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African Birding Trip Reports

Tanzania Trip Reports arranged by years.

2014  |  2012  |  2011  |  2010   |  2008   |  2006 2005    |  2003

 

 TANZANIA
BIRDING TRIP REPORT
Tanzania 2003
By Mark Sutton

The team

Mark, Linda and Brent Sutton, John and Janette
Martin, Pete Antrobus (AKA Tripod), Debbie Hough.

Introduction

Our initial plans were to spend the first half
of the holiday in Kenya, with the second half in Northern Tanzania,
but due to terrorist threats the UK Government were advising against
travel to Kenya. As a result we could not get insurance cover for Kenya,
this combined with our personal safety concerns meant we changed our
plans to a purely Tanzanian trip at quite short notice. Fortunately
the airline, Emirates, allowed us to change our flights, the down side
being that we had to book new tickets through Emirates and wait for
ten weeks to get a refund on the original Kenyan flights. Quite an expensive
option, in the short term.

All the accommodation and transport, including
the internal flights, were arranged through Anthony Raphael of Birding
and Beyond Safaris, who I had used on my trip to Kenya two years previously.
I would certainly recommend Anthony from Birding and Beyond Safaris
to anybody considering a trip to E. Africa. Further details can be found
on the website: www.tanzaniabirding.com or e-mail tours@tanzaniabirding.com

Transport

We used a 4×4 Safari Minibus, with driver, throughout
our time in mainland Tanzania. A safari minibus, with its roof, which
can be raised, is ideal for game viewing, birding and photography in
the game parks. Our driver Arnold was very knowledgeable about the sites
visited, with a good knowledge of the mammals, but not birds. He was
extremely good company and looked after us very well. On Pemba Island
the Manta Reef Lodge provided a vehicle and driver.

Health

No major health problems were encountered other
than a 24-hour stomach upset which I had. We all took Anti-malarial
precautions either in the form of Larium, Doxycycline or Malarone

Food

Food was of a good standard, with packed lunches
being provided by the hotels / lodges on a number of occasions. In addition
Arnold usually came equipped with a flask of hot water, tea & coffee.

Weather

Generally dry throughout except for heavy thunderstorm
overnight in the Serengeti.

Books & Tapes

Trip reports: We obtained some information from
trip reports found on the Internet, but with the exception of the Serengeti
/ Ngorongoro area could found very little information on the areas we
visited.

Field Guides: Field Guide to
the Birds of East Africa – Terry Stephenson & John Fanshawe, published
by T& A D Poyser. The format of having the text and range map opposite
the illustration is very useful. but some of the illustrations were
not up to the standard you would expect from a modern field guide, as
they did not capture the true appearance of the bird.

Birds of Kenya & Northern Tanzania – Zimmerman,
Turner and Pearson published by Helm. A very good guide, I found the
text far more informative than the Poyser guide, in addition the maps
were more detailed. On the down side it only covered Northern Tanzania.

The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals
(Poyser)
– very good.

Other Guides: Where to watch
birds in Africa – Nigel Wheatley, published by Helm – Invaluable.

Lonely Planet, Tanzania – As
usual an essential companion to any trip.

Road Map to East Africa – purchased on previous
trip to Kenya

Sound guides: African bird sounds volume 2, an
11 CD set, with target species transferred to tape. This useful CD does
not cover E. Africa, so many of the most sought after species are not
covered. A CD covering E. African is apparently due to be published
in 2004.

Accommodation

11th & 31st Beachcomber Resort. Situated on the Indian Ocean, a couple of hours drive from the airport.
A good standard of accommodation, with swimming pool makes it an ideal
place to chill out at the beginning / end of a trip. Listed in the Lonely
Planet guide, under the Northern Beaches section.

12th Manta Reef Lodge. Situated
in a beautiful beachside location in the North of Pemba, only a short
drive from the Ngezi Forest. The lodge provided transport to & from
the airport, as well as a vehicle and driver during our stay. Listed
in the LP guide under Kigomasha Peninsula.

13th A basic hotel in the town
of Morogoro, the name of which was not noted.

14th Udzungwa Mountain View Hotel. A pleasant, but basic hotel situated about 500m south from the HQ of
the Udzungwa Mountains NP. Listed in the LP guide under Udzungwa Mountains
NP.

15th & 16th Mkumi Genesis Motel. A basic but adequate motel , situated in the outskirts of Mikumi town.
Listed in ther LP guide under Mikumi.

17th & 18th Amani Conservation Centre
Rest House.
Situated in the East Uasmbara Mountains at the
Amani Nature Reserve, basic but excellent accommodation, but probably
only accessible with a 4WD. Listed in the LP guide under Amani NR.

19th & 20th Muller’s Mountain Lodge. Situated in
the West Uasmbara Mountains near the town of Lushoto. Superb accommodation
& food – highly recommended. Listed in the LP guide under Lushoto.

21st Elephant Motel Situated
1km SE of the town of Same. A modern, but basic Motel, listed in the
LP guide under South Pare Mountains.

22nd Maasai Safari Centre. This
Lodge is located a little outside the regularly crowded large tourist
Hotels in the middle of the busy Arusha town. It has an excellent garden
and comes highly recommended, but regrettably it is not listed in the
LP guide & I don’t have any contact details.

23rd Tarangire Porini Camp (tented camp). Situated in dry bush, just outside the northern perimiter of the NP.
The highlight here was the drinking pool, which attracted large numbers
of birds which could be watched and photoghaphed from the comfort of
the restaurant. Listed in the LP guide under Tarangire NP.

24th Tarangire Tented Safari Lodge. This luxury tented camp, compete with swimming pool is situated within
the grounds of the Tarangire NP. Listed in the LP guide under Tarangire
NP.

25th & 26th Serengeti Sopa Lodge. This up-market lodge, complete with pool, is situated in the centre
of the Serengeti NP. Listed in the LP guide under Serengeti NP.

26th & 28th Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge. This up-market lodge, complete with pool, is situated on the eastern
rim of the crater, close to one of the access roads to/ from the crater
bottom. Listed in the LP guide under Ngorongoro Crater.

29th Migunga Forest Camp. The
fairly basic, but adequate, tented camp is set on 35 acres of yellow
acacia forest in a secluded part of Migungani Village and on the boundary
to the Lake Manyara NP. The camp consists of nine self-contained tents
with Bathrooms having running hot and cold water, showers, and flush
toilets. There is a dining room and bar under thatch. Electricity is
12 volt supplied by solar power. Listed in the LP guide under Mto Wa
Mbu. swala@swalasafaris.com

Sites visited

We relied heavily on the local knowledge of Arnold,
our diver, at most sites; as a result exact locations for some of the
sites are not know.

Pemba Island: All birding was done either from
the grounds of the Manta Reef Lodge, or in and around the nearby Ngezi
Forest. You should obtain a permit to bird the forest, from the office
at the start of the track which runs through the middle of the forest,
and which eventually leads to the Lodge. Not covered in Wheatley

Kilombero River and Flood Plains: The town of Ifakara lies on the edge of the floodplain. Bird the road,
which leads south from the town, down to the ferry across the river.
Covered in Wheatley.

Udzungwa Mountain Forest National park: The park HQ, where you have to arrange a guide, lies about 500 M north
of the Udzungwa Mountain View Lodge. You can bird this area, but it
is apparently better habitat on the waterfall trail, about 10 km further
north, which is where we spent the morning. Covered in Wheatley.

Miombo woodlands, Mikumi: The
dirt road running north from Mikumi to Ulaya cuts through some excellent
miombo woodland. We birded this road a couple of kms north of the town
& also a side road off to the west (Pipeline Road). An advantage
with this area over the NP is that you can bird on foot. Not covered
in Wheatley

Mikumi NP: The main road from
Dar es Salam to Mikumi cuts through the NP, and quite good birding can
be had along this road itself, although other traffic can be a problem.
The park lies on the eastern edge of Mikumi, with the main entrance
lying about 15km from the town. Tsetse flies were a nuisance in part
of the park, although they do not apparently carry sleeping sickness.
Covered in Wheatley.

Amani NR: This reserve is situated
in the East Usambara Mountains and is a mosaic of small patches of woodland
and cultivation. The majority of our birding was done within walking
distance of the Rest House, either along local roads or on the trail
to a viewpoint, which leads from the Rest House itself. A 4WD is required
to reach the reserve. Mentioned in Wheatley

Sawmill Track, West Usambaras: I do not know the
location of this site other than it was about 45 minutes drive from
Muller’s Mountain Lodge. We walked the track for about 1km as it ran
through a narrow section of remnant woodland. Not covered in Wheatley

Track through Remnant Forest near Muller’s
Mountain Lodge:
This track was about a 10-minute drive from
the Lodge and ran through a small section of degraded woodland. Again
we relied on Arnold’s local knowledge. Not covered in Wheatley

Taveta Golden Weaver Site: This
site is situated along the main road to the town of Same, where a reed
fringed river, boarded by rice fields, transects the road. Not covered
in Wheatley

South Pare Mountains: We birded
the patched of dry scrub on the hillsides to the north east of the town
of Same. Access was along a dirt track off the main road near the Elephant
Motel. I suspect that any area of scrub in this area will produce similar
birds, as we did not manage to see the target White-eye, only Abyssinian.
We suspect it is located, higher up in the forested mountains. Not covered
in Wheatley

Tarangire: We birded two areas
1) The Tarangire Porini Camp, which is situated on the Northern edge
of the NP. You can bird on foot here as long as you are accompanied
by a guide from the camp. 2) Tarangire NP, as with most NP’s, most birding
is from the vehicle. The only areas you can bird on foot are in the
picnic sites and around the Lodge. Covered in Wheatley.

Olduvai Gorge: This site lies in the northern
section of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and is only a short detour
from the journey to the Serengeti. We only birded around the museum
& the picnic site, which, as usual, attracted many birds.

Serengeti: The majority of the
birding is from the vehicle, although the picnic sites at Seronera and
at the Naabi Hill Gate exit for the park were very birdy. Covered in
Wheatley.

Ngorongoro Crater: As above,
the majority of the birding was carried out from the vehicle, except
for at a couple of picnic sites. We did a full day in the crater &
covered most of the area including the soda lake, and a couple of other
lakes & marshes. We also birded around the grounds of the Hotel.
Covered in Wheatley.

Lake Manyara: From the vehicle
we birded the woodland around the edge of the lake, as well as an accessible
section of the lakeshore. We also birded on foot, around the Migunga
Forest Camp, on the edge of the reserve. Covered in Wheatley.

Itinerary

11th August

We arrived in Tanzania at dusk, 30 hours late
due to a delayed departure in Manchester. This delay caused us to miss
our connection in Dubai by half an hour. We then had to endure a 30-hour
wait in Dubai, albeit in a very comfortable hotel, before the next available
flight to Dar es Salaam. Arnold, who would be our driver for the duration
of our holiday in mainland Tanzania, met us at the airport. We drove
to the Beach Comber Resort where we arrived well after dark, but luckily
the hotel obliged in making a late meal for us all, before we crashed
out. It had been our intention to fly to Pemba Island today, but had
missed the flight. Luckily Anthony had managed to postpone our flight
by a day, which resulted in us only having one night on the island instead
of two. This meant we had a rather rushed start to the holiday &
missed out on a days chilling out on Pemba.

12th August

Managed to get 15 minutes birding from the beach
at dawn, before the 6:30am breakfast and transfer to the Airport for
the scheduled flight to Pemba. The flight departed at 8:35am and flew
via Zanzibar, arriving on Pemba at 10:10. On arrival at Chake Chake
Airport in Pemba, we were met by staff from the Manta Reef Lodge, who
transferred us to the hotel, which took about two and a half hours.
After Lunch and a couple of hours birding around the grounds, a member
of the hotel staff drove us to the nearby Ngezi Forest, where we birded
until late in the afternoon and then birded the forest edge until dusk.
We returned to the Hotel for an evening meal after which we went back
into the field in search of the Scops owl.

Highlights. Hotel grounds: Pemba White-eye, Pemba
Sunbird & Madagascar Bee-eater.

Ngezi Forest area: Mangrove Kingfisher,
Ethiopian Swallow & Pemba Scops-owl.

August 13th

The morning was spent birding the forest edge
in search of the Green Pigeon, our last remaining Pemba endemic. After
Lunch we caught an afternoon flight back to Dar Es Salaam, again via
Zanzibar. We originally intended to try and drive as far as Mikumi ,
but as it was getting late we decided to stay over in Morogoro and continue
to Mikumi in the morning.

Highlights. Ngezi Forest area: Pemba Green-pigeon
& Dickinson’s Kestrel.

14th August

We made an early start, passing through Mikumi
NP, which gave us our first taste of Tanzanian National Parks, before
stopping at the Mikumi Genesis Motel for breakfast. After breakfast
we drove through the Udzungwa Mountains, stopping at Udzungwa Mountain
View Lodge to unpack before carrying on to the Kilombero Flood Plains
where three Tanzanian endemics occur, two of which are, as yet un-named
cisticolas. We birded the floodplains and river until late afternoon
before returning to the Udzungwa Mountain View Lodge after dark.

Highlights. Floodplain and River: White-crowned
Plover, African Skimmer, Coppery-tailed Coucal, Kilombero Weaver, White-tailed
Cisticola and Kilombero Cisticola.

Journey back to the Lodge, at dusk: Usambara Eagle-owl
& Square-tailed Nightjar

15th August

We rose at dawn & drove a short distance to
the HQ of the Udzungwa Mountain Forest National park, where we met up
with one of the rangers. After coffee and much debate about whether
to bird around the HQ or the waterfall trail, we finally opted for the
waterfall trail which was about a 10 Km drive away. After a fairly quiet
mornings birding we returned to the Lodge for lunch. We failed to see
any of the local specialties, which in reality require a lot more time
and effort.

After lunch we drove to Mikumi, where we checked
into the Genesis Motel.

In the afternoon we birded the Miombo woodlands
North West of Mikumi this is a good area for a number of southern specialties,
with the advantage of being able to bird on foot, which is not possible
in the adjoining reserve. It would appear that none of the Tanzanian
parks are fenced in, which means that the animals are free to roam where
they like. As a result Elephant & Buffalo can be encountered, so
care must be taken.

Highlights. Udzungwa Mountains: Green headed Oriole,
Red-capped Robin-chat & Yellowbill.

Mikumi: White breasted Cuckooshrike, Greencap
Eremomela, Southern Blue-eared Glossy-starling & Pale Batis.

16th August

The morning was again spent birding the miombo
woodland, before returning to the lodge mid morning. We spent the rest
of the day in the Mikumi National Park, where we had lunch at the hotel
near the entrance gate. We finally left the park after dark; which is
apparently not allowed and resulted in Arnold being reprimanded by the
guards on leaving the reserve. The night was spent at Mikumi Genesis
Motel.

Highlights. Miombo woodland: Böhm’s Spinetail,
Racket-tailed Roller, White-headed Black-chat, Tiny Cisticola, Miombo
Wren-warbler, Rufous-bellied Tit, African Penduline-tit and Orange-winged
Pytilia.

Mikumi National Park: Red necked Spurfowl Black
bellied Bustard, Croaking Cisticola Northern Pied-babbler.

17th August

After an early breakfast, we set out for one of
the longest drives on our trip. On the approach to the Eastern Arc Mountains
we made several stops in the cultivated areas for Zanzibar Bishop, but
only managed to find, good numbers of Black-winged Bishops. We arrived
at the Amani nature reserve rest House shortly after dark.

18th August

The whole day was spent birding the Amani area
with a short and uneventful visit to an area of riverine woodland &
tea plantations in the afternoon. In the morning we birded the main
track above the accommodation and after breakfast the patches of woodland
and cultivated areas around the village. The late afternoon & evening
was spent on the trail leading from the center.

Highlights: Fischer’s Turaco,
Green Barbet, White-starred Robin, Evergreen Forest Warbler, Forest
Batis, Usambara Hyliota, Yellow White-eye, Uluguru Violet-backed Sunbird,
Banded Green Sunbird and Kenrick’s Starling.

19th August

The morning was spent birding the trail leading
from the center, to the viewpoint before returning for lunch, where
I met up with John & Pete who had both managed to independently
see Long-billed Tailorbird in a small gully besides the road, just above
the center. A brief search of the area failed to provide the desired
grip-back.

After lunch we set off for Muller’s Mountain Lodge,
an old German colonial house, in the West Usambara Mountains. The journey
took the rest of the afternoon, except for a short stop in the West
Usambara foothills, so we arrived at the lodge at dusk. We were just
making ourselves comfortable in front of the log fire, when John came
in with the news that a Nightjar was calling from a tree in the garden.
We dashed out to enjoy excellent views of Usambara Nightjar, which was
soon joined in the next tree by a medium sized Eagle-owl, which proved
to be Usamabra Eagle-owl. A pretty good introduction to the West Usambaras!

Today was Linda’s 40th birthday, so Muller’s Mountain
Lodge, which is renowned for its fine cuisine, was the ideal place to
celebrate the occasion.

Highlights. Amani: Crowned Eagle, Orange Ground-thrush
& Amani Sunbird.

W. Usambara foothills: Nyzana Swift, Cliff Chat
& Hunters Sunbird.

Muller’s Mountain Lodge: Usambara Nightjar &
Usamabra Eagle-owl.

20th August

After an early breakfast we birded the sawmill
track, about a half hour drive from the lodge, before returning for
lunch. The early afternoon was spent birding around the lodge, before
heading off to a nearby area of remnant forest. The night was again
spent at the Lodge.

Highlights. Sawmill track: Tiny Greenbul, Fulleborns
Black Boubou, Abyssinian Hill-babbler, African Tailorbird & Red-faced
Crimsonwing.

Remnant Forest: Hartlaub’s Turaco, Moustached
Tinkerbird & Waller’s Starling.

21st August

The morning was again spent at the nearby remnant
forest before departing mid morning with a packed lunch. We stopped
for a short lunch break in the foothills before descending back onto
the plain and the journey to Same, where we would spend the night. Arnold
knew of a reliable site for Taveta Golden Weaver on this section where
a reed fringed river, boarded by rice fields, transects the road. Shortly
after entering the fields a large raptor flew towards us obligingly
hovered overhead, giving excellent views. We all concluded that it was
a Short-toed Eagle, a potential First for Tanzania! After an hours searching,
I managed to locate a male weaver, which promptly disappeared before
the others arrived & could not be relocated. A few Kms further down
the road we stropped to bird an area of thorn scrub & fields, were
Linda managed to locate another male amongst a mixer weaver flock.

The night was spent at the Elephant Motel on the
outskirts of Same.

Highlights. Remnant Forest: Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater
& Cabanis’s Greenbul.

Journey to Same: Short-toed Eagle, Pink-breasted
Lark, White-browed Scrub-robin, Red-fronted Warbler, Pygmy Batis, Black-bellied
Sunbird, Eastern Violet-backed Sunbird, Rosy-patched Shrike, Fischer’s
Starling &Taveta Golden Weaver.

22nd August

After Breakfast, we birded an area of dry bush,
in the foothills of the South Pare Mountains only a short journey from
the Hotel. Our main target here was South Pare White-eye, a potential
split from Broad-ringed White-eye. After about half an hour John managed
to locate a party of White-eyes, which we are convinced were Abyssinian,
although Anthony later insisted South Pare is the only White-eye in
the area. The altitude (c1,00m) was lower & the habitat much drier
than we expected South-pare White eye to occur in. We birded a couple
of locations in the area until returning to the Motel for lunch.

After lunch we drove to Arusha & booked into
Maasai Safari Tourist Lodge. The Lodge is located a little outside the
center of town and away from the crowded tourist hotels and is set within
a very pleasant garden. The afternoon was spent chilling out & birding
in the hotel grounds, where we met up with Anthony, who brought with
him John & Jeanette’s long lost suitcase.

Highlights. South Pare: Brown Snake-eagle, D’Arnoud’s
and White-headed barbets, Northern Brownbul, Zanzibar Sombre Greenbul,
Tiny Cisticola, Grey Wren-warbler Black-headed Batis, Sulphur-breasted
and Grey-headed bush-shrikes, & Green-winged Pytilia.

Hotel: Brown-breasted Barbet, Tropical Boubou.

23rd August

Most of the night was spent dashing to the toilet,
presumably from something I ate or drank, as a result I started the
day feeling pretty rotten and not really up to walking over sun scorched
plains looking for a Lark. Luckily no one else had contracted my stomach
upset, so I relied on the rest of the guys putting in all the effort
as I tagged on behind. After about an hour of walking over the plains,
situated to the North of Arusha, a pair of Spike-heeled Larks were located.
This isolated population, a potential split, is only found in this area
of Tanzania. We continued a few kms further along the road until we
reached a patch of acacias, which were birded for a further half an
hour before returning to Arusha and dropping Anthony off at his office.

In the afternoon we drove to Tarangire Porini
Camp, a tented camp, which is set in 200 acres of un spoilt wilderness
on the border of the Tarangire National Park The dining area overlooks
a small drinking trough, which was alive with birds coming into drink.
The rest of the guys went birding, on foot, with a local guide, whilst
I stayed behind to watch the drinking pool, as I was still feeling pretty
rough.

Highlights. Roadside birds traveling to/from the
plains: Lammergeier, Red-and-Yellow Barbet, White-fronted Bee-eater,
Capped and Schalow’s Wheatears.

Open Plains: Spike-heeled Lark, Eastern Chanting
Goshawk and Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse

Acacia: Fawn-coloured Lark and Banded Parisoma

Porini Camp: Chestnut and Swahili sparrows, Chestnut
Weaver, Green-winged Pytilia, Blue-capped cordon-bleu, Crimson-rumped
Waxbill, Grey-headed Silverbill, Red-bellied Parrot, Yellow-collared
Lovebird, Bare-faced Go-away-bird & Dark Chanting Goshawk.

24th August

The early part of the morning was spent overlooking
the drinking trough, which was again alive with activity. After a leisurely
breakfast, we departed for Tarangire National park, a short drive a
way. En route to Tarangire NP we stopped at a couple of roadside pools,
which were teemed with Chestnut-backed sparrow-larks. Upon reaching
the park we headed to a picnic site where you could leave the vehicle
and ate our packed lunch. After a couple of hours, we made our way to
the Luxury Tented Camp where we chilled out in the pool. The late afternoon
& evening were spent on a game drive in the vicinity of the camp.

Highlights: Porini Camp: Jameson’s Firefinch,
Black-faced Waxbill, Straw-tailed Whydah, Gabar Goshawk, Pygmy Falcon
& Von Der Decken’s Hornbill

Tarangire NP: Secretary-bird, Martial Eagle, Coqui
and Crested francolins, Yellow-necked and Red-necked spurfowls, White-bellied
Bustard, Yellow-throated Sand grouse, Ashy starling, White-headed Buffalo-weaver,
and a single Rufous-tailed Weaver at dusk.

25th August

After an early breakfast, we checked out of the
Tarangire Safari Lodge and began the long drive to the Serengeti. We
started the journey on good roads, which changed to a rutted dirt road
as we climbed the rift valley escarpment just past lake Manyara. We
drove around the mainly forested Ngorongoro crater, where we made a
brief stop in a area rich in wild flowers & Sunbirds. We continued
on the Olduvai Gorge where we stopped to eat our packed lunch. This
area is worth visiting, not only for the museum dedicated to the finding
of mans earliest remains, but also for the birds, which feed at your
feet around the picnic tables.

After lunch we continued, entering the vast expanse
of the Serengeti plains. As soon as we turned off the main track and
started to head towards our hotel, we came across a female Lion suckling
three small cubs, which gave very close views. Within minutes of leaving
her we encountered a female cheetah and three well-grown cubs at a fresh
kill, shortly followed by a large male Lion, which soon got scent of
the kill and chased off the Cheetah family, scattering the cubs in all
directions. A pretty impressive introduction to the Serengeti!

We arrived at the Serengeti Sopa Lodge at dusk,
where the hot showers & luxurious rooms were most appreciated after
a long drive.

Highlights: Dusky Turtle Dove, Malachite and Golden-winged
sunbirds, White-bellied Canary, Greater Kestrel, Kori, White-bellied
and Hartlaub’s bustards, Two-banded Courser & Rufous-tailed Weaver.

26th August

After breakfast we heded out for a full day in
the Serengeti. Arnold drove slowly through an area of Acacia woodland,
which lies along the main track near the hotel. We stopping to check
any bird flock’s we encountered, before picking up a Grey-breasted Spurfowl,
the last endemic of the trip near one of the river crossings. We continued
onto a nearby lake before heading out onto the grassy plains and a picnic
site near Seronera, where we ate our packed lunch. The picnic site was
alive with birds feeding on scrap, including our only Usambiro Barbets
of the trip. Drove back to the hotel to pick up the girls who had spent
the morning chilling out & enjoying the delights of the hotel swimming
pool. We left the hotel at 4pm and headed back towards the lake, where
luckily for the girls a Leopard we had seen in the morning, was still
in its tree. The drive back to the Hotel was delayed by a large herd
of elephants, crossing the road, which were not very impressed by out
presence. We drove past a spectacular fire on one of the hillsides,
which had been caused by thunderstorms we had seen distantly earlier
in the afternoon.

In the evening we were treated to an impressive
thunderstorm around the hotel whilst eating dinner. Back at the room
the views from the balcony, across a lightening lit Serengeti, will
leave a lasting memory.

Highlights. Acacia Woodland & riverine scrub:
Grey-breasted Spurfowl, Meyer’s Parrot, Fischer’s Lovebird, Sharpe’s
Pied-babbler, Buff-bellied Penduline-Tit, Red-throated Tit and Abyssinian
Scimitar-bill & Yellow-throated Petronia.

Open plains: Black-winged Lapwing, Temminck’s
and Two-banded coursers.

Picnic Site: Usambiro Barbet, Grey-capped Social-weaver.

Scattered trees near the picnic site: Silverbird.

27th August

We packed & left the hotel, starting to retrace
ours steps back to the Ngorongoro crater where we would spend the next
two nights. The tracks across the plains proved hard going after the
overnight rains & Arnold had to be quite selective about which tracks
to use, as some were almost impassable. We stopped for lunch at Naabi
Hill Gate exit for the park, where we were again treated to close views
of the many birds which came down to scraps of food.

We arrived at the hotel Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge
at 18.30, where we managed a last hours birding around the grounds before
dark. After taking a shower, a Mountain Nightjar could be heard from
the room, but it could not be located. When we met up with John for
Dinner, he gripped me off with the news that he had seen the nightjar
outside his room!

Highlights. Naabi Hill Gate : Buff-bellied Warbler,
Banded Parisoma Hildebrand’s Starling & Rufous-tailed Weaver.

Sopa Lodge: Verreaux’s Eagle-owl & White-eyed
Slaty-flycatcher.

28th August

First light found us exploring the grounds of
the hotel, before taking an early breakfast & departing for a full
day in the crater.

We covered a large part of the crater bottom,
taking lunch at a lakeside picnic site, before ending up at the soda
lake late afternoon from where we headed back to the hotel.

The memorable day finished back at the hotel,
with a pair of Montane Nightjars performing under a spotlight near the
swimming pool.

Highlights. Sopa Lodge: Grey-capped Warbler, Broad-ringed
White-eye & Montane Nightjars

Crater: Rosy-throated Longclaw, Grey-rumped Swallow,
African Marsh-Harrier, Lesser Flamingo, Banded Martin, Grey Crowned-Crane,
Hildebrand’s Francolin, Yellow Bishop & Chestnut-banded Plover.

29th August

The early morning was spent birding around the
grounds of the hotel including the nearby staff quarters and football
pitch, before heading off on the journey to Lake Manyara. On arrival
at Lake Manyara we ate our packed lunch at the picnic site by the entrance
gate, after which we entered the park, spending the rest of the day
on a game drive with a visit to the lakeshore.

In the evening we drove the short distance to
the Migunga Forest Camp, which is set in 35 acres of yellow acacia forest
in a secluded part of Migungani Village. The camp consists of nine self-contained
tents with Bathrooms having running hot and cold water, showers, and
flush toilets. There is a dining room and bar under thatch. Electricity
is 12 volt supplied by solar power.

Highlights. Sopa Lodge: Hunter’s Cisticola, Cinnamon
Bracken-warbler, Red-collared Widowbird & Tacazze Sunbird.

Lake Manyara: Giant Kingfisher, Black Cuchooshrike
& White Helmetshrike.

30th August

We spent a couple of hours birding the acacia
woodland and the nearby grassland before heading back to camp for an
early lunch.

After lunch we drove to Arusha airport where,
after saying our goodbyes to Arnold and Anthony, who had driven out
to meet us, we departed on the 13.00 flight to Dar Es Salaam, via Zanzibar.
We were collected from the airport by a taxi arranged by the Beachcomber
Hotel. The hotel had been taken over by a wedding reception and the
hotel wanted us to eat at a nearby hotel, but after much insistence
we were fed on the balcony of the hotel overlooking the reception party
and the Indian Ocean.

Highlights. Migunga Forest Camp: Klaas’s Cuckoo
&. African Golden Oriole.

31st August

Spent the morning birding the mangroves &
beach around the hotel, as well as chilling out in the pool.

Transferred to the airport for the afternoon flight
that left on time and arrived in Dubai late evening. Onward flight early
the next morning arrived in Manchester early afternoon of 1 September.

Highlights. Beachcomber Hotel: Dimorphic Egret

Other Tanzania Trip Reports arranged by years.

2014   |  2012  |  2011  |  2010   |  2008   |  2006 2005    |  2003

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