MIKUMI NATIONAL PARK

Sharing a common border and ecosystem with Selous Game Reserve to the south, Mikumi National Park is only three to four hours drive from city of Dar es Salaam, lying astride the main highway to Zambia, and enroute to the National Parks of Udzungwa Mountains, Ruaha and Kitulo. The main feature of the park is the Mikumi flood plain, along with the mountain ranges that border the park on two sides. Open grasslands dominate in the flood plain, eventually merging with the miombo woodland covering the lower hills.

Mikumi National Park covers an area of 3,230 sq km, and is rich in wildlife including buffalo, wildebeest, zebra, lion, elephant, impala, hippos, baboon, giraffe, warthog, waterbuck and eland which can be viewed throughout the year. Reptiles including crocodile, monitor lizard and python are also resident in the park. Other animals that can be sighted although rare are the Sable Antelope resident in the southern part of the park bordering the Selous, the Greater Kudu, leopard, and the wild dog also known as the African Hunting Dog. More than 400 bird species have been recorded, including European migrants during the rainy season.

Mikumi National Park is one the most popular visitor points sold from our city of Dar es Salaam branch office. Being close to Dar es Salaam on good road, day trips are popular especially for those who have little time to spend an overnight there. But it is recommended to spend at least a night in Mikumi to enjoy a fulfilling game drive in this beautiful park. A number of accommodation facilities are available in Mikumi.

Sharing a common border and ecosystem with Selous Game Reserve to the south, Mikumi National Park is only three to four hours drive from city of Dar es Salaam, lying astride the main highway to Zambia, and enroute to the National Parks of Udzungwa Mountains, Ruaha and Kitulo. The main feature of the park is the Mikumi flood plain, along with the mountain ranges that border the park on two sides. Open grasslands dominate in the flood plain, eventually merging with the miombo woodland covering the lower hills.

Mikumi National Park covers an area of 3,230 sq km, and is rich in wildlife including buffalo, wildebeest, zebra, lion, elephant, impala, hippos, baboon, giraffe, warthog, waterbuck and eland which can be viewed throughout the year. Reptiles including crocodile, monitor lizard and python are also resident in the park. Other animals that can be sighted although rare are the Sable Antelope resident in the southern part of the park bordering the Selous, the Greater Kudu, leopard, and the wild dog also known as the African Hunting Dog. More than 400 bird species have been recorded, including European migrants during the rainy season.

Mikumi National Park is one the most popular visitor points sold from our city of Dar es Salaam branch office. Being close to Dar es Salaam on good road, day trips are popular especially for those who have little time to spend an overnight there. But it is recommended to spend at least a night in Mikumi to enjoy a fulfilling game drive in this beautiful park. A number of accommodation facilities are available in Mikumi.

KITULO NATIONAL PARK

On the edge around 2600 meters above sea level between the rugged peaks of the Kipengere, Poroto and Livingstone mountains, the well watered volcanic soils of Kitulo support the largest and most important montane grassland community in Tanzania. Referred by locals as The Garden of God, Kitulo National Park is “one of the great floral spectacles of the world”, a rare botanical marvel and home to 350 species of vascular plants, including 45 varieties of terrestrial orchid, which erupt into a riotous wildflower display of breathtaking scale and diversity during the main rainy season of late November to April.

One of the most important watersheds for the Great Ruaha River, Kitulo is also the first national park in tropical Africa to be gazetted largely for its floral significance not only a multitude of orchids, but also the stunning yellow-orange red-hot poker and a variety of aloes, proteas, geraniums, giant lobelias, lilies and aster daisies, of which more than 30 species are endemic to southern Tanzania. Also Kitulo is attractive for bird watching, home to rare bird species. Big game is sparsely represented, though a few hardy mountain reedbuck and eland still roam the open grassland. Located about 100 kilometers from Mbeya town in Southern Tanzania, Kitulo National Park (413 squire kilometers) is a botanist and hiker’s paradise.

Wild flowers displays peak during the rainy season between December and April excellent time for botanists, while the sunnier months of September to November are more comfortable for hiking but less rewarding to botanists. Conditions are cold and foggy from June to August. Accommodation is available in Mbeya town.

RUAHA NATIONAL PARK

Ruaha National Park takes its name from the Ruaha River, which flows along its southeastern border. The river provides permanent water in the park, and during the dry season animal concentration along its banks is spectacular. Ruaha National Park is about two to three hours drive from Iringa, a famous town on the Dar es Salaam to Zambia highway. Covering an area of 20,226 square kilometers, Ruaha is the largest National Park in Tanzania. Its borders were extended in 2008 to include Usangu Game Reserve to protect the Ihefu wetlands and the Great Ruaha River catchment areas and biodiversity.

This wilderness is rich in flora and fauna and contains a wide variety of animals that includes Greater and Lesser Kudu, roan and sable antelopes, which are rarely seen in most other game parks especially in Northern Tanzania.

Ruaha National Park is famous for its herds of elephant and buffaloes. The Ruaha River, which plays an important role in the ecosystem of the park, provides sanctuary to a large number of hippos and crocodiles. During the dry season the river attracts great quantities of game including lions, leopard, hunting or wild dog, impala, waterbuck, warthog, giraffe, and elands. In the plains ostriches, cheetahs and Grants Gazelles can be seen. The park is rich in bird life throughout the year, with over 450 bird species recorded. The best time for game viewing is during the dry season, from May to December. During the wet months from January to April some tracks become impassable.

SELOUS GAME RESERVE

The Selous Game Reserve, with an area of about 55,000 sq. km, is the largest well-watered wildlife sanctuary in Africa, and one of the largest protected areas in the world. Its size is simply stunning, bigger than Switzerland, uninhabited and little touched by human interference. It is perhaps the most pristine wilderness still remaining in Africa, with a wide variety of wildlife habitats, including open grasslands, Acacia and miombo woodlands, swamps and riverine forests in the many tributaries of the mighty Rufiji River which flows through the reserve. Due to its unique ecological importance, it was designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations in 1982. Its wildlife is spectacular, with some of its mammal and reptile populations the largest in Africa, namely buffaloes, elephants, hippos, wild dogs and crocodiles.

Other wildlife include the wildebeest, impala, waterbuck, zebra, eland, the greater kudu, sable antelopes, giraffe, baboon, the vervet and blue monkeys, and the black and white colobus monkey which can be seen in certain riverine forests moving from tree to tree in family groups. There is a large population of predators including lions, leopards, cheetah and the spotted hyena, and about 440 species of birds in the Selous, of both resident and migratory birds. Named after Captain Frederick Courtney Selous, a legendary 19th century naturalist, explorer and hunter, Selous Game Reserve was founded in 1905.

Selous is situated in the southern part of Tanzania, bordered by Mikumi National Park to the northwest and by Udzungwa Mountains National Park and Kibasira Swamp to the west. The greater part of northern Selous is reserved for photographic safaris, and it is one of the most beautiful and game rich areas in the whole ecosystem.

The Selous wilderness meets the kind of dream visitors have of Africa of the early European explorers like Dr. Livingstone and Henry Stanley. The Reserve offers a wider variety of game viewing opportunities to the visitor, including the thrilling experience of a foot safari through game inhabited bushes in the company of an armed ranger. The many waterways in the Reserve provide an excellent natural setting for boat safaris, both for game viewing and bird watching. This is in addition to the game drives in 4X4 motor vehicles which, combined with boat and walking safaris, offer an exciting and richer game viewing itinerary unique to the Selous Game Reserve. The best time to visit the Selous is from June to October. During the long rains, between March and May, some parts of the Selous become impassable and are temporarily closed for game drives.

UDZUNGWA MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK

Udzungwa Mountain National Park is one of East Africa’s great forests, has an area of 1,990 sq km, bordered by the Great Ruaha River to the north, with Mikumi National Park and Selous Game Reserve located further to the north and east. Protected as a national forest reserve until 1992 when it was commissioned as National Park, Udzungwa Mountains is undoubtedly one of the few true virgin and unique forested lands remaining in the world. The major attractions include its biologically diverse forest; comprise some plant species found nowhere else in the world, from a tiny African violet to 30 meter high trees.

Apart from the forest, which acts as a water catchment area and having a large number of endemic species of both animals and plants, the park has spectacular mountains scenery, grasslands, rocks, rivers and waterfalls. One of the most interesting sights is the presence of two indigenous species of primates, the Iringa red colobus monkey and the Sanje Crested Mangabey, not known until 1979. Apart from providing habitat to about six species of primates, its plateau contains populations of elephants, buffalos, lions, leopards, African hunting dogs and several forest bird species.

Walking safaris to the Sanje River waterfalls (170 meters) is one of the popular activities in this park. Udzungwa Mountains can conveniently be combined with game drives in nearby Mikumi National Park, an hours drive to the north, or be included in the Ruaha National Park (4-5 hours drive) and Selous Game Reserve itineraries. The park can be visited throughout the year although it is a bit slippery during the wet rainy season. The dry season extends from June to October.

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