The park has large open plains of grassland, similar to the Serengeti.
Flora and fauna
Many of the same sort of animals are seen as in Ruaha. The most unusual phenomenon is the "midget" elephants. These look like the normal African elephant but are of a diminish size and with smaller and thinner tusks. Local lore says that this is a survival adaptation to protect the herd from ivory hunters as the lesser tusk makes the animal less desirable to poachers.
Mikumi National Park is about 250 km west of Dar es Salaam and is the closest national park to the city. Driving there takes about 4 hours due to the poor conditions of the road.
Travel agents and tour companies can arrange transportation to Mikumi and through the park. You must ensure the vehicle used is a reliable 4x4, e.g. Land Cruiser and Range Rover. No Rav4 or CRVs. Although it's possible to navigate most of the main roads with a sedan, you will not get the best sightseeing experience.
All such issues should be addressed, clarified and agreed to with the tour company before giving a deposit. Ask for pictures of the vehicles, ensure they have A/C. You may want to inspect the vehicles tires before leaving to ensure they are in good condition.
Taking the bus is also quite convenient. Good bus companies are Abood and Hood. In Dar es Salaam the ticket must be bought in a part of the city called Ubungo. It is recommended to buy the ticket one day before departure.
The two nearest towns are Morogoro and Iringa. There are no scheduled flights from Dar to Iringa, Morogoro or Mikumi.
Fees and permits
A visitor's permit costs US$20 per person and is valid for 24 hours from time of purchase. Non-residents are expected to pay the park entry fee in US dollars, not Tanzanian shillings. Visitors must enter before 4PM and exit before 7PM. Those staying in one of the park's lodging facilities must be back at camp by 7PM.
You require a 4x4 vehicle to travel through the park. The village of Mikumi is at the western entrance to the park, 15 km from the park gate.
Safaris If you have your own 4x4 vehicle, just ask your lodge for a map of the trails. There aren't many trails in the park and most secondary roads are closed during the rainy season. The hippo pool is always a good spot to see animals. If you spend two days driving in the park you should expect to see lions, elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, zebras, hippos, boars, wildebeests, impalas, and copious numbers of birds. When entering the park, ask the guards at the gate which areas are best for viewing that day and if they've seen any lions around. Also, look for circling vultures, which indicates a dead animal, there may also be some lions around snacking on the remains.
There are three places to stay in the park. Two are owned by Foxes Safari and the other is Kikoboga. Foxes Safari Camp is the first tented camp site when you enter the park from Dar es Salaam. This camp is almost in the center of the park and offers a great view from the top of the hill where the restaurant and pool are. The staff is very friendly and the food is good, although not exceptional, especially given the price. At night you can hear animals walking around and under the elevated tents. The other Foxes-owned lodging is Vuma Hills which is about 6 km from the main gate. Very nice accommodation and excellent food, and animals are rare at night, which is a cool feature of the previous spot. The huts look nice and there is a watering hole near by which attracts many animals especially during the dry season.
City of Mikumi
In the city of Mikumi are several accommodations. Among them are cheap ones, which are used by African truckers, and more expensive hotels as well. A nice place is the Tan-Swiss lodge partly owned by a Swiss. They also organize half-day and full-day safaris to the Mikumi National Park and the Udzungwa Mountains National Park.
If you plan on hiring a car in Tanzania and driving yourself to Mikumi be prepared in the event of a breakdown or accident. (See the Tanzania main page on the recommendations for driving in developing countries.)
Do not enter a national park without a full tank of petrol. You should also have an emergency jerry can with at least 20 liters of fuel and a full-sized spare tire in case you damage your tire in a remote area and need to drive through difficult terrain.
Other equipment to bring includes a tow rope, shovel, machete, torch (flashlight), first aid kit and extra drinking water for unexpected delays.
Although it's very unlikely you will have any difficulties if you must change a flat tire in the park, be careful: lions and cheetahs are ambush hunters. Don't stray too far from the vehicle and keep the children inside at all times.
Tsetse flies: They are very abundant in Mikumi. They are somewhat similar to houseflies but sting. In more densely forested parts of the park, keep your windows closed. If one does get in, kill it immediately as they are quick to bite. Tsetse fly bites can potentially be harmful to humans as they are carriers of the sleeping sickness virus.