Specialist Birding Safari
1 Nov – 31 Mar*
(*) Excludes 20 Dec – 5 Jan
7 Days, 6 Nights
With optional 3-night Rubondo Island extension
Start & End Points
5 Years Minimum
About This Asilia Adventure:
Calling all birders, ornithologists, and twitchers! We’ve designed a safari where the focus is entirely on birdlife rather than big game and mammals, seeking out rare and endemic species in a variety of environments across Northern Tanzania.
Tanzania has one of the largest bird species list of any African country, of which approximately 800 species are resident, and approximately 200 are regular migrants. This is a specialist safari for those happy to forget about the elephants and lions and keep their focus firmly on their binoculars and bird books in search of “lifers” to add to their list. Between November and March, the birdlife in Northern Tanzania is brimming with the addition of the migrant species, many birds showing their breeding plumage, and the short rain showers bringing the grasslands to life with flowers and insects.
Taking a bird-focussed approach on this safari means there is no pressure to please other guests (you’ll have a private vehicle as well as your specialist guide) and will visit not only the well-known national parks such as Tarangire but lesser-known beauties like Arusha National Park. If time is on your side, we highly recommend including the 3-night extension to Rubondo Island, whose jungle habitat provides a contrasting environment for your birding finale.
What Is Included In This Adventure?
A specialist expert birding guide escorts your adventure throughout – whether you opt for the 7-day safari or add on the 3 nights at Rubondo Island, too. Other inclusions are: A driver and 4×4 private vehicle from Arusha on Day 1 to Manyara airstrip on Day 5, private vehicle supplement for Sayari Camp, all park fees, camping and concession fees as well as other government taxes (TDL, etc.), all meals from lunch on Day 1 to breakfast on day 7 (or day 10 if taking the Rubondo extension) and house drinks throughout the safari with the exception of Day 1 at Ngare Sero and Day 4 at Kirurumu Tented where drinks are payable locally, Asilia conservation charge, and Medevac cover.
Snapshot of this Asilia Adventure
Depart in the morning, from Kilimanjaro Airport if just arriving, or from a prior night at an Arusha hotel, with your expert birding guide in a 4×4 vehicle and head to Arusha National Park for the day.
The volcanic Mount Meru, Ngurdoto Crater, and alkaline Momella Lakes make this a rewarding spot for birders, with abundant birdlife ranging from waders to forest species. Look out for Narina trogon and bar-tailed trogon, Hartlaub’s turaco, red-fronted parrots foraging the fruits of the podocarpus trees, white-starred robin, and Abyssinian crimson wings. Spend the day exploring with your guide, and stopping for a picnic lunch at midday.
In the late afternoon, return to Arusha where you will stay at Ngare Sero Mountain Lodge, which has a lake, forest, and gardens that are home to more than 200 species of bird, including 16 species of heron.
Overnight: Ngare Sero Mountain Lodge – Garden Room
After breakfast, you’ll depart for Tarangire, a renowned birding haven with more than 500 recorded species, and ever-green swamps providing a crucial breeding habitat for many birds. Arrive at Oliver’s Camp in time for lunch before you set off in the late afternoon to explore the park on a game drive with your guide, looking for pink-breasted larks, yellow-collared lovebirds, and Speckle-fronted weavers.
Overnight: Oliver’s Camp
An early start for a morning walking safari with a birding focus. Enjoy the slower and quieter approach in getting closer to the birdlife and enjoying all of the calls and signs that sometimes get missed from a vehicle.
Return to camp to rest and in the late afternoon, set off on a game drive with your expert birding guide to explore the swamps and savannahs of Tarangire. Notable species found here include red and yellow barbets, white-headed buffalo weavers, ashy starlings, and African orange-bellied parrots.
Overnight: Oliver’s Camp
Depart for Lake Manyara National Park, a couple of hours’ drive away, where you will spend the day on a game drive, stopping for a picnic lunch along the way.
This small park has a surprising variety of habitats, from dense forest to the swampy lakeshore, and offers a rewarding day’s birding. Greater and lesser flamingo can be seen on the lake, as well as large numbers of pelicans and wading birds such as African spoonbill and the charming African jacana. Rare gems found here include the rufous-tailed weaver, ashy starling, emerald cuckoo, and black-collared lovebird.
Depart the park in the late afternoon and drive up the Rift Valley Escarpment where you will stay tonight.
Overnight: Kirurumu Tented Lodge
Enjoy a relaxed breakfast in camp, before you are driven to Manyara Airstrip where you will board your flight to the northern Serengeti. Your base for the next three nights is Sayari Camp. Your specialist birding guide will accompany you while your driver and vehicle return to Arusha.
The Serengeti has more than 500 recorded species and the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem that spans across Tanzania into Kenya, is one of Africa’s Endemic Bird Areas, recognising the importance of the habitat for bird conservation. Several special endemics are found in this northern part of the park, including the Usambiro barbet and Grey-crested helmet shrike, and groups of Fischer’s lovebird, which are often found in forested areas.
Overnight: Sayari Camp
DAY 6 & 7
Enjoy morning and afternoon game drives with your expert guide, exploring the wide-open savannah grasslands and the abundant bird species to be discovered here. One walking safari has been included in your stay for you to explore this northern part of the Serengeti at a slower pace.
Overnight: Sayari Camp
After breakfast, depart by light aircraft back to Arusha where you will bid your guide farewell, and conclude your adventure.
Optional Extension: Rubondo Island, 3 nights
Enjoy a morning game drive from Sayari and lunch at the camp before you depart by light aircraft flight to Rubondo Island in Lake Victoria.
Your expert birding guide will continue on the journey with you to maintain the continuity of your trip. This island is a paradise for birders and a relaxing spot for your final few nights on safari. Settle into your cottage and rest up before tomorrow’s explorations.
Overnight: Rubondo Island Camp
After breakfast, depart by light aircraft for a flight back to Arusha via the Serengeti and other stops.