Mikumi National Park covers 3237 square kilometers and lies within the Mkata River plain bordered by the Uluguru Mountain range to the east and the Rubeho Mountains on the west, an area of lush vegetation which particularly attracts elephants and buffalos. Open grasslands dominate in the flood plain, eventually merging with the Miombo woodland covering the lower hills. Wildlife is abundant with giraffes, zebras, buffalos, hartebeests, wildebeests, elephants, wild dogs, and smaller mammals and reptiles. Mikumi’s vegetation includes woodland, swamp and grassland with two water holes, Mkata and Chamgore. Apart form the saddle-bill stork, hammer kop and malachite kingfisher, there are also monitor lizards and a deadly python inhabiting the pools.
SELOUS GAME RESERVE
Selous is one of the most remote and least visited game park in Africa, but at 15,000 square miles, it is the world’s largest game reserve. The name derives from hunter-explorer Frederick Courtenay Selous, a keen naturalist and conservationist as well as a hunter. He was killed in the First World War in the Beho Beho region of the reserve. The defining feature of the Selous is the great Rufiji River, which naturally splits the ecosystem into two distinct parts. The
area can be explored by boat, sailing through swamps and lagoons where elephant often come to bathe, or even by foot, as the Selous is one of few Tanzanian reserves to allow walking tours. It has the world’s largest number of big game, more than 120,000 elephants, 160,000 buffaloes and about 2,000 rhinoceros. In addition, the Selous contains Africa’s greatest concentration of hippopotamus, crocodiles and wild dogs.
Udzungwa is the largest and most biodiverse of a chain of a dozen large forest-swathed mountains that rise majestically from the flat coastal scrub of eastern Tanzania. Known collectively as the Eastern Arc Mountains, this archipelago of isolated massifs has also been dubbed the African Galapagos for its treasure-trove of endemic plants and animals, most familiarly the delicate African violet.
Udzungwa alone among the ancient ranges of the Eastern Arc has been accorded national park status. It is also unique within Tanzania in that its closed-canopy forest spans altitudes of 250 metres (820 feet) to above 2,000 metres (6,560 ft) without interruption.
RUAHA NATIONAL PARK
The Ruaha National Park is Tanzania’s second largest park and the world’s largest elephant sanctuary. Although set in spectacular scenery with an abundance of wildlife, the park is one of the lesser visited in the country, keeping it an isolated and peaceful wilderness. Amongst the game found at the park are elephants, buffalos, giraffes, cheetahs, lions, leopards, a wide variety of antelope and over 465 recorded species of birdlife.