Southern Tanzania the birders way





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  1. #1
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    Default Southern Tanzania the birders way

    Hi all,

    We have been overlanding for a good number of years now south of the Zambezi/Kavango. In Dec we did southern Zambia and Malawi for the first time. Birding is our main thing.

    Now the sights are on the greater southern region of Tanzania. But the total price per day for South Africans with the USD exchange rate as it is for camping in the formal game reserves, even smaller ones - lets just say OMG. I want to spend a bit of the kids inheritance but not that fast!

    I am tempted to look at trying to plan the trip around birding without going to any of the game reserves. I was wondering whether any one has done this and if so what their itinery was, how it went, any advice?

  2. #2
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    Post Re: Southern Tanzania the birders way

    I personally think you will never forgive yourselves if you don't spend a little time birding in one or two of the Southern Tanzanian National Parks. I would start with Ruaha and spend at least 2 nights at Public Campsite no 1. Further north on the Great North Road you can drive through Mikumi NP without charge, on the public road, but I don't think you will see too many birds as you are not allowed to stop and view with binocs. If I was in the vicinity I would seriously consider spending some time camping in the Selous Game Reserve, but realize this is relatively expensive.

    Outside the game reserves near Mbeya in the south, Utengule Coffee Lodge in the Southern Highlands, has camping and you can also bird on the estate and they have a birding guide. I would suggesting emailing them in advance to find out the costs and to book the guide. Next I would suggest travelling through Mikumi and then turning south to reach the Udzungwa Mountain National Park. Here you can stay on the outskirts of the park and avoid park fees by staying at Hondo Hondo, also known as Udzungwa Forest Tented Camp. This is on the border of the park and really there is no need to enter the park for birding or primate viewing as there is plenty of residual surrounding forest. They used to have a resident birding guide and again email them to book. The birding here is fantastic with many local endemics and excellent general birding. Not only can you bird in the forest fringes but also on the Kilombera River flood plain. I would suggest at least 2 nights here, maybe more. Selous is "just down the road" from here. Other places to explore in the Eastern Arc Mountains include the Uluguru and Usambara Mountains.

    Further north there is great birding in the West Usumbaras Lushoto Mountain Reserve, near the town of Mambo. Most camp at Irente View Cliff Lodge Campsite. Bird guides can also be arranged from the local tourist office. Google for more details. No park fees are applicable.

    On your way north, in Zambia decent birding is present at Kapishya Hot Springs (guide can be organized) and Mutinondo, both have campsites. Also in Zambia consider birding in the Bangweulu Wetlands, a conservation area most famous for the shoebill. A guided canoe trip on the swamps will reveal other fairly rare birds found in swampy areas. Camp at Nsobe Community Campsite.

    I hope this gives you something to work on. The park fees, although expensive, will be a relatively small part of your total costs after fuel, visas, insurances and other border fees. Camping outside the parks will cost about US$10-15 per person per day. I would look at 2 days in Ruaha and 2 days in Selous.......at least.

    I gather that you do not want to go further north??
    Landcruiser 76SW.

    “Great journeys are memorable not so much for what you saw, but for where you camped”.

    At least "Once a year go someplace you have never been before" Delai Lama.

    Trans East Africa 2015/2016 Trip report http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...e16?highlight= from post 315.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Southern Tanzania the birders way

    I wholeheartedly agree with Stan. Try to consider at the total trip cost when deciding, rather than comparing it to South African camping prices. It will make justification easier.

    It's like flying young kids all the way to America, driving them to Disneyland's fence and then not paying the entrance fee...

    Treat yourselves. You are going to be there!


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  5. #4
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    Default Re: Southern Tanzania the birders way

    Stan and Suzuki thanks very much. Greatly appreciated. Now I have a good idea what to focus on and research further.

    Stan no I cannot go further north just yet. Still got time constraints working but getting close to retirement (cannot wait).

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