Tanzania’s alternative to the Serengeti
Budget-friendly accommodations can be found along the main road in Mikumi town, located about 20km from the main park gate. Several guesthouses and roadside motels – with questionable names like Half Way House (Mikumi Main Road; 255-787-97-9678), Genesis Snake Park and Motel (Mikumi Main Road; 255-023-262-0461) and Impala Palace (Mikumi Main Road; 255-715-41-8266) – provide basic but clean lodgings for a fraction of the cost of staying in the park. A selection of lively restaurants and pubs along the main road offer a chance to catch up on football scores, chat with locals and have a cold beer with some nyama choma, the Swahili word for grilled meat.
If you are not on a package tour, you can arrange at the park entrance to have a ranger join you on your game drive. They will know where to find the animals and can save you from getting lost or driving aimlessly around the numerous tracks within the park. Be sure to bring plenty of water, snacks, a good pair of binoculars and a camera, as Mikumi is famous among photographers for getting excellent light. Most animal activity takes place when the sun is not at its peak, so aim for game drives in the early morning or late afternoon.