Mkomazi Game Reserve

Mkomazi is a 3,700 sq km game reserve in northern Tanzania. It is a spectacular wilderness of dry bush, ancient baobab trees, isolated rocky hills, open savannah, acacias and shallow valleys of grassland. To the northwest is Mount Kilimanjaro; to the south the Pare and Usumbara Mountains; and to the north Kenya's Tsavo National Park. Tsavo actually shares a border with Mkomazi allowing huge herds of elephant to migrate during the wet season. Mkomazi was established in 1951 but, remote and inaccessible at that time, never attracted the financial support provided for the better known wildlife areas. By 1988 Mkomazi was in steep decline. Heavy poaching had wiped out its black rhino and elephant populations and it was feared that the reserve might be de-gazetted and released for agriculture. Then, with a view to ensuring the complete rehabilitation of the area and the reintroduction of its endangered species, The Tanzanian Government designated Mkomazi a National Priority Project.

Roads, boundaries and airstrips were cleared; a new radio network installed; water sources sited; dams constructed; rangers recruited and equipped; and hundreds of air-hours flown on anti-poaching patrols. The Captive Breeding Program for the African wild dog was established, and the Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary constructed and stocked. Both projects form part of the Tanzanian Government's policy on endangered species. The years of hard work have had a profound effect on the animals in the reserve. In the late 1960's some 250 black rhino roamed wild in Mkomazi.By the late 1980's they were none. And at the end of 1980's two decades of slaughter at the hands of ivory poachers, only eleven elephants remained. But today the black rhino has returned to Mkomazi. In 1997 the 28-squaremile Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary, the first in Tanzania, received its first four rhinos from South Africa. Eventually the sanctuary will hold up to 20 rhinos pending their transfer to other safe and secure areas of the country. And now, during the rainy season, close on 1,000 elephants range freely across the reserve, including herds of females with their calves. Buffalo, eland, giraffe, gerenuk, Grant's gazelle, hartebeest, impala, lesser kudu, oryx, steinbok, waterbuck and zebra share the reserve with the elephant while large predators include numerous lion, leopard, cheetah and hyena. In all, 78 species of mammals have been recorded while a reptile python. The birds of Mkomazi are far more numerous with between 400 and 450 recorded species. Beeeaters, hornbills, guinea fowl, starlings and weaver-birds are seen in large numbers but less well-known species include martial eagles, secretary birds and violet wood-hoopoes. The plant and insect life is probably the most diversified in Tanzania.
For tourists, Mkomazi offers abundant game viewing, scenic beauty and a quality wilderness experience ideal for game drives, walking safaris and hiking.It is an ornithologist's and photographer's paradise.
Attractions:Mkomazi National Park provides a much needed and beautiful bridge between the northern parks and coastal attractions