Where to see Rhino in Tanzania ?

Bordering Kenya’s Tsavo West National Park in northeastern Tanzania, Mkomazi which was commissioned as a Game Reserve in 1951 has been gazetted a National Park from 2008.. Located to the east of Pare Mountains near Same town, about 190kms from Arusha, Mkomazi National Park lies along the edge of a semi-arid savanna arc that stretches into Kenya’s Tsavo West, falling into the Mkomazi-Tsavo Ecosystem, which is the second largest trans-boundry ecosystem in East Africa after the famous Serengeti – Maasai Mara. Before coming under TANAPA authority, Mkomazi, with an area of 3,245sq km, was managed by the government as a game reserve. As a national park, Mkomazi have the potential to develop into a glorious sanctuary where visitors will have the opportunity to explore more of the Tanzania’s hidden natural treasures.

Umba River on Mkomazi’s south eastern border and other water holes keep the park teeming with small and large mammals, including silver backed jackal, lion, cheetah, leopard, giraffe, buffalo, elephant and zebra, with the rare gerenuk, lesser kudu and fringe-eared oryx easily sighted. There is a sanctuary for the endangered black rhino and another one for the wild dog created within the national park to protect these rare species. The Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary has attained international renown for rehabilitating rhino, and it offers viewing and educational opportunities for visitors. Mkomazi is a fascinating destination for bird watchers, boasting more than 450 avian species including some Eurasian migratory species.

THIGS TO DO MKOMAZI

Quite a few activities can be conducted in Mkomazi, including game drives, walking safaris, mountain hikes and bird watching. Mkomazi can be visited throughout the year, with late June to early September best for large mammal and bird watching, Mkomazi National Park would smoothly fit into the Arusha – Usambara – Tanga – Pangani – Saadani – Dar es Salaam / Zanzibar circuit, or may be visited as a single destination from Arusha or after Kilimanjaro climbing.

MKOMAZI RHINO SANCTUARY

The Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary is intensively managed by the George Adamson Wildlife Preservation Trust and this works well within the partnership we have with TANAPA and their excellent close management of the overall Park. The Sanctuary covers an area of 55 km2 within the Mkomazi National Park, which itself covers 3,270km2.

In 1989, the Tanzanian government invited the George Adamson Wildlife Preservation Trust to together and as a result the endangered black rhino was introduced into a heavily protected, fenced area in the park: the Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary.

During the rhino poaching crisis, “protecting the fortresses” plays an important role. However, winning the hearts and minds of local communities is also critical to ensure that Mkomazi never sees a mass extinction of its rhino population again. In 2012, Prince William visited Mkomazi National Park to learn more about conservation efforts at the front lines of a Tanzanian national park.

The Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary is working to build a viable breeding population of 50 black rhinos, whose offspring will be used to strengthen the existing populations in Tanzania. The rhinos in the Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary make up nearly 30% of the total black rhinoceros population in Tanzania. This makes the Mkomazi rhinos incredibly important, not only for the country, but also for the future of this fragile species. During his stay in Mkomazi, Prince William also attended the Mkomazi educational initiative in Rafiki Wa Faru, where children from 14 local villages learn all about rhinos and other wildlife in the hope that the Mkomazi rhino population will never be wiped out by poachers again.