Mikumi Safari Holiday Guide – Scenic National Park On The Southern Circuit
Mikumi National Park joins onto the northern border of Africa’s biggest game reserve – the Selous. It is crossed by the main road between Dar es Salaam and Iringa making it the most accessible part of a 75,000 square kilometre tract of wilderness that stretches east almost as far as the Indian Ocean. The Park covers an area of 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.
The park has 4 major and distinct vegetation zones: miombo woodland from southern Africa, arid bushland from the north, the coastal zone to the east and the mountains of Uluguru and Ruhumero to the north and west making a unique ecotonal area. The animals and birds species are also different in each of these habitat types.
Mikumi National Park was first gazetted in 1964 with additions made to the north and south in 1975. Combined with the Selous Game Reserve which borders it to the southwest, this greater ecosystem is the size of Denmark. The park is surrounded by an arc of mountains and protected land, with the Uluguru Mountains to the east, the Mbesera, Madzini and Mazunyungu hills to the north and west.
Safaris in Mikumi National Park
Game drives and guided walks. Combined with a visit to Udzungwa Mountains National Park, Mikumi is perfect for a 3 or 4 night stay on the way to or from Ruaha or southern Tanzania, or simply as a short safari in its own right.
Wildlife and Habitats in Mikumi National Park
The open horizons and abundant wildlife of the Mkata Floodplain, the popular centrepiece of Mikumi, draw frequent comparisons to the more famous Serengeti Plains.
Lions survey their grassy kingdom – and the zebra, wildebeest, impala and buffalo herds that migrate across it – from the flattened tops of termite mounds, or sometimes, during the rains, from perches high in the trees. Giraffes forage in the isolated acacia stands that fringe the Mkata River, islets of shade favoured also by Mikumi’s 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 from the park’s borders.
More than 400 bird species have 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 5 km north of the main entrance gate, supported by an ever-changing cast of waterbirds.
Highlights of Mikumi National Park
|The Mkata Floodplain is perhaps the most reliable place in Tanzania for sightings of the powerful eland, the world’s largest antelope.
|The open horizons and abundant wildlife of the Mkata Floodplain, the popular centrepiece of Mikumi, draw frequent comparisons to the more famous Serengeti Plains.
|The park boasts 60 mammal types, 400 birds and over 1200 plant species.