TANAPA comes with ‘Barack Obama picnic site’ at Mikumi

ARUSHA: THE Management of Mikumi National Park is working to upgrade the road leading to an important tourist spot described to be fit for ‘Heads of State.’ The ‘Barack Obama,’ picnic site, located at a remote section known as Millennium is reportedly to have been designed to specifically handle top dignitaries.

The special picnic site was initially prepared for the former US Head of State, Barack Obama during the latter’s visit to Tanzania in 2014. Recent rains have however badly damaged the road leading to the Obama Picnic Site.

Now the management is working not only to restore it but to totally upgrade the road as well as other infrastructure with support from the World Bank funded Resilient Natural Resource Management for Tourism and Growth (REGROW).

The Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) Senior Conservation Officer, David Kadomo, who commandeers Mikumi Park, said the project also involves the upgrading and expansion of the Kikoboga aerodrome in the conservancy.

The Obama Picnic site was essentially named after the former President of the United States, Barack Obama, who a decade ago, in 2014 was expected to make a day trip in the Mikumi National Park.

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But a sudden change in the US President schedule prompted the postponement of his excursion trip to Mikumi, though Obama still insists that he will one day return to visit the National Park. But his designated area at Millennium still exists, attracting groups of tourists and prides of lions. But why is it called Millennium?

Well according to Ibrahim Kassim the designated tour guide at Mikumi, there is a man-made lake which was dug during the time when the world was ushering into the second millennium in 2000.

The large pool with its assortment of hippos and crocodiles is one of the two major attractions at the Millennium; the other one is the giant historical Baobab with a hollow trunk in which poachers used to hide in the past.

The Ancient Baobab itself is also said to be a millennium (1000 years) old. Local communities believe the huge tree has some magical powers and that forefathers used it as some sort of shrine. Whichever the case, the two features with the regular visits from the Kings of Jungle makes the Barack Obama picnic site a spot to reckon with while touring Mikumi.

Though Obama is yet to visit the Park, the former American President did return to Tanzania in 2017 after completing his term in office. However, Obama who landed at Kilimanjaro International Airport travelled to Arusha and went as far as Maswa Game Reserve.

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