Saturday, December 03, 2016

Tanzania!

I've always thought that the safari destination of choice would be Tanzania hence we held it off until last, having previously visited Kenya, Namibia, South Africa and Uganda.

We used Gane and Marshall, a UK travel agent with lots of experience in the country to book everything from the flights right through, and that proved a really good choice as they were there for us when we needed them.

We flew from Glasgow to London to Nairobi to Kilimanjaro and then stayed a brief night in the Kia Lodge close to the airport.   The lodge was pleasant and a good rest close to the airport.

The following morning we were met by our guide and driver for the coming ten days, a gentleman from Simba Safaris, and after breakfast we set off on the drive to Arusha National Park.

We did a little bit of birding around the lodge but didn't really have time to explore it properly.  We also had our eyes open on the way, and I stopped us at an open waste tip outside a village, where Wire-tailed Swallows were feeding and resting:


Along the road we also saw the odd Lilac-breasted Roller, stunning bird:


African Grey Hornbills seemed quite common too:


To get to our lodge for the next few nights (Hatari Lodge outside the park) we had to drive through the park, they call them game drives but I think that is old hunter lingo, I prefer Safari drives as that doesn't imply murderous exploitation of the birds and animals you encounter.

We saw lots of wildlife in the park, picked especially for us by Gane and Marshall for its variety of bird species, including Black-and-White Cuckoo:


A young African Crowned Eagle:


Black-capped Tchagra:


A stunning Brown-hooded Kingfisher let us get quite close:


Bushbucks were plentiful:


I assumed this was a White-browed Robin-Chat, but a closer look suggests it is in fact a Cape Chat:


One consistent surprise was the number of Common (Eurasian) Cuckoos we saw on the trip:


A ground bird Fischer's Sparrowlark:


Our driver took us to some beautiful wetlands in the park:




We saw Three-banded Plover amongst a host of resident and migrant waders:


Cape Teals:



An abundance of Lesser and Greater Flamingos:




On the way out in fading afternoon light we saw Little Bee-eater:


A Masai Giraffe:


Vervet Monkeys:


And Buffalo, this one having a scratch on a convenient young tree:



More birds, this is a Red-faced Crombec:


A magnificent Scarlet-chested Sunbird:


And the aptly named and ubiquitous Superb Starling:


The overcast skies added drama to the landscape though it did mean we couldn't (and in fact didn't) see Kilimanjaro from the ground.


At Hatari there were a number of birds in the grounds, including these Hadada Ibis:


The lodge manager noted our interest in birds and very kindly placed us in the honeymoon suite as he knew there'd be good numbers of birds around each morning.   We loved it!

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