Mikumi National Park abuts the northern border of Africa’s biggest game reserve – the Selous – and is transected by the surfaced road between Dar es Salaam and Iringa.
It is thus the most accessible part of a 75,000 square kilometer (47,000 square mile) tract of wilderness that stretches east almost as far as the Indian Ocean.
Lions survey their grassy kingdom – and the zebra, wildebeest, impala and buffalo herds that migrate across it – from the flattened tops of termite mounds, or sometimes, during the rains, from perches high in the trees.
Giraffes forage in the isolated acacia stands that fringe the Mkata River, islets of shade favored also by Mikumi’s elephants.
More than 400 bird species have been recorded, with such colorful common residents as the lilac-breasted roller, yellow-throated long claw 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 water birds.