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Mkomazi National Park Tanzania

Mkomazi National Park Tanzania

Introduction to Mkomazi National Park Tanzania

Covering an area of 3,234 square kilometres, Mkomazi is a classic Tanzania wildlife safari destination of scattered grey-green scrubby bushes interspersed with savannah woodland and grassland. Set below the slopes of the spectacular Usambara and Pare Eastern Arc Mountain ranges, and overseen by the snowcapped peak of Kilimanjaro, Mkomazi offers some of the stunning scenery in Tanzania.

The park shares its northern border with Kenya’s vast Tsavo West National Park and migratory herds of elephants, zebras and beisa oryx travel between these parks depending on rainfall patterns. Mkomazi is the only area in Tanzania where spotting gerenuk, oryx, and lesser kudu, is just a matter of a little patience. Although the number of mammals isn’t as high as in the more famous parks, the variety is remarkable. Together with other migratory species, such as zebras, giraffes, hartebeests, buffalos, and elands, you can spot them all over the park.

What’s more, Mkomazi is a refuge for the endangered black rhinos and wild dogs. Two conservation projects are yielding promising results: The Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary – that resulted in successful breeding – and the Wild Dog Capture and Translocation Programme that successfully released a few dozen dogs into the wild in the last decade.

Mkomazi National Park is also a fantastic destination for Tanzania birding tours. It is actually the main reason to visit Mkomazi during a Tanzania safari. More than 450 species of birds have been recorded in the park including cobalt-chested vulturine guinea-fowls, ostriches, kori bustards, secretary birds, ground hornbill, martial eagle, violet wood-hoopoe, long-crested eagles, and some migratory species including the Eurasian roller.

Where is Mkomazi National Park Tanzania

Mkomazi National Park is located in northeastern Tanzania on the Kenyan border, in Kilimanjaro Region and Tanga Region. Mkomazi lies south of the arid Sahel zone and shares a large stretch of border with Tsavo National Park in Kenya. The Zange entrance gate lies 112 km from Moshi, 550 km from Nyerere International Airport, 142 km from Kilimanjaro International Airport, 120 km from Kilimanjaro National Park and 6 km from the town of Same. Within sight to the northwest is Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest summit. To the south, the Pare and Usambara Mountains form a dramatic backdrop and, to the north.

History of Mkomazi National Park Tanzania

Mkomazi began as a game reserve in 1951. Conservation work plays an important role: in 1989 the Tony Fitzjohn/George Adamson African Wildlife Preservation Trust (TFJGAWPT) was established. Conservation was further intensified by TANAPA when Mkomazi became a National Park in 2008. This National Park takes its name from a word from Pare tribe denoting “scoop of water”, referring to little water in the park.

Tourist Attractions in Mkomazi National Park Tanzania

The park has endowed with various places safari attractions including a number of including unique animal species and birds including a variety of dry country endemics.

1) Animals in Mkomazi National Park Tanzania

Mkomazi will undoubtedly treat you to a truly special sighting of rare wildlife species during your Tanzania wildlife safaris. The number of mammals isn’t as high as in the more famous parks – particularly in the dry season the plains are too arid for big herds of grazers – yet the variety is remarkable. Elephants feel equally at home here as in the bordering Tsavo. Together with other migratory species, such as zebra, giraffe, kongoni, buffalo, and eland, you can spot them all over the park. It is the only area in Tanzania where spotting gerenuk, oryx, and lesser kudu, is just a matter of a little patience. What’s more, Mkomazi is a refuge for the endangered black rhino and wild dog. Two conservation projects are booking promising results: The Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary – that resulted in successful breeding – and the Wild Dog Capture and Translocation Programme that successfully released a few dozen dogs into the wild in the last decade. Other animal species see while on a Tanzania trip in the park include lions, leopard, cheetahs, and many others.

  1. a) Beisa oryx in Mkomazi National Park

The exquisite antelope called the beisa or East Africa oryx inhabits Mkomazi National Park. The numbers of these antelopes have now dwindled so low but travellers on Tanzania wildlife tours to Mkomazi have high chances of spotting these unique antelopes. Onyxes are very beautiful animals, and quite large in size. Their coat is grey with black stripes along the spine, white undercoat, black stripes where the face attaches to the neck, and black and white facial markings.

Both male and female beisa oryx possesses an impressive set of long, ribbed horns that are narrow and straight. These antelopes are grazers who live in grasslands and follow the rains. Beisa can survive for extended periods of time without drinking by eating only moisture-bearing plants to obtain their water needs. It is interesting to note that oryx are actually able to store water by raising their body temperature so as to avoid the perspiration of precious moisture in the dry season. They move in herds of 5 to 40 animals, often with a large male guarding against the rear and females leading near the front, although some older males have been known to take on a solitary existence. Lions are their main predator although adults can put up respectable resistance to enemies using their horns as deadly spears.

Otherwise, they graze in the early morning and in the evening, resting and ruminating during the heat of the day, and also grazing intermittently during the night. They also spend a considerable amount of time grooming each other with their teeth and tongues, and, as a result, have been reported to suffer less with infestation by ticks than animals such as wildebeests, that groom less often.

  1. b) Elands in Mkomazi National Park

While on a Tanzania wildlife tour in Mkomazi National Park, it is quite possible to see Africa’s largest antelope- the common eland. Locally known as Pofu in Swahili language, elands are massive animals, almost cow-like in their build, with big males weighing up to 900 kg and measuring almost 2 meters in height at the prominent hump near the neck. The eland is a very fearful animal in spite of its massive size. Both males and females have spiralled horns that grow straight back from their heads. The female eland is reddish fawn in color, while the older males are more of a grey. Both sexes have characteristic lateral stripes draped around the barrel of their bodies.

These elegant giant antelopes have been known to gracefully leap fences over 10 feet tall. Accordingly, elands are often difficult to approach closely and quick to amble away. Their large size provides protection against most predators including lions and also a man

Elands are prized for their meat and are heavily hunted throughout Africa. Even the Maasai, who being pastoralists do not typically hunt wildlife, are fond of eland as they are rather cowed like in appearance. Common elands are nomadic and crepuscular. They eat in the morning and evening, rest in the shade when hot and remain in sunlight when cold. They are commonly found in herds of up to 500, with individual members remaining in the herd anywhere from several hours to several months. Juveniles and mothers tend to form larger herds, while males may separate into smaller groups or wander individually. During estrus, mainly in the rainy season, groups tend to form more regularly

The social organization of the eland is somewhat different from that of other antelopes. The older male is more solitary, while younger animals may form small groups. Males are also more sedentary than females, who may travel widely, especially during the dry season. Females and young are found in loosely cohesive groups. Calves spend a lot of time grooming and licking each other, developing bonds even stronger than those of calf with its mother.

  1. c) Dik-Dik in Mkomazi National Park

The smallest antelope and arguably the cutest to inhabit the Mkomazi is dik-diks. The female’s alarm call (“zik-zik” or “dik-dik,” which gave them their name) can warn larger, more desirable game species that it’s time to flee. Unlike other African antelope species, there are no herds of dik-diks. Dik-diks form monogamous pairs that stand guard over their own territory, marked out with dung and special gland secretions. They have only one offspring at a time; it will often stay with its parents until the next baby is born, at which point the parents chase the older sibling out of their territory.

These miniature hooved antelopes are widespread throughout the entire Mkomazi National Park but found only where there are thick cover and vegetation. Female dik-diks are somewhat larger than males. The males have horns, which are small-about 7.6 cm slanted backwards and longitudinally grooved. The hair on the crown forms an upright tuft that sometimes partially conceals the short, ribbed horns of the male. The upper body is grey-brown, while the lower parts of the body, including the legs, belly, chest, and flanks, are tan.

Dik-diks grow to only a foot or so high at the shoulder, which means they can hide among the grasses, but they prefer places where they can see a fair distance. They’re herbivores that eat leaves, fruit, berries and plant shoots, which provide both sustenance and water.

Though dik-diks are pretty small, they’re not the tiniest of African antelope. The smallest species is the royal antelope, which grows to only 10 inches tall at the shoulder (but it’s not nearly as cute as the dik-dik).

  1. d) Gerenuk in Mkomazi National Park

Gerenuk whose name means “giraffe-necked in Somali is another special antelope that tourists are more likely to see while on a trip to Tanzania’s Mkomazi National Park. The gerenuks or giraffe gazelles are known as Swala tiga in the Swahili language. These slender necked antelope is actually the oddest of all animal species in Mkomazi National Park. It distinguished by its exceptional long-neck, bizarre alien-like head, and having the habit of standing tall on its hind legs as it stretches for acacia leaves that other browsers cannot reach. The head of a gerenuk is small for its size but the eyes and ears are large. Only the Males have horns that are stout and heavily ringed, and they have a more heavily muscled neck than the females do.

They have a coat that is brown on the upper back and lighter on the sides. The short tail looks longer as it ends in a tuft of black hair. Like many other gazelles, these antelopes have preorbital glands in front of the eyes that emit a tar-like-scent bearing substance they deposit on twigs and bushes to mark their territory. They also have scent glands on their knees that are covered by tufts of hair and between their split hooves.

Gerenuks are extroverts and their social groups may consist of related females and their young or bachelor groups of males. Sometimes males will live alone. When ready to give birth, the female also leaves the group and goes to a secluded spot. Unlike many other grazing animals, gerenuks bear young at any time instead of just before the rainy season. During the first weeks of its life, the baby spends its time hidden in the bush while its mother feeds. She returns to suckle the fawn three to four times a day and carefully cleans or eats its waste to leave no trace of scent.

Gerenuks use several vocalizations, including a buzzing sound when alarmed, a whistle when annoyed, a loud bleat when in extreme danger, and a soft bleat when females communicate with their young.

  1. e) Topi in Mkomazi National Park

A Tanzania tour to Mkomazi National Park presents travellers with an opportunity to see the topi one of the African largest antelopes that inhabit the park.  Topis mainly ranges from the savannah grassland to the woodlands and very rarely seen in the short grass areas of Mkomazi. Their large size makes it difficult for most predators to hunt them successfully (with the exception of lions).

Topi resembles hartebeest but have a darker colouration and lack sharply angled horns. They have elongated heads, a distinct hump at the base of the neck, and reddish-brown bodies with dark purple patching on their upper legs. They also have a mask-like dark colouration on the face. Their horns are ringed and lyrate shaped. Their coats are made of short, shiny hairs. To complete their singular appearance, the topi’s yellowish-tan legs look like they are encased in stockings.

They range in mass from 68 to 160 kg. They are a tall species, ranging in height from 100 to 130 cm at the shoulder. Males tend to be larger and darker than females. Although not quite as large as their relative the hartebeest (kongoni), topis have a similar body shape.  However, it does not have such a long, narrow head, nor are they as high at the shoulder.

The topi is a picky eater. It only eats grass — their narrow muzzle being well-adapted for selecting the most tender growth. They graze for a while and then rest and chew their cud before continuing feeding. These antelopes can go without water for long periods of time only if they have access to green pastures. If green grazing is not available, the topi must drink daily.

Topis are exceptionally gregarious and live in herds of 15 to 20. In some places, it is possible to see herds of hundreds. They have a flexible social structure. Sedentary populations display the usual residence pattern -small herds led by a dominant male. During migratory periods, large numbers of animals congregate together indiscriminately. When the group stops, even if for just a few hours, males establish small, temporary territories in which they shepherd the females.

They also spend much of their time with other antelopes, such as wildebeest, and also with zebras and ostriches.

  1. f) Lesser Kudu in Mkomazi National Park

This beautiful antelope is also very rare but Mkomazi National Park offers an opportunity to traveller to the Lesser kudu during their safaris in Tanzania. This spiral-horned antelope has one long white stripe that runs along the back and 11–14 white stripes branching towards the sides. The chest has a central black stripe, and no throat beard is present. A black stripe runs from each eye to the nose and a white one from each eye to the centre of the dark face.

The area around the lips is white, the throat has white patches, and two white spots appear on each side of the lower jaw. The underparts are completely white, while the slender legs are tawny and have black and white patches. The bushy tail is 25–40 cm long, white underneath and with a black tip at the end. The lesser kudu is characterized by large, rounded ears. Its tracks are similar to the greater kudu’s.

Distinct signs of sexual dimorphism are seen in the antelope. Horns are present only on males. The slender horns are dark brown and tipped with white. The male is considerably larger than the female. The females, as well as juveniles, have a rufous coat, whereas the males become yellowish-grey or darker after the age of 2 years. The male has a prominent black crest of hair on the neck, but this feature is not well-developed in the female.

Males reach about 95–105 cm at the shoulder, while females reach 90–100 cm. Males typically weigh 92–108 kg and females 56–70 kg.

The lesser kudu is mainly active at night and during the dawn and seeks shelter in dense thickets just after the sunrise. It can camouflage so well in such dense vegetation that only its ears and tail can indicate its presence. The midday is spent in rest and rumination in shaded areas. The lesser kudu is a shy and wary animal. When alarmed, the animal stands motionless, confirming any danger. If it senses an approaching predator, it gives out a short sharp bark, similar to the bushbuck’s, then makes multiple leaps up to 2 m high with an upraised tail.

2) Birds in Mkomazi National Park Tanzania

Mkomazi National Park is a superb destination for Tanzania birding safaris. It is actually the main reason to visit Mkomazi during a tour in Tanzania. More 450 species of birds have been recorded in the park These include the cobalt-chested vulturine guinea-fowls, ostriches, kori bustards, secretary birds, Southern Ground Hornbill, Martial eagle, Violet wood-hoopoe, Long-crested eagles, and some migratory species including the Eurasian roller

Other species to keep an eye out for include Friedmann’s lark, Somali long-billed crombec and Shelley’s starling, colossal Verreaux’s eagle, Banded Green Sunbird, Hunter’s Sunbird, White-chested Alethe, White-headed mousebirds, Red-fronted Warbler, Rosy-patched bush-shrike, Africa Marsh Harriers, Brown Snake Eagles, Augur Buzzards, Wahlberg’s Eagles, and Tawny Eagle.

  1. a) Southern Ground Hornbills in Mkomazi National Park

A turkey-like bird that saunters through the woodlands of Mkomazi, as well as other areas of the park, is the Ground Hornbill. These heavy birds spend most of their time on the ground, although occasionally they can be seen flying slowly to perch their weighty bodies in a tree, where their white primary feathers tend to give away their presence. Their diet consists mainly of insects and reptiles. At a distance, the call of the Ground Hornbill sounds much like human voices in a conversation. So if you think you hear voices in the middle of Mkomazi, it might not be your imagination!

  1. b) Kori bustards in Mkomazi National Park

A Tanzania birdwatching tour in Mkomazi is a great opportunity for travellers to spot the Kori Bustard one of the most thought after birds for bird watchers during their tours in Tanzania. Locally knowns as Tandawala mkubwa in the Swahili language, the Kori Bustard (Ardeotis kori) is arguably the world’s largest flying bird native to Africa. It is a member of the bustard family and in fact, the male kori bustard may be the heaviest living animal capable of flight. This species, like most bustards, is a ground-dwelling bird and an opportunistic omnivore. Male kori bustards, which can be more than twice as heavy as the female, attempt to breed with as many females as possible and then take no part in the raising of the young. The nest is a shallow hollow in the earth, often disguised by nearby obstructive objects such as trees.

Physical description of Kori bustards

The Kori Bustard is cryptically coloured, meaning there are many blotches and spots all over its body. It is mostly grey and brown, finely patterned with black and white colouring. The crest on its head is blackish in colouration, with less black on the female’s crest. There is a white eye stripe above the eye. The chin, throat, and neck are whitish with thin, fine black barring. A black collar at the base of the hind-neck extends onto the sides of the breast.

The feathers around the neck are loose, giving the appearance of a thicker neck than they really have. The belly is white and the tail has broad bands of brownish-grey and white colouration. The head is large and the legs are relatively long. The eyes are pale yellow, while the bill is light greenish horn coloured, relatively long, straight and rather flattened at the base. The legs are yellowish.

The female is visibly thinner legged and slimmer necked. The juvenile is similar in appearance to the female, but is browner with more spotting on the mantle, with shorter crest and neck plumes. Male juveniles are larger than females and can be the same overall size as the adult male but tend to be less bulky with a thinner neck, shorter head crest, paler eyes, and a darker mantle

Weight and height: The male kori bustard has a length of 3 ft. to 4 ft. and a wingspan of 75 to 76 cm. Male birds may typically weigh between 7 and 18 kg. The larger excepted males can scale up to 16 to 19 kg and a few exceptional specimens may weigh up to at least 20 kg. Reports of outsized specimens weighing 23kg and even “almost” 40 kg have been reported, but none of these giant sizes has been verified and some may be from unreliable sources. The female kori bustards weigh an average of 4.8 to 6.1 kg, with a full range of 3 to 7 kg.

The behaviour of Kori bustards

Kori bustards spend most of their time on the ground, with up to 70% of their time being on foot. Being a large and heavy bird, it avoids flying if possible. When alarmed it will first run and, if pushed further, will take to the air on the run with much effort, its wings making heavy wingbeats.

This bustard is a watchful and wary bird. Their behaviour varies, however, and they are usually very shy, running or crouching at the first sign of danger. They have a hesitant, slow manner of walking, and when they detect an intruder they try to escape detection by moving off quietly with the head held at an unusual angle of between 45° and 60°. Generally, the kori bustard feeds during the morning and in the evening, spending the rest of the day standing still in any available shade.

During the mating season, these birds are usually solitary but for the breeding pair. Otherwise, they are somewhat gregarious, being found in groups often including 5 to 6 birds but occasionally groups can number up to 40 individuals. Larger groups may be found around an abundant food source or at watering holes. In groups, birds are often fairly far apart from each other, often around a distance of 100 m (330 ft.). Foraging groups are often single-sex. Such groups do not last long and often separate after a few days. These groups are believed advantageous both in that they may ensure safety in numbers against predation and may bring the bustards to prime food sources.

Voice: Less vocal than other bustards, the kori bustard is generally silent but, when alarmed, both sexes emit a loud growling bark. This is described as a ca-caa-ca call, repeated several times for up to 10 minutes. This call carries long distances. The male’s mating call is a deep, resonant woum-woum-woum-woum. or oom-oom-oom or wum, wum, wum, wum, wummm. This call ends with the bill snapping which is only audible at close range.

Cultural Connections of Kori bustards

Kori bustards are prominent in many native African cultures, variously due to their imposing, impressive size, spectacular displays by adult males or the cryptic nature of the nesting females. According to recent ethnographic studies, the Maasai people of Kenya and Tanzania are those who have the most Local Ecological Knowledge of the Kori Bustard and its habits, learned from their hunting practices.

This bird features in dances and songs of the san people of Botswana and paintings of these bustards feature in the ancient San rock art. It was associated with royalty in Botswana since they reserved it for their own consumption, and since 2014 it is also the

Conservation Status of Kori bustards

The kori bustard is generally a somewhat scarce bird. Nonetheless, because it has such a large range and its rate of decline is thought to be relatively slow, the kori bustard is not currently listed in a threatened category on the IUCN Red List.

  1. c) Ostriches in Mkomazi National Park

Locally known as Mbuni in Swahili language, ostriches are the world’s largest flightless birds. Though they cannot fly, ostriches are fleet, strong runners. They can sprint up to 43 miles an hour and run over distance at 31 miles an hour. They may use their wings as “rudders” to help them change direction while running. An ostrich’s powerful, long legs can cover 10 to 16 feet in a single stride. These legs can also be formidable weapons. Ostrich kicks can kill a human or a potential predator like a lion. Each two-toed foot has a long, sharp claw.

Ostriches live in small herds that typically contain less than a dozen birds. Alpha males maintain these herds and mate with the group’s dominant hen. The male sometimes mates with others in the group, and wandering males may also mate with lesser hens. All of the group’s hens place their eggs in the dominant hen’s nest—though her own are given the prominent centre place. The dominant hen and male take turn incubating the giant eggs, each one of which weighs as much as two dozen chicken eggs.

Contrary to popular belief, ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand. The old saw probably originates with one of the bird’s defensive behaviours. At the approach of trouble, ostriches will lie low and press their long necks to the ground in an attempt to become less visible. Their plumage blends well with sandy soil and, from a distance, gives the appearance that they have buried their heads in the sand.

Ostriches typically eat plants, roots, and seeds but will also eat insects, lizards, or other creatures available in their sometimes harsh habitat.

  1. d) Vulturine Guinea fowl in Mkomazi National Park

The vulturine guineafowl is the largest extant species of guineafowl often referred to as the “royal guineafowl” because it tends to have the most striking appearance. Systematically, it is only distantly related to other guineafowl genera. Its closest living relative, the white-breasted guineafowl, Agelastes meleagrides inhabit primary forests in Central Africa. It is a member of the bird family Numididae, and is the only member of the genus Acryllium.

The vulturine guineafowl is a large (61–71 cm) bird with a round body and small head. It has long wings, neck, legs, and tail than another guineafowl. The adult has a bare blue face and black neck, and although all other guineafowl has unfeathered heads, this species looks particularly like a vulture because of the long bare neck and head.

The slim neck projects from a cape of long, glossy, blue and white hackles. The breast is cobalt blue, and the rest of the body plumage is black, finely spangled with white. The wings are short and rounded, and the tail is longer than others in the family Numididae.

The sexes are similar, although the female is usually slightly smaller than the male and with smaller tarsal spurs. Young birds are mainly grey-brown, with a duller blue breast and short hackles.

The vulturine guineafowl is a gregarious species, forming flocks outside the breeding season typically of about 25 birds. This species’ food is seeds and small invertebrates. This guineafowl is terrestrial and will run rather than fly when alarmed. Despite the open habitat, it tends to keep to cover, and roosts in trees. It makes loud chink-chink-chink-chink-chink calls.

It breeds in dry and open habitats with scattered bushes and trees, such as savannah or grassland. It usually lays 4-8 cream-coloured eggs in a well-hidden grass-lined scrape.

Tanzania Safari/Tourist Activities in Mkomazi National Park

The safari activities that can be done in the park include game viewing in Mkomazi National Park Tanzania, Birdwatchingin Mkomazi National Park Tanzania and Walking Safaris in Mkmazi National Park Tanzania All activities are conducted after paying a park entry fee including US$30 for Non-East African citizens of or above the age of 16 years, US$ 10 for Non-East African citizens between the age of 5 and 15 years. Expatriates in Tanzania / East African Citizens of or above the age of 16 years pay US$15 while children between the age of 5 and 15 years pay US$5.

1) Game viewing in Mkomazi National Park Tanzania

Animals that you’re likely to spot during a game drive in the Mkomazi include oryx, elands, dik-diks, topis, zebras, gerenuks, kudus, and Coke’s hartebeest. This activity is conducted from 0630 – 1830 HRS. Four-wheel (4X4) drive vehicles are recommended.

The Dry season, from June to October, is the best time for general Tanzania wildlife safaris in the park. However, the scenery and views of the mountains are at their best in the Wet season, from November to May. This is also the best time to see elephants migrating into the park from Tsavo.

2) Birdwatching in Mkomazi National Park Tanzania

With more than 400 species, Mkomazi is a perfect destination for birding in Tanzania. Special species to watch for include the two world’s largest birds; the ostriches and kori bustards. The park is also home to the Southern African Ground Hornbill, Vulturine guineafowl, secretary bird, martial eagle, long-crested eagle, and pygmy falcon.

Although bird watching is good all year long, November to April is the best time, as migratory birds from Europe and northern Africa are present. This is also the time for nesting; so many resident birds can be seen in their breeding plumage.

3) Walking Safaris in Mkomazi National Park Tanzania

There is a short walking safari at the Dindira trail (4km) which takes about 3hrs. Hiking: Mbula Hill Trail (5km) also takes about 4hrs to ascend and descend. The best time to conduct the activity is early morning and late afternoon. These walks can be arranged at the Zange gate (US$23.60 guide fee, plus US$23.60 to US$29.50 walking tour fee, ages 12 years and older only).

Tanzania Safari Accommodation in Mkomazi National Park Tanzania

There are camps and lodges within and outside the park in the Same town which lies about 6km from the park. The accommodation options include luxury, midrange and budget.

1) Mambo Viewpoint-Luxury

Mambo View Point is a genuine Eco Lodge situated in the Usambara mountains, just 2 hours’ drive from Lushoto, near the village of Mambo. The Lodge is a unique project and a new model for development.

Accommodation at Mambo Viewpoint include;

This Eco-Lodge offers you a variety of accommodations, each one with his own, personal style and adapted to your travelling needs.

In order to make your stay as comfortable as possible, every cottage is equipped with bathroom with toilet, shower, basin, and basic toiletries, double beds with solid mattresses, the possibility of adding extra beds, solar lights and large glass windows to enjoy the views that will easily take your breath away.

Standard cottages

Warm, spacious cottages with traditional Makuti or grass roofs, with spectacular views over the plains and the mountains. During clear weather, even the Kilimanjaro can be seen. Perfect for sunny days and cosy evenings.

Studio cottage – Honeymoon Suite

On the top of the mountain, Fix house offers breathtaking views over the plains, the mountains, and sometimes even Kilimanjaro. A wide terrace, spacious bedroom and a small kitchen with a gas-cooker make it a perfect place for a family stay, enjoyable time among friends or a romantic stay for your honeymoon.

Amani Family House

2-bedroom house, built on an isolated shoulder on the mountain is a perfect accommodation for larger parties or for those seeking a bit of solitude. You will enjoy the stunning views during the day and some very quiet nights. Small kitchen with a gas-cooker, living room with a fireplace, 2 bathrooms and a spectacular terrace make it a fantastic place for celebrations or peaceful retreats.

Mbokoi VIP house

Built on the top of the cliff, with a large living room, tropical garden, lovely bedroom and a stunning bathroom with a bath and a view, is a wonderful place for real VIP stays. Possibility of all-inclusive service or self-contained stays. A dose of luxury in the middle of wild nature.

Luxury tents

Solid, spacious and comfortable Safari tents under a Makuti roof with a private bathroom and a large platform from where you can enjoy breathtaking views, including the Usambara sunrise spectacle straight from your bed.


Spacious, camping space with a dose of privacy for your own tent or one of the MVPs and gorgeous views. Space for self-cooking, benches, tables, service area with showers and toilets available on the spot


On top of a comfortable parking spot for your car and tent, the staff will happily provide you with information about the most spectacular routes and destinations to visit in the area. Experienced car technician available on the spot – one of the rare ones in the Usambaras

Dorms – backpackers

For budget stays, choose a shared bedroom, up to 4 people, with a shared bathroom (up to 11 people) or a place in a dorm (up to 12 people) with a solid mattress and bedding on request.

2) Babu’s Camp-Midrange

Babu’s Camp is a new intimate tented camp in Mkomazi National Park and is the only permanent tented camp in the park. The experience is very much one of solitude and peace and quiet, as well as a fantastic and unique wildlife experience, as guests can learn about the conservation of rhino, lion and wild dog.

At Babu’s Camp, the tents are luxurious and private, and the bar and dining area is cosy and friendly. Walking safaris and night drives can also be arranged and are well worth trying.

Beautifully set among baobabs and acacia, the large, walk-in safari tents measure 10 meters long and are comfortably furnished with a large hand-carved wooden bed (or twin beds), a wardrobe, changing area, safari chairs, and a writing desk. Each tent also has an attached bathroom with a flush toilet and a hot shower.

The tent interiors reflect the land around them with soft earth tones, natural fabrics, stone, wood, and grass all used to create a peaceful, harmonious existence with nature.

Location: Babu’s Camp is located in Mkomazi National Park, about 2 ½ hours’ drive southeast of Arusha, about 11 kilometres from Zange park gate and a little more than an hour’s drive from the Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary.

Accommodation: Beautifully set among baobab trees and acacia, the six walk-in safari tents are comfortably furnished with a large hand-carved wooden bed or twin beds, wardrobe, changing area, safari chairs, and a writing desk. Each tent has an attached bathroom with a flush toilet and hot shower. Electricity is provided by a silenced generator (220 Volt from 07h00 to 09h00 and 18h30 to 23h00 daily), which provides lighting throughout the camp and in the tents. Being a traditional camp there is no email or phone communication for guests; the camp is equipped with an HF radio in the event of an emergency.

Facilities & Services: The dining tent offers ample seating inside and outside on its verandah where breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served, and there is a full-service bar set up next to a gigantic baobab each night. Other facilities include game drives, hikes or walks in the park accompanied by a ranger. Visits to the endangered Black Rhinos and African Wild Dogs sanctuaries introduced to Mkomazi with the aid of George Adamson / Tony Fitzjohn African Wildlife Preservation Trust can also be arranged.

3) Pangani River Camp-Midrange

Pangani River Camp is set below verdant slopes of the spectacular Usambara and Pare Mountains in the Eastern Arc Mountain range and overseen by the iconic snow-capped peak of Kilimanjaro at sunset. The Northern Circuit Safari-goers are now most welcome to discover the treasures of this wedge of hilly semi-arid Savannah, home of crocodiles, hippo, and birds. Visitors will find this a comfortable stopover to have food or drinks after a long drive from Dar-es-Salaam or Arusha.

The Pangani River Campsite is located on the Pangani River basin near the Moshi – Dar-es-Salaam Highway at the border between Kilimanjaro and Tanga regions. It is about 50 kilometres from Mombo town and 72 kilometres from the Same town.

Facilities Available

  • Tents (private tents are also allowed)
  • A parking lot for big trucks
  • Reliable electrical power source from solar power
  • Food, snacks and all kinds of beverages
  • Modern facilities, including hot shower and flush toilets
  • Fireplace
  • Picnic table and chairs
  • Games (drafts, cards, etc.)
  • Extensive library of African movies

How to get there

By road, Mkomazi is easily accessible via the Same, which lies on the surfaced highway connecting Arusha to Dar es Salaam. The Park is also easily accessible on special arrangements through Njiro, Kivingo and Umba gates. The park can also be easily accessed from the nearby existing tourist attractions in the Eastern Arc Mountains, The Coast, and Kilimanjaro Mountain. Charter flights are available to Kisima airstrip.

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