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Tanzania: Eastern Arc

This exciting tour covers the isolated mountain ranges of eastern Tanzania plus Pemba Island, targeting all possible endemics like Usambara Weaver, Long-billed Forest Warbler, Pemba Scops Owl, Uluguru Bushshrike, Loveridge's Sunbird, and Kilombero Weaver, plus hundreds of other species. An epic endemic-filled African destination! Can be linked with our Tanzania: Udzungwa & Rubeho tour.

Next Dates

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Price: $

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Leaders:

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Single Room Supplement: $

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Group Size Limit:

6

Deposit: $

TBD

Add a Title

Price: $

TBD

Leaders:

Add a Title

Single Room Supplement: $

TBD

Group Size Limit:

Deposit: $

TBD

Accommodation:

Mostly good accommodation throughout the tour.

Walking difficulty:

Mostly easy to moderate walking, but two or three longer hikes of a few hours at birding pace for accessing the best forest patches.

Tour cost includes:

All accommodation, main meals, drinking water, internal flights (as stated in itinerary), overland transport, tips to local drivers and guides, travel permits, entrance fees, and guide fees.

Tour cost excludes:

Flights before and after the tour start/end, visa, travel insurance, tips to tour leaders, laundry, drinks, and other items of a personal nature.

Can be taken back-to-back with Tanzania: Udzungwa & Rubeho


Day 1: Arrivals into Dar-es-Salaam International Airport (DAR) for overnight nearby.


Day 2: This morning, we will take a flight to the small island of Pemba, where we will stay for one night. We will focus on the four island endemics: Pemba Scops Owl, Pemba Green Pigeon, Pemba White-eye, and Pemba Sunbird, but we will also visit various habitats for other species like the much-wanted Crab-plover, Dickinson’s Kestrel, Mangrove Kingfisher, Saunders’s Tern, and Sooty Gull. Night on Pemba Island.


Day 3: After some final birding on Pemba, we will fly to Tenga, from where we transit to Lushoto in the West Usambaras. There will be some birding on the way, including to find Coastal Cisticola and Zanzibar Red Bishop. We’ll then continue onwards to spend three nights in the West Usambaras targeting all endemics and near-endemics!


Day 4-5: With two full days of birding in the West Usambaras, our focus will be on “Usambara” Montane Nightjar, the skulking Spot-throat, White-chested Alethe, Usambara Akalat, Usambara Thrush, Usambara Double-collared Sunbird, Usambara Weaver, Red-capped Forest Warbler, and Stripe-faced Greenbul. Other more widespread species may include Hartlaub’s Turaco, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Bar-tailed Trogon, Shelley’s Greenbul, Black-fronted Bushshrike, and Oriole Finch, among many others. Nights in West Usambaras.


Day 6: Today we will transit to the East Usambaras, where we will spend the next three nights. We will make a few stops on the way to connect with more widespread species and will have time for some initial exploration.


Day 7-8: Two full days of birding in the remaining montane forest patches of the East Usambaras should leave us ample time to connect with all regional specialties, like Fischer’s Turaco, “Usambara” Fraser’s Eagle Owl, the Critically Endangered Long-billed Forest Warbler, Kretschmer’s Longbill, Usambara Hyliota, “Usambara” Pale-breasted Illadopsis, Sharpe’s Akalat, and Banded Green, Amani, Uluguru Violet-backed, and Plain-backed Sunbirds. Nights in East Usambaras.


Day 9: Today will mostly be a transit day to Morogoro, at the base of the Uluguru Mountains, where we will spend the next four nights. We will make some strategic stops and detours on the way to connect with a few more range-restricted birds like the stunning Böhm’s Bee-eater, unassuming Coastal Cisticola, and the rare Ruvu Weaver. Night in Morogoro.


Day 10-11-12: Three full days to exploring various sites in the north and south Ulugurus. We will have to hike a fair bit through plantations to reach the good forest in the north where Uluguru Bushshrike is known to occur. This species is thought to number fewer than 1000 individuals, so we’ll need a bit of luck to find it - three days here may well prove necessary, as many people have been missing it on their first attempt recently! Many other species occur in this submontane forest, like Livingstone’s Turaco, White-chested Alethe, Sharpe’s Akalat, Loveridge’s Sunbird, Olive-flanked Robin-Chat, and Betram’s Weaver, among others. We will also visit a different site for two more endemics: Mrs. Moreau’s Warbler and Uluguru Mountain Greenbul, which are not found at the previous site. Nights in Morogoro.


Day 13: Leaving early this morning, we head west towards the Ukaguru Mountains. We will spend the morning there, giving us chances to connect with more endemics like Rubeho Akalat and Rubeho Warbler. There will also be extra chances for some trickier Eastern Arc specialties like Yellow-throated Mountain Greenbul. After that, we’ll have a long drive down to Sanje for an overnight stay.


Day 14: A few decades ago, in the mid-1980s, a Swiss medical doctor (but also birder!) working in the Kilombero Basin noticed that weavers and cisticolas along that river were different to the other described species. He got in touch with local birdwatchers, and now three different endemics have been described from this locality: Kilombero Weaver, White-tailed Cisticola, and Kilombero Cisticola, all of which we will target this morning! Lots of other widespread species occur in these wetlands, and we might well find Coppery-tailed Coucal, Red-necked Falcon, White-crowned and African Wattled Lapwings, African Skimmer, White-fronted and Little Bee-eaters, Parasitic Weaver, and Zebra Waxbill, plus many more. We will also attempt to find the rare Lesser Seedcracker, recorded regularly in this area. After our morning session, we transfer to the huge Mikumi National Park for a two-night stay.


Day 15: We will have a full day of birding to do Mikumi’s vast savannas and woodlands justice! A number of Mombo specialties occur here that can be hard to find elsewhere, such as Pale-billed Hornbill, Racket-tailed Roller, Speckle-throated Woodpecker, Northern Pied Babbler, Cinnamon-breasted Tit, Hofmann’s Sunbird, and Orange-winged Pytilia. Ruaha Chat has also been sighted in the area in recent years, so with a bit of luck, we might find this difficult species. Birding these vast plains will contrast starkly with the tough times we will have had finding all the forest specialties! Birds are abundant, and mostly show very well! Highlight species may include Coqui Francolin, Black-bellied Bustard, Martial Eagle, Secretarybird, “Scheffler’s” African Barred Owlet, Brown-necked Parrot, Purple-crested Turaco, Pale Batis, Retz’s Helmetshrike, Jameson’s Firefinch, and Red-headed Quelea, among many others. Additionally, mammals are a strong feature of Mikumi, so we might well see Giraffes, Spotted Hyenas, Elephants, Burchell’s Zebra, Wild Dogs (with some luck!), Gazelles, or a Honey Badger. A great and comfortable way to end this tour! Night at Mikumi National Park.


Day 16: After some final birding, those flying home will take a road transfer back to Dar-es-Salaam International Airport (DAR), where the tour will end late afternoon. Those continuing on the Udzungwa & Rubeho tour will make their way southwards towards Iringa, after having met those coming from Dar-es-salaam.

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