MKOMAZI NATIONAL PARK
Mkomazi National Park is a magnificent, 3,245 square kilometer national park in northern Tanzania. The name was derived from Pare tribe’s word for “scoop of water” meaning little water as the area is too dry, especially during the dry season.
MKOMAZI NATIONAL PARK. It is where black rhinos and wild dogs have returned to roam. East of the Pare Mountains, Mkomazi falls along the edge of a semi-arid savanna arc that stretches into bordering Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park. Every day, thousands of people pass near its gates at Same Town on one of Tanzania’s busiest highways. Few, however, know of its rugged acacia-covered beauty beside the Usambara and Pare mountains, with Mount Kilimanjaro in the distance.
Endangered black rhinos and wild dogs have found refuge in the national park along with the adjacent Umba reserve in order to better protect those and other species. Within the park, the Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary has attained international renown for rehabilitating rhinos, and it offers limitless viewing and educational opportunities for travelers.
Herds of the tall slender-necked Gerenuks, with their bizarre alien-like heads, survive in Mkomazi’s arid lands where other antelope cannot; the Gerenuk even stand on their hind legs to stretch for the tiny leaves of thorny bushes and trees.
The park takes its name from the Pare tribe’s word for “water source”, referring to the Umba River on Mkomazi’s southeastern border. The river and other water holes keep the park teeming with small and large mammals, including silver-backed jackals, lions, cheetahs, leopards, lesser kudu, giraffes, buffalo, elephants, and zebra. Bird watchers also delight in trying to spot any number of Mkomazi’s 450 avian species, from wood hoopoe to tawny eagle, parrot to kingfisher. As a national park, Mkomazi has the potential to be a glorious sanctuary where travelers will explore more of Tanzania’s hidden natural treasures.
About the Mkomazi National Park
Size: 3,234 sq km (2005 sq miles). Location: North Eastern Tanzania, bordering Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park to its north. Occupying Kilimanjaro and Tanga Regions, Mkomazi is 112 km (69 miles) from Moshi Town and 550 km (341 miles) from Dar-es-Salaam.
How to get there
By road, Mkomazi is easily accessible via Same Town on the Arusha–Dar-es-Salaam highway. Charter flights are available to the Zange, Same, Kisima, and Ibaya airstrips.
What to do
Game drives, walking safaris, mountain hikes, camping, and bird watching. Learn more about conservation and rhinoceros at Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary.
When to go
Late June-early September is best for large mammals and bird watching. Scenic beauty is at its peak March-June.
One semi-permanent tented camp, Babu’s Camp, is near the park headquarters. Other designated basic campsites throughout the park.