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Mkomazi National Park

Mkomazi NP

Overview

Wildlife

Birds

Best Time To Visit

Weather & Climate

Getting There

Malaria & Safety

Overview – Mkomazi NP
Mkomazi National Park, a secluded Tanzanian treasure, boasts breathtaking mountainous landscapes and offers a rare opportunity to see all of the Big Five, despite its sparse wildlife distribution. Its highlight is a vast rhino sanctuary, providing unique encounters with the endangered black rhino, a sight rarely available in other Tanzanian parks. This park presents an unparalleled, tranquil wilderness experience away from the crowds.
mkomazi national park
Best Time To Go
June to October is an ideal time to spot animals in Mkomazi National Park.
High Season
Mkomazi National Park doesn't have a high season; wildlife viewing is good year-round.
Size
3,245km² / 1,253mi²
Altitude
234-1,500m / 768-4,921ft
Pros & Cons
Spectacular views that highlight the magnificence of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Secluded and peaceful, far from the bustling crowds.
Prime location for spotting the Big Five.
An opportunity to actively support rhino preservation efforts.
A key habitat for birds, home to unique species endemic to the northern dry regions.
Wildlife is sparsely distributed.
Restricted network of game-viewing routes.
Wildlife
Adjacent to Kenya’s Tsavo West National Park, Mkomazi National Park serves as a passage for migrating elephants during the Wet season, guided by rainfall. A key attraction, Dindira Dam, is a wildlife haven where species like Coke’s hartebeest, eland, giraffe, and zebra gather to drink, especially in the early morning and late afternoon. During these times, visitors might also spot lions waiting for an opportunity to hunt, offering a thrilling glimpse into the circle of life at this vibrant watering hole.
Scenery
Located beneath the majestic Usambara and Pare Mountain ranges and in view of Mt. Kilimanjaro’s snow-covered peak, Mkomazi National Park captivates with its dramatic landscapes and vastness. This dry-country park features a mix of gray-green bushes, savannah woodlands, and grasslands, offering a stark yet beautiful contrast to the surrounding lushness and the towering Kilimanjaro. It’s a unique blend of terrain that provides a backdrop for diverse wildlife and breathtaking scenery.
Weather & Climate
Mkomazi National Park’s Dry season, from June to October, boasts sunny, warm days with cooler nights, ideal for daytime explorations and starlit evenings. The Wet season, from November to May, is marked by hot, humid days and regular afternoon thunderstorms, with a drier period in January and February. This seasonal rhythm offers a lush landscape for bird watching and showcases the park’s dynamic climate and diverse experiences.
Best Time To Visit
Visiting Mkomazi National Park is always rewarding, regardless of the time of year. For optimal wildlife viewing, the Dry season (June to October) is recommended, when animals gather around water sources such as the dam. However, the most visually stunning scenery is found during the Wet season (November to May), when dramatic thunderclouds adorn the mountainous landscape, and clear post-rainfall air offers unparalleled views of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
​Wildlife & Animals – Mkomazi NP

The breathtaking scenery of Mkomazi National Park provides a stunning setting for capturing unforgettable photographs of Masai giraffes. These majestic animals roam plentifully and calmly within the park. Alongside them, visitors frequently encounter plains zebras, Coke’s hartebeests, Grant’s gazelles, and the diminutive Kirk’s dik-diks. While large herds of elands are also present, they tend to be elusive, often seen disappearing into the distance, leaving behind only a cloud of dust.

Black Rhino
Lion
Leopard
Cheetah
Hyena
Wild Dog
Wildebeest
Zebra
Buffalo
Hippo
Giraffe
Elephant
Wildlife Highlights

Nestled within Mkomazi lies the Kisima Rhino Breeding Sanctuary, a beacon of conservation success in Tanzania. For an enlightening adventure, consider embarking on a guided 4×4 journey into the newly unveiled Mkomazi Black Rhino Tourist Sanctuary, which opened its doors in 2021. This excursion promises a rare opportunity to observe black rhinos in their natural habitat, offering an educational and unforgettable experience. Moreover, the rhino sanctuary is home to a variety of dry-country antelope species, including fringe-eared oryx, lesser kudu, and gerenuk, providing ample wildlife viewing opportunities unique to this area of the park.

Best Time for Wildlife Viewing

The Dry season, spanning from June to October, typically offers optimal conditions for wildlife viewing throughout the park. However, it’s important to note that while Mkomazi isn’t primarily known for wildlife sightings, the Wet season (November to May) presents unparalleled scenery and mountain views. This period also coincides with the migration of elephants into the park from Kenya’s Tsavo West National Park, providing a unique wildlife spectacle worth experiencing.

Wildlife Photos
mkomazi national park
​Birds – Mkomazi NP
Mkomazi National Park offers a haven for bird enthusiasts, hosting over 450 bird species, including unique northern dry-country specials like Shelley’s starling and three-streaked tchagra. Visitors may also spot the striking vulturine guineafowl, found exclusively in Tanzania within this park. Large ground birds such as ostriches, kori bustards, secretary birds, and southern ground hornbills are common sightings on the grassy plains. Additionally, migratory species like the European roller visit from November to April, enhancing the birdwatching experience.

Notable Birds in Mkomazi NP

Ostrich
common
Bare-eyed thrush
common
Black-bellied sunbird
common
Von der Decken’s hornbill
common
Yellow-necked spurfowl
common
Best Time for Bird Watching

Birdwatching in Mkomazi National Park is enjoyable year-round, but the period from November to April is particularly rewarding. During these months, Palearctic and intra-African migratory birds visit the park, and it’s nesting season for resident birds, showcasing them in their breeding plumage. This timeframe offers optimal conditions for observing a diverse range of avian species within the park.

Facts & Figures

Bird Species

450+

Migratory Birds

Nov to Apr

Best Time To Visit – Mkomazi NP

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

From June to October, Mkomazi National Park offers optimal wildlife viewing during the Dry season. With thinner vegetation, animals gather near water sources for easy sightings. Conversely, in the Wet season (November to May), elephants and other herbivores migrate from Tsavo West National Park in Kenya, attracted by lush vegetation and ample water. This season also showcases enhanced scenery and mountain views.
Best Time
June to October (Easier to spot animals)
High Season
This park doesn't experience a peak season due to its low visitor numbers.
Low Season
March to May (Period of heavy rain)
Best Weather
June to October (Minimal rain)
Worst Weather
March, April, November, December (High rainfall periods)
June to October – Dry Season
Spotting animals becomes easier as they gather around water sources and the vegetation becomes less dense.
Days full of sunshine with a low likelihood of rain.
The mosquito population is reduced, lowering the risk of malaria.
Visibility is often reduced due to haze, making the surrounding mountains harder to see.
November to May – Wet Season
The landscape is lush and verdant.
Unobstructed views of the mountains.
March to May marks the low season, potentially leading to lower prices.
With the arrival of migratory birds, it's an excellent period for birdwatching.
Elephants move into the park during this time.
During the rainy season, some roads may become impassable.
The tall grass makes spotting wildlife more challenging.
Wildlife Photos
mkomazi national park
Weather & Climate – Mkomazi NP
Mkomazi National Park experiences a dry and warm to hot climate, with the hottest months spanning from October to April and the coolest from May to September. The Wet season is characterized by two distinct rainy periods: the short rains occurring from November to December and the long rains from March to May, separated by a dry spell. Rain showers are frequent during this season but typically do not last all day.
Dry Season – June to October

In Mkomazi National Park, expect afternoon temperatures around 27°C/81°F with nighttime lows around 16°C/61°F during the dry season. Rainfall is scarce during this time.

 

From June to September, the weather is typically clear and sunny, gradually becoming hazier toward the end of September.

 

In October, the first showers signal the transition to the wet season, providing relief from dust buildup.

Wet Season – November to May

During the Dry season in Mkomazi National Park, expect uniform temperatures with higher humidity, potentially leading to oppressive heat. Afternoons typically reach around 29°C/84°F, while nights cool to approximately 19°C/66°F.

 

In November and December, the “Short rains” arrive, often in the form of afternoon showers rather than sustained rainfall throughout the day, making minimal impact on travel plans.

 

January and February typically experience a drier spell between the “Short” and “Long rains,” although the exact timing can vary.

 

From March to May, the “Long rains” prevail, bringing more frequent rainfall, although it rarely lasts all day. These months are the wettest and most cloud-covered, with heightened humidity and potentially intense heat.

Mkomazi National Park
Mkomazi NP Photos
mkomazi national park
​Getting There – Mkomazi NP

To reach Mkomazi National Park, the most convenient mode of transportation is by road from either Moshi or Arusha town. Most travelers fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), situated between Arusha and Moshi. The drive from JRO to Moshi takes about 1 hour*, covering approximately 40km/25mi, while the journey to Arusha, spanning 50km/31mi, typically takes around 1½ hours*. Alternatively, travelers can fly into Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam and catch connecting flights to Arusha Airport (ARK) or Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), where tour operators often provide airport pickups.

 

Situated near the town of Same, Mkomazi is about 112km/69mi south of Moshi, with the drive taking approximately 2 to 2½ hours*. While slightly off the typical tourist route, Mkomazi’s unique allure makes it a worthwhile stop, especially for those en route to the captivating Usambara Mountains.

Driving times are approximate; be prepared for possible delays.
Main Park Map
Airlines & Ticket Prices

For information on flights to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) or Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR), please consult Skyscanner to explore available airlines and ticket prices.

Domestic Flights

Charter flights are typically included as part of your tour package when booking with Bush 2 City Adventure, a trusted travel consultant. Additionally, we offer booking services for domestic flights through a range of local carriers:

 

Air Tanzania (Flies to Arusha Airport and Kilimanjaro Airport)

 

Precision Air (Flies to Arusha Airport and Kilimanjaro Airport)

 

Regional Air (Flies to Arusha Airport and Kilimanjaro Airport)

 

ZanAir (Flies to Arusha Airport)

 

Coastal Aviation (Flies to Arusha Airport and Kilimanjaro Airport)

 

Air Excel (Flies to Arusha Airport and Kilimanjaro Airport)

 

As Salaam Air (Flies to Arusha Airport)

Passport, Visa & Other Entry Requirements

Explore our FAQ section on the Tanzania page to find comprehensive information regarding passport, visa, vaccination, and other entry requirements.

​Malaria & Safety – Mkomazi NP
Safety

We consider traveling to and within Mkomazi National Park safe. Crime against travelers is uncommon in Tanzania, especially in wildlife areas. While urban centers may have occasional incidents, normal safety measures suffice. Organized tours offer additional protection from potential problems.

Malaria & Vaccinations

Malaria is a concern in Mkomazi, so it’s vital to take precautions. We recommend taking antimalarial medication, using mosquito repellent with DEET, and wearing protective clothing, especially in the evening. Consult your healthcare professional for recommended vaccinations before traveling to Mkomazi.

Wildlife Viewing

Observing wildlife in Mkomazi is generally safe when you adhere to your guide’s instructions. For self-drive visitors, it’s crucial to understand and abide by the park’s rules. Remain inside your vehicle unless you’re in designated areas where exiting is permitted. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the ‘Wildlife Viewing Safety Precautions’ outlined below for added awareness.

Photo Gallery of Mkomazi National Park

Map of Mkomazi National Park

Photo Gallery of Mkomazi National Park

Main Park Map

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