Mikumi National Park is the gateway to the game parks on the southern part of Tanzanian safari circuit. The Selous game reserve joins onto this park in the south and a short drive to the south west is the Udzungwa National Park ? which was created primarily for the protection of flora rather than fauna. The lovely remote Ruaha National Park is a four hour drive south-west from Mikumi.
The main road from Dar es Salaam to Iringa bisects the northern area of this park; an area known as the Mkata Flood Plain. Animals tend to use the highway as game trail and this often makes for unusual photo opportunities. The flood plain is known for the very fine black cotton soil, which means when the rains come the soil is transformed into a sticky, clogging mud and the area becomes inaccessible to vehicles. The rains transform the plains into a lush green meadow. This area of the park has herds of Elephant and lions, giraffes, wildebeest, zebra, warthog, eland, buffalo and impala. There is a tented lodge in this section of the park along with a youth hostel and a number of campsites.
The park lies has low mountains and hills on three sides. The southern section of the park differs markedly from the northern flood plains. The animals also differ they are unused to people and vehicles and tend to run and hide before approaching safari enthusiasts have a chance to spot them. This park suffered in the 1980's from heavy poaching and the animals have learnt to distrust humans; although slowly the animals are becoming habituated once again.There is a natural road stretching from the Vuma hills it passes through ravine and forested country and crosses over the boundary into the northern section of the Selous.
These ridges have been used for centuries by Elephants that have decided to avoid the rivers and keep their feet dry.This park is becoming increasing popular, especially as a weekend break from the nearby Dar es Salaam. This park makes for a perfect start to you safari in the southern parks of Tanzania. It also has amazing light in this park which makes for spectacular photographs..For further information Bethel Adventure on Tanzania, Kilimanjaro and the islands of Zanzibar. http://www.betheladventure.
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By: Ian Williamson