Exploring the new Nyerere National Park

Saturday January 25 2020

A pack of wild dogs at the Nyerere National Park.

A pack of wild dogs at the Nyerere National Park. PHOTO | APOLINARI TAIRO | NMG 

APOLINARI TAIRO
By APOLINARI TAIRO
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The new Nyerere National Park could easily be described as the “Serengeti of Southern Tanzania.’’

Carved out from the larger and more famous Selous Game Reserve, the park covers around 31,000 square kilometres.

The park’s management is seeking to develop the road network, however most areas in the park are accessible except during the rainy seasons. They are also inviting investors to set up camping sites and other tourist facilities.

The park is located between 230km and 300km from Tanzania’s commercial city of Dar es Salaam and is a five-six hour drive.

It takes about five to six hours drive to reach there. Visitors can easily enter the park through Matemere gate, through Morogoro using the Matembwe Gate, which is close to Kisaki, a small town with various amenities.

Tanzanians and East African Community residents pay $2 for a 24-hour day pass while non-East Africans are charged $50.

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Inside the park, we saw wild dogs, herds of antelopes, elephants, lions and impalas which kept their distance from our vehicle. Unlike Serengeti National park and Ngorongoro Crater in northern Tanzania where lions and cheetahs come close to tourist vans, the wildlife in Nyerere National Park are not used to vehicles and humans.

Nyerere National Park’s panoramic plains are decorated with golden grass, savannah forests, riverine marshes and lakes.

Rufiji River, the biggest river in Tanzania, cuts through the park and flows into the Indian Ocean. Other than elephants, the park has the biggest concentration of hippos and buffaloes than any other wildlife park in Africa, according to the park wardens.

I stayed at the Serena Mivumo River Lodge, situated along the Rufiji River bank. The lodge organised motorboat safaris for us. We visited the Beho Beho area where the grave of Captain Frederick Courteney Selous is located.

Accommodation facilities in the park include Serena Mivumo River Lodge, Selous Serena Camp, Mbuyu Safari Camp, Beho Beho Camp, Stiegler’s Gorge Camp, Rufiji River Camp and Sand Rivers.

There are daily, small charter planes from Dar es Salaam and Arusha to the park.