Tanzania - The Usambara Mountains & Pemba Island

Tuesday 14th November - Thursday 23rd November 2017

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. We will begin in the West Usambara Mountains searching for the enigmatic Spot-throat, Usambara Ground-Robin and the exceedingly rare Usambara Weaver amongst others. Then we visit the Eastern Usambara Mountains where species such as Fischer's Turaco, Usambara Eagle-Owl, Long-billed Apalis and Usambara Hyliota will be amongst our main targets. And we will complete our tour with a visit to the tropicl paradise of Pemba Island for its endemics and is a pefect way to round off a superb tour. This is a different side to Africa than many other visiting birders have experienced, with secluded lodges, great food and some truly superb birds. And it is only for a select group of 5 birders, making for a more personalised and productive tour!

This tour can also be joined to our Tanzania - Kilimanjaro & Beyond safari tour for a complete coverage of this amazing region or simply joined as an exciting stand-alone tour. 



  • Usambara Eagle-Owl
  • Pemba Scops-owl
  • Scheffler's Barred Owlet
  • Usambara Nightjar
  • Green Yellowbill
  • Pemba Green-Pigeon
  • Dickinson's Kestrel
  • Brown-headed Parrot
  • Mangrove Kingfisher
  • Green Tinkerbird 
  • Green Barbet
  • Green-headed Oriole
  • Black-fronted Bush-shrike      
  • Fischer's Turaco            
  • Usambara Hyliota
  • Little Yellow Flycatcher
  • Pale Batis
  • Coastal Cisticola 
  • Red-capped Forest Warbler
  • Long-billed Forest Warbler
  • Fulleborn's Black Boubou
  • East Coast Boubou
  • Spot-throat
  • White-chested Alethe
  • Chestnut-fronted Helmetshrike     
  • Usambara Akalat
  • Sharpe's Akalat
  • Usambara Thrush
  • Usambara Ground-Robin
  • White-starred Robin
  • Kretschmer's Longbill
  • Long-billed Apalis
  • Usambara Double-collared Sunbird    
  • Banded Green Sunbird
  • Uluguru Violet-backed Sunbird
  • Amanai Sunbird
  • Pemba Sunbird
  • Pemba White-eye
  • Striped Pipit      
  • Zanzibar Red Bishop
  • Usambara Weaver
  • Red-headed Bluebill
  • Peters's Twinspot
  • Oriole-Finch

Day 1    
Arrival in Kilimanjaro  - 14th November
Aim to arrive at the delightfully quiet and peaceful Kilimanjaro International Airport this evening via KLM’s direct morning departure from Amsterdam Schiphol if you are coming from Europe or North America. After clearing immigration and customs formalities, we will transfer to Kia Lodge for an overnight stay. Or if joining this tour from our 'safari' tour into the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, you will meet up in the early evening to begin this tour.

Days 2 - 4      Kilimanjaro - West Usambara Mountains
An early departure will see us arrive in time for a late lunch at the delightful Muller's Mountain Lodge, situated in a secluded location amidst the rolling hills of the Usambara Mountains. The accommodation comprised stylish cottages overlooking the hills and is a great place to relax after a day's birding. High on our wish-list will be Spot-throat, a true skulker of uncertain taxonomic affinities, whilst other key species include White-chested Alethe, Usambara Thrush (split from Olive Thrush), Usambara Ground-Robin, Stripe-faced Greenbul (split from Stripe-cheeked Greenbul), Red-capped Forest Warbler, Usambara Double-collared Sunbird, the rare Usambara Weaver

Other species present here include African Crowned Eagle, Ayres’s Hawk Eagle, Mountain Buzzard, Eastern Bronze-naped and Olive Pigeons, Tambourine and Lemon Doves, Dusky Turtle Dove, Hartlaub’s Turaco, Red-chested and Barred Long-tailed Cuckoos, Scarce Swift, Bar-tailed Trogon, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Moustached Green Tinkerbird, Olive Woodpecker, Black Saw-wing, Black-headed Mountain and Shelley’s Greenbuls, White-starred Robin, African Dusky and Ashy Flycatchers, Grey Cuckoo-Shrike, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, Forest Batis, Evergreen Forest Warbler, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, White-bellied Tit, Black-headed and Bar-throated Apalises, White-tailed Crested Flycatcher, Black-fronted Bush-Shrike, Fülleborn’s Black Boubou, Black-backed Puffback, Kenrick’s, Waller’s, Sharpe’s Starling, Malachite and Eastern Olive Sunbirds, Red-faced Crimsonwing, Streaky Seedeater, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Oriole-Finch and Southern Citril. At night we will look for Usambara Nightjar, a relatively recent split from Montane Nightjar. Nights at Muller's Mountain Lodge.

Day 5 - 7     West Usambaras - Eastern Usambara Mountains 
Today we will drive to the Eastern Usambara Mountains, where we expect to arrive in time for lunch at our temted camp in this secluded corner of Tanzania. Along the way a few roadside stops could produce some common species such as White-browed Coucal, White-rumped Swift, Striped Pipit, Cliff Chat, Grey-olive Greenbul, Brown-crowned Tchagra, and African Golden Weaver. Upon arrival at our perfectly located camp we will have lunch before exploring the nearby forest. Amongst the many forest specialities we will look for Fischer’s Turaco, White-eared Barbet, Mombasa Woodpecker, Sharpe’s Akalat, Pale-breasted Illadopsis, Red-tailed Ant-Thrush, the extremely localised Long-billed Apalis, Kretschmer’s Longbill, Usambara Hyliota, Chestnut-fronted Helmet-shrike, Banded Green, Amani, Plain-backed and Uluguru Violet-backed Sunbirds, Peters's Twinspot,  

Other species present in the Amani area include African Green Pigeon, African Emerald Cuckoo, Green Yellowbill, Mottled and Böhm’s Spinetails, Half-collared and Brown-hooded Kingfishers, Trumpeter Hornbill, Yellow-rumped and Eastern Green Tinkerbirds, Green Barbet, Cardinal and Green-backed Woodpeckers, Eastern Honeybird, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Kurrichane Thrush, Tiny, Little and Yellow-streaked Greenbuls, Eastern Nicator, Red-capped Robin-Chat, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Lead-coloured, Little Yellow and Black-and-white Flycatchers, East Coast Boubou, Green-headed Oriole, White-naped Raven, Purple-banded Sunbird, Cabanis’s Bunting and Green-backed Twinspot. Our night-birding will be focussed on finding the endemic Usambara Eagle Owl

We will spend 3 nights in typicallly large, safari-style walk-in tents that are all en-suite at the wonderful Emau Hill Amani Forest Camp.


Days 8 - 9   Tanga - Pemba Island
Early morning transfer to Tanga airstrip and take a scheduled flight to Zanzibar and onward connection to Pemba. This beautiful island lies 50 kilometres off the coast of Tanzania and here we will be targetting the islands' 4 endemics. Usually Pemba White-eye and Pemba Sunbird are in our hotel gardens, whilst w will have to work for Pemba Green-Pigeon and Pemba Scops-Owl. Other species we will look for include Dimorphic Egret, African Pygmy Goose, Palm-nut Vulture, Great Sparrowhawk, Mangrove Kingfisher, Sooty Gull, Saunder's Tern, Brown-headed Parrot, Dickinson's Kestrel, Crowned Hornbill, Black-bellied Starling and Red-backed Mannikin and we can always hope for an early Crab Plover - this latter species usually arrives a little later in the season. We will stay at the Manta Resort for two nights.  

Day 10   Pemba Island - Dar es Salaam - End of Tour
After a final morning's birding we will transfer to the airstrip and fly back to Daar es Salaam in time for onward connections back to the UK/Europe. or if continuing with the main safari tour, we will meet up with the recent arrivals and transfer an hour to our lodge close to Arusha National Park. 


Leaders: Nick Bray and James Wolstencroft. 
Ground Price:  £2850.00 - Kilimanjaro/Dar es Salaam
Airfare:  £700.00 (Approx) - UK/UK

Zoothera tour prices explained 

Single supplement:
Deposit: £500.00

Group size: Maximum of 5.

Included in cost: Accommodation in twin or double en-suite rooms (according to availability), all meals from dinner on day 1 to lunch on last day, bottled water, transport in exclusive 4x4 game vehicles which accommodate 6 guests each with guaranteed window seats, all parks, reserve and conservation areas entry fees, and services of all local driver-guides and leaders.

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

Accommodation: Ranges from good to very good, food is generally of a high standard and mostly buffet-style.

Tour Code: This tour is the classic African safari with the added bonus of hundreds of species of birds. The days can be long as it is important to be out at dawn and again out until dusk, we will endeavour to rest in the middle of the day or travel to our next destination as this is generally the least active time of day. Each vehicle will hold up to 6 passengers and we have pop-up roofs to enable easy wildlife viewing. Most of the parks require us to remain within the vehicle, although outside the parks there are many areas that we can explore on foot. 




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