First Day in Tanzania

Tanzania's flag
Africa » Tanzania » North » Arusha
February 15th 2015
Published: June 28th 2017
Edit Blog Post

I got up the next morning at 5 to 8, threw some clothes on and went for breakfast. It had been raining all night, apparently it had been raining for 15 hours solid, but as I went up for breakfast it was just drizzling lightly. Breakfast was in the large tented dining room with a canvas roof supported by poles and no walls, as were all the other meals that I had on camp. There was much very nice food along with fresh fruit grown in the farm area on the camp. After breakfast, I went back down to my tent and then sat on the “porch” (an area in front of the tent which had a small canvas roof over it) to see what birds would be around. There was a family of common fiscals with a nearly fledged juvenile that hopped around on a fence. Behind was a large African tulip tree in which I saw a few more species. Several weavers came and left from the tree, along with some brown-breasted barbets and a group of speckled mousebirds. After under an hour, the drizzling rain stopped and the clouds began to clear so I decided to have a look around more of the camp. Just as I was about the head off down to the bottom of the camp which was on a slight slope, I saw a giant kingfisher flying over and decided to follow it to see if I could see where this beautiful and very large kingfisher had landed. I walked off in the direction that the kingfisher had flown and to my surprise and delight, I found a very nice pond.

This pond was not huge, but had fairly thick vegetation surrounding it on one side and open views of a small slightly wooded grassland area on the other. It was covered in flowering water lilies and had a large wooded island, accessible by a bridge in the middle. There was also a clump of reeds that had many different weavers nesting in it. I identified these as Taveta golden weavers, Holub’s golden weavers and black-headed weavers. This is also the area where I saw the many grosbeak weavers that I couldn't identify at the time. Walking on the lily pads on the lake, I saw several black crakes. Over the week of visiting the pond every morning and evening I realised that there were three black crakes resident on the pond which nested in a clump of long grass that grew in a shallow area of the pond. I really like black crakes and they are now one of my favourite birds with their small, compact glossy black body and the very delicately coloured beak. Other bird species that I always saw on and around the pond were hadada ibis, black-headed heron and African mourning doves and somewhat surprisingly helmeted guinea fowl and Crowned hornbills. The pond was also home to quite a few tilapia fish and tadpoles and one not yet fully grown nile monitor.

After exploring that pond, I got the chance to look around the farm area of the camp. This was a large area covered in tropical fruit trees. These were bananas, mangoes, avocados and guavas. Deep within the banana plants, I didn't see any more birds but in an avocado tree, I saw a bush squirrel which has turned out to be an ochre bush squirrel.

After that, I was driven to a privately owned area of native bushland that was in a much dryer area that the camp that I was staying in, though still within view of Mount Meru. This area was preserving the natural habitat with the plants, animals and birds all protected from threats such as poaching. It was quite a large area, though the animals were restricted from leaving by the farmlands and settlement that surrounded it completely. I don’t believe the natural habitat was maintained by people, though paths were cleared and I think some water was artificially provided in the dry season because there is no year-round water source. This left a fairly arid environment, quite similar to that of Tarangire national park. Within this “estate” was a small café with some accommodation and stables for horse-riding and I saw a few people riding along the paths. What I was doing though, was an orienteering exercise around the “estate”. Though it was quite a simple exercise, it took me slightly longer due to the fact that I couldn't help myself from stopping to photograph and identify the many birds and animals that I saw whilst walking. New birds that I saw were long-tailed fiscals, purple grenadiers, pied crows, red-backed shrikes, superb starlings, pin-tailed wydahs, african grey hornbills, crowned lapwings and some swallows and swifts. The mammals that I saw were blue wildebeest, impalas, dik-diks, grant’s gazelles and gerenuk. Zebra were also supposed to be present though I didn't see any.

I was then taken back to camp and did a bit more birding around the pond. This time, I just saw the same species as well as a tawny eagle flying overhead. I went to bed early because I had to get up at 5:30 the next morning to go to Tarangire national park for the two day safari that I was going to have.


Tot: 0.067s; Tpl: 0.009s; cc: 11; qc: 33; dbt: 0.0318s; 1; m:domysql w:travelblog (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.1mb