Destinations | Mikumi National Park

Forming the northern borders of Africa's biggest game reserve the vast Selous - Mikumi is one of the most popular of Tanzania's National Parks, the most accessible part of a 75,000 km wilderness that stretches almost to the shores of the Indian Ocean. The main feature of the park is the Mikumi flood plain, along with the mountain ranges that border the park on two sides.

Open grasslands dominate the flood plain, eventually merging with the Miombo woodland covering the lower hills. The woodland is the favourite haunt of the Lion, sometimes perching high in the trees to keep their feet dry from the sticky black mad of the wet season. Observation towers above the tree line allow panoramic views of the plain laid out below, home to formidable herds of Buffalo.

Mikumi's Elephants are more compact than those in the rest of the country, but still a formidable sight when viewed close up. 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 from the park's borders.

The rains swell the park's population of birds to more than 400 bird species has been recorded, with such colourful common residents as the Lilac-Breasted Roller, Yellow-Throated Longclaw and Bateleur Eagle joined by a host of European migrants during the rainy season. Hippos are the star attraction of the pair of pools situated 5km north of the main entrance gate, supported by an ever-changing cast of waterbirds.

The open horizons and abundant wildlife of the Mkata Floodplain, the popular centrepiece of Mikumi, draw frequent comparisons to the more famous Serengeti Plains.

About Mikumi National Park:
Size: 3,230 sq km, the fourth-largest park in Tanzania, and part of a much larger ecosystem centred on the uniquely vast Selous Game Reserve.

283 km west of Dar es Salaam, north of Selous, and en route to Ruaha, Udzungwa and (for the intrepid) Katavi.

How to get there:
A good surfaced road connects Mikumi to Dar es Salaam via Morogoro, a roughly 4 hour drive. Also road connections to Udzungwa, Ruaha and (dry season only) Selous. Charter flight from Dar es Salaam, Arusha or Selous.

What to do:
Game drives and guided walks. Visit nearby Udzungwa or travel on to Selous or Ruaha.

When to go:
Accessible year round.

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