Central Tanzania – The Southern Highlands – Mikumi National Park

22nd February 2013

Back on the road again, 96 miles south of Morogoro and north of the Selous Reserve lies Mikumi, the most accessible of all Tanzania’s National Parks. Mikumi National Park has the attraction of being an easy driving distance from Dar es Salaam with a couple of good options for accommodation, which makes it a fairly inexpensive option for a self-drive weekend safari in scenic wide open savannah.

The park actually straddles the highway near the Uluguru Mountains south of Morogoro, and offers the chance of a brief safari thrill for anyone travelling through by bus or truck. Unfortunately in the past vehicles used to thunder through this 50km stretch heedless of the speed restrictions, and road kill has been a major problem. This has recently been addressed with the introduction of a number of brightly painted speed bumps that might increase the chance of seeing something still alive.

Mikumi is remarkably the 3rd largest park in Tanzania, enclosed to the south and east with a semicircle of Uluguru Mountains, rising to 2,743m, and the Vuma Hills. These look down across the wide, flat expanse of the Mkata flood plains, which provide a good spotting ground for a variety of larger animals. Lion, leopard, elephant and buffalo range among the numerous baobabs and palms around the edge, while unusually large herds of up to 100 impala range across the plains. Towards the centre of the park, water collects into watercourses and swamps attracting hippopotamuses, as well as the odd monitor lizard and various water birds. The close proximity to the northern border of the Selous means that a number of animals migrate between the two areas, including the Lichtenstein’s hartebeest and African Hunting dog. The miombo woodlands in the south east are also a stalking ground for sable antelope and families of shaggy white-collared Colobus monkeys, and herds of eland and small family groups of Greater Kudu may also be seen between these two areas.