Bongoyo Island is a lovely retreat a short boat ride away from Dar es Salaam, with trips leaving every few hours from the Slipway, a dock near our house on the peninsula. The island is uninhabited and has been established as a marine reserve (5 USD), protecting the surrounding coral reefs from overzealous fisherman as well as the coastal scrub and woodland on the island itself from charcoal production. Although the earliest you can arrive on the island without your own boat is around 10am (the first boat leaves at 9:30am, and the cost is 12,000Tsh), the access to untrammeled coastline and woodland is unparalleled in central Dar, and visiting birders should consider the island as a safe and easy introduction to coastal scrub and woodland habitat. Aimee and I spent a half day lounging around the beach a few weeks ago, and I took a short walk around the self-guided trails after lunch to get a sense of the birding potential of the site. Activity wasn't high, but I found a few good birds, including African Fish Eagle, Mangrove Kingfisher, and Klaas's Cuckoo. Aimee also saw her first African Paradise Flycatcher, a tiny but spectacularly long-tailed bird that isn't seen as much in Dar since the introduction of the mischievous House Crow. The island looks to be a good spot for the migrant Crab Plover as well, a unique wader which is one of Dar's finer birds.
Notable birds seen: Sacred Ibis African Fish Eagle, Black Kite, Mangrove Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Klaas's Cuckoo, African Paradise Flycatcher, Black-Throated Wattle-Eye.