Forming the northern borders of Africa’s biggest game reserve – the vast Selous – Mikumi is the most popular of Tanzania’s national parks, the most accessible part of a 75,000 square kilometre (47,000 square mile) wilderness that stretches almost to the shores of the Indian Ocean.
The main feature of the park is the Mkata flood plain, along with the mountain ranges that border the park on two sides. Open grasslands dominate the flood plain, eventually merging with miombo woodland covering the lower hills. The woodland is the favourite haunt of the lion, sometimes perching high in the trees to keep their feet dry from the sticky black mud of the wet season. Observation towers above the treeline allow panoramic views of the plain laid out below, home to formidable herds of buffalo. Mikumi’s elephants are
more compact than those in the rest of the country, but still a formidable sight when
viewed close up.
The rains swell the park’s population of birds to more than 300 species as European migrants seek refuge in Mikumi, joining resident stars like the Lilac-Breasted Roller. Mikumi’s road network provides visitors with easy game viewing drives and there are hippo, zebra, giraffe, hartebeest and wildebeest are in abundance. The park is accessible all year round.