Tanzania Birding Factfile
Tanzania birding is very productive with over 40 nearly endemic birds.This make Tanzania among Africa’s top birding destination.
Tanzania may be divided into three main geographical regions plus two smaller western regions, the narrow coastal region including the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba, the Central Plateau, the Mountains, Lake Victoria, and the far northwest.
Birding in rainy season can be very enjoyable. The rains tend to come in afternoon squalls and rain-out days are unusual. Some areas become impenetrable due to muddy conditions, but most birding areas remain accessible.
That is the reason why many birdwatching tours to Tanzania are scheduled for October-December and March-May. Wildlife viewing is still good and the birding is brilliant during those times
Central Plateau of Tanzania is a major attraction of the country, as that is the region of huge plains and major national parks and reserves such as the Serengeti, Lake Manyara, Lake Tarangire, Lake Natron, and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
This is where most visitors go on game safaris, but it also offers numerous birding opportunities. Infact, this is the region where most Tanzania birding tours spend the majority of their time
Tanzania Birding offers a wide range of places to visit, the country is vast with some unexplored areas which have very interesting sightings
The rich endemic montane forests of the Eastern Arc Mountains including the Usambara, Udzungwa, Uluguru that holds some of most exciting birds in the continent
The Miombo woodland which has some of range restricted species it is often in hilly areas in southern Tanzania and beyond to Mozambique, Malawi, and Zambia
Tanzania has more than 120 ethnic tribes’ .The largest ethnic groups include the Sukuma (over three million), Chagga, and Nyamwezi (over one million each).Despite the numerous cultural diversity represented by all these tribes, they are all unified by use of Swahili or Kiswahili - a coastal Bantu language with Arabic influence
In his mission for his people to find identity in themselves as one people, the first president Julius Nyerere encouraged all Tanzanians to converse in Swahili
Tanzania Birding Tour will explore the southern birding sites covering: Dar-es
Salaam, Saadani National Park, Mikumi National Park, Udzungwa National Park, Kilombero Swamp, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park,
Day 1: Arrival
Dar-es Salaam night by the Beach
Day 2: Dar- es salaam
do a boat ride in the beach for the pelagic species
Day 3: Saadani National Park
Morning depart for Saadani National Park, with stopover at Pande Game Reserve, on the road to Bagamoyo town, there are several swamps along the route which are also good birding area
Day 4: Saadani National Park
The Saadani National Park is home to a variable mix of both marine and mainland flora and fauna. The vegetation in the park is quite unique and includes mangrove forests around the winding Wami River and ocean, clumps of palm trees, coral reefs in the Indian Ocean, short and tall-grass savannah and the harsh black cotton plains.
In terms of wildlife, Saadani has a thriving population of waterbucks, wildebeests, hartebeests, reedbucks, buffaloes and giraffes. warthogs, baboons and colobus monkeys are often spotted, while elephants, lions and leopards are quite shy.
But even for ornithologists this place is truly spectacular
Day 5: Saadani- Mikumi National Park
Leave from Saadani in the morning with stop over along the way in wetlands and swamps which might be productive in water birds
Day 6: Mikumi National Park
Mikumi National Park is lying just to the North of the famous Selous Game Reserve.
Gazetted in 1964 covering an area of 1070 km2, it was later extended in 1975 to cover the current area of 3,230 km2.
The park is the fifth largest National Park in Tanzania, it Shares the name ‘Mikumi’ with the village just beyond its Western border of the Dar es-Salaam – Iringa highway, which traverse the park for 50km.
The small town in turn takes the name from the palm tree (Borassus spp.) which once grew there in profusion but no stem is visible in the village
Day 7: Mikumi- Ruaha National Park ( long drive)
Leave in the morning to Ruaha National Park
Day 8: Ruaha National Park
Established in 1910 as a Game Reserve, Ruaha was gazetted a National Park in 1964.
The park, covering an area of 20,226 square km, is the largest in Tanzania and second largest in Africa.
Ruaha is derived from the Great Ruaha River, which flows along its South-Eastern margin and is the focus for game-viewing
Day 9: Ruaha National Park
The park is one of the Tanzania birds’ paradise with more than 571species and some of them are known to be migrants from within and outside Africa.
Ruaha is believed to have high concentration of elephants than any National Park in East Africa
It is also a place where, magnificent mammals like Kudu, Sable and Roan antelopes can easily be spotted in Miombo woodland
The park is also a habitat for endangered wild dogs.
Other animals in the park include lions, leopards, cheetah, giraffes, zebras, elands, impala, bat eared foxes and Jackals
Day 10: Ruaha - Udzungwa Mountains
After the excitement of Ruaha National Park, depart to Udzungwa Mountain arriving late evening (long drive)
Day 11: Udzungwa Mountains
Morning breakfast then do a hike 6km to Sanje Waterfalls looking for the area endemics, such as the Rofous winged Sunbird.
The Udzungwa Range is the second most biodiversity on the continent, with a remarkably high level of endemism, including over 25% of its plant species.
Although the park wasn’t established until 1992, there are still two thousand square kilometers of continuous closed-canopy forest intact, stretching from an elevation of two hundred to over two thousand meters.
It’s truly the jewel of the Eastern Arc Mountains with many biological discoveries no doubt yet to be made.
With over four hundred recorded bird species, including several that were discovered only recently, such as the unique Udzungwa Partridge and Rufous-Winged Sunbird, the park bears must-see status for birders
Dappled mountain Robin, Iringa red Colobus, Kipunji Monkey may also be seen
Day 12: Udzungwa - Kilombero Plains
Drive to Kilombero Flood plains further South East in Ifakara.
Species expected Kilombero Weaver, Kilombero Cisticola, White-tailed Cisticola all which are endemic to Tanzania, Others are the Coppery tailed Coucal and the stunning Zebra waxbill,
This will be done in dug-out canoe in Kilombero River
Day 13: Kilombero Plains- Selous Game Reserve
Early morning breakfast, thereafter drive on to Selous Game Reserve via Morogoro to Kisaki this will be a long drive due to the fact that the road conditions are deplorable,
Day 14: Selous Game Reserve
Driving through the Selous to eastern side of the reserve,with stops along the way birding and game viewing
Day 15: Selous Game Reserve
Selous Game Reserve is Africa's largest game reserve and one of favourite game viewing areas in Africa.
Covering 50,000 square kilometres, is amongst the largest protected areas in Africa
Day 16: Selous Game Reserve
The Selous is home to over 350 species of birds
Boat ride in Rufiji River which flows through the reserve late afternoon from 0430 hrs
African Skimmer breed in the banks and lagoons along the river
The ride takes two hours.
Day 17: Selous - Dar-es salaam
Drive to Dar- es salaam for your flight back home
Tour Concerns for Tanzania Birding
- Long drives will be encountered in some areas so rising early in the morning and retiring quite late in the night
- Roads in some place are not bitumen standard, rough ride
- Hot and humid will be experienced in most areas advised you bring sunscreen, hat and sunglasses
- Tse tse flies are common in most of the parks/reserves so carry enough insect repellents
- Accommodation will be in excellent to budget lodges/camps throughout the trip
- The best time to visit is from July to November
Uncommon bird species Tanzania Birding
White-backed Heron, Malagasy Pond- Heron, Rofous bellied Heron, Dimorphic Egret, African pygmy Goose, Ovambo Sparrowhawk, Bat Hawk, Dickinson’s Kestrel,
Eleonora’s Falcon, Udzungwa forest Patridge, Red winged Francolin, Blue Quail, Spotted Crake,
Lesser Gallinule, Lesser Jacana,
Wattled Crane, Violet tipped Courser, Madagascar Pratincole,
White-crowned Lapwing, Senegal Lapwing,
White- fronted Plover, Pacific golden Plover, Red-necked Phalarope,
Terek Sandpiper, Broad –billed Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, Heuglin’s Gull, Sooty Gull,
Saunders’s Tern, Sooty Tern, African Skimmer, Brown –headed Parrot,
Brown –necked Parrot, Purple crested Turaco, Livingstone Turaco, Grey Go – away-bird, Thick billed Cuckoo, Madagascar lesser Cuckoo, Barred long tailed Cuckoo, Yellowbill, Black Coucal, Pel’s fishing Owl,
Mottled Spinetail, Bohm’s Spinetail, Mangrove Kingfisher, Half collared Kingfisher, Bohm’s Bee-eater,
Swallow tailed Bee-eater, Racket-tailed Roller, Ruaha Hornbill, Pale- billed Hornbill, Crested Barbet, Speckle- throated Woodpecker, Olive Woodpecker, African Pitta, Bush Pipit, White-breasted Cuckoo-shrike,
White chested Alethe, Olive flanked Robin-Chat, Kurrichane Thrush, Orange Ground Thrush, Spot-throat, Dappled mountain- Robin, Miombo Rock Thrush, White-headed Black Chat, Familiar Chat, Green- capped Eremomela,
African Tailorbird, White-tailed Cisticola, Kilombero Cisticola, Red winged Warbler, Miombo Wren-Warbler, Brown-headed Apalis, Chapin’s
Apalis, White winged Apalis, Livingstone’s Flycatcher, White winged Tit, Rofous bellied Tit,
Miombo Double-collared Sunbird, Rufous winged Sunbird, Fulleborn’s black Boubou, Green-headed Oriole,
Southern Blue-eared Starling, White-winged Starling, Yellow throated Petronia,
Southern Brown-throated Weaver, Kilombero Weaver, Zanzibar Red Bishop,
Orange winged Pytilia, Red faced Crimsonwing, Lesser Seedcracker,
Southern Cordon Bleu, Black tailed Grey Waxbill, Cabanis’s Bunting …plus many more