Safaris in Mikumi National Park

Our safari experience was spread over two days, which made for an amazing first safari adventure! Over the two days, we went on two safaris – a full day game drive, and an early morning game drive. We saw a variety of animals; big and small, old and young.

One thing that we were pleased with, was not only the quality of the safari, (which was amazing!) but the amount of tours happening at once. At least when we were having our tours, we only saw two other tours happening at the same time as ours. This was the same when we were waiting at the gates to enter, there were only a few other vehicles. We also didn’t enter for the full day game drive, until the early morning game drives had returned. One the full day game drive, we covered a lot of the Park, and actually didn’t see any other tours until we got closer to the entrance. As a result, the impact on the wild animals was small, as they were undisturbed.

D A Y – O N E

We left our hotel at 10 am, ready for the full day game drive. To say we were excited was an understatement. We knew that we weren’t guaranteed any sightings of animals, but we were confident in our guides.

Once we were in the Park, it took all of five minutes until we saw our first animal, the African Elephant. In the distance, under some trees, there was a family of elephants, shading from the sun. Even though it was only mid-morning, the sun was strong, and the breeze was minimal. Across the day, we continued to see elephants; the most amazing encounter however, was as we reached a small lake. It was here that there was another family of elephants, including a couple of babies (one quite small!). As we drove around the water, we stopped to see the elephants. The babies were very interested in us, and began to walk over to the cars. They adults soon accompanied them, and they all began to walk closer. When they were about 3 metres away from us, the adults suddenly looked as though they were about to charge, as the babies had got quite close! So, we quickly left them alone.

Almost everywhere we drove across the day, we saw impalas. Hundreds of them! They are such beautiful animals, bouncing across the road. At one point, there must have been about 50 of them, jumping across the road infant of us, which was amazing to see.

I M P A L A S

The reason why we saw so many impalas, is due to the fact that they are one of the most common of Africa’s antelopes. They are graceful animals, slender and agile. They can run up to and sometimes faster than 60km/h, and leap up to 10m in length and 3m high. This was shown when they all ran and jumped over the road in front of us. Amazing!


In the afternoon we came across a hippo pool, where we saw one other group. We arrived as they left, again reducing the impact on the animals. It was here, that we saw a group of Hippos in the water. It was hard to tell how many were there, and if there were any young hippos. But what we did see, was a crocodile in the water, swimming towards us as we watched them.

H I P P O S

An adult needs to resurface very 3 – 5 minutes in order to breathe. They do this automatically, and can even do this when they are sleeping under the water, as they can rise out of the water and take a breathe without waking. We watched as they threw their heads up above the water, just to submerge them again afterwards. One thing we couldn’t tell from looking at them, is that they can’t swim or float. They are in fact standing or walking on surfaces below the water. It rally looks like they’re floating when looking at them from the shore.


Throughout the day, one of the other animals that we saw a lot of, were Giraffes. Just like the elephants, there were babies within the groups. At one point we had a mother and a baby running alongside our vehicle, which was a stunning sight. We were also amazed to see how far back they could bend their necks in order to reach the food in the trees.

Another animal that there were plenty of, were Zebras. And once again, there were babies, which were very sweet. They were completely unfazed by our presence, which meant that we were able to get relatively close to them, without the risk of endangering them.

On the way back to the hotel, after an amazing day, we not only saw Baboons– but hiding under a tree, there was a Lioness. Now that, was amazing!

B A B O O N S

On the side of the road, as we were returning to the hotel, we saw the baboons. As can be seen from the photos, there was a mother with her baby, holding onto the underside of her body. To see this is person was amazing. Mothers and babies have well established bonds, just like humans. So, seeing this is person really made us realise how true that is.


We came across a few lakes throughout the day, and in one of those, were some very brave men! They were cleaning the water, improving the conditions for the animals. This was another reminder of how they care for the animals, and even though they are wild, want to make sure they live the best lives possible.

We were lucky enough to capture this beautiful bird flying across the plains – it was quite spectacular!


D A Y – T W O

We left out hotel much earlier than the previous day, at 6 am, ready for the morning game drive. We were tired from having to be up so early, but we weren’t complaining! As we were waiting to enter the Park for the second time, we had an amazing view.

We saw much of the same animals as on our previous Safari, one of which was the African Elephants. They were such an amazing sight to see, and definitely crossed something off the Bucket List.

E L E P H A N T S

African Elephants weigh up to 6000 kg (6.6 tons) and measuring up to 3.3 m (10 ft.) at the shoulder, which makes it the world’s largest land mammal. Seeing these wild animals up close was quite intimidating as I’m sure you can imagine!


The Giraffes were another common sight on the second Safari, again with the mothers and their babies. They were just spectacular.

G I R A F F E S

Giraffes are the tallest mammals in the world, standing at around 4-5m high. When they’re running alongside the vehicles, towering over you, you have to tilt your head up high to see them. The tallest giraffes ever recorded have been up to 5.9m, which is incredible!


One of the best moments was on the second safari, when we came across two younger Lions and a cub. As we pulled over to stop to see if we could spot one (as out guides had said that this is where they are spotted most often), they came out from the bushes. They were hesitant of course, but interested nonetheless to investigate us. They waited with us for about 10 minutes before retreating back into the bushes, but wow was that amazing. Defiantly something we’ll never forget!

L I O N S

Lions hunt for food mostly from dusk till dawn. When we saw the lions, due to the time, they must have been going out hunting. Female lions do 85-90% of the prides hunting, which is why we saw more females.


Z E B R A S

Zebras were spotted around everywhere we went, but we didn’t get bored of seeing them! They were always in herds, of at least about 10; all different sizes, indicating the variations in their ages.

Zebras have unique patterns of black and white stripes – no two are the same. But to us, just looking from the distance, they all looked the same!


Eland Antelope
Wildebeest
Vultures

As can be seen from the photos above, we also came across two Eland Antelopes fighting. That was quite something! We also saw a Wildebeest, and a tree full of Vultures. They must have been waiting for the lions to start their hunting.


We had an unforgettable experience on our Safaris, and have memories that we will truly never forget!