Mikumi National Park
Location and Description:
Mikumi National Park was gazetted as a National Park in August 1964 and is the 4th largest park (following recent extension of Katavi) in Tanzania covering 3230 square kilometres. The park is named after the village just beyond its western border on the TANZAM (Dar es salaam-Iringa) highway which bisects the park for 50 km.
The main feature is the Mikumi flood plain, along with the mountain ranges that border the park on two sides. Mikumi shares its boundary in the extreme south, with the Selous Game Reserve, and the two make one ecosystem with some animals (Elephant, Buffaloes and Zebras) migrating to and from the northern part of the reserve into Mikumi National Park. Because of its accessibility it is one of the most popular parks in Tanzania and is an important centre for education where students go to study ecology and conservation. Lion is commonly seen as are packs of wild dogs, rare elsewhere in Africa. Crocodiles,, monitor lizard and python are commonly found. The rains swell the park’s population of birds to over 300 species of birds have been observed in the park many of which are Eurasian migrants see refuge in Mikumi, joining resident stars like the lilac-breasted roller and who stay between October and April. Some Mikumi’s elephants are more unique as encounter with naturally ivory less ones is not uncommon than those in the rest of the country, but still a formidable sight when viewed close up.
The park lies in a horseshoe of towering mountains and forested foothills which almost enclose the flood plain of the Mkata river. To the east rises the 2743 metre massif of the Uluguru ranges while to the south west is seen the craggy-peaks of the Lumango mountains. The hog backed ridges of the Mbesera, Madzini and Mazunyungu hills sweep round northward and westward. To the far south is the Udzungwa Mountains National Park, gazetted in 1992, which is part of the Eastern Arc Mountains annexed as mega biodiversity hotspots which include the Usambara. It is possible to visit the Udzungwa as a day trip from Mikumi.
The vast Selous-Mikumi is the most accessible part of a 75,000 km (47,000 Mile) wilderness that stretches almost to the shores of the Indian Ocean. Mikumi is accessible by road or by air from Dar es Salaam or Arusha.
The best time to visit:
During dry season which is June through February. During the rainy season (March through – May) some of the park roads are impassable. However the park is accessible all year round.
There is 24 hours mains electricity in Mikumi Town. But inside the park electricity is supplied by a generator, normally off between 11pm and 6am.
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