Tanzania & Zanzibar: Day Three : Saadani to Mikumi
The following morning we got up early so that we could visit their newly-constructed tree hide, known as ‘the Roof of Saadani’ (). From its roof you have unrivalled views of both the Park and the Ocean. Should guests wish to overnight here there is a master en suite bedroom, restaurant and bar (), staffed with your own guide, waiter and chef. It must be quite a magical experience.
Our impression of Saadani was very positive. If you were briefly stopping over in Dar, with perhaps just one or two days to spare, then Saadani gives you some pretty good game viewing and a great beach, all within easy reach. Or, if for some reason, you didn’t want to take the trip over to Zanzibar, then, again, Saadani fits the bill, with four or five different hotels to choose between. You can even fly direct from Saadani to Zanzibar.
Our next destination was Mikumi National Park, situated just north of The Selous. However when we arrived at our airstrip, just outside Saadani, we found that our 6-seat Cessna light aircraft, which had already landed, had got bogged down in the runway (), below, it having rained again overnight. Our vehicle then had to pull it clear of the mud and haul it all the way back to the beginning of the runway for it to get a clear route for take off (), below.
Piloted by our lady pilot Soqui (pronounced Suki), we flew back to Dar over some interesting countryside (), and then on to Mikumi National Park. The airstrip is located in the Park itself, but the camp where we were staying, Vuma Hills Tented Camp, is actually located just outside the park, and, somewhat bizarrely, for a remote game park, we first had to cross the Tanzam highway () (the main road between Tanzania and Zambia).
At Vuma Hills each of the 16 large tents is decorated in colonial style and has a double and a single bed (), below and en-suite facilities, with the glorious views down from the hill top, from their makuti roofed verandas (), below. The outdoor bar area offers a welcoming campfire in the evening where you can discuss and compare the day’s sightings with other guests, and there is a small swimming pool (), opposite, where you can relax and unwind after your game drive.
After lunch we went for a short game drive, driving back down into the Park from the camp’s location on the top of a hill, although having to get back by 7.00 p.m., since night drives are not permitted in Tanzania. However we were able to spot quite a lot of game, including giraffe, buffalo, impala, zebra, bushbuck and wildebeest (together with ground hornbill, grey heron, blacksmith plover, great white egret and an eagle owl). However the special sightings were a couple of lions taking it easy underneath a tree close to the road () (our driver took us very briefly, albeit illegally, off road to give us a better view), and an (apparently orphaned) young elephant drinking from a pool, first sucking in the water into its trunk (), and then squirting it into its mouth ().
At night we could hear some bush babies very noisily playing in the trees just outside the dining area, but we couldn’t actually spot them.
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