The Southern Parks
Mikumi National Park
Lying just to the north of the famous Selous Game Reserve, Mikumi is the 4th largest National Park in Tanzania. Covering an area of 3230 sq km it lies in a horseshoe of towering mountains and forested foothills which almost enclose the flood plain of the Mkata River. It is located 283 (about 175 miles) west of Dar es Salaam on the Dar – Morogoro highway. The park is easily accessible by road from Dar (a 3 - 4hr leisurely drive through the beautiful Tanzanian landscape).
During a tour of Mikumi with a park guide you should see elephants, zebras, giraffes, buffalo, the occasional lion or two, hippos, crocodiles, gazelles, wildebeest, and an abundance of birds, depending on the season.
Accommodation facilities in the park are excellent. You can stay in the well-equipped traditional style bandas (lodges) right in the park. Each banda is furnished in Tanzania style with king-size bed as well as a family room with 2/3 single beds, en suite facilities, air conditioning and its own veranda. You can enjoy full-board accommodation. There is an excellent restaurant where you can often watch the elephants at the nearby water-hole as you enjoy your breakfast, lunch or dinner. Staff at the restaurant and open-air bar area are very friendly and welcoming, and there is an excellent menu.
The small town of Mikumi is about 15 min drive from the park entrance and there are a number of very reasonably-priced hotels here if you would prefer alternative accommodation outside the park (see Tan-Swiss Hotel).
Tan-Swiss Hotel/Restaurant, Mikumi
The Tan-Swiss Hotel is located on the main Morogoro – Iringa road just 2 kilometres west of Mikumi National Park. It offers affordable comfortable accommodation with king-sized beds, air conditioning and en-suite facilities, all with private terraces. There are high standard double and triple rooms plus five luxurious self-contained family bungalows. The restaurant with its colourful murals serves a wide variety of delicious meals to suit all tastes.
The hotel is set in pleasant gardens. It has a charm all of its own and the owner is a very genial and welcoming host.
The Tan-Swiss provides an excellent alternative to the park lodges for those wanting high quality accommodation on a lower budget. We stay here regularly during visits to Mikumi.
Further south there are Ruaha and Selous national parks.
The striking landscape of Ruaha is home to an estimated 10,000 elephants as well as herds of buffalo, lions, cheetah, gazelles and more than 400 species of birds. The Great Ruaha River runs through the park and is home to hippos, crocodiles and several species of water bird.
With an area of approximately 45,000 sq km, Selous Game Reserve is Africa’s biggest wildlife reserve covering about 5% of Tanzania’s total land area. A wide diversity of wildlife abounds, including some of Tanzania’s remaining black rhino. The wide Rufiji River meanders for over 200km through Selous on its way to the sea. As well as driving through the reserve you can view it by boat or on foot.