Mikumi national park straddles the main TanZam highway around 300km west of Dar es Salaam. Mikumi National Park (3,230 sq m) is about three to four hours drive from Dar es Salaam, lying astride the highway to Zambia, en route to Ruaha and Udzungwa Mountains National Parks in southern Tanzania. The park is dominated by flood plains and grasslands and rich in wildlife including buffalo, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, hippos, baboons, impala, lions, leopard, warthog, eland, and the rare wild dogs.
More than 400 bird species have been recorded, including a host of European migrants during the rainy season. The main reason for its relatively lowly status is that the core game areas are traversed by the main road, leading to Mikumis reputation as a place through which to transit rather than linger, but remains popular with budget overland safaris and weekenders out of Dar es Salaam.
The park is bisected by a major road, which detracts slightly from its feeling of wilderness, but does make it easy to reach by vehicle; it’s just four hours south-west of Dar es Salaam.
There are a few fairly simple camps here; all suitable for stopping at with your own vehicle and guide. The best in the area is probably Foxes Safari Camp with twelve en-suite tents. Though Kikoboga Camp is also good with 12 simple, clean cottages made of stone and thatch. There is also Vuma Hills which is only 15 minutes from the park entrance and has 16 spacious en-suite tents.
Udzungwa Mountains National Park
Part of an ancient group of mountain ranges which stretch across Tanzania and Kenya, known as ‘The Eastern Arc’, the Udzungwa are the most extensive mountain range in Tanzania. They were formed at least 100 million years ago and many endemic species have evolved here, making them something of ‘an African Galapagos’. Local taboos have helped to preserve the wildlife, and now this national park protects almost 20% of the Udzungwa Mountains