Mikumi National Park

Photo © Dori2508

Travel Guide Africa Tanzania Mikumi National Park

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Introduction

Mikumi National Park near Morogoro, Tanzania, was established in 1964. It covers an area of 3,230 kmĀ² is the fourth largest in the country. The park is crossed by Tanzania's A-7 highway. Mikumi is bordered to the south with the Selous Game Reserve, the two areas forming a unique ecosystem. Two other natural areas bordering the national park are the Udzungwa Mountains and Uluguru Mountains. Mikumi belongs to the circuit of the wildlife parks of Tanzania, less visited by international tourists and better protected from the environmental point of view. Most of the routes that cross the Mikumi proceed in the direction of the Ruaha National Park and the Selous. The recommended season for visiting the park is the dry season between May and November, warm weather and beautiful sites that are a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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Geography

The landscape of Mikumi is often compared to that of the Serengeti. The road that crosses the park divides it into two areas with partially distinct environments. The area north-west is characterized by the alluvial plain of the river basin Mkata. The vegetation of this area consists of savannah dotted with acacia, baobab, tamarinds, and some rare palm. In this area, at the furthest from the road, there are spectacular rock formations of the mountains Rubeho and Uluguru. The southeast part of the park is less rich in wildlife, and not very accessible.

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Sights and Activities

If you have your own 4x4 vehicle, just ask your lodge for a map of the trails. There aren't many trails in the park and most secondary roads are closed during the rainy season. the hippo pool is always a good spot to see animals. If you spend two days driving in the park you should expect to see lions, elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, zebras, hippos, boars, wildebeests, impalas, and copious amounts of birds. When entering the park, ask the guards at the gate which areas are best for viewing that day and if they've seen any lions around. Also, look for circling vultures, which indicates a dead animal, there may also be some lions around snacking on the remains.

According to local guides at Mikumi, chances of seeing a lion who climbs a tree trunk is larger than in Manyara (famous for being one of the few places where the lions exhibit this behavior). The park contains a subspecies of giraffe that biologists consider the link between the Masai giraffe and the reticulated or Somali giraffe. At about 5 kilometres from the north of the park, there are two artificial pools inhabited by hippos. More than 400 different species of birds also inhabit the park.

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Opening Hours

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Cost

A visitor's permit costs US$20 per person and is valid for 24 hours from time of purchase. Be advised that non-residents are expected to pay the park entry fee in US dollars, not Tanzanian shillings. Visitors must enter before 4:00pm and exit before 7:00pm. Those staying in one of the park's lodging facilities must be back at camp by 7:00pm.

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Getting There

Mikumi National Park is about 250 kilometres west of Dar es Salaam and is the closest national park to the city. Driving there takes about 4 hours due to the poor conditions of the road.

Travel agents and tour companies can arrange transportation to Mikumi and through the park. You must ensure the vehicle used is a reliable 4x4, e.g. Land Cruiser and Range Rover. No Rav4 and CRVs. Although it's possible to navigate most of the main roads with a sedan, you will not get the best sightseeing experience.

All such issues should be addressed, clarified and agreed to with the tour company before giving a deposit. Ask for pictures of the vehicles, ensure they have A/C. You may want to inspect the vehicles tires before leaving to ensure they are in good condition.

Taking the bus is also quite convenient. Good bus companies are Abood and Hood. In Dar es Salaam the ticket must be bought in a part of the city called Ubungo. It is recommended to buy the ticket one day before departure.

The two nearest towns are Morogoro and Iringa. There are no scheduled flights from Dar es Salaam to Iringa, Morogoro or Mikumi.

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Getting Around

You require a 4x4 vehicle to travel through the park. The village of Mikumi is at the western entrance to the park, 15 kilometres from the park gate.

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Eat

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Drink

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Sleep

There are three places to stay in the park. Two are owned by Foxes Safari and the other is Kikoboga. Foxes Safari Camp is the first tented camp site when you enter the park from Dar es Salaam. This camp is almost in the center of the park and offers a great view from the top of the hill where the restaurant and pool are located. The staff is very friendly and the food is good, although not exceptional, especially given the price. At night you can hear animals walking around and under the elevated tents. The other Foxes-owned lodging is Vuma Hills which is about 6 kilometres from the main gate. Very nice accommodation and excellent food, but I've never heard any animals at night, which is a cool feature of the previous spot. I've never stayed at Kikoboga, but the huts look nice and there is a watering hole near by which attracts many animals especially during the dry season.

In the city of Mikumi are several accommodations. Among them are cheep ones, which are used by African truckers, and more expensive hotels as well. A nice place is the Tan-Swiss lodge partly owned by a Swiss. They also organize half-day and full-day Safaris to the Mikumi National Park and the Udzungwa Mountains National Park.

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This is version 1. Last edited at 10:22 on Sep 15, 17 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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