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Best Time To Visit Mikumi National Park

Best Time To Visit Mikumi National Park In Tanzania

The best time to visit Mikumi National Park in Tanzania is undoubtedly the dry season. During the dry season, several activities can be carried out as compared to the wet season.

Mikumi national park is found in Tanzania. It is near Morogoro covering a total land area of 3,230 square kilometers and was established in 1964. This is the fourth largest park in the country and is crossed by Tanzania’s A-7 highway. Because of its accessibility, Mikumi is one of the most popular parks in Tanzania. Mikumi national park animals include elephants, giraffes, buffalos, Burchell’s zebras, sable elands, Liechtenstein’s hartebeests, lions, leopards, hippopotamuses, spotted hyenas, and jackals. Birds found include marabou stork, red-billed ox peckers, francolin, cattle egret, guinea fowls, hornbill, and malachite kingfisher.Best Time To Visit Mikumi National ParkJoseph Aliganyira - Leadership Team - Kubwa Five Safaris | LinkedIn

The different seasons at Mikumi National Park

The dry season

Wildlife viewing at Mikumi National Park is fine throughout the year but the dry season is the best time. This season runs from late  June to October. Mikumi National Park enjoys a tropical savanna climate with dry winter by the Koppen-Geiger classification. The yearly average maximum temperature in Mikumi National Park is 85 degrees Fahrenheit ranging from 81 degrees Fahrenheit in June to 88 degrees Fahrenheit in October. The following is what is anticipated to be at Mikumi National Park in the dry season.

Thin Vegetation

No rainfall

Dusty roads

Hippos and other animals concentrated at the hippo pool

Animals concentrated in waterholes

Too much heat

Dry roads

During the dry season, there is no rain thus making the vegetation thin out making it very easy to spot the animals also the hippos plus other animals concentrate at the hippo pool and waterholes making it easy to spot them.

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The wet season

The wet season runs from November to May. It is hot and humid during this season with afternoon temperatures ranging from 86 degrees Fahrenheit and night temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. November and December are the beginning of the wet season. During this season, the number of tourists is low because few people are visiting due to the rains. The following is what is anticipated to be found during the wet season.

Rain in the afternoons

Green and lush scenery

Few tourists

Low prices

Animals seek shelter

Muddy roads

During the wet season, rains are making the animals seek shelter, and also the number of tourists is less, therefore, making it a low season. Most prices are low during this season.

The transition season

Mikumi national park has a dry season running from mid-May to mid-November which makes the transition time to be between January and February when rains switch from short to long rains. The following is what is anticipated in the transition season at Mikumi National Park in the transition season.

Heavy rains

Cloudy and Windy weather

Animals seek shelter

Thick and lush vegetation

Extremely muddy roads

This is an extremely low season as few tourists are traveling because they may not have the luxury to enjoy activities such as game drives, nature walks, and others.

Tourists, therefore, prefer the dry season to the wet and transition season because, during the dry season, several outdoor activities which is the main reason why most people leave their countries to go and tour another country can take place. These activities include game drives, nature walks, hiking, birding, cultural visits, photography, and others. These activities are not possible in the wet season because of the rains that usually make the roads muddy making transport difficult.

Top things to do in Mikumi National Park

1. Game drives

Due to the variety of animals found at Mikumi National Park, game driving is one of the most commonly carried out activities there. The big four can also be spotted while on a game drive. The best time of the day for a game drive is very early in the morning and at around dusk but they can also be done in the afternoons. The night game drive is carried out by a professional guide and armed park ranger to ensure that the tourists are given accurate information and their safety is ensured. It usually takes place between 8 pm to 11 pm.

During this activity, one will drive to the artificial hippo pools where one can view large numbers of hippos and other animals like giraffes, buffalos, elephants, zebras, and others. Game drives give tourists a chance to spot animals clearly and take clear photos of them.

Some animals are nocturnal therefore making a night game drive the best option for seeing them for example spotted hyenas and leopards among others. These animals during the day hide in the bushes and shrubs making it hard to spot them. One can also be able to spot nocturnal predators hunting for prey for example lions and leopards as they have perfect eyesight during night time giving them an advantage over their prey. Tree-climbing lions can be spotted during the day.

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2. Birding 

Mikumi National Park can be referred to as a birding paradise because it is home to more than 400 bird species ranging from European migratory birds, water birds, savanna birds, and others. Birding areas in the park include the hippo pool, Mwanambogo dam, and Mkata river, and during bird watching you can spot various beautiful birds such as the bateleur eagle, open billed stork, lilac breasted roller, African spoonbill, purple crested turaco Shelley’s sunbird, Zanzibar red bishops, yellow-throated long claw to mention but a few. The wet season is the best time for bird watching as both the migratory and residential birds are seen easily.

The birds are best spotted using binoculars because they are small and usually at a distance.

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3. Camping

Mikumi National Park has got two camping sites offering both public and private camping. They include Vuma Hills which is a private campsite and Mkata Plains which is a public campsite. Camping safaris are best done in the dry season hence making the dry season the best time to visit Mikumi National Park.

4. Nature Walk

Due to the presence of beautiful scenic nature and landscape, Mikumi national park is easily a place to go for a nature walk. The nature walk is carried out by a guide who does it for a fee.

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5. Photography

The presence of a beautiful landscape and the number of animals makes Mikumi National Park a good photography spot.

6. Hiking

The park has a variety of hiking trails that include the Hippo pool and the Mkata plain trail and the Kikoboga Trail. Just like a nature walk, this also provides a chance to explore Mikumi National Park and take a look at its beautiful scenery.

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Cultural visits

Cultural visits can be referred to as Cultural Tourism. Cultures found around Mikumi National Park include; Masaai Culture, Choma Culture, Madole Culture, and Kinole Culture. The park has two Community-Based Tourism in the surrounding villages namely; Mikumi Eco and Cultural Tourism Enterprise. These organize activities for tourists such as cultural dances and songs, cultural foods, cultural exhibitions of art created by the community, telling tourists about the history of the culture, and many others.

Park entrance fees

Foreigners – 30 US dollars per day and 15 US dollars for children aged between 5 to 15 years

Residents – 15 US dollars and 5 US dollars for children

Accessibility to Mikumbi National Park

Because the park is located near the city of Dar es Salaam, its entrance is easy to find and almost all safaris of Mikumi National Park start from Dar es Salaam.

The Dar es Salaam-Morogoro route is the most popular road option for visiting Mikumi National Park.

Mikumi National National Park can be accessed by a direct highway that starts from Dar es Salaam through Mikumi National Park. The drive takes from 4 to 5 hours if using private means and if using public means it may go beyond due to frequent stops by buses.

The advantage of using road transport is that the drive is more scenic and enjoyable especially if you use private means where you can make stopovers at significant tourist attractions and enjoy the views. Some attractions you can see on your way include the Udzungwa mountains. The roadway divides the park into two halves which is the Northern which is known for its accessibility, particularly for game drives over the Mkata Flood Plains. The park is only a few kilometers from Morogoro town.

By air, one can fly into Dar es Salaam’s Julius Nyerere International Airport and be picked up by their pre-arranged tour company which will transport the tourist straight to the park. There is also an airstrip serving the park which is called Kikoboga Airstrip. Safari Air Link, which flies to Ruaha, Selous, Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar daily is the only airline that flies to Kikoboga Airstrip.

Also, Mikumi National Park can be accessed by railway transport. The train travels through the park’s interior as well as other bushy areas from Dar es Salaam. The train’s sluggish speed makes it one of the best ways to view the region because it allows you to spend more time looking out the windows and taking in the beautiful scenery.

During the dry season, it is advisable to enter the park from the south, through the adjoining game reserves and the major roadway immediately outside the city during the wet season.

Mikumi national park map can be accessed from Google to know the routes to use when going to the park.

Accommodation at the park

The park has luxury lodges, midrange lodges, and budget lodges. Inside the park, there are two lodges, three tented camps, and three public campsites.

Types of accommodation defined 

Luxury hotels; refer to hotels that provide luxurious accommodation experiences to guests. They have certain features such as luxurious rooms with elegance, amazingly comfortable beds,  conference and event facilities, in-house restaurants, excellent room service, spa facilities, bar spaces, excellent amenities, onsite services, 24/7 room service, gym, and pool facilities. The features can also be termed as the advantages as a guest gets to enjoy all those exclusive services. Examples include  Serena Mivumo River Lodge, Vuma Hills, Lemala Manyara, Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge, Escarpment Luxury Lodge, Ol Tukai Mayara, Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, Stanley’s Kopje Camp to mention but a few.

Midrange Hotels; These are hotels that offer all the comfort an average tourist would expect from a hotel. It provides the perfect basis for the value of money and comfort. A tourist that seeks mid-range accommodation is not looking at luxury but rather comfort. Features of mid-range hotels include comfort, room service, and amenities such as wifi, gym facilities, and bar, and restaurant facilities. Examples include Mikumi Wildlife Camp, Mikumi Safari Cottages, Mikumi Adventure Lodge, Angalia Tented Camp, Camp Bastian Mikumi, Mikumi Adventure Lodge, Mikumi Wildlife Camp, and others.

Budget hotels; These are hotels for budget tourists. They are usually small or mid-size rooms that offer basic facilities and services for a low price. Features of budget hotels are basic facilities without any luxurious features such as clean beds, clean bathrooms, and security. Examples include Mikumi Safari Lodge, Mikumi Resort, Tan Swiss Lodge, Vamos Hotel, Mantis Lodge and Camping, Graceland Hotel, New Hotel Aquiline Arusha, The White House of Tanzania, Marimba Palm Hotel, Safari Inn, Mkomazi Hotels and Camping, Camp Atupele, Voyage Village and others.

What to carry on a safari to Tanzania.

Camera

Binoculars

Insect repellants

Sunscreen

Sunglasses

Hats

Shorts

Long trousers

Boots

Sandals

Lightweight shirts

Frequently asked questions

What is the best month to go to Tanzania?

The best month to go to Tanzania for budget travelers is April. It is the cheapest month to travel in as flight rates are low, hotel room rates are low and hotels and lodges usually offer a discount. This is because it is a low season. For adventurous tourists who like outdoor activities such as game drives, hiking, biding, biking, camping, and others the most convenient months would be June to October during the dry season.

What is the climate in Mikumi National Park?

Mikumi National Park experiences Tropical Climate. It varies from warm to hot and humid. The hottest month is November, the coldest month is July, the wettest month is December and the windiest month is September. The dry season runs from late June to early October and the wet season runs from November to May. the park receives an annual rainfall of 759mm annually.

What is so special at Mikumi National Park?

Firstly, Mikumi National Park is home to part the big five that is lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and buffalos. this makes it special because most tourists love to see the big five. Secondly, it is also a birding paradise as it is home to more than 400 bird species. Examples of the birds include; spur-winged goose, white-faced whistling duck, knob-billed duck, helmeted guinea fowl, eastern crested guinea fowl, crested francolin, coqui francolin, common quail, speckled pigeon, mourning collared dove, red-eyed dove, ring-necked dove, and many others. The park also has a beautiful scenery characterized by its scenic plains and baobabs. The scenic landscapes include Chizua Waterfalls and Kinole Waterfalls.

How do I get to Mikumi National Park?

Getting to Tanzania is by air that is flying to Der es Salaam through Julius Nyerere International Airport. Mikumi National Park is one of the easiest parks to access. This is because almost all its safaris have a departure point in Dar es Salaam, the former capital of Tanzania.

One can get to Mikumi National Park using three means of transport that is; road transport, air transport, and railway transport. By road, from Dar es Salaam to Mikumi, the distance is approximately 302 kilometers and it is a four to five hours drive using a bus. By air, Since Mikumi does not have an airline, one can fly to Selous Game Reserve which is served by Kikoboga then connect to Mikumi National Park by road.

What is the best time of the year to go to Tanzania for a safari?

The best time to visit Tanzania is between the month of late June to early October. During this time, no rain makes it easy to carry out several activities that are enjoyed by tourists. These are the peak months and the busiest months. Prices are usually hiked during this season.  Hotel fees are high as they are in high demand. A safari is enjoyable at this time because the roads are dry, animals are easy to spot due to the sparse vegetation and water is scarce so the animals tend to concentrate around water bodies.

If one is a reserved person and prefers quietness, it is advisable to travel during October to December when short rains are experienced, and therefore the number of tourists is less as compared to the months of late June to early October.

What animals are found at Mikumi National Park?

A variety of animals are found at Mikumi National Park. The park has both land and tree-climbing lions, elephants, buffalos, zebras, rhinos, hippos, impalas, common elands, wildebeests, sable antelopes, cheetahs, leopards, spotted hyenas and jackals. These animals can be sighted during game drives.