'A heartland for Kudus'
Mkungunero Game Reserve (MKGR) occupies an area of 743km2 and was designated as a Protected Area (Game Controlled Area) in 1974 and later on upgraded to Game Reserve in 1996. The reserve straddles three administrative districts: Kondoa, Kiteto and Simanjiro. The name Mkungunero believed to originate from Irangi people vernacularly call it “Nkunganero” having various meaning as “Mbuga ya wanyamapori”, “Bwawa” and an area far from resident for firewood collection. The reserve forms part of Tarangire-Manyara Ecosystem (TME) which is significant in terms of biodiversity conservation and the protection of Tarangire river.
Mkungunero Game Reserve offers stunning package to visitors by having unique species such as Gerenuk, Lesser and Greater kudu, and Oryx which are less readily available elsewhere in Tanzania game reserves. That is to say Welcome Mkungunero Game Reserve “where nature awaits".
Tourist hunting is the only tourism product carried out in the reserve for years. The initiatives are to underway to diversify tourism product so as to fully explore tourism opportunities available therein. These opportunities includes walking safaris, bird watching and camping.
Spectacular scenery of Oldonyokirwa hill
The landscape of the Reserve is relatively flat to elevated hills, eroded valley and flood plains. The Oldonyokirwa (1,310m) on the north eastern side is the only visible hill in the Reserve that provides vantagepoint for species in maasai plains. The reserve is surrounded by Irangi escarpment to the western part which forms a scenic grandeur.
Reserve Keystone Specie
The reserve is renowned by having both species of kudu, large herds buffalo, spillover of wildlife from Tarangire National Park particularly Zebra and Wildebeest during Wet season while during the dry season large herds of Elands are commonly seen ranging from 60 to more than 80 individuals which is the largest group size to have been recorded in the Tarangire - Manyara Ecosystem. The large herds of Eland also stay together with other herbivore species like Zebra and Wildebeest forming a unique attraction along the Acacia drepanolobium flood plains. The reserve also harbors a good group of giraffe which are conspicuous in dry season.
MKGR has a number of avian species that abundantly in Tarangire Manyara Ecosystem. The warrant mentions are common ostrich, vulturine guinea fowl, kori bustard and secretary bird.
The vegetation type is the East Africa arid savanna vegetation characterized by grassland and sparsely populated short trees. The reserve vegetation communities ranging from Acacia bushed grassland, Thickets, Acacia flood plain, Pennisetum flood plain. Acacia bushed grassland being the most dominant community with variety of species including Acacia tortilis, Balanitesaegyptiaca, Maeruaangolensistrees, Acacia mellifera, Dichrostachyscinerea which form shrubby patches (bushes) found mainly on dry woodlands and shrub savanna grasslands. Patches of open grasslands contain Bothrochloapertusa, chlorisspp, Cynodonspp, Pennisetumspp, and Panicum spp.
The accommodation services and facilities for visitors can be obtained at the nearby towns of Dodoma, Babati and Kondoa. Inside the reserve, there are numerous places for camping and picnic site.
Rainfall in Mkungunero Game reserve is bi-modal with short rains between November to December followed by dry spell and long periods of rain between January and June. Average annual rainfall range between 150.8mm and 472.9mm which is below to that of the semi-arid areas with which is between 200mm and 800mm. The best time to visit is from July to December whereas most of animals aggregate in groups for resources utilization.
The Reserve can be accessed by road from Dodoma City (250km), Arusha (220km), Kondoa (90km) and Babati (60km).
The Reserve can also be accessed by scheduled chartered flight from Arusha to Maweni airstrip at Chubi village which is about 25 km from the Reserve
Mkungunero Game Reserve,