THE MIKUMI & UDZUNGWA NATIONAL PARKS
In Southern Tanzania, on the north-west side of Selous Game Reserve, lie two small, quite offbeat national parks: Mikumi National Park and Udzungwa Mountains National Park. They’re currently visited by very few people, although Udzungwa, in particular, is of considerable scientific importance.
REASONS TO VISIT THE UDZUNGWA & MIKUMI NATIONAL PARKS
It harbours 30-40% of endemic, rare and endangered species of plants and animals, and supports some of the most ancient and diverse biological communities in Africa.
Gateway to the South
Mikumi National Park is connected to its south to the Seleous Game Reserve, probably the largest Tropical terrestrial protected forest/ habitat on earth.
Hike the Udzungwa Mountains
The Udzungwa Mountainsare the most extensive mountain range in Tanzania, full of walking trails which vary in length from a few hours to three days.
The reserves contains the Miombo woodlands, open grasslands, riverine forests and swamps, making it a valuable laboratory for on-going ecological and biological processes.
Great Family Experience
Mikumi has several spots where you can get up close to the environment and wildlife. It’s captivating to both children and adults.
Due to it’s proximity and all weather roads as well as wide ranging accommodation options, the Mikumi & Udzungwa National parks are very cheap to visit.
The Mikumi National Park is near Morogoro region, Tanzania. The Udzungwa Mountains National Park is just 60km away from the Mikumi National Park.
Mikumi features a wide range of accommodation options such as hotels, guest houses & lodges whereas camping is the main option in the Udzungwa Mountains National Park.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The main activities available in the Mikumi National Park is game & bird viewing where as the Udzungwa Mountains National Park offers hikes, bird viewing and fantastic sceneries.
The Udzungwa Mountains & Mikumi National Parks are two parks which have a little bit of everything. Can be perfect for a weekend getaway or a gateway to the bigger Southern Parks and reserves.
ABOUT THE MIKUMI NATIONAL PARK
West of the bustling town of Morogoro, Mikumi National Park which covers an area of 3230 km² is a small reserve with some lovely scenery and offers a gentle game experience – ideal for a two-night stop and a good base for day-trips to the Udzungwa Mountains. Mikumi shares a border and its game populations with the Selous, so you'll find plenty here, including elephant, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, warthog, impala and buffalo. The vast Mkata plain is often a good place to search for lion, whilst the lucky will spot leopard or even wild dog.
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.
ABOUT THE UDZUNGWA MOUNTAINS
Udzungwa Mountains National Park is a national park in Tanzania with a size of 1,990 km2 (770 miles2). The habitats contained within the national park include tropical rainforest, mountain forest, miombo woodland, grassland and steppe. There is a vertical height range of 250–2,576 metres (the peak of Lohomero), which incorporates the Udzungwa Mountains part of the Eastern Arc Mountains. There are more than 400 bird species, 2500 plant species (25% of which are endemics) and 6 primate species. It has the second largest biodiversity of a national park in Africa.
The grasslands of Mikumi support large herds of zebra, wildebeest, buffalo and impala. Giraffe and elephant are also common. Predators, like lions and spotted hyena, are present but sightings are relatively rare. The Udzungwa Mountains mainly hosts primates, though sometimes animals from the Mikumi National Park do wander into the park.
The 80% of Mikumi southeast of the Tanzam Highway is inaccessible to tourists. The 60km circuit open to tourists is on the Mkata River floodplain, comprised of open grassland interspersed with acacia woodland and the odd baobab tree. Udzungwa contains hiking trails full of streams and waterfalls amidst the thick forest vegetation with some amazing sights.
Best things to see in the Udzungwa Mountains National Park / Mikumi National Park | do in the Udzungwa Mountains National Park / Mikumi National Park
For the avid bird watcher, Udzungwa has a variety of bird species, you couldn’t possibly see all of them in a single trip. There are over 400 different bird species in the park. It is actually one of Tanzania’s key bird sanctuaries.
Setting off in walking shoes, with water and snacks, you'll explore the park's walking trails with a national parks' guide. These trails vary in length from a few hours to three days, and do have steep sections, but are always taken at your own pace. Expect to pass streams and waterfalls amidst the thick forest vegetation.
Amongst the larger attractions at Udzungwa are 10 species of primate, three of which are endemic: the Uhehe (aka Iringa) red colobus, the Matunda galago and the Sanje crested angabey. The last of these is amongst the world's 25 most threatened primates.
Northern Mkata Flood Plain
The northern portion of the plain remains swampy all year round providing a favorite mud grounds for buffaloes and number of birds species, such as ground hornbills. The southern depressions form water courses which flow to Mkata River and supporting large population of wildlife including buffalo, wild dog, eland, elephant, giraffe, hartebeest, zebra, leopard, lion, impala, sable antelope, warthog, waterbuck, wildebeest, and greater kudu.
The central point for animals on the Mkata River. There are two water holes (one is the hippo pool) where many animals gather for water drinking, especially during dry season. The famous here are saddle-bill storks, hammer kops, and malachite kingfisher, others including crocodile, monitor lizard, and large pythons.
This area of the Mkata river is famous for the concentration of elephants especially December and January. Other animals which reside in this flood plain are Liechtenstein's hartebeest and eland; packs of wild dogs are seen here more regularly.
WHERE TO STAY : Cottages |Hotels | Lodges | Camps
Accommodation is mainly available in near Mikumi National park. Accommodation in Udzungwa Mountains National Park for visitors within the park is only possible on a camping basis as there are no lodges within the park borders.
Mikumi Nashera Hotel
Mikumi Wildlife Camp
Tan Swiss Lodge
Vuma Hill Camp
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Because of its short distance from the equator, the climate in Mikumi varies from warm to hot and humid, with little change. Unlike the northern parks, the nights in Mikumi are not cold, but rather warm year round. The warmest months are October to March and the coolest are June to August. Elevations in Mikumi vary greatly (from 199 to 1259m/653 to 4131ft) and temperatures drop by about 6.5°C for every 1000m you climb (or 3.5°F per 1000ft). Most tourists will access only lower altitudes of the park.
Parks on the coasts and to the north have two Wet seasons (with a break of dry weather in between) but Mikumi has only one and it continues from November to May. Rains occur daily, usually in the afternoon, but seldom last throughout the entire day. The Dry season is from June to October.
Wildlife viewing in Mikumi is fine throughout the year, but the best time is from late June to October (the Dry season). At this time vegetation is thinner and animals gather around predictable water resources.
Best time to go:
June to October
June to October (Mikumi doesn't usually have crowds at any time)
April and May
June to October (Little to no rainfall)
March and April (Peak of Wet season)