TANZANIA - THE EASTERN ARC MOUNTAINS

Our tour to this rarely visited corner of Tanzania is guaranteed to be an adventure, as we search for some of Africa's rarest and least-known birds. The Eastern Arc Mountains are well off the usual Tanzania safari route and this tour is aimed at finding as many endemics, rare and extremely localised species as possible. We travel from the South Pare Mountains, to West Usambara & East Usambara Mountains, up into the Uluguru Mountains and finish up with a visit to the Ukaguru Mountains. Very few birders ever reach this remote area but there are so many great birds present that it makes the camping worthwhile! However, out of 15 nights on the main tour we camp for less than half of that time but it all adds up to an adventure of a lifetime!

We begin by heading to Same and some great habitat near Nyumba ya Mungu Dam for species such as Scaly Chatterer, Pringle's Puffback and Pink-breasted Lark amongst many others. After that we will head for a small woodland just outside Mkomazi National Park, where we will hunt for species like Tsavo, Black-bellied and Hunter´s Sunbirds, Fischer´s Starling and others. Next up is the South Pare Mountains where we  look for the endemic South Pare White-eye and also Usambara Double-collared Sunbird before eventually reaching Magamba Forest in West Usambara. What a place this is! Here, we will search for species such as Usambara Akalat, Füllerborn´s Boubou, Usambara Thrush, Usambara Double-collared Sunbird, Montane Tiny (Usambara) Greenbul, Red-capped Forest Warbler and Usambara Weaver. It is also a very good area to find the much-wanted endemic Spot-throat as well before we reach the legendary Amani Forest in East Usambara Mountains. Here we will look for Fraser's (Usambara) Eagle-Owl, Mombassa Woodpecker, Kretschmer´s Longbill, Sharpe´s Akalat,  Short-tailed Batis, Usambara Hyliota, Long-billed Forest Warbler and Uluguru Violet-backed Sunbird.  Moving on to the Uluguru Mountains we target Böhms Bee-eater, Uluguru Bushshrike, Livingstone's Turaco, Loveridge’s Sunbird, Bertram’s Weaver, Orange Ground-Thrush and plenty more. Moving to a different section of the Ulugurus we can find Winifred’s Warbler, Olive-flanked Gound-Robin, Uluguru Greenbul, Chapin’s and Dark Batis. Staying at the very nice Hondo Hondo Camp there's a shot at Pel's Fishing Owl, as well as Speckle-throated Woodpecker, Stierling’s Woodpecker, Collared Palm Thrush, Hofmann’s Sunbird, Pale Batis, Cinnamon-breasted Tit, Stierling’s Wren Warbler, Eastern Black-headed Batis and more. We will also search the Kilombero River for the recently described Kilombero Weaver, before heading up into the Ukaguru Mountains for Rubeho Akalat and Rubeho Warbler and then we drive to Dar-es-Salaam where the main tour concludes. Or you can continue to Pemba Island for another 4 endemics: Pemba Scops-Owl, Pemba Green Pigeon, Pemba White-eye and Pemba Sunbird. Plus chances of Dickinson's Kestrel and Mangrove Kingfisher. 

This is a different side to Africa than many other visiting birders have experienced, with secluded lodges, even more remote campsites, great food and some truly superb and rare birds. And it is only for a select group of 6 birders, making for a more personalised and productive tour!

 

Sat 20th July - Sun 4th August 2024   

KEY SPECIES

Here are just a few of the key species we will be targetting on this tour:

  • Crab Plover (ext)
  • Southern Banded Snake-Eagle
  • Fraser's (Usambara) Eagle Owl
  • Pel's Fishing Owl
  • Pemba Scops Owl (ext)
  • Fischer´s Turaco
  • Hartlaub's Turaco
  • Pemba Green-Pigeon (ext)
  • Moustached Tinkerbird
  • Mombassa Woodpecker
  • Speckle-throated Woodpecker
  • Stierling's Woodpecker
  • Livingstone's Turaco
  • Böhms Bee-eater
  • Dickinson's Kestrel (ext)
  • Pallid Honeyguide
  • Uluguru Bushshrike
  • Black-fronted Bushshrike
  • Füllerborn´s Boubou
  • Pringle's Puffback
  • Usambara Akalat
  • Sharpe's Akalat
  • Rubeho Akalat
  • Usambara Ground Robin
  • Olive-flanked Ground-Robin
  • White-chested Alethe
  • Spot-throat
  • Tanzania Illadopsis
  • Montane Tiny Greenbul
  • Uluguru Greenbul
  • Shelley's Greenbul
  • Stripe-faced Greenbul
  • Orange Ground-Thrush
  • Red-tailed Ant-Thrush
  • Dark Batis
  • South Pare White-eye
  • Pemba White-eye (ext)
  • Little Yellow Flycatcher
  • Short-tailed Batis
  • Usambara Hyliota
  • Scaly Chatterer
  • Long-billed Apalis
  • Chapin's Apalis
  • Kretschmer´s Longbill
  • Usambara Thrush
  • Striped Pipit
  • Coastal Cisticola
  • Long-billed Forest Warbler
  • Evergreen Forest Warbler
  • Red-capped Forest Warbler
  • Winifred's Warbler
  • Rubeho Warbler
  • Pemba Sunbird (ext)
  • Tsavo Sunbird
  • Banded Green Sunbird
  • Amani Sunbird
  • Moreau's Sunbird
  • Black-bellied Sunbird
  • Usambara Double-collared Sunbird
  • Tsavo Purple-banded Sunbird
  • Uluguru Violet-backed Sunbird
  • Loveridge's Sunbird
  • Zanzibar Red Bishop
  • Green-headed Oriole
  • Oriole Finch
  • Usambara Weaver
  • Bertram's Weaver
  • Kilombero Weaver
  • Red-faced Crimsonwing
  • Zebra Waxbill
Pel's Fishing Owl
Pel's Fishing Owl

Leaders: Nick Bray and local guides.

Ground Price 2024 (Main Tour): £4750.00 – Kilimanjaro/Dar-es-Salaam
Ground Price (Pemba Ext): £ask for info - Dar-es-Salaam/Dar-es-Salaam

Ground Price 2025 (Main Tour): £5550.00 - Kilimanjaro/Dar-es-Salaam
Ground Price 2025 (Pemba Ext): £ask for info - Dar-es-Salaam/Dar-es-Salaam

Airfare: £1100 - £1400 (approx) - UK/UK

Single Supplement (Main): £450
Single Supplement (Ext): £ask for info

Deposit: £500.00

Group size:  Maximum 5 with 2 leaders.

Included in cost: Accommodation in twin rooms en-suite, all meals (from dinner on Day 1 to lunch on Day 16) including picnic lunches, bottled water, transport throughout in 8-seater Toyota Landcruisers, camping equipment, porters, all park entrance fees, and services of local guides and leaders.

Not included: International airfare, insurance, visa fee,  departure tax, camera fees, drinks, tips and items of a personal nature.

Accommodation: Ranges from simple to good – please remember we are visiting areas way off the regular tourist circuit, but all rooms have private bathrooms. We will also utilise camps for 7 nights in order to be closer to the birding action - all camping equipment is supplied. 

Tour Code: This is a relatively adventurous birding tour requiring a medium level of fitness. Long days in the field with early starts are expected, but walking is usually easy. But there's one intensive walk on Day 10 at Bunduki in the Ulkugurus to get to the campsite. The weather will be predominantly hot and dry throughout the tour, but higher areas could see some precipitation. A fleece and raincoat will be needed for the mountains. Please note there are some long drives on this tour. Whilst camping for 2 nights at Magamba Forest it will be quite cold so you will need to be prepared for this with thermal nightwear, but the camps location in the heart of the forest will ensure a fantastic experience. A visa is needed but this is now very easy to obtain as it is an E-Visa which you apply for online. And as of January 2024 flights are a very resonable price and under £700, although this will fluctuate.