Mkomazi is one of the most underrated national parks in Tanzania. And that’s only because the park is not on the main tourist route, although it is easily accessible. Most visitors to Tanzania travel west to the Serengeti National Park or the Ngorongoro Crater. But the 3270-square-kilometer park is a great destination for clients coming from or going to Dar es Salaam, or who just want to take a short safari from Moshi or Kilimanjaro.
Mkomazi Park extends to the Kenyan border and Tsavo National Park, which together form the second largest trans-boundary ecosystem where animals are constantly migrating. Usually in June, the large herds of elephants return to the semi-arid Savannah. Visitors can see groups of up to 200 animals. There are also herds of eland, impala, oryx, gerenuk, hartebeest, lesser kudu and grand gazelle as well as dik diks. Cats such as lions, leopards and cheetahs are rarely seen, but also in the Mkomazi.
The diverse vegetation
The vegetation is remarkably unique. The Mkomazi marks the southern point of the Sahel. Within a few kilometers, tree species that typically grow in northern Tanzania, such as acacias, alternate with tree species that grow more in southern Tanzania, such as miombe trees. Due to the diverse vegetation, the bird life is also extremely impressive. More than 450 different bird species such as the cultivated guinea fowl, ostrich, Kori bustard, secretary, ground hornbill, yellow hornbill, Lailac’s breast roller that live permanently in the park and megrim species such as the roller have been recorded.
Hike along the hills
In addition, the landscape of Mkomazi National Park has a unique landscape with the Pare and Usambara Mountains. The mountains are in the south of the park and some hills within Mkomazi. During the game drive the landscape is constantly changing. Some of the ridges are perfect for a walking safari, which is offered in two variants, a short 2-hour walk and a 4-hour walk.
New Bungalows at Zange
For many years there has been a tented lodge called Babus Camp and 2 campsites in the park. A good viewing site is the Dindira picnic site overlooking the dam where wildlife sightings are regular. Recently 3 bungalows have been opened at Zange Gate for overnight stays. These bungalows are well equipped and have air conditioning and TV. Even a cook is available if needed.
The biggest surprise, however, is the outstanding work of Mr. Tony Fritzjohn together with the Adamson Trust. When he started his work in 1989, there was not a single Rhino left in the park and only 11 elephants were still alive. He dedicated 30 years of his life to restore habitat and reintroduce endangered species to Mkomazi National Park. Today, more than 30 rhinos and over 2000 elephants live in the park again and the population of wild dogs is about 400 animals.
To me this Park is has been one big surprise!