​Expert Reviews – Mkomazi NP

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Mary Fitzpatrick   –  
United States US
Visited: Multiple times

Mary is an acclaimed travel writer and author of many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including South Africa, Tanzania, East Africa and Africa.

Arid Savannah Landscapes & Fabulous Birding
Overall rating

Mkomazi is an arid expanse of savannah lands studded with baobab and thorn acacia and broken by low, rocky hills. It offers fabulous birding beginning almost immediately upon entry to the park and getting better as you progress northwards towards the campsite at Dindera Dam. It's also an ideal spot for those who enjoy watching for nature's little details, such as fresh elephant dung covered with yellow butterflies and dung beetles or helmeted guineafowl running into the grasses along the road side.

Larger wildlife is present - dik-diks, oryx, gerenuk and elephants are the main attractions. Yet, numbers cannot compare with those in Tanzania's northern parks, and I recommend that those visiting from outside Tanzania head further northwest, towards Serengeti and the rest of the wildlife-rich northern circuit.

Mkomazi is frequently noted for its rhino and wild dog conservation projects. However, these are kept in enclosed sanctuaries, and are not viewable as part of general tourism.

Kim Wildman   –  
Australia AU
Visited: June

Kim is a travel writer who authored and updated over 15 guidebooks, including Lonely Planet's South Africa and Bradt's Tanzania guides.

It’s all in the scenery
Overall rating

In spite of its easy accessibility just off the Arusha – Dar-es-Salaam highway, Mkomazi remains the Northern Safari Circuit’s most overlooked park. As Tanzania’s youngest national park it lacks tourism infrastructure and the animals are still very skittish around humans and vehicles. We were never able to get within reasonable distance of the animals, with most, including a small herd of elephants, taking off as soon as they heard our vehicle. While it may not be a great ‘game’ destination, Mkomazi is an extraordinary place for birders, as there are many species endemic to the area, and it’s a vital refuge for two endangered species – the black rhino and the African wild dog – both successfully re-introduced in the 1990's. The scenery too is outstanding with views of the Pare Mountains and occasionally glimpses of the snow-capped peaks of Mt Kilimanjaro miles off in the distance. For me the highlight was Babu’s Camp – enjoying a sundowner to the sound of birdsong was magic. So while I wouldn’t recommend the park as a “must-see” safari destination, I’d certainly recommend it as a good overnight stop to break-up your trip between Arusha and Dar-es-Salaam.

Ariadne van Zandbergen   –  
South Africa ZA
Visited: Multiple times

Ariadne is a renowned African wildlife photographer whose work is featured in many well-known guidebooks and magazines.

Mkomazi, Tanzania’s new National Park
Overall rating

This park is not a prime wildlife destination, but the birding is great and the setting is spectacular. Mountains rise up in several directions and on a clear day, Kilimanjaro can be seen in the distance. Most animals tend to be skittish here, but giraffes are plenty and herds of zebra can often be seen in the distance. Some dry country specials like gerenuk antelope, often seen browsing on its hind legs, and the tiniest of antelopes, the Kirk’s dik-dik are easily spotted. Wild dogs and black rhinos have been reintroduced, but are still kept in enclosed areas. Difficult to really recommend for conventional game viewing, but great for walking safaris or chilling out a few days in the bush in Babu’s tented camp – the only accommodation inside the park.

Average Expert Rating

  • 2.4/5
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

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