AAC Guide Field Sightings from Tanzania on August and September 2014 safari trips
Mkenda was with Trissel Party and reported great sightings on their adventures:
My clients had very high expectations due to the fact that they specialized in birding and they had put in a request for a birding expert. I had to be at my very best and needed to put on my “birding hat”.
Even though they love birds, especially Mr. David, they also enjoyed and loved the nature scenery and larger game too. The
client’s had a wonderful experience and their expectations were exceeded. We were able to identify 252 birds, an achievement and a record for me.
We were very lucky especially as it was the dry season when most birds have migrated.
Our safari adventure started as we headed towards Lake Burunge Camp. On the way we identified fifty birds including some that were identified earlier on a walk on the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro.
On the way I explained the geology of the Ngorongoro, Lake Manyara and Tarangire biodiversity, which was formed as the result of the formation of the rift valley about 20 million years ago and that the rift valley resulted in the formation of the alkaline lake or Soda Lake due to the precipitations of bicarbonate of different salts. These lakes attract lot of water birds including but not limited to flamingos, pelicans and storks. The droppings of these water birds especially the flamingos, precipitated at the bottom of the lake and then these droppings were pressed by the ash that landed on the top of the lake from the volcanic eruption of the near-by volcano. This resulted in the fertilizer being mined at the junction to the Tarangire Park.
Throughout lunch and thereafter we kept birding as we went into the park where I explained all about the Tarangire National Park as being one of my favourite parks in the dry season! The Park is about 3000 square Kilometers which is inside a huge game reserve region of almost 35,000 square Kilometers. This is where all the animals in that 35,000 square Kilometers converge and take refuge due to the hydrological regime and the only place where water can be found is in the Tarangire River, which flows through the park.
Animal researcher’s statistics show that the park having more than 6000 elephants making it the park with the highest density of elephants in the world, almost 3 elephants per square Kilometer. In the park we saw plenty of wildebeest and zebras and elephants.
The following day we had a full day game drive including a trip to the Selalei swamp for birding. We also saw a leopard and a tree climbing python on an acacia tree which was an awesome experience! It was great to identify lots of birds with some of them endemic to the park like the orange belled parrot and yellow collared lovebird. We were also lucky to see red and yellow barbet, and open billed storks just to mention a few highlights
We continued our adventure as we used a back road access from The Lake Burunge Camp to Lake Manyara Park. We were lucky to identify very rare birds like Peter’s Twinspot, red headed weaver, and many water birds keeping in mind that this park has more than 460 bird’s species.
The next morning we had the opportunity to explore Manyara National Park as we began our drive at drive at 6:00am. We saw some birds such as the beautiful woodland king fisher and later on we spotted a pride of lions with very young cubs along the Munge River and a handsome male lion and lots elephant in Relay Forest. We also saw a rhino from the distance and plenty of wildebeests, zebra and other general game.
Our adventure continued as we drove to Serengeti Explorer Camp, along the way we drove thru Olduvai Gorge where we saw a lot of birds including red bishop, Rufous Chatterer and canaries.
We spent the day exploring the Serengeti plains. In the morning we shared exciting stories as during the night Karen and her daughter Sara had head the deep sounds of the Lions roaring! It felt like they were extremely close to Camp! It was certainly going to be an exciting story for them to tell their friends back home.
We had another special game drive as we saw a leopard on the tree, which eventually came down and walked close by our vehicle. We eagerly watched as the leopard tried to scan for food, given there wasn’t a good chance close by, it went back up the tree. We also saw lots of birds including an owl the verreaux’s eagle owl.
The following day, we had a full day game drive to the Mara River where we saw lots of migratory animals including wildebeest and zebra. We also saw crocodiles and two male cheetahs. We also saw lots of new birds including northern black flycatcher, northern throated tit, and the goliath heron.
As our adventure was nearing the end and we drove towards the Seronera air strip, we acknowledged that we had some great sightings with many different species of birds. David, Karen, Joshua and Sarah were very happy with the record bird sightings for them, and for me it was a record of 252 birds during the dry season! It was awesome.
George Mollel and Ephata Lotashu were with The Eig & Swain Party and reported:
We began on our safari adventure, venturing from Arusha town to Gibb’s farm in Karatu for lunch. As it was dry season we saw a large number of Maasai women and boys at the water pools fetching water. We got to Gibb’s farm at around twelve thirty just in time for lunch. After lunch we visited Shalom orphanage which was a very interesting and enjoyable experience. The guest received a brief from the matrons about the orphanage and the children. Later the kids had the chance to interact with the orphanage children and share with them some gifts that they had brought with them. In the evening we drove to the Crater lodge for dinner and overnight.
The following day was an exciting one. This was our first day with the opportunity for game viewing so we left the lodge early at 6:00am with our breakfast. We saw good sightings of lions, elephants, hippos, rhinos, hyenas, zebras, and wildebeest. Some of the guest had been to South Africa and they said that they saw a lot more here within one day compared to a day in South Africa. The Lunch setup was spectacular as a special lunch was arranged on the crater floor by the lodge and this was a fantastic experience! After lunch we did a short drive and we headed back to lodge as they had pre planned activities, the boys had a spear contest with the Maasai guards at the lodge and the girls were going to learn to do some bead work from the Maasai women.
The following day, we left the lodge early in the morning at 7:00am and drove to the Manyara airstrip. The guests boarded their plane and flew to the Serengeti to continue their adventures.
Mkenda was with the Masterson Party and reported some incredible adventures stories:
The clients experience exceeded their expectation and we were very lucky with our sightings which we were able to enjoy all alone with few vehicles or no vehicles. In Tarangire National Park we were able to see lesser and greater Kudu. We had game drives in the crater late evening and in the early morning and managed to have some great sightings.
After a nights rest at the Lake Duluti Lodge, our safari began as we drove towards Tarangire National Park heading towards Oliver’s camp for lunch. On the way we spotted great game including lions and leopard. After lunch we headed out for an Afternoon game drive and were lucky to spot another leopard which made the highlight of the day.
The following day we had a very early start, we left at 6:00am and saw a python and two cheetah hunting but unfortunately they were unsuccessful. As we continued our game drive we saw a pride of 4 lionesses and plenty of elephants. In the evening my guests had a walk conducted by the camp guide and later on they experienced a night game drive and were able to spot some nocturnal game.
The following day we continued to explore and we drove in remote area where we saw greater and lesser kudu. It was an incredible adventure as we were alone for almost the whole day, and everyone enjoyed the scenery around us, happy to be in the presence of wildlife.
After Breakfast we departed and headed towards Ngorongoro, and as we drove through Mto wa Mbu I gave a talk about the formation of the Great rift Valley, which caused the formation of the Ngorongoro highland and in turn resulted in the flat plains of the Southern Serengeti.
The Ngorongoro Highland is a very important biodiversity in the area, as it collects and absorbs rain water like a sponge which percolates under the rocks and is released down at the foot of the rift valley wall of the escarpment. The water is very clear as the rocks beneath are rich in lime stone. The creeks created from these springs are used by local people for irrigation purposes where they produce lots of vegetables, banana and rice. The produce got good prices as tourism increased back in the 1960s and that attracted various tribes. With over 120 different tribes in the area this has become one of the tourist attractions.
On the rim of the crater we enjoyed the view, then after lunch we went to the crater for an afternoon game drive. In the evening we enjoyed we saw two lionesses with three cubs. We were very lucky as they were on the road. We couldn’t stay longer as we had to make our way back up the crater rim.
We had a very early morning start at 6:00am and as we were inside the gate it was easy to be in the crater floor first. We were lucky to see a lioness with her two tiny cubs on the road. Then we started to follow lion’s tracks which took us to the whole pride of lions eating a kill we watched it for over an hour! It was an awesome experience tracking lions and then finding the pride with the kill. This pride was unique as it had 4 big males, a couple of lionesses, and several cubs all eating together.
We continued on our game drive to the picnic site and en route we saw hippopotamus outside the water. We enjoyed our breakfast overlooking the hippos in the water. After breakfast we saw a serval cat hunting and then we saw an elephant from far away, we stopped and waited for half an hour for the elephant to come. It was such a breath taking site as a huge elephant with massive tasks crossed just in front of our vehicle.
The next day we left at 06:30am for Manyara Airstrip where the guests were flying on a plane to Lamai in Mara River and to explore the Serengeti plains. We had a fantastic Safari with some incredible sightings.
Jabshir was with Zollner Party and reported interesting sightings:
After arriving from Namanga we began our safari journey by heading to Maramboi Camp for an overnight.
The following day we started our tour to Tarangire National Park where we saw plenty of animals as this is usually a very good park especially during the dry season. Here we saw a lion kill on wildebeest.
After Tarangire we went to Manyara were we saw more birds, giraffes, and other general wildlife including hippos which was a new sighting for the clients. We went on to Ngorongoro Farm House for an overnight.
The next day, as planned we departed early heading down to the crater floor for the whole day. We spotted even more lions, flamingoes, and two rhinos at a distance which was one of the highlights.
After the crater we went back to our lodge getting ready for the following day where we planned to continue our journey to the mighty Serengeti plains.
On our way we visited Oldupai Gorge and then continued to Serengeti where we managed to spot a large pride of lions and a cheetah.
Serengeti was really good as it had received a small amount of rain which settled the dust and brought the new shoots of grass turning areas on the plains into a nice greenish color! We saw a lot of animals all over the Serengeti and it continued to rain a little almost every day in the afternoon. The sightings we encountered were great. The guests flew to Tarime then Migori to continue their adventure in Maasai Mara.
George Mollel was with Herman party and reported:
After spending their first night in Arusha and relaxing from the long flights to Tanzania, we started our journey and drove towards Tarangire Natonal Park, stopping at Tengeru primary school for a short visit.
After the School visit, we drove to Maromboi camp for lunch and then into Tarangire Park for an afternoon game drive. We were lucky to spot some interesting wildlife such as lions, elephant, zebras, wildebeest, giraffe, Impalas, and warthog. A highlight was the sighting of an albino baboon which is a very rare sighting!
The following day we departed with a picnic lunch for full day’s game viewing. We saw elephants, cheetah, ostrich, waterbuck, and birds. A highlight was seeing four male lions on top of the tree! This was certainly a surprise to see lions on trees in Tarangire National Park. The guests were looking forward to seeing tree climbing lions in Manyara.
We started early and left the camp after breakfast and drove to Lake Manyara Park for more game viewing and here we saw hippo, baboons, monkeys, klipspringers, and lions feeding on a giraffe. Another highlight for the guests was seeing the flocks of flamingoes.
Departing Kitela lodge early in the morning, we had a short drive to the Ngorongoro crater for our crater tour. During our game drive we saw lions with cubs, jackals, hyenas, buffaloes, gazelles, and hippo. After lunch we went to the Maasai for a cultural visit which was of great interest to our guests. Our highlight was seeing lion cubs and the lioness carrying her cub with her mouth. What a spectacular sight!
We departed early in the morning for Manyara airstrip. The guests were flying to Serengeti to continue their safari adventures in the mighty Serengeti Plains.
Wilfred Mollel was with the Lang Party and reported:
We began our safari adventure at Ndarakwai Ranch for two nights. We arrived there in time for lunch. After lunch they planned out their activities for their stay including a walking safari, a night game drive, and a visit to the Maasai village.
Early in the morning we started our drive to Tarangire National Park. En route we visited an orphanage as the guests had brought along with them some gifts in the form of school supplies and stationary. They also made an additional a monetary contribution to buy three dairy cows for the orphanage.
We arrived at Tarangire safari lodge for lunch. After lunch we ventured out for our afternoon game drive and spotted wildebeest, zebras, impalas, water buck, giraffe and three cheetah in the distance. Before arriving at the lodge we saw a big herd of elephant moving away into the woods. We arrived at Oliver’s Camp where we would spend three nights.
The following morning the guests started with a walking safari. We then headed out for a game drive with our packed picnic lunch. We spotted general game including different herds of elephant coming down to the swamp for drinking, wallowing and feeding. We saw a leopard resting on an acacia tree, a lilac breasted roller, superb starling, hornbills, and many vultures. We watched a lioness killing a wildebeest although this was quite far away from us. After that we drove to the camp for dinner and an overnight.
We started the last day in Tarangire by leaving camp very early in the morning with a packed breakfast box and picnic lunch. We saw nightjars, scrub hare, impalas, a few grant gazelles, and two male cheetahs walking along the road. We then saw a lot of elephants and buffalo, giraffes, dik-diks, elands and some lions. As we were heading home we came across a male buff bellied bustard putting on a display for three females. We ended up the day game drive by spotting some lesser kudu close to the camp. Later during the evening the clients had the opportunity to go on a night game drive to see some nocturnal wildlife.
After breakfast we drove towards Kuro airstrip seeing many animals along the way. An exciting experience was watching a lioness move her three cubs to a new hiding place. From Kuro airstrip the guests caught a flight to Kogatende air strip in the Northern Serengeti to continue their Safari adventure.
George Mollel was with Bhatnagar party and reported:
After an overnight and morning at leisure at the Lake Duluti Serena, we departed after lunch on a scenic drive towards the Ngorongoro Highlands and to Ngorongoro Farm House. On the way we saw giraffe, baboons, and marabou stork on their nesting site around Lake Manyara.
The following day we left the lodge at around 6:30am and went to the crater floor for our game drive. En route while still on the rim we came across Hyena’s eating a carcass! Down on the crater floor we had good sighting of lions mating, buffalo, hyena, rhino, ostrich, flamingoes, kori bustard, and many other birds. Our highlight of the crater was seeing the hippos rolling in the mud at the pool and a pair of ostrich mating.
We decided to head out to Manyara Park for a morning game drive and to have lunch at Manyara Serena. As the guests were keen birders, we took the opportunity to explore the parks diverse habitats viewing many birds including the rare palm-nut vulture and the martial eagle the biggest eagle in Africa. We saw elephants, flamingoes, baboons, giraffe, and monkeys but the highlight was seeing a cheetah in Lake Manyara. What a special and rare sighting!
We decided to leave the hotel at around 8:00am for Tarangire stopping on the way to visit a Maasai Village and get an experience of their culture which the guests were looking forward to. After an enriching time spent with the Masaai we proceeded to explore Tarangire National Park.
In the park the guest were looking forward to seeing an owl and we were rewarded with two great sighting of Verreaux’s eagle-owl, and Africa barred owl. We also enjoyed other sightings of lion, elephants, baboons, jackal, Impala, zebras, and wildebeest.
The following day we left the lodge with both packed breakfast and packed lunch as we spent the entire day exploring the park enjoying great sightings of leopard, lion, bat eared foxes, python, monitor lizard, and lots of birds with a great sun set. We were fascinated at the large number of elephant at the Silalei swamp and the high concentration of animals in the park.
Our last day in the park we had a short morning game drive and were rewarded by good sightings of leopard spotted by Nick, giraffe , ostrich, and bat eared fox that was close up. This was the perfect way to bid farewell to the guests as they continued their great adventure by leaving for the Maasai Mara.
Willfred Mollel was with Hudson Party and reported:
We started our journey and headed towards Tarangire National Park, entering the park gate and then continuing to the lodge for lunch. After lunch we went for an afternoon game drive and we saw plenty of birds and animals including herds of elephants, cheetah, and a pride of about ten lion. We drove back to the safari lodge for dinner and overnight.
The following day we started early at 6:00am taking a packed breakfast and a picnic lunch then heading to the south part of the park. It was a beautiful morning with many birds chirping away and we spotted the ring necked dove, colored love bird, martial eagle and tawny eagle. We spotted Impala, grant gazelles, zebras, wildebeest, common water buck, vervet monkey and ostrich. Around the swamp we saw a lioness trying to hunt as her cubs watched from a hiding spot in the tree, we also saw a cheetah and a leopard. We drove back to the lodge for dinner viewing a heard of buffalo and a troop of baboons along the way.
Departing from Tarangire and continuing our adventure, with our picnic lunch we preceded towards Lake Manyara National Park, hoping to find blue monkey, troops of baboons and vervet monkey which we did. We managed to find lot of birds especial the pink flamingoes, pelicans, yellow billed storks and egyptian goose. We found animals such as elephant, buffalo, Impala, warthog, and a male lion before continuing on to escarpment lodge for dinner and overnight.
The next morning we went back to the park and saw the same kind of animals including giraffe and a cheetah lying down in the distance. We saw birds like vitalline masked weaver, morning thrush, African harrier hawk, superb sterling and the tropical boubou before driving back to the lodge for the night.
We had an early start as we left Escarpment Lodge heading to Ngorongoro Crater. On arrival we saw a lot of animals but the most active ones were the hippos flipping around and splashing the water on their body with their tail, we then saw three male lions walking along the road. We drove to Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge for a late lunch and to spend the afternoon at leisure relaxing with the magnificent views of the Ngorongoro Crater.
The following morning we started very early with breakfast and a packed picnic lunch. Among the beautiful animal sightings that we saw was a lioness playing with and nursing a little cub, a serval cat walking along the swamp, five lionesses walking across the grass plain, a rhino walking and sleeping, male hippos chasing one another. We saw birds such as crown cranes, cattle egret, rufous tailed weaver, and we treated with a male ostrich dancing. We drove back to the lodge for dinner and overnight.
We left Ngorongoro and started our journey towards the Serengeti, along the way we stopped at the Oldupai Gorge and then at a maasai village. In the park we spotted two male lions resting under the tree, a dazzle of zebras, and herds of both Thomsons and Grants gazelles before arriving at the camp for lunch.
Later that day we went for an afternoon game drive and came across spotted hyenas, giraffe, and three lioness under the tree with a cheetah walking on the plains.
We also witnessed white bellies bustard doing a courtship display, a pair of secretary bird fixing the nest, and elephants wallowing.
We continued further north to Kogatende, along the way we came across herds of wildebeest moving towards the central area. We spotted a lone male lion and plenty of hartebeest, waterbuck, warthog, eland, elephants and buffalo before arriving at Ubuntu Camp for the night.
We spent three full days searching for river crossings, more action from the large cats, and just exploring other parts of the area. Among our many sightings we saw was two lionesses with eight cubs enjoying two wildebeest carcasses, one of the carcasses was almost gone and vultures and jackals were present as well. The cubs were having good time chasing the vultures off the carcass. We were lucky to find a leopard with a baby wildebeest carcass hidden in the bush and lions enjoying lying on top of the rocky out crops. There was an amazing number of oribi, klipspringer, agama lizard, and hyrax on the rock as well. We were finally lucky enough to witness herd of wildebeest crossing the Mara River on the last day of the game drive which made it even more special and the best sighting for the end of the trip.
The following day we drove to Kogatende airstrip as the guests were flying back to Arusha and would connect to their international flight later on.
December is when the next trip reports will be coming from the Southern Plains of the Serengeti.