Mikumi National Park
This relatively small (3230 sq km) National Park lies 300 km west of Dar-es-Salaam and is the closest park to the capital. It is nestled between the Uruguru mountains to the East and the Rift Valley escarpments to the Southwest. As it is close to the Selous ecosystem and therefor part of it, it benefits from the highest game density of the entire conservation area, while it is easily to access.
Although less spectacular regarding Flora and Fauna, the Mikumi national park obtains a good impression of the African animal world and is suitable very well for a short visit. There is a rich variety bird species as well as large numbers of giraffes, buffaloes and elephants and close to the water holes also lions, leopards and hippos. Furthermore you can see zebras, lions, wild dogs, pythons, hartebeest, wildebeest, elephants, impala, warthog, eland and antelop. Several observation towers enable you to overview the park in its entirety. Mikumi National Park is mostly miombo woodland with gently rolling hills.
Accommodation Two lodges, one luxury tented camp with plans for a second, 3 camp sites. Guest houses in Mikumi town on the park border
Ruaha National Park
Ruaha National Park covers an area of 12,950 sq. kms and is Tanzania’s second largest National Park. It forms the core of a much larger (45,000 sq. kms) ecosystem including Rungwa and Kisigo Game Reserves and although it was established in 1910 as part of the Saba Game Reserve it’s present boundaries were demarcated as recently as 1964.
The central spine of the Park is the watershed between the Nzombe and Ruaha rivers, with its dramatic escarpment above which are large stretches of miombo woodland. Below this lie undulating plains with vegetation ranging from dry bush country to treeless grasslands, swamps and evergreen forests intersected by the many sand rivers that are such a feature of this area. Ruaha represents a transition zone where eastern and southern species of flora and fauna overlap and in all some 1,650 plant species and over 450 bird species have been recorded within the park itself.
Ruaha is known for its large elephant and buffalo herds and one of its principal attractions lies in being able to see greater and lesser kudu as well as the majestic sable and roan antelope within the same area. As well as an abundance of lion, leopard and cheetah it is also home to the increasingly rare African Hunting Dog
Selous Game Reserve
Only 200 km West of Dar es Salaam lies the mighty Selous Game Reserve, one of Africa’s least known yet wildest conservation areas. At an unbelievable 55,000 sq km Selous is almost twice the size of Belgium and four times larger than the famous Serengeti in the North, covering 5% of Tanzania’s land area. The Selous’ ecosystem as a whole is made up of a few conservation areas, namely Mikumi in the North and the Kilombero game controlled area in the West, covering in total over 90,000 sq km of pristine wilderness devoid of human influence. Fed by the mighty Rufiji River, the largest river in East Africa which drains most of South Western Tanzania’s water, this reserve is home to over 1,000,000 large animals and is home to over half of Tanzania’s elephant population. Selous is unique among reserves in Tanzania as it encompasses an area exclusively devoted to tourism in its Northern part, making up for about 10% of the reserve’s total size. This sector North of the Rufiji River is mostly open wooded grassland and is dominated by Terminalia spinosa trees – ‘flat topped’ trees, in classic African fashion. However this section of the reserve is unusually diverse, comprising dense hardwood forests in the East, open plains in the centre, and rocky arid hills and volcanic springs in the West. The reserve is also crisscrossed by a multitude of dry riverbeds surrounded by dense riverine vegetation where many of Selous larger animals spend their days. –