Trip report: Tanzania Set-departure tour (March-April 2019) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Ken Behrens and Iain Campbell. This was a set-departure tour.

Northern Tanzania is a special place. There is no other country on the continent that comes closer to realizing the Africa of most people’s dreams and imaginations. Here are sweeping savannah landscapes, beautiful skies, seemingly endless herds of wildebeest and zebra, abundant big predators, and conspicuous and colorful birds aplenty. Actually there is much more here than the Africa of stereotypes… there is dry thornscrub full of jewel-like birds, lush montane forests that shelter rare and localized birds, and even fever tree woodland, like some absurd dream of a Nordic barbarian grown weary of snow and pine trees. If someone wanted to make one trip to Africa and really experience the essence of the continent, at least its best parts, I would have to recommend this tour.

This tour was a success by any measure. We racked up 590 species of birds and 64 mammals, plus 23 species of reptiles. We saw nearly all the possible Tanzanian endemics and near-endemics, plus other highlights that included Secretarybird, four species of Bustards, six species of Turacos, 46 species of raptors, 13 species of cisticola, Golden-winged and Tacazze Sunbirds, 32 members of the classically African weaver family, Gray-headed Silverbill, and three species of whydahs. Mammals were exceptional as well. There is no better place in Africa to experience its megafauna. There were 100s of 1000s of migrating Wildebeest, a whole range of antelope, African Elephants, Lions galore, amazing experiences with a family of Cheetahs, a couple gorgeous Leopards, and a good
 night drive that featured White-tailed 
Mongoose, East African Springhare, and 
an African Wild Cat. Perhaps more
important than anything else, we really
 soaked in this amazing part of 
Africa, savoring each sunset, each 
afternoon thunderstorm, and each brilliant 
dawn. It is a privilege simply to be alive in
 this part of the world!

Full Trip Report. (23.2 MB, pdf format).

Trip Report with Lower-Resolution Photos. (8.6 MB, pdf format).