Mikumi National Park is the fourth (4th) largest national Park in Tanzania as well as the most accessible when traveling from Dar es Salaam the largest city in Tanzania. The park can be explored in just two days making it an ideal destination for those on a busy schedule and yet they wish to do some game viewing. After the completion of the highway that connects Dar es Salaam to Mikumi Park’s gate, this has become a major safari destination, especially for those taking a short weekend Tanzania Safari Adventure from the city. The large number of wild animals that have been recorded here in addition to its proximity to the city have made it the most visited park in the whole of Tanzania.
The biggest number of visitors that come here visit to see Africa’s Big Five, (which include: rhinos, lions, buffaloes, hippos, and cheetahs) and indeed they are never disappointed. Large schools of hippos are commonly seen within the muddy water pools found just five kilometers north of the Mikumi main gate entrance, whereas lions are spotted surveying the grassy plains in which wildebeests, buffaloes, zebras, and impalas are continuously seen migrating through. The giraffes on the other hand foliage the taller acacia trees that border the shores of Lake Mkata which offer good shade to the giant elephants living in the park.
Sample our 3 days safari in Mikumi National Park, or look at our longer safari package that includes Mikumi the 10 days Southern Tanzania safari.
Indeed the very big number of wildlife living within the open seemingly endless Mkata floodplains which is the most popular tourist center within Mikumi can be compared to that in the Serengeti plains.
Mikumi National Park is located close to Morogoro and covers an area of 3230 square kilometers. To the south, it is bordered by the renowned Selous Game Reserve, while the Uluguru Mountains and the Udzungwa Mountains are on the other side. It was formed in 1964 and today it has a wide variety of wildlife.
What is the best time to visit Mikumi National Park?
The best time to visit Mikumi National Park in Tanzania is during the dry season, which typically runs from late June to October. During this period, the weather is generally sunny with little to no rainfall, and wildlife viewing is at its peak as animals gather around water sources.
The dry season is considered the peak tourist season in Mikumi National Park, so you can expect more visitors during this time. However, the park is still relatively less crowded compared to some of the more popular reserves like Serengeti or Ngorongoro Crater.
If you prefer to avoid crowds and enjoy more affordable rates, you may consider visiting during the shoulder seasons, which are the months of May and November. Although these months can have sporadic rainfall, the park is lush and green, and wildlife can still be spotted.
It’s worth noting that Mikumi National Park can be visited year-round, but the wet season, which lasts from November to May, brings heavier rainfall and some areas of the park may become inaccessible due to muddy roads. Wildlife disperses more widely during this period, making it slightly more challenging for game viewing.
Ultimately, the best time to visit Mikumi National Park depends on your preferences and priorities. If you prioritize wildlife viewing and dryer conditions, aim for the dry season. If you don’t mind some rainfall and prefer a quieter experience, consider visiting during the shoulder and green seasons; between April and May and November to Mid December.
Mikumi National Park – Activities | What to do?
Today, Mikumi has become a popular safari destination in Tanzania offering a number of different activities that can be enjoyed during short Tanzania Safari such as:
Game drives: these will offer you an opportunity to see different animals within their natural habitats such as large schools of hippos playing in the water pool, giraffes, hippos, eland, greater and lesser kudus, zebras, and elephants among others. On a good day, you might even see some lions hunting their prey.
Bird watching tours: according to the records of Mikumi National Park, nearly 500 different bird species have been listed to stay here. These include several water birds, savanna bird species, and several migratory species, among many more. The Zanzibar red bishop, bateleurs eagle, and the yellow-throated longclaw are some of the bird species seen there.
Nature walks/walking safaris: another interesting way to explore the park is by taking nature walks. These will give you a chance to have a detailed knowledge of the park’s flora, and even see the ‘smaller’ wildlife species such as squirrels that live within the Mikumi.
Picnic Lunches: this is a good place to have your picnic lunch as you will also have an opportunity to enjoy the sights of the green wilderness that offers habitats to so many wild animals set right before.
Camping: Mikumi NP has two major camping grounds one of which is a public camping site and the other a private camping ground. The private campsite which is also referred to as Campsite 5 is found within the Vuma hills, while the public campsite also referred to as Campsite 1,3 is found in the Nkata plains. These campsites are open all year round although the best game views are between June and November.
Mikumi National Park Attractions
As the dry season which starts in June and ends in October progresses, game viewing becomes very good as most of the water sources have dried up so that animals normally crowd to drink at the few water holes remaining. During the dry season, the park is very busy. It receives a very large number of tourists, the park trails are very accessible and game drives are possible in all parts of the park.
From March to April the park is receiving large amounts of rain, most of the vegetation is flourishing, and most of the water holes are full so the animals move deeper into the park making game viewing very hard. At that time, the trails within the park are very slippery and hard to maneuver a thing that makes accessibility poor. So the number of tourists is very low.
The numerous isolated anthills that are scattered across the plains host large colonies of mongoose that come to prey on the ants. There are several other bird species including migratory birds that live inside Mikumi NP that will definitely reward you with a memorable Bird Watching Safari.
The Mkata flood plains are a dominant feature within the park. They comprise a varied terrain that is covered by very thin vegetation comprised of acacia shrubs plus a varied woodland, with giant baobab trees scattered across it. This served as a varied habitat for different animals and it is the best place to have a game drive. You will be able to spot elephants, zebras, wildebeests, antelopes, giraffes, and lions in this area.
Which are the animals found in Mikumi National Park?
Mikumi National Park in Tanzania is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including a wide range of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Here is a table of some of the animals you can find in Mikumi National Park:
TABLE OF WILDLIFE IN MIKUMI NATIONAL PARK
|Mammals||Birds||Reptiles and Amphibians|
|African Elephant||Lilac-breasted roller||Nile Crocodile|
|Cape Buffalo||Secretary bird||African rock python|
|Lion||Yellow-billed stork||Nile monitor lizard|
|Leopard||African fish eagle||Leopard tortoise|
|African wild dogs||Martial eagle||African helmeted turtle|
|Giraffe||Southern ground hornbill||Africa bullfrog|
|Hippopotamus||African grey hornbill||Red-headed agama|
|Greater Kudu||Bateleur eagle|
|Grant’s Gazelles||Pied Kingfisher|
The above list represents just a selection of the diverse wildlife species found in Mikumi National Park. Exploring the park will give you the opportunity to encounter many more fascinating animals in their natural habitat.
One of the best packages that you can take to enjoy wildlife viewing in this park is to take our 3 Days safari in Mikumi National Park, starting from Dar es Salaam. The same package can be taken from Zanzibar Island with return flights to Dar es Salaam and back arranged by Safari Desire experts.
Mikumi National Park, Where to stay?
There are several accommodations located near Mikumi National Park that cater to different budgets and preferences.
Standard Luxury accommodations in Mikumi National Park
Vuma Hills Tented Camp: Situated on the edge of the park, Vuma Hills offers comfortable tented accommodation with en-suite bathrooms. The camp provides beautiful views of the surrounding wilderness and has a swimming pool.
Stanley’s Kopje: This luxury tented camp offers spacious and well-appointed tents with private verandas. It provides a more exclusive and intimate experience, with personalized service and gourmet dining.
Midrange lodges and camps at Mikumi
Mikumi Wildlife Camp: This camp is located just outside the park’s main entrance and offers tented accommodation, cottages, and a campsite. It provides basic amenities and is suitable for budget travelers.
Tan-Swiss Lodge: Located near the park entrance, Tan-Swiss Lodge offers a range of accommodation options, including cottages and bandas (traditional huts). The lodge has a restaurant, bar, and swimming pool.
Camp Bastian Mikumi: Situated in a serene area near the park, this camp offers a variety of accommodation options, including luxury tents and cottages. It features a restaurant, bar, and swimming pool.
Budget lodges and camps at Mikumi
Mikumi Adventure Lodge: This lodge is located close to the park and offers comfortable rooms, tented accommodations, and camping facilities. It has a restaurant, a bar, and a small swimming pool.
Morio Motel: Situated near the park entrance, Morio Motel provides affordable accommodation with basic amenities. It is a suitable option for budget travelers.
These are just a few examples of the accommodations available near Mikumi National Park. It’s recommended to research and book in advance to secure your preferred choice based on your budget and preferences.
How to get to Mikumi National Park | Getting there
This national park can be accessed either by road transport or air transport. Mikumi National Park is a 5 – 6 hour drive from Dar es Salaam through Morogoro. There are also roads connecting the Selous Game Reserve and Udzungwa Mountains National Park, however, these can only be accessible during the dry season.
Alternatively, there are chartered flights connecting from Dar es Salaam into Mikumi as well as from other national parks in Tanzania. One of the good service providers for these charter flights is Safari Airlink, which has also started scheduled flights that start from Zanzibar or Dar es Salaam. Safari Air link also now connects Mikumi National Park and parks in Northern Tanzania like Serengeti National Park.
In case you are interested in exploring the Mikumi National Park, contact us today as we Safari Desire have specialized in organizing tailor-made Tanzania Safaris and holidays not only in southern Tanzania but across the rest of Tanzania and Zanzibar as well.