Mikumi National Park is located south of Dar es Salaam right on the main Morogoro-Iringa Highway with an approximate travel time of 4½ hours and the first national park stop on the Tanzania southern circuit safari.
The word Mikumi has nothing to do with number ten in Swahili, which is kumi but the name comes after a local word for Borassus palm trees referred to as Mikuky.
Mikumi was the name given to the villages created by a tribal chief of Wavindunda community with the name of Mtwahela Kikuwi (pronounced mm-twa-hhe-laa Kee-kuu-wee). Mikumi was named as National Park in 1967 and currently has an approximate size of 3,230 square kilometers.
Driving from Dar es Salaam on the one lane Morogoro-Iringa highway lands you right into Mikumi National Park with clear signs posted about the speed limits making safari guides very cautious about elephants, zebras, and giraffes crossing the highway.
Earmarked to become the next National Park, this game reserve contains 90% of all botanic species found in Tanzania with one third classified as unique in the world. The reserve is also home to the Mkomazi Rhino Project. This involves the re-introduction of four black rhino from South Africa which, it is hoped, will breed before being relocated to traditional natural habitats within Tanzania.
The Captive Breeding Programme for the African wild dog is another project for the preservation of endangered species that is based in Mkomazi.
Why Visit Mikumi National Park During A Tanzania Safari?
• First Park On The Southern Safari Circuit: Mikumi National Park is the first stop on the southern safari circuit allowing African Mecca guests an enjoyable break as well as a wildlife viewing experience in the park on route to Ruaha National Park.
• Excellent Biodiversity: Mikumi National Park has an excellent opportunity to view a diverse number of animals and birds in short period of time without too much of driving around.
• Personalized Wildlife Watching: With relative few numbers of people undertaking the southern safari circuit by road, Mikumi is one of the under visited parks in Tanzania.
• Accommodation Fairly Priced: Accommodations in Mikumi National Park cater to all personalities making it a must visit park for any person visiting Tanzania. The park has at least 3 accommodations allowing guests to select a program that fits their budget.
• Unique Wildlife Experience: Safari guides often state that it is easier to spot a tree-climbing lion in Mikumi National Park than to spot them at Lake Manyara National Park. African Mecca guests also have the opportunity to view the unique Mikumi Giraffes that naturalists say seem to be a cross between the reticulated and Maasai giraffes.
Fact File about Mikumi National Park
Size: 3,230 sq km (1,250 sq miles), the fourth-largest park in Tanzania, and part of a much larger ecosystem centered on the uniquely vast Selous Game Reserve.
Location: 283 km (175 miles) 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. Local buses run from Dar to park HQ where game drives can be arranged.
What to do
Game drives and guided walks. Visit nearby Udzungwa or travel on to Selous or Ruaha.
When to go
Accessible year round.
Two lodges, three luxury tented camps, three campsites.
Guest houses in Mikumi town on the park border. One lodge is proposed at Mahondo and one permanent tented camp at Lumaaga