BIRDWATCHING

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson

Safari-goers do not need to be birders to enjoy the unique variety of some of the beautiful indigenous and migratory birds in the attractions of Tanzania and Kenya. The challenge with looking for our little feathered friends is that the big wildlife gets in the way. East Africa hosts such an abundant wildlife that focusing purely on birding is impossible. For the best birdwatching on a wildlife safari, we highly recommend going on safari to Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro, Serengeti and Masai Mara in the months of January to March when the region hosts the largest diversity of birdlife. Among them are migratory birds that reside here within the period. This period is also very ideal for photography since the landscapes have fresh greenery foliage after the short rains that fall between November and Mid-December.

East Africa’s birdlife is rich and diverse, with over 1200 species in Tanzania and Kenya together. Specialist birding guides are available for serious birders. If you are new to birding, you’ll find that our guides’ enthusiasm and the incredible beauty of the birds will spark a new and lasting interest.

Lake Manyara is a birdwatching paradise ideal for spotting some of the 400 species that have been recorded in the park. Among the highlight species include the seasonal thousands of pink colored flamingos in the Lake Manyara together with other water birds: storks, pelicans and cormorants. Lake Manyara National Park provides a great introduction to the interesting diverse birdlife of Tanzania. Best months to visit the park for birding is from December to end of March when most birds are easily spotted.

Ngorongoro is renowned for its crowned cranes, kori bustards, secretary birds and ostriches. Both Ngorongoro highlands and the crater offer superb birding, with over 500 species recorded, most of them are found in the highland forest which is rich and quite dense. Some of the birds that birders can expect to spot here include: the white-eyed slaty flycatcher and Livingstone turaco.

Discover the outstanding array of birds in Serengeti which is one of Africa’s Endemic Bird Areas (important land for habitat-based bird conservation), hosting five bird species which are only found in the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. These endemic birds are easy to spot on game viewing drives, they include: the grey-breasted spurflowl which is a common roadside bird in the central Serengeti - Seronera area. Parties of Fischer’s lovebird draw attention to themselves and they can be spotted in the woodland areas adjacent to the rufous-tailed weavers. The Usambiro barbet and grey-crested helmet-shrike migratory birds can be spotted between November and April.

Masai Mara becomes the perfect birdwatching destination from January-March when the migratory birds flock the game reserve and the rolling plains provide a nice backdrop for capturing the most beautiful bird photographs. With over 500 recorded bird species, you are sure to see some of the best bird sightings, especially the majority of the Eurasian migrant birds and the resident six species of vultures renowned for their scavenging significance within the savannahs.

Lake Victoria is another ideal place to spot some birds which are commonly found around this large fresh water body. Some of the unique species that you can spot on a guided birding walk while staying at the Serenity at the Lake Resort here include: Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Yellow Warbler, Papyrus Canary, Carruther’s Cisticola, Swamp Flycatcher, Blue-headed Coucal, White-winged Swamp-Warbler and Greater Swamp-Warbler. Among other aquatic birds which are often spotted include: African Openbill and Black-headed Gonolek.