Mikumi National Park
Established in 1964, the Mikumi National Park near Morogoro is the fourth largest park in Tanzania covering an area of 3230 sq km. The Mikumi National Park forms a unique ecosystem with the surrounding areas which also happen to be similar parks like the Selous game reserve which lies to the south of the park and the Udzungwa Mountains that form the base of the Udzungwa national park that lies to the south-west of Mikumi. Together these places form an ecosystem that is beautiful and quite distinct from the other more famous game reserves of the north of Tanzania. The southern circuit of the Tanzania safari is quite discreet and therefore has fewer visitors as compared to the safaris of the north.
Mikumi not only lives up but also enhances the reputation of Tanzania as the hot spot for a good adventure safari in Africa. Being at a distance of 283 km from Dar es Salaam, it is the most easily accessible park of the southern region. The road journey to the park takes about four hours, whereas by air it would take just about an hour. Most of the tourists who travel on a budget prefer to take the bus from the city to the park gates from where different drives are organised by the park officials. To make the vacation memorable and comfortable there are accommodations available at 3 camp sites and include tented accommodations apart from luxury lodges. The north of the park is made up of flood plains and is different from the southern part. The flood plains are black fine cotton soil that transforms into sticky mud once the rains fall; therefore it becomes very difficult to access this region during the rainy season. The southern part is largely a flat savannah with dispersed timbers and vegetations of acacia, tamarinds and some palms which are said to be rare.
The safaris in Mikumi make for a fantastic viewing of some of the animals Africa is famous for. One can find elephants, impalas, zebras, antelopes, wildebeest, lions, elands, buffaloes, giraffes and hippos. Some of the endangered species of animals like the wild dogs are also found plentiful here. Apart from these, some of the animals found here have distinct features like the giraffes, which according to biologists is the link between the Masai and Somali Giraffes. These animals can be seen from quite a close range and that too in their most natural of habitats, something that is not quite available in the other parks of Tanzania safari. This is because the parks of the southern circuit are more protected from environmental concerns. Apart from animals, the park also has over 400 species of birds that inhabit the area, most of which are migratory ones that migrate from the Eurasia region. Majority of them are visible during the wet season. Some of the more visible species are the hammerkops, red bishops, egrets, lilac breasted rollers and the Abyssinian rollers, horn bills and the marabou storks. They undoubtedly add to the colour of the vast fauna of the Mikumi national park.
During the daylong safari trips, lions can be easily spotted lazing around in the shades of acacia. The sight of these animals is quite majestic and is very thrilling especially for the nature lovers and wild life enthusiasts. The trips usually have breaks at the camps where light food is served with chilled beer and the shade of the trees offer respite from the scorching sun. Although the park and the animals are accessible throughout the year but still the best time to enjoy a holiday amongst these wild beasts would be from May- November.