Trip report: Tanzania, Birding Among the Beasts (Apr 2010) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Keith Barnes. This was a custom tour that visited many of the same sites as our set-departure tour.

This was the first leg of the Megafari – a true trip of a lifetime for most of the participants. Our Tanzania leg ended up being the most successful Northern Tanzania trip we had ever run, netting an incredible 426 bird species in only 11 days. Not only did we see loads of birds, but we reveled in the myriad photographic opportunities that we were presented with, and also indulged in an incredible mammal viewing marathon of epic proportions, seeing thousands upon thousands of migrating wildebeest, and soaking up both game and had multiple encounters with predators such as the secretive leopard, bold lion and slight cheetah. With the rains having fallen recently, the birding was beyond belief, with all the weavers and bishops as well as wydahs in full breeding swing. We started off by visiting some arid country near Arusha and then explored the giddy heights and montane forests of Arusha NP before setting off for the more typical Northern Tanzania destinations such as Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and finally, the Serengeti NP. This tour is perfect for anyone with an interest in the outdoors, perfect for birders, perfect for non-birding spouses, and perfect for photographers. If you are looking for one trip to keep anyone and everyone happy, this is it!

Our next leg of the Megafari headed to Uganda for Shoebill and Rwanda for both Great Apes (Chimpanzee and Gorilla) as well as the superb Albertine Rift forests at Nyungwe, with a net result of accumulating an incredible 675 bird species and 62 mammals in just three-weeks of the Megafari. The Megafari was a boon for spectacular birds and we saw 51 species of bird of prey, 11 species of turaco, 11 species of kingfisher, 10 species of bee-eater, 12 species of hornbill, and 25 species of sunbird. We also saw the famous Big-5 mammals and had incredible encounters with Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees amongst 11 species of primates. For the extremely successful Uganda and Rwanda portion of the tour, click here.

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