Go birding in the best big game viewing parks in the world on this extraordinary 9-day Tanzania birdwatching tour.
Tanzania’s northern national parks stand unrivalled, and world-famous for exceptional reasons. From the vast expanses of the Serengeti savannah to the lush volcanic grasslands of the Ngorongoro Crater, this region is simply breathtaking. Abundant in big game and stunning birdlife, you are in for a treat – this tour is all about having fun!
*This tour can be organised as a private, tailor-made tour. Alternatively, please refer below for our scheduled group tour dates and associated costs.
On our initial day, our rendezvous point will be at Kilimanjaro International Airport (or Arusha/Moshi) before we journey towards the breathtaking Arusha National Park, where our trip starts. This diverse park highlights a stunning array of landscapes, encompassing vast savannahs, lush rainforests, acacia woodlands, and ascending to alpine vegetation on Mount Meru’s higher slopes. Upon arrival, our safari vehicle will traverse the park while we indulge in birdwatching along the way. Exploring certain areas on foot for birding will undoubtedly be a highlight. With its rich blend of wildlife and avian species, Arusha National Park sets an exhilarating tone for our tour.
Where you will be staying: Rivertrees Country Inn
On our second day, we are set to explore Lark Plains, an area renowned for the elusive Tanzania endemic, Beesley’s Lark. These arid plains serve as a magnet for a diverse range of specialized avifauna adapted to dry environments, promising extensive on-foot birding opportunities. Although typically dry year-round, these plains witness substantial downpours from March to May, triggering rapid vegetation growth and attracting numerous passerines, raptors, and ground-dwelling species. Amidst our search for the Tanzania endemic, we will also keep an eye out for near-endemic species like the Athi Short-toed Lark, Red-throated Tit, and Short-tailed Lark, among other notable bird species.
Where you will be staying: Rivertrees Country Inn
Our next destination is the stunning Tarangire National Park. Abundant in both impressive game and diverse avifauna, this leg promises an unforgettable experience. The park derives its name from the perennial Tarangire River, a vital lifeline for the surrounding wildlife, particularly during the dry season when vast herds of wildebeest, zebra, and other animals gather here. Renowned for its scenic beauty and rich avian diversity, with a recorded count of over 500 species, we are eager to compile an extensive bird checklist within a brief period.
Species highlights: Ashy Starling, Red-and-yellow Barbet, Red-bellied Parrot, Von der Decken’s Hornbill, White-headed Buffalo-weaver, Vulturine Guineafowl, Yellow-collared Lovebird, Bare-faced Go-away bird, Donaldson Smith’s Nightjar, Northern Pied Babbler, Northern White-crowned Shrike to name a few.
Where you will be staying: Tarangire Simba Lodge
We will be exploring Endoro Falls situated on the southern edge of Ngorongoro Forest. A fantastic trail winds through the forest, leading to the caves and the stunning Endoro Waterfalls. These caves hold significance for forest elephants, as they seek salt within; evident from the substantial carvings on cave walls created by their tusks during their mineral excavations.
Our entire day will be dedicated to traversing this trail, indulging in birdwatching as we go. Noteworthy species along this route include the Golden-winged Sunbird, Tacazze Sunbird, Eastern Double-collared Sunbird, Purple-throated Cuckooshrike, Grey Cuckooshrike, Moustached Tinkerbird, African Broadbill, Sharpe’s Starling, Klaas’s Cuckoo, and the majestic Crowned Eagle, among others.
Where you will be staying: Country Lodge Karatu
Over the next couple of days, you will be immersed in one of Africa’s most remarkable locations, and that is no exaggeration. In 2013, the crater was rightfully recognized as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa. It stands as the largest inactive, intact, and unfilled volcanic caldera globally, formed through a colossal volcanic explosion and collapse two to three million years ago. Plunging 610 meters (2,000 feet) deep, its floor spans an extensive 260 square kilometres (100 square miles). The volcanic ash aftermath fostered fertile grounds, nurturing lush grasslands that sustain numerous ungulates. Our exploration through this area will be unhurried, allowing us to fully absorb the magnificent sights and engage in extensive birdwatching along the way. Expect a spectacular array of avifauna, with an impressive species count. Among the anticipated species are the Hunter’s Cisticola, Pectoral-patch Cisticola, Lyne’s Cisticola, Black-fronted Bush-Shrike, Thick-billed Seedeater, White-headed Barbet, Schalow’s Turaco, Shelley’s Francolin, Grey Crowned Crane, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Yellow-throated Sandgrouse, Kori Bustard, Secretarybird, and Rosy-breasted Longclaw, to mention just a few.
Where you will be staying: Lake Masek Tented Lodge
Our final stop introduces you to Africa’s most iconic national park – the Serengeti. Renowned for a reason, this expansive ecosystem stands as one of the world’s last untamed wilderness areas. Endless plains stretch as far as the eye can see, hosting vast congregations of mammals, making it an unparalleled spectacle. The park’s crowning glory is the legendary Wildebeest Migration, where over 1.5 million wildebeest traverse the plains, following the life-giving rainclouds that nourish the grasslands below. This breathtaking phenomenon alone is bound to capture your heart. However, the avian diversity in this park is equally extraordinary, with over 500 recorded species. Among them are the endemic Grey-breasted Spurfowl and numerous near-endemics like the Abyssinian Wheatear, Red-throated Tit, Rufous-tailed Weaver, and Grey-crested Helmetshrike. Our birding checklist will also include sought-after species such as the White-crested Helmetshrike, Meyer’s Parrot, Yellow-throated Longclaw, and Zitting, Croaking, Desert Cisticolas, White-headed and Black Sawwings, and Paradise, Pin-tailed and Straw-tailed Whydahs.
Spending two immersive days slowly traversing this vast wilderness, we will soak in every aspect of its unparalleled beauty and wildlife before heading back to Arusha.
Where you will be staying: Acacia Central Camp
Easy/Medium – This tour was crafted not only to achieve an extensive bird count but also to enjoy the magnificence of Tanzania’s breathtaking northern parks. We have allotted ample time at each location, ensuring that you can fully immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring spectacle each spot has to offer.
Easy/Medium – on-foot birding but nothing too demanding. Walking boots and a sun hat are advisable.
We’d we need a 25% deposit to secure your place on this tour.
The above cost is based on a group of 6 people. Please get in touch if you’d like us to arrange a private tailor made tour.
Best time of year to visit:
All year round but July is especially a good month for the wildebeest migration.
At Sustainable Birding, our goal is to ensure that every birding holiday we create contributes positively to bird conservation efforts and local communities. Our determination to promote sustainable travel led us to become founding members of Tourism Declares Climate Emergency. As part of this commitment, we have established the world’s pioneering carbon scoring and offsetting framework for tailor-made holidays. Feel free to request us to carbon score your individual trip!
Bird species highlights:
This Tanzania birding tour has been meticulously designed to offer you an unparalleled experience in the breath-taking North-eastern region of Tanzania. This area boasts some of Tanzania’s most exceptional birding locations.
Embark on an extensive Tanzania birding tour in pursuit of the country’s extensive array of endemic species. Carefully crafted, this birdwatching trip is tailored to highlight the finest of Tanzania, with a special emphasis on its remarkable endemic birds.
The Sustainable Birding Company is a subsidiary of Far and Wild Travel, a tailor-made tour company based in Cumbria, UK. Far and Wild Travel offer sustainable, luxury, tailor-made tour itineraries throughout Africa and around the world.