Northern Tanzania’s Hidden Gem

Mkomazi National Park Extension

February 16 to 20, 2024
Cost: $5,090
Leader: Walt Anderson
Group Size: 12
Days: 4

Safari Overview

Discover the exclusive Mkomazi National Park, a conservation success story and beautiful landscape that few visitors to Tanzania’s Northern Safari Circuit even know about. Only 11 elephants survived in the area in the 1980s, but today, a thousand or more wander through this landscape. This is a birding paradise, and you will have a chance to see wintering birds from Eurasia, as well as many beautiful resident species. The park has only one small, permanent camp, so you will have the rare privilege of wildlife viewing without hordes of competing tourists. This is wild Africa at its finest!

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Explore a diverse landscape of mountains and valleys with acacia-commiphora woodlands punctuated by magnificent baobab trees.
  • Observe large populations of elephant, eland, zebra, hartebeest, and buffalo, as well as healthy populations of predators like lion, leopard, and cheetah.
  • Discover many arid-adapted species such as southern gerenuk, fringe-eared oryx, and lesser kudu.
  • Watch for special birds, such as vulturine guineafowl, eastern yellow-billed hornbill, various sunbirds, and unusual starlings (e.g., Golden-breasted, Shelley’s, and Fischer’s).
  • Visit repatriation programs for endangered African wild dogs and black rhinos.

SAFARI OPTIONS

  • After the Mkomazi extension, continue your journey on our Mountain Gorilla extension. Trek the forests of the Virunga Mountains to encounter Rwanda’s gentle giant, the mountain gorilla. Contact us for more details.

 

Updated: January 2023



Print Trip
Date Description Lodge Meals
Feb 16 Drive to Mkomazi. Babu’s Camp, Mkomazi National Park D
Feb 17 Explore Mkomazi National Park. Babu’s Camp, Mkomazi National Park B, D, L
Feb 18 Another full day in Mkomazi National Park. Babu’s Camp, Mkomazi National Park B, D, L
Feb 19 Morning in the park; drive back to near Kilimanjaro Airport to relax before you continue on our Mountain Gorilla extension or catch flights home. Kia Lodge, Arusha (dayroom) B, L
Feb 20 Arrive home.

Our Trip Leaders

Walt Anderson

Walt is one of the pioneers of ecotourism, having led expeditions in Africa, North and South America, and Australia for many years. He led the first World Wildlife Fund trips to Madagascar and the first ecotours from the US to the national parks of Brazil; his deepest international experience is in East Africa. Walt is an author, photographer, wildlife artist, and lecturer whose love for the natural world is conveyed with humor and enthusiasm. He was Professor of Environmental Studies at Prescott College in Arizona for 27 years and is the author of two books on California’s Sutter Buttes and a major chapter on ecotourism in International Wildlife: Contemporary Challenges in a Changing World.

Emanuel Lema

Lema grew up at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro, where his observations of guides taking visitors up the mountain inspired him to pursue a career in ecotourism. He exudes charisma and positive energy, and he shares his encyclopedic knowledge of birds and mammals with grace and humility. His birding skills, including recognition of vocalizations, are top-notch. He has over 17 years of experience guiding wildlife, natural history, and birding tours throughout Tanzania and is delighted to again be working for Cheesemans’.

David Mshana

David has been a popular safari guide for over 25 years. He has an uncanny ability to spot leopards and other wildlife even while driving with consummate skill. His flexibility, kindness, and charm complement his spotting talents, and he is adept at getting the vehicle into position for the best possible wildlife photos. David has earned certificates in Tour Guiding and Leadership, and he is passionate about continuing to learn and grow as a guide. When not guiding, he takes care of his farm and family on the slopes of Mt. Meru.

Augustine Mwangotya

Augustine, founder and owner of our local safari operator, studied at Tanzania’s College of Wildlife Management and served with the Tanzania Wildlife Department, developing an invaluable set of connections and knowledge. He did his Master’s in Conservation Biology and Ecotourism with Walt Anderson at Prescott College in Arizona. Augustine’s warmth and humor, intimate knowledge of animal behavior, friendships with indigenous people, and command of logistical details have given him a well-deserved reputation in the safari field.

Detailed Itinerary

A glimpse into our journey

Drive to Mkomazi

Feb 16

After lunch in Arusha, enjoy the changing scenery as you proceed east to Moshi at the foot of majestic Mt. Kilimanjaro, then southeast to the Pare Mountains and the entrance to Mkomazi National Park on the border with Kenya. You will enjoy vervet monkeys and colorful birds at the park entrance, then observe birds and mammals in the lush landscape until reaching Babu’s Camp on the west slope of one of the small mountains here. Settle in to savor the sunset and enjoy some bush luxury and a friendly staff.

Explore Mkomazi National Park

Feb 17

Black Rhino
© Walt Anderson

Near your camp is Dindera Dam, which creates an oasis that attracts thirsty wildlife, especially in the dry season. You may see elephants, giraffes, eland, zebra, kongoni, and other herbivores, as well as some of the carnivores looking for a meal. The lake also hosts storks, waterfowl, shorebirds, and much more. A bush breakfast near the lake will provide exciting wildlife-observation opportunities and delicious sustenance. You will discover endemic bird species here that you would not have found elsewhere in your Tanzania travels.

More exploration of Mkomazi National Park

Feb 18

Today will involve a leisurely game drive through the park to visit a center where captive breeding programs and releases have had remarkable success in restoration efforts for endangered black rhinos and African wild dogs. This is a special opportunity to see conservation in action, and the site is a great place to see hyraxes, yellow baboons, colorful lizards, and flashy birds. The park also hosts the elegant fringe-eared oryx, the spiral-horned lesser kudu, the shy red duiker, and the bizarre long-necked gerenuk, whose Swahili name, swala twiga, means “giraffe-antelope.” In the evening, you will share highlights of your adventures and toast your incomparable driver-guides.

Morning in the park and drive back to Kilimanjaro area

Feb 19

Your final morning will have another memorable game drive looking for any of the special animals you may have missed. Previous guests have rated this park visit as one of the most memorable of their safari experiences, and considering that you go to Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti, both World Heritage Sites, that is high praise indeed. You’ll drive back through Moshi to the Kia Lodge for relaxation, optional birding on your own, and preparation for departure at nearby Kilimanjaro International Airport.

Arrive home or continue on our Mountain Gorilla extension

Feb 20

Mkomazi National Park Extension

Discover the exclusive Mkomazi National Park, a conservation success story and beautiful landscape that few visitors to Tanzania even know…

-4.1674678420655455, 38.168985128992894

Cost & Payments

Costs (in US$)

Type Cost Per Person
Trip Cost, double occupancy $5,090 (9 to 12 people)
$5,200 (5 to 8 people)
$5,320 (2 to 4 people)
Single Supplement $1,570

Costs are per person, double occupancy, not including airfare, singles extra. See Included and Not Included sections for more details.

If you are a single traveler, we will find a roommate for you, but if we cannot find you a roommate, we may charge you a single supplement. Single rooms cost extra and are subject to availability.


Payment Schedule

Payment Due Date Amount Per Person
Payment is due with your main trip’s final payment; see its trip itinerary for details.


Cancellations

Cancellations are non-transferrable. No refunds are given after the Final Payment due date.

Included

  • Carbon offsets for the duration of this trip.
  • All leaders, park entry fees, and permits for all activities unless described as optional.
  • Fees for visiting endangered African wild dog and black rhino repatriation programs.
  • Accommodations for the nights of February 16 through February 18 and a dayroom on February 19.
  • Meals from dinner on February 16 through lunch on February 19.
  • Mineral water during game drives.
  • Coffee and tea during meals.
  • Transfers via complimentary hotel airport shuttle from Kia Lodge to the Kilimanjaro International Airport, regardless of departure day.
  • Trip Materials – information about flights, packing, entry and departure requirements, airport transfers, gratuities, etc.
  • Short-term AMREF Flying Doctor medical emergency evacuation insurance. This does not include hospital or treatment costs. For more information see travel insurance.

Not Included

  • All airfare, airport and departure taxes, and excess baggage fees. Round-trip airfare is approximately $870 to $1,800 between the US and Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.
  • Passport and visa fees.
  • COVID tests.
  • Gratuities – tipping is always discretionary. However, we suggest budgeting about $25 to $30 per participant per day for 3 days with our leaders (about $75 to $90 total per participant).
  • Trip cancellation insurance. For more information see travel insurance.
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone calls, medical costs or hospitalization, room service, alcoholic and other beverages, items not on the regular menu, etc. If you have special dietary needs, please indicate them on your Reservation Form.

Climate

Temperatures generally range from around 65°F at night to 92°F during the day (18 to 33°C), but the temperature depends on the elevation. Although most days will be warm to hot, it can be cool and breezy in the Land Cruisers early in the morning and in the late afternoon. This is the dry season between the “short rains” of November/December and the “long rains” of mid-March through mid-June, but rain is still possible.

Fitness Level

Most days consist of early mornings, game drives on bumpy roads, and long hours in nature that require good energy levels. Walking is limited, mostly around the camp and at the wild dog center. The drive to and from Mkomzi is about three hours, though you will have a rest break. Please contact us if you have any health concerns that may make this trip challenging. 

Flights

Airfare is not included in trip costs. Detailed logistical information and the contact information for our recommended flight-ticketing agent are included in the Trip Materials we will send you. Please let us know if you are arriving earlier or staying later as we are happy to assist you with any extra overnights that you might want to arrange.

Flights you (or a travel agent) book: Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) near Arusha, Tanzania, by 11:59pm on February 3. Depart from Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) after 9:30pm on February 19. If you are continuing on our Mountain Gorilla extension, see the Flights section in its itinerary for departure information.

FAQ

Accommodations

Stay in cozy, hillside bungalows along Kinabalu Park with easy access to walking trails, the botanical gardens, and a restaurant/café. The rooms are basic and small, but comfortable, with an ensuite bathroom and hot running water. If you are concerned about the standard of accommodations being below your expectations, please ask us before booking.

Seasickness

Transportation

Conservation

Our company ethos has always regarded conservation as inseparable from responsible tourism. We struggle with the dilemma that traveling worldwide expends climate-changing carbon. However, we wholeheartedly believe that traveling with us will cultivate your passion for conserving our beautiful world while stimulating each destination’s local economy. We encourage you to explore the various ways in which Cheesemans’ operates within this context:

Conditions

Read our current Terms and Conditions.