge is anticipated at Mahondo plus a permanent tented-camp at Lumaaga