Mikumi National Park is the most accessible of the southern game sanctuaries. It is 283 km to the west of Dar es Salaam - Tanzania's business hub. Occupying 3,230 sq km, Mikumi is the fifth largest park in Tanzania. It carries a variety of wildlife including elephants, lion, giraffe, impala, warthog, zebra, buffalo, wildebeest, hartebeest and eland. Wild dogs - considered an endangered carnivore species are found here in good numbers. Other resident animals are crocodiles, hippos, and monitor lizards.
The open horizons and abundant wildlife of Mkata floodplain is a dominant feature of the park, which is bordered on one side by the Uluguru Mountains and on another by the Lumango range. Mikumi forms the northern border of the Selous Game Reserve and is part of a vast wilderness ecosystem covering 75,000 sq km. Open grasslands stretch on the plains, while the miombo woodlands cover higher ground.
Criss-crossed by a good circuit of game-viewing roads, the Mkata Floodplain is perhaps the most reliable place in Tanzania for sightings of the powerful eland, the world’s largest antelope. The equally impressive greater kudu and sable antelope haunt the miombo-covered foothills of the mountains that rise from the park’s borders.
More than 400 bird species have been recorded, with such colourful common residents as the lilac-breasted roller, yellow-throated longclaw and bateleur eagle joined by a host of European migrants during the rainy season. Hippos are the star attraction of the pair of pools situated 5km north of the main entrance gate, supported by an ever-changing cast of waterbirds.