Mikumi National Park is not as visited as some of its more well-known or popular counterparts, but that is not in any way indicative of its qualities or beauty. In fact, Mikumi is similar to other parks in many ways, with its landscape being similar to Serengeti and offering many of the same attractions that other parks do. In addition, it is the fourth largest national park in Africa and the most accessible for Dar es Salaam. It has also managed to retain a more wild and protected environment, where animals can still be seen displaying natural behavior – such as lions.
- +Driving safari
- +Day trips to Ruaha and Selous
- +Rare viewing of lions displaying natural behavior
- +Admiring beautiful sights and vegetation
About Mikumi National Park
Mikumi National Park is the fourth largest in Africa. It is a prime location for game viewing, as it offers a wide range of wild animals that can be observed in their natural habitat. The park is located near the Selous, which is the largest game reserve in Africa and it is the most accessible park from Dar es Salaam.
Among the variety of wild animals that can be viewed here there are buffalo, zebra, impala, eland, giraffes, sable antelopes, kudu, hippos, and many others, including lions. Zebras and giraffes are easily spotted. Zebras seem to be quite comfortable in the presence of human visitors, compared to giraffes that will probably get going as they notice human presence.
Mikumi is actually one of the few places where lions can be watching displaying wild, natural behavior. Hippos are actually the major attraction for visitors who come at Mikumi National Park, and at only 5 km away from the main entrance gate, anyone can go by the pools and see them in action.
More exactly, the Mikumi National park is the home to a significant number of hippos, which live in man-made pools, especially created for this purpose. These pools are great locations for travelers to spot either a crocodile or a hippo. Still, it is advisable to keep a distance when surrounding these pools, as their behavior can become, all of a sudden violent.
Besides the many wild animals that one can see here, you can also get a chance at bird watching. Mikumi National Park hosts over 400 species of birds, ranging from big to small, in more colors, shapes and sizes than you can imagine. Bird watching is an attraction in itself, but it is considerably better during wet season, as opposed to game viewing, which is more appropriate in dry season.
But it’s not only the birds and animals that are spectacular in Mikumi National Park. In fact, nature itself is breathtaking, with beautiful landscapes that have been likened to those in Serengeti. The southeast area of the Mikumi is less accessible, but the Northeast offers sights to behold, including, palm, acacia, tamarinds and baobab, and, natural, savannah. In this part, you can also admire rock formations on Mount Uluguru and Mount Rubeho.
You can access Mikumi National Park either via road or air. Driving to the park is a good option for Mikumi, because it is the most accessible national park from Dar es Salaam, through Morogoro and the journey time is of about 4 hours. Road connections are also available with Selous, Ruaha, and Udzungwa.
Alternatively, there is also the option of taking a charter flight, from Selous, Arusha or Dar es Salaam.
Public transportation is available in the form of buses from Dar es Salaam.
When to Go & Weather
- May-October: this is the dry season, which is also the most recommended for game viewing. More animals are out and about during this time.
- November-April: the wet season is more conductive of bird watching and admiring the landscape
While Mikumi National Park is accessible year round, it is recommended that you visit during the dry season (May-October), for this is the time when the most animals are available for viewing and the weather is warm. Temperatures are usually consistent throughout the year, ranging from 20 to 30°C.
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Mikumi National Park is located between the Rubeho Mountains in the southwest, and the Rift Valley and Uluguru mountains in the north. Mikumi National Park was established as an official National Park in 1964, and it covers 3200 square kilometers, being acknowledged as the fourth largest National Park in Tanzania. The name of the park was determined by the village located in its western proximity.
A lot of people compare Mikumi National Park with Serengeti. The road seems to separate the National Park into two distinct environments. The northwest of the park is highly influenced by the river basin Mkata. Here, the vegetation is utterly different, as it embodies savannah vegetation including baobab, acacia, and other palm species that are quite seldom. Another characteristic of this area is that it presents stunning rock formations of the mountains Rubeho and Uluguru. The south part of the National Park is distinct, being less abundant in vegetation and less accessible for trekking.
The landscapes filled with different shades of green, orange and yellow also count for creating the charm and magic of the place. For eager photographs, the place is certainly a heaven on earth. The stunning landscapes are even more marvelous at dusk or in the morning when the light is simply perfect for creating a unique atmosphere as if you were on a different planet. Layers of thick mist will accompany the pure morning light as you witness the beginning of a new day.
When it comes to Mikumi National Park fauna, it presents a wide range of typical features of the African savannah. Safari enthusiasts who have visited the National Park claim that the chances of catching a glimpse of a lion are imminently higher, compared to other African National Parks. Besides being the natural habitat of lions, Mikumi National Park also holds a wide range of subspecies of giraffes. Other animals you will get the chance to observe in the park are elephants, baboons, buffalo, kudu, and wildebeests.
If you wish to come to the Mikumi National Park to catch a glimpse of the Big Five – cheetah, lion, buffalo, elephant, rhino, we guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.
Mikumi National Park is also a great safari destination for bird enthusiasts. With no less than 400 different species of birds, the park will keep you interested, that’s a given. The park holds a myriad of typical bird savannah species including lilac-breasted roller, yellow-throated longclaw, and bateleur eagle, as well as a range of migrant species that are visible from November to April-May. Whether you’re a bird watching enthusiast or not, Mikumi National Park will certainly catch your attention.
The main purpose of establishing a National Park is that of conserving the region’s diverse wildlife. The conservation of the abundance of wildlife species is not only utterly important because it is an endless source of marvel and inspiration to every person in the world but also because it’s an integral part of the African regions.
In this view, an organization was established – Tanzania National Parks – and it has the sole purpose of conserving the habitats holding myriads of wildlife species. Additionally, these regions mirror the country’s cultural background and rich heritage, shaping their uniqueness in the entire world. They ought to be properly maintained so that the generations to come will also relish the spectacular views and the diversity of bird and animal species.
Tanzania National Parks – TANAPA – also has the responsibility of making sure that the visitors who visit the national parks are safe and won’t encounter any dangers during their visits.
The ecosystems and wildlife in every national park ought to be regularly monitored, for the purpose of obtaining early warnings in worse case scenarios.
It is important to understand that the conservation of the natural habitats in Africa is utterly important for the entire world, not only for these regions in particular. A natural decline or catastrophe will lead to further negative impacts on the rest of the world as well.
- Mikumi National Park is considered to be the most important National Park regarding game density. This means you might get the chance to catch a glimpse of zebras, giraffes, or wildebeest being hunted down by their predators. Normally, there’s no guarantee that you’ll witness such a happening, but who knows? Additionally, it is quite common to see wild dog packs hunting their prey.
- Another interesting fact is that you will hopefully notice lions climbing or resting on trees. As unusual as it may seem, lions seem to prefer chilling on a tree branch.
- The Mkata Floodplain is assumed to be the most popular and decent African location to sightsee the unique African eland, which is the largest antelope.