Mikumi National Park Tanzania
The Mikumi National Park is found in Tanzania which is located in the east African region of the African continent along geographical co-ordinates 07o12’S 37o08’E. Mikuni National Park is found in the southern circuit drive of Tanzania and its bordered by Selous Game Reserve in the south, Udungwa Mountains National Park in the south west. In the east, Mikumi National Park is bordered by Ngerengere and Magole region. Mikumi National Park was created in 1964 and it spans over 3230sqkm making it Tanzania’s largest conservation area.
Mikumi National Park features various wildlife attractions such as the iconic African elephant, tree climbing lions, zebras, impala, elands, black antelopes, baboons, wildebeests, hippos and buffaloes. Bird species here include African hawk eagle, African grey hornbill, green wood-hoopoe, malachite kingfisher, mariqua sunbird, northern pied babbler, pale batis, pale billed oxpecker, southern ground hornbill, yellow throated longclaw, shelley’s sunbird, purple crested turaco.
Mikumi National Park experiences a tropical savannah climate but Mikumi National Park has one continuous rainy season a characteristic that’s not normally seen tropical savanna climate. The wet season of Mikumi National Park begins in November and goes all the way to May, during this time Mikumi receives it biggest share of rains although its raining during this time, it never rains for the entire day but rather just expect afternoon showers. Temperatures a rather warm with the minimum being a warm 21oC or 70oF especially during nights while the maximum is at 30oC or 86oF which is experienced during daytime around afternoon hours. The dry season starts from June and lasts until October, during this time Mikumi National Park experiences minimum temperatures of 18oC or 64oF and a maximum temperatures of 27oC or 81oF.
Attractions in Mikumi National Park in Tanzania
Mikumi National Park Tanzania has a numerous attraction and these include
African bush elephants; African elephants are the largest land mammals in the world with a male elephant weighing in at 4,700-6,048kg or 10,362-13,334Ib and a shoulder height of 3.2-4.0m or 10.5-13.1ft while their female counterparts weigh in at 2,160-3,232kg or 4,762-7,125Ib and a shoulder height of 2.2-2.6m or 7.2-8.5ft. These land giants have 24 teeth in their mouths and usually lose their teeth 4-6 times in their life time which lies between 60-70 years. What sets these land giants apart from the rest of crowd is their elongated tusks which are in fact their second set of incisors. This means that the tusks are very strong as they are used to up root trees and also as weapons they use while fighting. The tusks weigh between 23-45 kg or 55-99Ib with a length of 1.5-2.4m or 5-8 ft. elephants usually live in groups called families which comprise of 10 or more closely related females with their calves and each of these families is led by an older female called a matriarch. Elephants have the ability to distinguish and communicate with each other using low frequency infrasonic calls. With a body mass that is compared to nothing else on land, African elephants have to feed on an average of 450 kg or 992Ib of foliage to sustain their huge bodies and also drink to over 50 liters of water per day. In fact, these elephants have the ability to smell water to up to 20 km or 12miles away. Elephants have an exposed skin so in order to control over heating of their body, they flap their big ears so as to carry away the heat or bathe in water ponds. It is believed that when an elephant flaps its ears, it can lose about 10oF of heat hence always staying cool even in the hottest temperatures. They also employ their elongated trunk to carry water and pour it over their ears to try and cool themselves. These land giants have very thin hairs around body parts such as eyes and noses and these are mainly for ensuring that germs and other bacteria don’t find it easy to enter the elephants’ body through these parts. The elephant trunk is a master piece of creation as it is equipped with 40000 muscles which is way more than an entire human body has at only 639 muscles. This makes the trunks a very strong and agile part of the elephant that can do many things. The elephant trunk is also used for breathing, snorkeling and also as an extended arm for holding, lifting or pushing anything they want to carry. A female elephant reaches sexual maturity at the age of 10-12 years and can reproduce after every 3-6 years throughout its lifetime. All elephants have a very poor metabolism and that’s why they eat a lot of food but ¾ of it will come out of the elephants undigested as dung. Due to the poor metabolic system, elephant calves have been recorded doing something bizarre and that is eating dung that has been passed out by their mothers but this is all because elephant calves can’t process raw grass hence, they have to resort to eating pre-processed food that has been passed out as dung. They have a gestation period of up to 22 months being the longest in all land mammals. Just like humans and apes, elephants are also highly intelligent species with a brain that weighs about 5kg or 11Ib which about 4 times heavier than that of human making it the heaviest brain of any land mammal. With such a brain, these land giants are believed to exhibit character traits like grief, learning, sense of humor, compassion, self-awareness, a very strong and vivid memory, play and use of tools and possibly a language.
Giraffe; Giraffes can be distinguished from other giraffe sub species from their star-like stamped patches which are irregular and become darker especially in males as they age. The Masai giraffe is generally brown in colour with several shades of colour which can range from dried oak to orange and cream. The lower parts of their limbs are sticky like or very skinny but the upper parts of these limbs are study so as to support their massive weight. The giraffes have a unique walking pattern where as they have the ability to move both the front and hind limbs of one side of the body at once and then counter balance it by moving their long neck in the opposite direction. The adult male giraffe has an average height of 4.3-5.7m or 14.1-18.7ft and weighs in at 1192kg or 2628ib while an adult female weighs in at 828kg or 1825ib hence showing sexual dimorphism amongst giraffes. The giraffe also has a long tongue that is measured at an average of 45cm or 18in and it has a purplish black color which is believed to protect it from sunburns. The giraffes have the longest tail among all land mammals which measures up to 3.3ft long. Due to their big body mass giraffes also have a massive heart that weighs up to 5ibs so as to pump 60 litres of blood needed to move around the giraffe’s body in just one minute. Giraffes also have the ability to sleep while standing and even when they lie down, they will put their long neck on their hip. The Masai giraffe are completely herbivores and spend their biggest part of the day about 16-20 hours feeding so as to satisfy their big appetites. The giraffe has a gestation period of 14-15 months and the birth period is between 1-6 hours after which a single calf is born and the mother will give birth while standing hence the calf will have to be ready for a rough landing when it comes out. The calves are born almost ready to walk because it takes a calf between 20 minutes – 1 hour to start walking. Masai giraffes have a life span of up to 25 years in their natural habitat.
Lions; Mikumi national park is another place where you can get to experience the truly amazing skill of tree climbing among lions in the African savannah the lions here just like in Lake Manyara and Serengeti National Parks climb trees. Lions are part of the big cate family and are muscular, deep chested with rounded heads. Most of the African lion males can distinguished from their females by the presence of a mane around the necks and heads of male African lions which is clearly absent in females but there quite many cases in Africa where the males also don’t have a mane or have a very short and thin one. The male lions are usually bigger than the females but their sizes vary according to location. In east Africa, adult female lions have a body length of 160-184cm or 63-72in weighing in at 119.5kg or 263Ib on average while the adult males have a body length of 184-208cm or 72-82in weighing in at 174.9kg or 386Ib on average. Lions are social animals who live in groups called prides. A pride is always led by a dominant male and their highly territorial animals controlling vast expanses that are strategic with a lot of prey and water. Male dominant lions are responsible for protecting the pride and they will fight off other male invaders, in case the dominant male is defeated by the invading lions, the victor lions will kill off all the cubs that are off springs to the defeated dominant male as a way of ending its blood lineage. Lions are carnivores and are at the top of the food chain feeding on almost all browsers and grazers within their domain due to their ability to hunt as a pride and carry out well coordinated and planned attacks which enables them to take down prey that can even be between 2-4 times bigger than them such as zebras, elephants and buffaloes. Lions usually hunt at night because of their well-developed sense of sight especially at night where their vision is almost 6 times better than that of humans due to the presence of white patches around their eyes which enable them to absorb even the smallest amount of light available during the cover of darkness. Hunting among lions is an affair carried out by female lions mostly and juvenile males and when a kill has been made by the lionesses in a pride, it’s always the dominant male lion who will eat first up to his fill then the rest of the pride will feed on what has remained after the he has finished eating. They have a gestation period of 97 days and a life span of about 10-14 years.
Wildebeest; The wildebeests are members of the antelope group and belong to the connochaetes genus. In east Africa they are 2 closely related wildebeests and that is the blue wildebeest and the black wildebeest but the blue wildebeest is the most common one in the Serengeti plains. These two species can be identified basing on few things like their coat colors and also on the nature of their horns, the blue wildebeest horns protrude to the side then curve downward before curving upwards as they come to an end, the horns of black wildebeests on the other hand curve forward first then downwards and finally upwards as they come to their tips. The blue wildebeests also bigger than the black wildebeests, the male blue wildebeests weigh about 250kg with a standing height of 150cm, female blue wildebeest stand at 135cm at the shoulders and weigh around 180kg while the male black wildebeest stand between 112-120cm at shoulder height and weigh 180kg and their female counterparts stand in at 108cm at the shoulders with a body weight of 155kg. these wildebeests are famous for their annual migration that takes place from June- august. This migration involves these animals to trek great distances about 1500 of kilometers as they cross from the southern Serengeti plains into the southern parts of the Maasai Mara reserve in southern in Kenya. This migration is majorly done following the rainfall season patterns in the east African region. During these migrations, the wildebeest organize themselves in large herds and trek in this group to areas of new pastures. These animals also show a high level of swarm intelligence as they perform similar function without anyone or anything dictating it to them for example, they can all decide to cross the river from the same spot regardless of whether it is infested with many predators like crocodiles or not. 97 days and a life span of about 10-14 years.
Elands; These belong to the antelope family and they are also commonly referred to as the eland antelopes. These are commonly sighted animals on the savannah plains of Africa. The coat colors of elands differ depending on their geographical location. The elands of eastern Africa have a smooth coat with females having a tan coat color while males have a darker coat with a bluish grey tinge. Both male and female elands have horns with steady spiral ridges, the females have longer horns with a tighter spiral than those of males which are shorter and thicker. Elands live in herds of up to 500 individuals. Male elands have a shoulder height of 150-183cm or 59-72in, the male elands weigh about 400-942kg or 882-2,077Ib while females have an average weight of 300-600kg or 660- 1,320Ib with a body length of 200-280cm or 79-110in and a shoulder height of 150-183cm or 59-72in. They have a gestation period of about 274 days and a lifespan of about 15-20 years.
Impala; Impalas have a reddish brown coat with tan flanks. Male impalas grow lyre slender horns while female impalas are hornless. Impalas stay in either female or male herds and only come together during mating seasons. Facial features include white rings around their eyes and a light chin. This is a medium sized antelope with an average body length of 130cm or 51in. The males have a shoulder height of 75-92cm or 30-36in while females reach 70-85cm or 28-33in at the shoulder. The males weigh around 53-76kg or 117-168Ib while females weigh in between 40-53kg or 88-117Ib hence showing sexual dimorphism. They have a gestation period of about 7 months.
Cape buffaloes; The cape buffalo is also referred to as the African buffalo. It is usually mistaken to be a close relative to domesticated cattle but its rather related to actually other bigger bovines. Cape buffaloes are usually found in the great plains of African savanna and they have a coarse black coat unlike their close relatives the forest buffaloes which have a reddish coat. As the male buffaloes grow older, the bases of their horns grows closer and it can even unite forming a feature called a “boss” which is very had to penetrate even with a gun bullet of less 16mm. you can differentiate a male buffalo from a female one by observing the structure of their horns, the male buffalo horns grow while curving outwards while the ones of the female grow while curving inside. The African buffalo is a big animal with a shoulder height of 1.0-1.7m or 3.3-5.6ft. it has a body length of 1.7-3.4m or 5.6-11.2ft and its tails has a length of 70-110cm or 28-43in. an adult male African buffalo can weigh as much as between 500-1000kg but the females usually weigh less than this. Buffaloes usually stay in large herds that consist anywhere from 5-1000 individuals and this is primarily for protection purposes from their predators. They have a gestation period of 11.5 months and a life span of over 25 years in their natural habitats.
Hippopotami; Hippos are large animals only behind the African elephant that can weigh anywhere between 1300-1500kg or 2870-3310ib for both sexes. The hippos are semi aquatic as they both live on land and in water. Hippos are herbivores animals can come on land in the evening to graze, they can be easily identified basing on barrel shaped body, short legs and long muzzles or mouths, their body is hairless with a purplish gray to blue black color which is also thick about 2in or 6cm. due to lack of body hairs, hippos secret an element that is reddish orange to brown to act as a protective layer both from the scotching sun and bacterial infection. This phenomenon is referred to as “blood sweating” hippos have a very powerful jaw which can open as wide as 180o and its filled with monstrous teeth with their incisors growing up to 40cm or 1ft4in and canines growing up to 50cm or 1ft8in. despite their short legs and big sizes hippos can burst to 30km/hr in short distances. Hippos are highly territorial while in water but not on land, they have a gestation period of 243days and can live up to 40-50 years.
Birds in Mikumi National Park in Tanzania
African hawk eagle, African grey hornbill, green wood-hoopoe, malachite kingfisher, mariqua sunbird, northern pied babbler, pale batis, pale billed oxpecker, southern ground hornbill, yellow throated longclaw, shelley’s sunbird, purple crested turaco.
Malachite kingfishers; The malachite kingfisher has a body length of 13cm and weighs 12-19g. both males and females have a rufous supraloral spot, long forehead and crown feathers forming crest band of black and pale greenish blue. They have a voice call of short shrill of repeated “seek-seek” sound.
Mariqua sunbird; This bird has a metallic green color with golden reflections on the head, neck, upper breast area, rump and part of the wings, its lower breast area has a red color. The belly, tail and back are black. The bill for the mariqua sunbird is black long and thin and also the legs are black. This bird has a body length of 11-14cm with the male mariqua weighing 9.1-14g.2g while the female weigh 7-12.3g. this bird makes a voice call of a complex song that lasts for a few minutes involving jumble of chur-chur.
Forest wood hoopoe; This is a slender small and darker wood hoopoe that has a dark tail. These birds have a metallic blue green or purple plumage. They have brightly colored red orange bills and legs that have a pale orange color. Their eyes are black, the tail has a few white markings at the edge. These birds have a body length of 26-28cm with an average body weight of 22-25.5g. the voice call made by these birds consists of series of 7-20 loud plaintive whistles of “kweep-kweep- kweep” sound. They feed on mostly arthropods such as beetles, spiders, cockroaches, ants, termites and sometimes caterpillars.
Purple crested turaco; This bird has a crest that has a purple color sitting above a glossy emerald green head. This turaco has a red ring around their black eyes, the chest and neck areas of this turaco are green and brown with the rest of the body being purple. The bill of the turaco is black while its legs are greyish. The purple crested turaco has a body length 42-46cm with the males weighing 225-303g while the females weigh 218-328g. these birds feed on fruits of plants like ficus sycamorus, ficus soldanella.
African hawk eagle; The African hawk eagle has its upper body parts black with white flecks while the opposite can be said of its underparts as they are majorly white with black streaks. Their under-wing flight feathers are white with a black trailing edge. The interior side of the tail is also similar as it is white with a black trailing edge. This bird has a body length of 55-62cm with a male weighing 1.15kg- 1.4kg while females weigh 1.4-1.75kg hence exhibiting a sexual dimorphism. The wing span of this eagle 132-150cm. The African hawk eagle is built to be a super bird of prey as it has a superb sense of sight capable of clearly sighing its prey from a kilometer away. Its also equipped with long black sharp talons designed to grab and hold firm its victims and a sharp hooked bill for decapitating its prey. As a way of maximizing their chances of having lunch or dinner depending on the timing, the African hawk eagles has been recorded doing co-operative hunting in pairs as one of them flushes the prey with a quick ambush while the other captures the flashed victim. the eagle’s diet consists of wild birds like guinea fowls, francolins, hornbills as well as small mammals like hyraxes hares and dik diks. These eagles are monogamous breeders and during courtship the breeding pair will soar above the nest. The male will usually dive towards the female and the female displays her talons to the male. As a sign of his acceptance, the male brings nuptial gifts in form of prey to the female. The African eagle lays a clutch of 1-2 eggs.
Yellow throated long claw; The yellow throated long claw has a body length of 20-22cm, males weigh between 43.5-57g while females weigh between 43-51.7g. This species of birds has a distinctive long claw and the males have a deep lemon yellow supercilium and underparts are yellow as well. This species makes a typical song either when perched on a tree branch or in flight of a rapid “tir-tri-tri-tri” sound.
Shelley’s sunbird; Shelley’s sunbird has a plumage that is almost similar to the black bellied sunbird but the Shelley’s sunbird has a metallic emerald head throat. Its neck has a bright yellowish green gold and copper reflections, the Shelley’s sunbird has red collar on its breast, its bill is thin long and black and its legs are black as well. It has a body length of 9-13cm and an average weight of 8g. the voice call of this bird is a fast warbling song of “chibee-cheeu-cheeu”. It feeds mainly on nectar, insects and spiders.
Pale batis; This bird has grey crown, black masked face with a white supercilium or also known as eyebrow. The male pale batis has a white neck, black breast band and white under parts while the female has a rufous brown breast band neck and white underparts. The bills and legs are similar coated in a black color. The upper parts of this bird are greyish white and black colors while the upper tail is black and white below. The pale batis has a body length of 10.5-11.5cm and weigh 8-13.1g. this bird makes a voice call with long piping of 3 notes of “pook pook pok” sound.
Activities in Mikumi National Park in Tanzania
Activities in Mikumi National Park include game drives, birding, and nature walks
Game drives; With a plenty full of wild game, a game drive in Mikumi National Park is a ride in a tropical savannah paradise as you get to meet and greet with your eyes not hands with numerous wild mammals such as the African elephant, tree climbing lions, zebras, impala, elands, black antelopes, baboons, wildebeests and buffaloes, hippos that call this park their home.
Birding; Mikumi National Park is equipped with 400 bird species hence making this park a must to visit destination for any enthusiastic birder. The bird species here include African hawk eagle, African grey hornbill, green wood-hoopoe, malachite kingfisher, mariqua sunbird, northern pied babbler, pale batis, pale billed oxpecker, southern ground hornbill, yellow throated longclaw, shelly’s sunbird, purple crested turaco.
Nature walks; Nature walks in Mikumi National Park are the best way to explore this eco system as you easily get up close and personal with the nature. For birding enthusiasts, this is the best way to do birding here as you can easily sneakily get close to the wild birds here without having to scare them off.
How to get to Mikumi National Park Tanzania
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Accessing Mikumi National Park in Tanzania
Mikumi National Park can be accessed by both road and air transport
Mikumi National Park lies about 320km or 200miles west of dar es salaam.
Air transport to Mikumi National Park is easily available as there are many domestic flight charters that can get you from any of the two Tanzania’s international airports to Mikumi National Park. Safari Air Link offers daily flights from Dar es salaam to Mikumi National Park before connecting to Selous or Ruaha conservation areas. Many global airlines have scheduled flights to Tanzania and when you have decided to come to Tanzania your entry point is likely to be either Kilimanjaro international airport which lies about 46km or 26miles outside Arusha town or Julius Nyerere international airport just a few kilometers outside Dar es salaam. Some of the international airlines with flights to Tanzania include the following.
Brussels airlines Fly emirates British airways
Ethiopian airways RwandAir
Turkish airways Condor
KLM Airlines Kenya airways Qatar arways
Fly emirates British airways
Ethiopian airways RwandAir
Accommodations/safari lodges/ hotels in Mikumi National Park in Tanzania
mikumi wildlife camp; morongoro about 3minute walk to the south gate of mikumi national park. 12 guestrooms that come in both double and family occupancy. guestrooms come with private bathrooms free toiletries, private patios and fans. restaurant, lounge area, well stocked bar, swimming pool, laundry services, daily house keeping, garden, terrace. price averages around 263$
udzungwa falls lodge; about 1.5 hours drive to mikumi national park. 40 rooms that come in double and family occupancy. all rooms come with a private bathroom free hair dryers, fatscreen tvs, mini bars and hair dryers and private balconies. restaurant, lounge area, private bars, swimming pool, self parking, fitness center. price range is around 282-322$
matembezi safari lodge; located in Morogoro. numerous rooms that come in double and family occupancy. guest rooms have private bathrooms with both cold and hot running water. restaurant, lounge area, bar, laundry services, daily house keeping, garden, terrace. prices range around 150-160$
vuma hills; mikumi national park south gate lies about 7 minutes drive from vuma hills lodge. numerous rooms that come in double occupancy. guestrooms have private bathrooms with both cold and hot running water. restaurant, lounge area, swimming pool, laundry services, daily house keeping, garden, terrace.
morio motel camp site; located in morongoro about a 14-minute drive to the mikumi park south gate. 29 guest rooms that come in single double and triple occupancy. guestrooms have private bathrooms with both cold and hot running water. restaurant, lounge area, swimming pool, laundry services, daily house keeping, garden, terrace.
mikumi adventure lodge; located in morongoro about 12 minute drive to mikumi national park. numerous rooms that come in double occupancy. guestrooms have private bathrooms and free wi-fii. restaurant, lounge area, swimming pool, laundry services, daily house keeping, garden, terrace. price range from 40$
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