Introduction: Birding Tanzania

Welcome to the birding blog I maintained during the year I lived in Dar es Salaam and traveled throughout Tanzania. Originally, my wife Aimee and I had planned to stay in East Africa for a number of years, similar to our experience in Ecuador, where we lasted for six years, but an opportunity arose for us to pick up yet again and move to Brazil. Although my time was unexpectedly short in the region, I worked hard to make it special, taking advantage of my proximity to visit some of the most fabled nature reserves in the world, including the Serengeti and the Eastern Arc Mountain Ranges. Exploring Tanzania is extremely expensive, and most visiting birders won’t want to risk planning an independent trip, as there is simply too much money at stake to try and figure things out on your own. Still, I wanted to describe my own experiences driving around and birding the country and to share information about my successes and failures. Hopefully, visiting birders will benefit from my accounts, even if they’re working with a tour company to organize their trip.

With over 1100 bird species recorded, including more than twenty country and dozens of regional endemic species, Tanzania is a spectacular country for birding, offering a wide variety of habitats, including montane forest, miombo woodland, savanna, arid plains, and coastline, making it an important migratory passageway as well. Despite all of these attractions, on visits to the many national parks and reserves, birds often take a back seat to the big game on display, such as lions, elephants, and giraffes. A visit to East Africa can indeed be a trip of a lifetime for birders, but it’s far from being in paradise. Here in Tanzania, where poverty and disease are crippling, habitat destruction is widespread, and energy and fuel costs are skyrocketing, birding is even more problematic than usual, giving visitors plenty to contemplate beyond their life lists as they travel between sites. Although I certainly wasn’t always a responsible tourist during my time here, I had my eyes opened to a lot more than a few new birds, and I would encourage visiting birders to plan for a more holistic experience of the country rather than a strategic bird strike.

While my knowledge of the country remains limited, please feel free to contact me with any questions as you plan your trip. Although I'm excited to be moving on to birding in Brazil, I'm disappointed to leave this compelling and complicated country so soon.

3 comments:

  1. Hi thanks for sharing this post i really like it..i want more information about Volunteer Tanzania and safari in Tanzania so please share more and more post with us.

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  2. Hi Derek,

    I plan to travel to Tanzania in the near future, and I had a few questions. I looked on your profile but there is no link to contact you. Would you be able to either email me directly or leave an email where you can be reached?

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  3. Thanks for your message. An email address is now available on my profile page. Please feel free to get in touch regarding your trip.

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