Mikumi National Park


This became a national park in 1964 when hunters threatened to destroy herds which gathered on the Mkata River floodplain after road construction gave them easy access. Now its 1,247 square miles (3,230 km2) have stable populations of elephants, buffalo, wildebeest (the handsome Nyasa blue variety with black beards and tan leggings), warthogs, zebras, giraffes, and three antelopes rare in northern reserves—roan, sable, and curly-horned greater kudus. Balancing the ecology are lions, leopards, African hunting dogs, and black-backed jackals. Yellow baboons feed on grass and fruit and occasionally young impalas. Open-billed storks pry apart mollusks at the hippo pool, where hippo regulars are identifiable by individual eye wrinkle patterns.  

 This black rhinoceros is having ticks and other parasites removed by a yellow-billed oxpecker, which does the same symbiotic favor for Cape buffalo, zebras, giraffes, wildebeest, warthogs, and a variety of other grazers plagued by these pests.

This black rhinoceros is having ticks and other parasites removed by a yellow-billed oxpecker, which does the same symbiotic favor for Cape buffalo, zebras, giraffes, wildebeest, warthogs, and a variety of other grazers plagued by these pests.

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 Green tree pythons look like a bunch of unripe bananas when they coil around a branch in the canopy of a tropical rain forest in New Guinea or Australia. Sensory pits along lips can detect presence of either cold- or warm-blooded prey such as a lizard or small bird. Leathery eggs are incubated 47 days (depending on temperature). Young hatch in brilliant mixed tropical colors, from yellow to brisk-red, all in the same clutch.

Green tree pythons look like a bunch of unripe bananas when they coil around a branch in the canopy of a tropical rain forest in New Guinea or Australia. Sensory pits along lips can detect presence of either cold- or warm-blooded prey such as a lizard or small bird. Leathery eggs are incubated 47 days (depending on temperature). Young hatch in brilliant mixed tropical colors, from yellow to brisk-red, all in the same clutch.

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Pythons up to 20 feet (5.5 m) long here are strong enough to knock down small impalas, which they squeeze and asphyxiate. White-backed night herons, bronze-winged coursers, and spotted-throated woodpeckers are among notable birds. Mikumi, with tented camps and a hotel, is four hours’ drive (175 miles, 285 km) from Dar es Salaam (4WD is best inside the park).  


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