ABOUT MKOMAZI NATIONAL PARK
The Mkomazi National Park is 3,500 sq km (2,175 miles) of magnificent remote and initially inaccessible land. It was only since 1989 when the Tanzanian Government reexamined the reserve’s status and designated it as a National Priority Project and made it accessible that it became open to the public.
The Park is a spectacular wilderness. 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, Kenya’s vast Tsavo National Park shares a border with Mkomazi, making common ground for migratory herds of elephant, oryx, and zebra during the wet season.
Together with Tsavo, it forms one of the largest and most important protected ecosystems on the earth, it has become a vital refuge to the black rhino and African wild dog, both of which are highly endangered species.
Mkomazi is the southern tip of the Sahel Zone, a classic dry-country reserve of grey-green nyika bush, ancient baobab trees and isolated rocky hills. Elsewhere, the seas of bush give way to open savannah woodlands of umbrella acacias and mbugas, shallow valleys of grassland.
The animals are typical of the arid nyika; giraffe, oryx, gerenuk, hartebeest, lesser kudu, eland, impala, Grant’s gazelle, elephant, and buffalo, along with numerous predators, including lion, leopard, and cheetah. In all, 78 species of mammals have been recorded.
The birds of Mkomazi are even more numerous, with over 400 recorded species. Doves, hornbills, weavers, and Guineafowl are all present. Also in large numbers are striking species such as the martial eagle, and the violet wood-hoopoe.
A game reserve since 1951, this new National Park takes its name from Pare tribe’s word for “scoop of water”, referring to little water. It is a fantastic destination for birdwatchers, with more than 450 avian species recorded, among them dry, country endemics, such as the cobalt, chested vulturine guineafowl, other large ground birds, such as ostrich, Kori bustard, secretary bird, ground hornbill, and some migratory species including Eurasian roller.