Mikumi National Park
Not only Bagamoyo was within driving distance of Dar es Salaam, there were also a couple of easily accessible game parks. The most visited by Dar residents was perhaps Mikumi National Park, at about 4 hours drive over a tarmac road inland, never mind the potholes. We would leave the office early on a Friday afternoon, take the company Landrover, and be just in time for an evening game drive. Then spent the weekend in the rather comfortable Mikumi Lodge, only to return to Dar on Sunday afternoon again.
Mikumi had all the standard animals of a safari, the various antelopes, herds of zebra and kudu, elephants, giraffe, buffalo, and enough lions to spot them regularly.
The only town of note on the way to Mikumi was Morogoro. Mostly, we passed through, as there wasn’t enough to keep us, but it did have an entertaining market. Which, readers of this website will know, mightily fascinates me – good to know that that was already the case in 1987.
Selous Game Reserve
A more adventurous safari option within driving distance of Dar es Salaam was the Rufiji River Camp, a tented safari camp on the edge of the Selous Game Reserve. The Selous was Africa’s, and probably the world’s, largest game reserve, albeit that most of it was inaccessible – a good thing, in conservation terms. But along the northern part, on the banks of the Rufiji River, were several tented camps, with all the necessary and comfortable facilities, of which Rufiji River Camp was easiest reached, some six hours drive from the capital. And a challenging drive in itself, as after the tarmac finishes, about half way, the road was mostly an amalgamation of sandy tracks, without sign posting, of course – remember this was the time long before commercial GPS was available.
At the time – I don’t know now – it was estimated that the Selous had the largest concentration of wild animals in the world, all the usual suspects. The attraction was the Rufiji River itself, with was taming with hippopotamus, and with huge crocodiles. Provoking the hippos with the speedboat, so that they came and chase the boat, was the thing to do – relying on the outboard engine to get away in time, of course!
from the Selous, we are on our way to the Tanzanian south coast, next.