Further north, rolling grassy hills enclose the tranquil beauty of the Momela Lakes,
Although elephants are uncommon in Arusha National Park, and lions absent altogether, leopards and spotted hyenas may be seen slinking around in the early morning and late afternoon. It is also at dusk and dawn that the veil of cloud on the eastern horizon is most likely to clear, revealing the majestic snow-capped peaks of Kilimanjaro, only 50km (30 miles) distant.
But it is Kilimanjaro’s unassuming cousin, Mount Meru - the fifth highest in Africa at 4,566 metres (14,990 feet) – that dominates the park’s horizon. Its peaks and eastern footslopes protected within the national park, Meru offers unparalleled views of its famous neighbour, while also forming a rewarding hiking destination in its own right.
Passing first through wooded savannah where buffalos and giraffes are frequently encountered, the ascent of Meru leads into forests aflame with red-hot pokers and dripping with Spanish moss, before reaching high open heath spiked with giant lobelias. Everlasting flowers cling to the alpine desert, as delicately-hoofed klipspringers mark the hike’s progress. Astride the craggy summit, Kilimanjaro stands unveiled, blushing in the sunrise.
Mkomazi Game Reserve
Mkomazi Camp Highlights Getting to Mkomazi Walking Safaris Mountain Biking Tariffs
Mkomazi Game Reserve lies to the south of Kenya's Tsavo National Park. Mkomazi is expected to be designated a National Park in the latter half of 2005 and will be known as Mkomazi National Park. Until then, it remains as a Game Reserve.
Mkomazi National Park and Tsavo National Park may one day be joined to form a trans-national park.
Mkomazi has spectacular scenery. On the western side are the Pare Mountains and to the South-East the Umba River. There are amazing views of Mt. Kilimanjaro;.from 60 kms distance, one gets an awesome impression of how big and how massive Kilimanjaro is when compared with the mountains surrounding Mkomazi Game Reserve (Kilimanjaro is the largest standing volcanic massif in the world).
Mkomazi: Is derived from the Pare vernacular; one of the biggest tribes in the Kilimanjaro region in Northern Tanzania , meaning “the source of water”. Indeed as the name befits, the only permanent and reliable source of water in the Mkomazi Umba Game Reserve is the Umba River which also forms the boundary to the South East of the Reserve.
SIZE AND LOCATION
The Mkomazi/Umba Game Reserve covers a total area of 3234.4 square kilometers. It lies between 3.47' – 433's latitude and 37.45 – 38.45'E latitude. The Reserve is within two regions of Kilimanjaro and Tanga stretching within the districts of Same, Lushoto and Tanga. In the north it borders with the Tsavo National Park in Kenya thus sharing the boundary between Kenya and Tanzania (Tran boundary). On the west I borders with the Pare Mountain while Umba River forms part of the South Eastern boundary and in the south is Same town.
ANIMAL SPECIES FOUND IN MKOMAZI/UMBA GAME RESERVE
The Mkomazi/Umba is rich in fauna and flora this is still among a few areas where species like Gerenuk areas where species like Gerenuk (Litocranius Waller) and Oryx (Oryx gazelle) can easily be spotted. Other endemic species include the wild cat and the Silver backed Jackal. Other common species in Mkomazi include Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Lesser Kudu, Waterbuck, Giraffe, Grant Gazelle, Hyena Hartebeest, Warthog and Zebra.
Mkomazi/Umba Game Reserve is known for its richness in avifauna where by more than 450 species of birds have been recorded including the Tawny Eagle, the Go away bird, Ostrich and the Parrot.
Reptiles are also found in the reserve. The notable species include Crocodile in Umba River , Python and the Agama Lizard. Dindira Hills offer the spectacular view of mount Kilimanjaro, Other mountains and Hills also represent good views.
Mkomazi Game Reserve Highlights:
The main attractions of Mkomazi are the scenery and privacy. There are no villages in the park. The Reserve is not a developed tourist area, and this is what is particularly appealing to the Reserve. Other vehicles are rarely seen. It's a quiet little corner of the African savannah.
Highlights: Game Viewing - Night Game Drive - Rhino Sanctuary - Wild Dog Breeding Program - Walks/Mountain Biking - Birding
There are over 30 large mammal species in the Reserve. Wildlife viewing may not be as spectacular as the Serengeti and Ngorongoro, but there are decent sized herds of elephant, zebra, hartebeest, eland and giraffe. The main predators animals such as lion, hyena, leopard and cheetah can also be seen. But game viewing is away from the maddening crowds of 4 wheel drive vehicles. Animals are a little shy, either because they are afraid of being shot or because they are not used to seeing vehicles, but eventually they get habituated to them. With more visitors entering the Reserve, relationships between animals and tourists will have to be based on a lot less fear and a lot more trust.
Mkomazi Game Reserve's privacy must be paid for to justify it's existence to Tanzanians. Mkomazi Camp has the privilege of allowing being located in the Reserve; the camp has therefore remained small, exclusive, but affordable.
Mkomazi Camp is the main accommodation available in the Reserve. It is run by Teena Payne and Steve John. Teena is from Australia and has a degree in biology. Steve is from the UK and has a degree in zoology. Both of them were previously teachers in their respective subjects and with their professional backgrounds they naturally have a great interest in wildlife and the environment. They have been in Tanzania for over five years.
Mkomazi Camp is small, simple and comfortable. Tents are spacious and have attached bathrooms with shower and long drop toilet. The camp is located 8 kms from the entrance gate of Zange.
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