This Tanzania birding tour shall take you to some of the world’s most iconic wildlife destinations as we follow a fascinating route filled with an excellent array of habitats and specialist species including many endemic birds and major African mammals
Tanzania is very productive in birdwatching safaris. The country has over 40 endemic birds which makes it among Africa’s top birding destinations.
Tanzania’s geography is varied leading to various climates. Even though in the tropics, the higher areas are reasonably cool
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 which host four endemic birds namely; Pemba Scops Owl, Pemba White-eye, Pemba Sunbird, and Pemba Green Pigeon, the Central Plateau, the Mountains, Lake Victoria, and the far northwest.
Birding tours in Tanzania are excellent throughout the year
Birdwatching safaris in Tanzania in the rainy season can be very enjoyable. The rains tend to come in afternoon thunderstorms and rain-out days are unusual. Some areas become impenetrable due to muddy conditions, but most birding areas remain accessible.
Wildlife safaris are thrilling and birding and photography is superb throughout the year
The 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 enormous Serengeti National Park, Lake Manyara, Lake Tarangire National Park renowned for its high density of Savannah Elephants and huge Baobab trees.
Lake Natron, the most important breeding site for Lesser Flamingos, the magnificent Ngorongoro Conservation Area, one of the wonders of Africa, and a must-visit destination, and Mount Kilimanjaro Africa’s highest mountain
The Central Plateau is where most visitors go on game safaris, but it also offers numerous birding opportunities. In fact, this is the region where most Tanzania birding tours spend the majority of their time
Tanzania Birding tours offer a wide range of destinations to visit, the country is huge with some unexplored wilderness which has very interesting sightings. The rich endemic montane forests of the Eastern Arc Mountains, which comprise 12 mountain blocks stretching 900 kilometers from Kenya to Tanzania.
The forests are: the Usambara, Udzungwa, Uluguru, Ukaguru Mountains, Nguru Mountains, Rubeho Mountains, and Mafwemiro Forest that holds some of the most exciting birds on the continent
The Eastern Arc Mountains contain at least 800 endemic plant species, 10 endemic mammals, 19 endemic birds, 31 endemic reptiles, and 40 endemic amphibians
The Miombo woodland which has some of the 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 the 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,
Apart from birdwatching, we shall have a large concentration of wildlife in most of all the destinations mentioned, photography opportunities will be superb
Transfer from the airport to the Mbezi area, around 20 kilometers north of the city center
If time allows, do evening birdwatching along the beach, before retiring back to the hotel for dinner and an overnight stay
We shall start our Tanzania Birding Tour in Dar-es-Salaam, by doing a boat ride in the Mbezi beach for the pelagic species, the birding tour may take two to four hours depending on the day’s weather and abundance of the birds
The place is hot , so birding is productive in the early morning hours and late afternoon
Morning depart for Saadani National Park, with a stopover at Pande Game Reserve, on the road to Bagamoyo town, there are several swamps along the route which are also good birding area
Morning breakfast and then proceed with the Tanzania birding tour in Saadani 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. Saadani National Park is a truly spectacular place for ornithologists,
Leave from Saadani in the morning with a stopover along the way in wetlands and swamps which might be productive in water birds.
After morning breakfast, leave for Mikumi National Park for a birdwatching tour
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.
Mikumi 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 traverses 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
Leave in the morning to Ruaha National Park. This will be a long drive and the road may be murram at some point, but the scenery as drive is exceptional beautiful
Ruaha National Park was established in 1910 as a Game Reserve, later it was gazetted as a National Park in 1964. The park, covering an area of 20,226 square kilometers, is the largest in Tanzania and the second-largest in Africa.
Ruaha National Park is derived from the Great Ruaha River, which flows along its South-Eastern margin and is the focus for game-viewing.
Ruaha National Park is well-known for its exceptional wildlife-sighting opportunities; this makes it a spectacular destination to visit
Ruaha National Park is one of the Tanzania birds’ paradise with more than 571 bird species and some of them are known to be migrants from within and outside Africa. Ruaha is believed to have a high concentration of elephants than any National Park in East Africa.
African Elephants are seen in high concentration during the dry season, when they gather around the dry riverbed to excavate for water with their trunks and front feet
It is also a place where, magnificent mammals like Greater 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
After the excitement of Ruaha National Park, depart to Udzungwa Mountain arriving late evening (long drive).
Morning breakfast then continues with our Tanzania birdwatching tour, we shall start by doing a hike of 6 kilometers to Sanje Waterfalls looking for the area endemics, such as the Rufous-winged Sunbird. The Udzungwa Mountain 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
Drive to Kilombero Flood plains further southeast in Ifakara town. Species expected are the Tanzania endemics which have been discovered recently; Kilombero Weaver, Kilombero Cisticola, White-tailed Cisticola. Other birds species of interest are the Coppery tailed Coucal and the stunning Zebra waxbill, This will be done in a dug-out canoe in Kilombero River
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,
Driving through the Selous to the eastern side of the reserve, with stops along the way birding and game viewing
Selous Game Reserve is quite hot, and has a lot of tsetse flies which have a nasty bite
Birdwatching will mainly be done while driving, on the main road with a bit of off driving into the bush to search for area’s specials
Selous Game Reserve is Africa’s largest game reserve and one of the favorite game viewing areas in Africa. Covering 50,000 square kilometers is amongst the largest protected areas in Africa
Wild dogs congregate in large numbers, a pack may have between 20- 50 individuals
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. Flocks of White-fronted Bee-eaters shall be encountered on the bank of the river nesting in their hundreds. A couple of African Fish Eagles shall be heard calling melodiously from top of the treeS
Their yodeling howl is described as the sound of Africa
Drive to Dar- es salaam for your flight back home
White-backed Heron, Malagasy Pond- Heron, Rufous bellied Heron, Dimorphic Egret, African pygmy Goose, Ovambo Sparrowhawk, Bat Hawk, Dickinson’s Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Udzungwa forest Partridge, 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, Rufous 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