Mikumi National Park
As part of the vast Selous ecosystem, Mikumi National Park features a good cross-section of African wildlife. Elephants, buffalo, giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, lions, leopards, and hippos are all welcome visitors to the waterholes. It is not a park of superlatives, but those who like typical African trees and grass savannahs will find it a worthwhile destination.
GOOD TO KNOW
Easily accessible location just off the highway
This relatively unknown national park stretches along both sides of the Tanzam Highway just a five-hour drive west of Dar es Salaam. Because it is the easiest to reach of all the parks in the south, it is often used as a local recreation area by city dwellers.
Legend has it that Livingstone and Speke were already amazed by the beauty of this strip of land in 1857. Grant also hunted in what is now the Mikumi area in 1860 in his search for the sources of the Nile. The explorers followed the infamous slave route that cut across the Mkata Plains.
Part of the Selous ecosystem
Mikumi National Park represents a small but important part of the 155,000 km2 Selous-Niassa ecosystem, which stretches from Udzungwa National Park through the Kilombero Valley, Selous Game Reserve, and down to Niassa Game Reserve in Mozambique.
There is no doubt that this area is one of Africa’s most important and largest wildlife corridors.
Scenic with lots of animals
At the heart of the park are the grassy savannahs of the Mkata Flood Plains in the Northwest, which compare favorably to the grassy savannahs of the Serengeti.
Many slopes traverse this part, past waterholes, and river courses. Chances of spotting lions are high as their prey such as zebra, wildebeest and impala prefer this habitat. Also native is the largest antelope species, the eland, which is rarely sighted elsewhere.
In the evening silence you can possibly hear the howling of the African wild dogs, which are among the endangered animal species, but still occur here in larger packs.
If you are deep enough in the park, then you no longer hear the vehicles of the Tanzam Highway, but only have eyes for the mountain ranges in the background.
The Uluguru and Udzungwa Mountains cut through the ecosystem and limit the Mikumi to the south.
Only a few camps, all close to the highway
There are currently only three camps in the park itself, all within earshot of the highway. There are also local accommodations in Mikumi Village, west of the park boundaries.