Ever want to hear the hippos sing? plan a trip to Mikumi National Park

Tanzania is a big country with so much to see of its mountains, rivers, animals and lakes but ironically as citizens we hardly get the time to admire it. Caught in the endless loop of making ends meet and the foolish desire for the perfect urban life the thought of visiting our natural wonders hardly crosses our minds.  We are used to seeing tourists crammed in mini vans heading to one national animal reserve or some other kind of adventure but that is about it. To break this very sad tradition my sisters and I have decided to visit as many of the natural attractions that Tanzania has to offer whenever we get a chance.

7th of July at around 0300h
I slowly crawl out of my bed sheet and tap B’s back. We have got to get up, take a quick shower, have a small meal and get moving towards ferry. Today is the day that we planned our one day tour to Mikumi National Park, thanks to a promotion by Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA).

0400h – I stand outside the gate slowly pacing and stretching myself out of my sleepy mood while waiting impatiently for B to get out already! I dislike being late.

0453h- B and I are running down the road to ferry. I take a diversion towards the ticket kiosk while B continues to the ferry terminal. I hastily hand the ticket seller 400 shillings (Tanzanian currency) and then snatch the tickets from her hand. I start to sprint towards the ferry and in a few seconds I come to a sudden halt in dismay as I hear the ferry horn and notice MV Kigamboni leave the dock. The worst thing about early mornings is that you only get one ferry and it operates with long waiting times due to the low level of passenger numbers.

0500h -I have checked my watch over 10 times while praying that MV Kigamboni makes the round trip in time. ‘We can’t be late, the tour bus leaves at 0600h. We have to some how get from here all the way to the Saba-saba grounds (the meeting point), i thought to myself in a state of panic.

‘We can’t be late, we can’t be late!’

0515 – B and I board MV Kigamboni and in 5 minutes we are already on the other side. Lucky for us an empty bus heading to Saba-saba pulls up. We hop into the bus and swiftly cruise in the traffic free road of dawn.

0600 – We are in the tour bus heading to Mikumi National Park

1300 – Finally, at Mikumi!

 

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The highlight of the day was a little composition we heard by the Hippo lake. View the video here 

Watch out for this

  • We started off thinking that the trip would take about 2 to 3 hours (this is what we were told by the TANAPA officials at their saba saba booth). It took us almost 7 hours! We were fasting on this day so I can not begin to describe how exhausted it all felt. If you ever want to make a trip to Mikumi then ensure that you have plenty of time. A day trip is not idea especially if you are coming from Dar.
  • You never really get to get off the car  except when you reach designated pic-nic areas so it’s best to arrange a group tour so that you can keep yourselves entertained through out.
  • If you are a citizen (Tanzanian) watch out for special offers offered by TANAPA. Our trip costs us 20,000 Shillings each (Tanzanian currency equivalent to about $12 at current exchange rate of 1650)
  • Watch our keek here 

 

 

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