Zebra calf in Mikumi National Park, Tanzania
Vacations to Mikumi National Park, Tanzania
Often likened to the Serengeti, Mikumi National Park is actually rather more unique in its flora and fauna. Along with Selous Game Reserve to the south, it shares an ecosystem all of its own, with rare plants and trees including boabab, tamarind, acacia, black hardwood trees and palms, as well as a wealth of animal species.
This unusual mix of flora has led to some distinctive behaviour amongst the park's animals – here is one of the few places in the world where lions can be found to climb trees. Similarly, the region's giraffes are also quite unusual, as the subspecies found here is thought to be the link between the Masai giraffe and the reticulated giraffe. For budding biologists or ethologists, therefore, or simply those fascinated by these magnificent animals, this area is a must.
Due to its remote location and the challenges that some travel operators have faced in reaching Mikumi, the National Park remains one of the last great unspoiled wildernesses left in Africa. Tourism here is kept to a minimum, so you can be sure that upon arrival you will be experiencing sights which few before you have seen.
The dry season (between May and November) are the best times to visit, but the climate allows for year-round trips. Among the many highlights of the area – aside from the aforementioned lions and giraffes – are vast numbers of zebras, wildebeest, elephants and buffalo. Not to mention a stunning, sweeping grassy plains landscape, which is punctuated by dramatic mountains. The area is contained within the Uluguru Mountains to the north-east, the Rubeho Mountains to the north-west and the Lumango Mountains at the south-eastern edges.
It's this geology that makes Mikumi National Park so special: lying between these huge landforms, it feels cut off from the rest of the world. It is remote, and as a consequence it feels almost untouched and it's this that makes Mikumi a truly timeless destination.
Glimpse rare tree-climbing lions
Spot a lesser-spotted giraffe