Mkomazi National Park

Northeastern Tanzania

Seldom-visited Mkomazi spreads along the Kenya border in the shadow of the Pare Mountains, its dry savannah lands contrasting sharply with the moist forests of the Pares. The main reasons for visiting are for the excellent birding and to appreciate the evocative nyika bush landscapes studded with baobab and thorn acacia and broken by low, rocky hills. Despite its relative ease of access, Mkomazi is still well off the beaten track.

The reserve is also known for its black rhinos, which were introduced into the area from South Africa for breeding in a project spearheaded by Tony Fitzjohn, who is behind conservation work in Mkomazi. The rhinos are within a heavily protected 45-sq-km enclosure in northcentral Mkomazi, and not viewable as part of general tourism.

There are also wild dogs (reintroduced too, and, as part of a special endangered species program, also not viewable to general tourists). Animals that you’re more likely to spot include oryx, eland, dik-dik, the rarely seen gerenuk, kudu, Coke’s hartebeest and an array of birds – over 400 species have been recorded. The huge seasonal elephant herds that once crossed regularly between Tsavo and Mkomazi are beginning to come back, after reaching a low point of just a dozen elephants in the area in 1989, although elephants still are not commonly spotted in Mkomazi.

Walking safaris can be arranged at Zange main gate (US$23.60 guide fee, plus US$23.60 to US$29.50 walking tour fee, ages 12 years and older only).