5 Days Mikumi and Ruaha Safari

Exploring Tanzania’s Wild Heart: A 5-Day Safari in Mikumi and Ruaha National Parks

Tanzania’s reputation as one of Africa’s premier safari destinations is well-deserved, with the legendary Serengeti and the majestic Ngorongoro Crater often stealing the limelight. However, for those in search of a more off-the-beaten-path adventure, the southern circuit beckons with two of the country’s hidden gems: Mikumi and Ruaha National Parks. This 5-day safari adventure through these parks offers a unique experience, bringing you face-to-face with diverse wildlife in some of the most remote and unspoiled landscapes of Tanzania.

Mikumi National Park is the fifth largest national park in Tanzania with an area of about 3230 square kilometers. This park borders with Selous game reserves to the south and share the same ecosystem which allow animals to migrate between the two parks. The game viewing experience in Mikumi is amazing due to the presence of abundant wildlife and birds.

Ruaha National park on the other hand is the second largest park after Selous game reserve. Similar to mikumi, Ruaha Safari offers a superb game viewing experience due to the presence of diverse landscapes which offer habitats to significant number of mammals. While on game drive you can easily spot large prides of lions with about 20 individuals. Large herds of elephants and buffaloes can also seen moving up and down to the Ruaha River to drink. The best time to visit Ruaha national park is during the dry season where shrubs and tall grasses are dry to offer a clear sight during game drives. However during this time is also when animals tends to congregate along the basin of the Ruaha river.

A 5-day safari in Mikumi and Ruaha National Parks offers a glimpse into the heart of Tanzania’s wilderness. The journey through these parks provides an unparalleled opportunity to observe wildlife in their natural habitat, away from the crowds. It’s a reminder that beyond the well-trodden paths lie extraordinary experiences waiting to be discovered.

 Mikumi and Ruaha  Safari Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Mikumi National Park

The adventure begins with your arrival at Mikumi National Park, which is approximately a 4-hour drive from the bustling city of Dar es Salaam. As you enter the park, the landscape unfolds into vast golden grasslands, interspersed with acacia trees, baobabs, and the Mkata River floodplain.

Settling In

Upon arrival at your lodge or campsite, take some time to settle in and enjoy lunch while soaking in the views of the surrounding wilderness. Many accommodations in Mikumi offer spectacular vistas of the plains, where it’s not uncommon to spot wildlife from the comfort of your veranda.

Afternoon Game Drive

In the afternoon, embark on your first game drive. Mikumi is home to a wealth of wildlife, including the famous African Big Five. Keep your eyes peeled for elephants, lions, buffalo, and if you’re lucky, the elusive leopard. The park is also teeming with giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, and various antelope species, all of which contribute to the thriving ecosystem.

As the sun begins to set, return to your lodge for a satisfying dinner under the stars, accompanied by the sounds of the African bush.

Day 2: Exploring Mikumi National Park

Sunrise Game Drive

An early start is essential for any safari, and Mikumi is no exception. A sunrise game drive provides the opportunity to witness the park as it awakens. It’s also the best time to observe nocturnal predators like lions and hyenas before they retreat from the day’s heat.

Birdwatching and Picnic Lunch

Pack a picnic lunch and head to the hippo pools, where you can marvel at these massive creatures lounging in the water. Mikumi is a birdwatcher’s paradise, boasting over 400 bird species. Keep an eye out for colorful lilac-breasted rollers, yellow-throated longclaws, and bateleur eagles.

Evening Game Drive

After a midday rest, set out again in the late afternoon. This is when animals become more active, increasing your chances of witnessing dramatic wildlife interactions. Explore different areas of the park, aiming to discover species you may have missed earlier in the day.

Day 3: Journey to Ruaha National Park

Scenic Drive to Ruaha

Today, you’ll journey to Ruaha National Park, a road trip that showcases the diverse Tanzanian landscape. The drive is an adventure in itself, with the route taking you through local villages and breathtaking scenery. Ruaha, Tanzania’s largest national park, is a wild and untamed area known for its rugged beauty and high concentration of elephants.

Arrival and Relaxation

Arriving at Ruaha in the afternoon, check into your lodge or campsite and take some time to relax. The park’s remote location means fewer visitors and a more intimate connection with nature. Enjoy the tranquility and anticipate the coming days’ explorations.

Day 4: Immersive Safari in Ruaha National Park

Full-Day Game Drive

Dedicate your entire day to exploring Ruaha’s vast wilderness. The park’s diverse landscape, from baobab-dotted hills to the Great Ruaha River, provides the perfect backdrop for a full-day game drive. Ruaha is renowned for its large prides of lions and high numbers of elephants. It is also one of the best places to spot endangered African wild dogs.

Keep your camera at the ready for the park’s other residents, including cheetahs, giraffes, and over 570 bird species. The park’s relative isolation offers a safari experience that feels both exclusive and authentic.

Bush Dinner

Conclude your day with a bush dinner, an unforgettable experience where you dine amidst the wild. Listen to the sounds of nocturnal animals and recount the day’s sightings with fellow travelers under the vast African sky.

Day 5: Final Game Drive and Departure

Morning Safari Walk

On your final day, opt for a guided safari walk for an up-close encounter with Ruaha’s flora and fauna. Walking safaris allow you to connect with the bush in a way vehicles can’t, offering insights into the smaller creatures and plants that contribute to the ecosystem’s complexity.


After the walk and a hearty breakfast, it’s time to say goodbye to Ruaha. As you make your way back to civilization, reflect on the memories made and the wild beauty of Tanzania’s lesser-known parks.

End of Mikumi and Ruaha safari

Solo traveler: $ 1650
2 people: $ 1090 per person
3 people: $ 900 per person
4 people: $ 800 per person
5 people: $ 750 per person
6 – 7 people: $ 700 per person


Package Cost includes
Game viewing in an open roof safari vehicle.
All park fees as it is explained on the itinerary
Full board accommodation while on Safari
Fee for professional driver guide


Packages Cost Excludes
Tips/Gratuity for the driver guide and the camp staff
Travelers medical insurance
Items of the personal nature

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