Birding in Tanzania

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13 Days Birding in Tanzania

This 13 Days Birding and Wildlife Tour in Tanzania traverses Mt. Meru, Tarangire, Ngorongoro, Lake Ndutu, and Serengeti Conservation Areas.  Tanzania has over 1,100, of which over 800 species are residents, and about 200 are migrants. There are 22 bird species endemic to Tanzania.

Safari highlights 

  • Mt. Meru with over 300 bird specie, is famed for its huge cliffs, is home to 13 rivers, and was home to Elsa the lioness of “Born Free” fame.
  • Tarangire National Park is known for its huge elephants and giraffes and is a habitat for over 550 bird species. 
  • Ngorongoro Crater is the cradle of mankind and has over 600 bird species and is the 8th Wonder in the world.
  • Lake Ndutu is an alkaline lake in the Southern part of Serengeti Plains and is famed for the Calving Season and excellent birding sessions as well.
  • The Serengeti with about 540 bird species and is famed for its highest concentration of wildebeest migration. 

Tour Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Arusha 

Upon arrival in Arusha, you will then drive to your accommodation in Arusha (approximately a 1.5 hours drive) and then spend the evening relaxing at the hotel. Accommodation at Arusha Moivaro Lodge.

Day 2: Arusha to Mt. Meru 

We’ll spend the day on Mt. Meru, which looms over Arusha. The mix of habitats here includes montane forest and offers us many exciting birds including Crowned Hawk-Eagle, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, and splendid songster Rueppell’s Robin-Chat.

As we head up the mist-shrouded slopes, the yellowwood trees become draped in Usnea old man’s beard lichen and we search for skulking gems such as White-starred Robin and the dapper Brown Woodland-Warbler.

The park is also an excellent place to find large herds of buffalo grazing the mountain’s lower slopes, not to mention a remarkable abundance of giraffes and a chance for scarce forest antelope like Harvey’s Duiker and Suni. Accommodation and Meals at Elewana Elsa’s Kopje Meru Lodge

Day 3: Birding in Mt. Meru

We drive around the looming Mt. Meru to the lark plains. These grasslands are home to the last 100 or so Beesley’s Larks on Earth, and we will search long and hard for this critically endangered Tanzanian endemic. Other interesting species here include Chestnut-bellied and Yellow-throated Sandgrouse, shrikes, migrant wheatears, pipits, and larks galore.

The plains are lined by Drepanolobium whistling thorn trees, while hills offer a scrubby habitat that can deliver Red-fronted and Black-throated Barbets, Red-throated Tit, eremomelas, and crombecs.

Thicket habitat and riparian strips offer many great birds, including the Slate-colored Boubou, the Nubian Woodpecker, the highly gregarious Gray-headed Social-Weaver, and the possibility of migrants like the Spotted Flycatcher and the Common Nightingale. Accommodation and Meals at Elewana Elsa’s Kopje Meru Lodge

Day 4:  To Tarangire National Park 

We will depart Mt. Meru in the morning and head directly to Tarangire National Park, named after the river that runs through it which quenches the thirst of a variety of animals, including giraffes, waterbucks, wildebeests, zebras, and elephants.

Tarangire is home to over 500 species of birds and its hilly landscape is dotted with baobabs and diverse grasses. You will enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking the river. We will continue exploring and arrive at your lodge nestled in the park, surrounded by abundant wildlife. Accommodation and Meals at Tarangire Safari Lodge.

Day 5-6: Birding in Tarangire National Park 

Spend days 5 and 6 Birding in Tarangire National Park, look out for the Yellow necked spurfowl, Northern Pied Babbler, Woodland kingfisher, Pygmy Batis, Southern Grosbeak Canary, Red-throated Tit, White-crowned Shrike, Pygmy faced whistling duck, Red-billed Hornbill, Pygmy falcon, African marsh harrier, White-faced whistling duck, Red-billed hornbill, and the Black-headed heron among others.

This is also the chance to look out for the three Tanzanian endemics, Ashy Starling, Drabber Rufous-tailed weaver, and Yellow-collared Lovebird.  Accommodation and Meals at Tarangire Safari Lodge.

Day 7:Tarangire to Ngorongoro Crater

After leaving Tarangire, drive up the western Rift escarpment, wind through some pleasant agricultural areas, then enter the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Arrive at the lodge for relaxation and take in spectacular panoramic views of what might be the world’s famous 8th Wonder.

The protected area is home to over 30,000 Mammals, over 600 Bird species, the gigantic earth fracture, crater floor, volcanoes, plains, lakes, forests, the archaeological site of Olduvai Gorge, and the Great Rift Valley wall.

After lunch, take a walk around the farm to learn about the daily activities, relax in the fragrant gardens or enjoy the spectacular sunsets with the Oldeani volcano as a background. Accommodation and Meals at Ngorongoro Farm House.

Day 8: Birding in Ngorongoro Crater

We have a full day to explore the magical Ngorongoro, the crater is nestled in a pristine natural forest, full of beautiful indigenous trees.

Look out for migrant birds like the Lesser Kestrel, the European swallow, the European bee-eater, the Northern Wheatear, the European roller, Pallid Harrier, Caspian Lapwing, and the Montagu’s Harrier.

At the floor of the crater with the bare grounds or sand tracks, look out for the endemic Rufous-tailed weaver, Livingstone’s Turaco, and the Jackson’s Widow bird. Other species include Grey-crowned Cranes, Northern Anteater Chat, Rufous-napped Larks, Capped Whater, Fischer’s Sparrow lark, Red-capped Lark, and the Grassland Pipit. The Ngorongoro Crater is also inhabited by birds of prey such as the Augur buzzard and the Long-crested eagle.

The soda lakes of Ngorongoro are the breeding grounds of thousands of flamingoes and other water birds such as ducks, waders, and herons.  Accommodation and Meals at Ngorongoro Farm House.

Days 9-10:  Birding in Ndutu

From the crater rim, we move towards the Ndutu Area in the northern part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area that joins the Serengeti.  Explore the Acacia woodland with alkaline lakes and swamps. The woodlands harbor Rufous Chatterer, Cardinal and Bearded Woodpeckers, Black-faced Babbler, and Green Woodhoopoe.

With a bit of luck, and depending on the rains, the wildebeest may have recently calved in this area, and up to half a million females may be in attendance with their young, presenting a wildlife spectacle and enthralling experience. Accommodation and Meals at Ndutu Safari Lodge.

Day 11:  To Serengeti National Park

After a relaxed breakfast, we will start our journey to the Serengeti National Park which spans over 14,000 km². The name Serengeti comes from a Maasai word meaning ‘endless plains’ and this park is home to the ‘big five’; Rhinoceros, Elephant, Leopard, Buffalo, and Lion. It is home to about 540 bird species.   After check-in, you will head out for a birding session. The park is also the homeland of the amazing Lilac-breasted roller and the 3 endangered Tanzanian species: Grey-rumped spurfowl, Fischer’s lovebird, and the babbler-like Rufous-tailed weaver. Accommodation and Meals at Kubu Kubu Tented Lodge.

Day 12: Birding Serengeti National Park 

After breakfast, you will spend this day birding in the Serengeti. Look out for the Usambiro barbet, Red-billed Hornbill, Karamoja Apalis, Schalow’s Turaco, Hildebrandt’s Francolin, Black-headed Gonolek, Black-backed Cisticola, Kori bustard, Secretary bird, Pale Chanting Goshawk, Magpie Shrike, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Abyssinian Scimitarbill, Capped Wheatear, Wattled Starling, Silverbird, among others.  Accommodation and Meals at Kubu Kubu Tented Lodge

Day 13:  Arusha National Park – Departure 

Head back to Arusha for lunch and thereafter onward for a departure flight back home at the end of the 13 days of Birding in Tanzania. 

Included in the 13 Days Birding in Tanzania

  • Ground transportation in a safari customized 4WD with gasoline/fuel,
  • Mineral water in the vehicle,
  • Services of an English speaking Driver/guide,
  • Accommodation as shown at the lodges mentioned in the itinerary,
  • Meals as shown (B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner),
  • All Park Entrance Fees

Excluded in the 13 Days Birding in Tanzania

  • International Airfares; Excess baggage charges;
  • Tanzania Entry Visa Fees
  • Beverages, Communications charges (telephone, fax, internet), Laundry, etc.;
  • Tips, and Gratuities for your Driver/guide and Hotels staff,
  • Optional activities unless specified as included,
  • Any other services not expressly shown in the itinerary or indicated as included.