Mikumi National Park borders the northern boundary of the Selous, Africa’s biggest game reserve – and it is divided by the main tarmac road between Dar es Salaam and Iringa (making it one of the most accessible parks in Tanzania). It stretches east almost as far as the Indian Ocean.
The open horizons and abundant wildlife of the ‘Mkata Floodplain’ is a popular centrepiece in Mikumi, drawing frequent comparisons to the more famous Serengeti Plains.
Lions are plentiful and healthy, often seen on the flattened tops of termite mounds, or sometimes (during the rains) from perches high in the trees. Zebra, wildebeest, impala and buffalo herds migrate across the area, giraffes forage off isolated acacia trees that fringe the Mkata River and islands of shade are favoured by herds of elephants.
Criss-crossed by a good circuit of game-viewing roads, the ‘Mkata Floodplain’ is perhaps the most reliable place in Tanzania for sightings of the powerful eland (the world’s largest antelope). The equally impressive greater kudu and sable antelope haunt the miombo-covered foothills of the mountains that rise up from the park’s borders.
More than 400 bird species have been recorded, with colourful and common residents including the lilac-breasted roller, yellow-throated long claw and the awesome ‘Bateleur eagle’ – joined by a host of European migrants during the rainy season. Hippos are the star attraction in two pools situated 5km north of the main entrance gate, that is also home to a multitude of varying water birds.
About Mikumi National Park
Its size: 3,230 sq km (1,250 sq miles) makes Mikumi the fourth-largest park in Tanzania, and part of a much larger ecosystem – the uniquely vast Selous Game Reserve.
It is 283 km (175 miles) west of Dar es Salaam, north of Selous and en route to Ruaha, Udzungwa and Katavi.
How to get there
A good surfaced road connects Mikumi to Dar es Salaam via Morogoro, roughly 4 hours drive away. The road also connects it to Udzungwa, Ruaha and the Selous (dry season only). Scheduled and especially chartered flights are available from Dar or Arusha, with connecting flights from the Selous as well.
What to do
Game drives and guided walks. Visit nearby Udzungwa or travel on to Selous or Ruaha.
When to go
Accessible year round.
Lodges, luxury (semi permanent) tented camps, and local campsites are available.