Birding in Tanzania, Birding Tours in Tanzania, Bird Watching in Mikumi National Park, Ornithology in Tanzania, Birding in Southern Tanzania, Birds of Tanzania
Birding In the Tanzania's Southern and Northern Circuit - 16 Days/ 15 Nights
Tanzania encompasses a fine variety of habitats, many shared with adjacent countries, but it almost wholly contains the Eastern Arc mountain range. Starting on the tropical coast, you will look for a number of local species before setting off for Mikumi National Park, whose mixture of acacia and Miombo woodlands is usually associated with regions further to the south. In the open flood plains you may have an opportunity of seeing a number of mammals including Elephants, Zebras, giraffes and maybe Lions, as you search for Miombo bird specialties. Look for the three Kilombero bird endemics. Later explore the forest slopes of the Udzungwa National Park for more bird species.
Day 1: Arrival
On arrival at Dar es Salaam International Airport and transferred to your hotel to check in. After lunch you will explore the coastal areas which are not far from the city for waders and terns, possibly including stately Crab Plover. Dimorphic Egrets fish in the creeks and the diminutive Saunder’s Tern chitters from the sandbanks. Dinner and overnight at a Moeventic Royal Palm Hotel
Day 2: Dar es Salaam – Mikumi National Park
Early in the morning before breakfast have a short excursion along the shore look out for Mangrove Kingfisher and also witness fish eagles catching their prey offshore. Return to your hotel for breakfast and there after depart for Mikumi National Park, driving alongside freshwater swamps with dancing orange-red Zanzibar Bishops and African Jacanas striding over the lily pads. After Morogoro you will go through the wooded savannas of Mikumi National Park. Elephant and Zebra can be seen from the road, as well as glistening Superb Starlings and sentinel Brown-headed Parrots.
Mikumi National Park covers an area of 3230 km 2 it neighbours the famous Selous National Park. The park boasts 60 mammal types, over 1200 plant species and more than 400 species of birds which include Eurasian migrants such as red billed oxpeckers, marabou stork and lilac-breasted roller which stays between October and April. The park has 4 major ecosystem and distinct vegetation zones. Miombo woodland which has species such as Shelley’s double colored sunbird, violet crested turaco, violet back starling and pale billed hornbill. Other zones are arid bush land from the north, the coastal zone to the east and the mountains of Uluguru and Ruhumero to the north and west making a unique ecotonal area. The animals and birds species are also different in each of these habitat types. Sable, Greater Kudu, Colobus Monkey and Hunting Dog are found in the Miombo woodland area whereas Lion, leopard, elephant, crocodiles, zebra, giraffe and varied antelopes are regularly seen on the plains with Hartebeest.
Lunch, dinner and overnight at Mikumi Wildlife Lodge/ Bush Camp
Day 3: Mikumi National Park – Udzungwa Mountains
After an early breakfast search the surrounding acacia and miombo woodland and the grassy plains for Dickinson’s Kestrel, usually associated with Borassus Palms. If it happens that there are small fires, you might be lucky to see the impressive Pink -Northern Carmine Bee-eaters dancing around the flames, see also the Speckle-throated Woodpeckers as they tap woods for tasty hidden morsels, Stirling’s Barred Warblers sing from the tops of acacias and the Yellow-throated Petronias as they wag their tails. Return to the lodge for lunch and after head out again to see more birds such as, the white-capped Arnott’s Chat, long-crested green Turaco, Crimson Livingstone’s Turaco, and, if you are lucky enough, Broad-tailed Paradise Whydah as you drive to the Udzungwa Mountains, arriving late in the evening.
Dinner and overnight at Baobab Valley camp or similar
Day 4: Udzungwa Mountains
After break fast start your birding activity in the forest of the lower part of Udzungwa National Park. Return later to the lodge for lunch and later drive to Ifakara for further birding activity.
Udzungwa National Park has an avian wealth embracing more than 400 species both common and those that are endemic to the Eastern Arc. The park has also outstanding forest trails that lead to Sanye waterfall which plunges 170 meters through a misty spray into the forest. Look out for birds like Rufous-winged Sunbird, the energetic Livingstone’s Flycatcher, Lesser Seed cracker, Green Barbet, Square-tailed Drongo, and Dark-backed Weaver. At Kilombero valley and its surrounding look for Kilombero Weaver, common in the floodplain, and two cisticolas still awaiting description but known as Kilombero and White-tailed. These three species are numerous and should not be difficult to find. Luckily enough, you may spot the Coppery-tailed Coucals, White-headed Plovers, Red-necked, Marsh Tchagra, Zebra Waxbill and a wide variety of marshland species.
Dinner and overnight at Baobab Valley Camp or similar
Day 5: Udzungwa Mountains - Uluguru Mountains
After your breakfast drive to Uluguru Mountains, arriving at the Uluguru Mountains Agricultural Research Hostel near Tegetero, the starting point of your hike into the Ulugurus. The hostel is basic but with clean shared toilets and shower rooms and delicious fresh food.
Lunch, dinner and overnight at the hostel
Day 6: Uluguru Mountains – Full Day
From your hostel you can see the towering Uluguru Mountains and their highest point, Mt. Alia. After breakfast depart for a full day in the Ulugurus, driving some of the way and then walking uphill to reach the forest. Species you likely hope to see include the endemic Moreau’s Warbler, Love ridge’s Sunbird and other local species such as Olive-flanked Robin-Chat, African Tailor bird and Bertram’s Weaver.
The Uluguru Mountains form an outlying ridge east of the main range of Eastern Arc forests, and comprises of two mountain blocks, rising to over 2,600m. Fauna and flora includes 15 birds of special conservation interest, 11 endemic reptiles and amphibians, three threatened and two endemic mammals and even more endemic invertebrates and plants.
Dinner and overnight at Hotel Oasis
Day 7: Morogoro - Amani
Leaving Morogoro after breakfast drive north to Amani in the East Usambaras for a short stay. On the way we may see striking pied Palm-nut Vultures and fiery Black-winged Red Bishops. You have a stop at a bridge, where a short look could reward you with a watchful Half-collared Kingfisher.
Dinner and overnight at Amani
Days 8-9: Amani
After breakfast, Explore the forest patches surrounding the tea plantations, look out for Long-billed Apalis, a Dowdy warbler - one of Africa’s rarest species-, the crimson-napped Fischer’s Turaco, yodeling Green-headed Orioles, Sharpe’s Akalat; the endemic Banded Green Sunbird; and Usambara Hyliota, a strange bird whose affinities are not well understood.
After dinner one night you will look for Usambara Nightjar and Usambara Eagle-Owl, and this walk may reward you as well with some locally endemic reptiles. Other birds may include the very distinct eastern “appearance” of Pale-breasted Illadopsis, almost certainly a species in its own right, and Uluguru Violet-backed Sunbird, which is often in the garden where you will be staying, you would be fortunate to see Dappled Mountain Robin.
Dinner and overnight at Amani
Day 10: West Usambara
After breakfast, descend briefly into the dry lowlands, this time to the cool of the West Usambaras for a three-day stay. Look out for White-necked Ravens along the roadside and radiant Lilac-breasted Rollers. As you enter through the rocky gorge you will keep an eye open for Striped Pipit and the colorful Cliff Chat.
Lunch, dinner and overnight at Mullers Mountain Lodge and Grants Lodge
Days 11-12: West Usambara
Over the next two days you will explore the local forest in search of its two endemics, Usambara Akalat and the Usambara Weaver, which clambers over the epiphyte-laden branches in the manner of a nuthatch. Other species likely to spot are Hartlaub’s Turaco, Cinnamon Bracken Warblers, Black-fronted Bush-Shrike and the Spot-throat and the African Wood-Owls.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner and overnight at Mullers Mountain Lodge and Grants Lodge
Day 13: Usambara - Arusha
After your breakfast leave the Eastern Arc Mountains and proceed to Arusha for an overnight stay. Patches of semi-arid acacia along the way may reveal species at the extreme southern edge of their range, such as the statuesque Buff-crested Bustard, the squeaky Pink-breasted Lark, the wee Pygmy Batis and the colorful Somali Golden-breasted Bunting.
Lunch, dinner and overnight in Arusha
Day 14: Arusha - Ngorongoro
Have an optional pre-breakfast walk around Duluti, a crater lake which is entirely lake is surrounded by forest and is home to several interesting species such as African Broadbill, Gray-olive Greenbul, and Black-throated Wattle-eye. On the lake you may spot the Long-tailed Cormorant, African Fish-Eagle and the Giant Kingfisher.
After breakfast, cross the Great Rift Valley to the famous Ngorongoro Crater Highlands and on to the thorn scrub, wooded habitat and soda lakes around Ndutu where the Fischer’s Lovebirds and the endemic Grey breasted Spur fowl are likely to be spotted. Bush birds such as Blue-capped Cordon-bleu, Green-winged Pytilia, Beautiful Sunbird, White-crowned Shrike and Slate-colored Boubou are common
Lunch, dinner and overnight at Ndutu Lodge
Day 15: Ngorongoro
After an early breakfast, depart Ndutu for the floor of Ngorongoro Crater, where the abundant wildlife still includes a few ponderous Black Rhinoceros, a swimming pool full of Hippopotamus, Lions lazing under the tattered bushes on the golden plain, and a variety of plains game everywhere. Birds also abound, from diminutive Pectoral-patch Cisticolas to Ostrich. The swamps attract a variety of waterfowl, including the curious Cape Widgeon, and Lesser Flamingos paints a swath of vivid rose around the central lake. White and Abdim’s Storks scour the grassland for grasshoppers, African Marsh-Harrier and Great Sparrow hawk hunt for small birds, and every corner holds something of interest. After a picnic lunch, we’ll ascend the crater walls into the forest around the rim, looking out for the silky-crested Schalow’s Turaco, regally dressed Golden-winged Sunbird, and inquisitive-looking Montane White-eye.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area has an Area of 8300 sq. km sand it’s Altitude: 2286 meters. The famous Ngorongoro Crater is a World Heritage Site situated at the eastern edge of the Serengeti in northern Tanzania. The crater is the largest unbroken ancient caldera in the world at 300 square kilometer and 610 meters deep. Nearly three million years old, the once-volcanic Ngorongoro is now considered “Africa’s Garden of Eden” it is ringed with steep walls and shelters forests, grasslands, fresh springs and a large soda lake at the centre. This diverse array of micro-habitats is a haven for thousands of wild game and a spectacular birdlife.
Some of the bird species found on the crater rim and in the caldera are, Martial Eagle, Curlew Sandpiper, Grey-breasted Spur fowl, Schalow’s Turaco, White-headed Barbet White-Tailed Blue Flycatcher, Rosy-breasted Long claw, Brown-headed Apalis, Red-throated Tit, Red-collared Widowbird, Malachite ,Golden-winged Sunbirds, and White-necked Raven. The crater floor is also a stronghold of the Black rhino which is endangered. Other mammals found here include Impalas, Serval Cats, Bush Bucks, Elands, Cheetahs, Leopards, Striped Hyenas, and Cape buffaloes to mention a few.
Lunch, dinner and overnight at Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge
Day 16: Ngorongoro Conservancy Area – Arusha
Drive back to Arusha after breakfast, pausing for anything of interest. Along the way, you will take a detour to look for the endemic Beesley’s Lark, the Athi Short-toed and the Short-tailed larks. Arrive in Arusha around midday in time for lunch and afternoon will be at leisure and later transferred to Kilimanjaro International Airport for your outbound flight.
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