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Tanzania - with Sarasota Audubon Society (Group 2)

   

June 13, 2014 - June 26, 2014

  • Introduction
  • Highlights
  • Itinerary
  • Pricing
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Slightly larger than the state of Texas, Tanzania boasts one of the largest bird lists in Africa and is home to over 1,000 species. Though most famous for its larger wildlife — particularly the “Big Five” game of lion, leopard, African elephant, rhino, and Cape buffalo — the country is also rich in bird life, including a number of endemic and localized species. From the dazzling and aptly-named Beautiful Sunbird to the grotesque Marabou Stork, Tanzania offers a world of contrasts that no birder can afford to miss. Sarasota Audubon Society invites you to join leader Barry Rossheim to explore the birds of East Africa during this 14-day tour. Centrally-located accommodations, cultural interactions with Maasai people, and incredible wildlife viewing opportunities await you in beautiful Tanzania.

About Your Leader
Barry Rossheim is a member of the National Audubon Society, as well as Venice Area, Sarasota, Manatee County, and St. Pete Audubon Societies. Since 2005 he has led highly successful birding trips in conjunction with Holbrook Travel for Venice Audubon, Sarasota Audubon, Manatee Audubon, Seminole Audubon, and Venice High to Costa Rica, Guyana, Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands. He has also led local birding field trips and presented birding programs for local Audubon chapters. Barry teaches zoology and biology at Venice High School in Venice, FL. He is an adjunct professor at the State College of Florida where he teaches dual enrollment Diversity of Life to high school students for college credit. He is co-director of the Life Science Community at Venice High School and was the Sarasota County Environmental Educator of the Year in 2007.

WAIT LIST ONLY
Please note: this program is now wait list only. To be added to the wait list, please contact Debbie Sturdivant Jordan at debbie@holbrooktravel.com.

Visit Tarangire National Park’s acacia woodland and baobab studded grasslands to look for the African Hawk-Eagle, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, East African endemic Yellow-collared Lovebird, and endemic Ashy Starling.

Search for Afro-montane forest species including Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater and Tacazza, Golden-winged, and Eastern Double-collared Sunbirds at Ngorongoro Crater.

Bird the Serengeti in hopes of spotting endemic species such as Grey-crested Helmetshrike, Red-throated Tit, Steel-blue Whydah, and Karamoja Apalis.

June 13 - Departure

Depart Tampa

June 14 - Arusha

Arrival in Europe and connect with flight to Kilimanjaro Airport. After your arrival at the airport, you will be transferred to the Arumeru River Lodge. The lodge, sprawling 12 acres of landscaped gardens and natural African bushland, is situated on a former coffee plantation in the shadows of Mt. Meru and Mt. Kiliminjaro. Please note: Upon arrival in Tanzania a $100 per person visa fee will be due and can be paid in cash upon arrival at the airport. Overnight Arumeru River Lodge

June 15 - Tarangire National Park

After breakfast spend the morning at leisure to relax and enjoy the stunning views from this beautiful lodge. you will begin your East African safari with a transfer to Tarangire National Park. En route there will be birding stops, especially in the drier Acacia woodland and scrubby areas. This roadside birding can often be very productive and may include sightings of Blue-naped Mousebird, Von der Decken`s Hornbill, White-bellied Go-away-bird, Rosy-patched Bushshrike, Eastern Violet-backed Sunbird and Golden-backed Weaver. Our first two nights will be spent at the picturesque Tarangire Sopa Lodge, set within the heart of the national park. Overnight Tarangire Sopa Lodge (BLD)

June 16 - Tarangire National Park

The Tarangire ecosystem is the third largest in Tanzania, sprawling over a vast 7,700 square miles. Seasonally, the park supports the second largest concentration of wildlife in Tanzania surpassed only by the Serengeti during peak migration! However, Tarangire is most famous for its huge numbers of African Elephant that congregate along the meandering Tarangire River. We will take time to observe these massive pachyderms and will be amazed at their tender family interactions. Other mammals likely to be seen include the stately Waterbuck, Impala, comical Warthog and Giraffe. The Acacia woodland and Baobab studded grasslands also provide a home for a large number of avians, with the park total well over 500 species! During our time here we have the opportunity to find African Hawk-Eagle, the diminutive Pygmy Falcon, Double-banded Courser, Red-necked and Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Black-faced Sandgrouse, White-bellied Bustard, Meyer`s and Red-bellied Parrots, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Red-and-yellow and D`Arnaud`s Barbets, Mottled Spinetail, Spotted Palm Thrush, Banded Warbler and flocks of Northern Pied Babbler. Two major targets for the area are the Tanzanian endemic Ashy Starling and East African endemic Yellow- collared Lovebird. We will also visit the vast Silale Swamp which is excellent for waterfowl. Species to look out for here will be African Openbill, Goliath Heron, Southern Pochard, Fulvous Whistling Duck, African Jacana and Long-toed Lapwing. If we are fortunate we may spot a Black Coucal or flush out a secretive African Crake! Night birding around our lodge can also be fruitful and we will look for Slender-tailed and Freckled Nightjars and the diminutive African Scops Owl. Overnight Tarangire Sopa Lodge (BLD)

June 17 - Ngorongoro Crater

After breakfast we leave Tarangire and strike out west for the vast Ngorongoro Conservation Area. This 3,200 square mile World Heritage Site protects Earth`s largest intact volcanic caldera (100 square miles) and one of the world`s most scenically breathtaking natural areas. What`s more, the crater is also home to one of the planet`s densest populations of large mammals. Our wonderful lodge is nestled on the edge of the crater rim with spectacular views of the crater itself. The forests that cloak the rim of this iconic site are home to a feast of Afro-montane forest birds. Hildebrandt`s Francolin, Schalow`s Turaco, the elusive Brown-backed Woodpecker, beautiful Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Mountain Greenbul, Brown-headed Apalis, Brown Warbler, skulking Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, busy flocks of Montane White-eye and dazzling Tacazze, Golden-winged and Eastern Double-collared Sunbirds can be found. From the lodge we are able to gaze down at the Ngorongoro Crater below and watch distant elephants and herds of antelope and buffalo moving over the plains. Overnight Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge (BLD)

June 18 - Ngorongoro Crater

After an early breakfast, we will descend 1,970 feet to the Ngorongoro Crater floor itself. The crater is deluxe "Big Five" territory and a photographer`s dream. Most of the animals are extremely relaxed and habituated to the presence of human admirers and the high crater walls, usually cloaked in a pure white frosting of clouds, make for dramatic back-drops to animal photographs. In addition, the crater floor provides a mini-example of a complete African ecosystem with forests, lakes, grasslands, swamps and rivers. Between 25,000 and 30,000 large animals reside in the crater and great concentrations of Blue Wildebeest and Common Zebra are supplemented by smaller numbers of African Elephant (we hope to find some of the crater`s famous Tuskers), African Buffalo, the highly sought-after Black Rhinoceros, Hippopotamus, Eland and Thomson`s and Grant`s Gazelles. The crater reputably boasts the world`s highest concentration of predators and these include Lion, Cheetah, Leopard, Serval, Bat-eared Fox, Spotted Hyena and Golden and Black-backed Jackals. The birding is equally rewarding and we can expect to find many of the picture-book species which make Africa so famous. Pink rafts of Greater and Lesser Flamingos on Lake Magadi, Common Ostrich striding over the grasslands, regal Kori Bustard (the world`s heaviest flying bird), the elegant Grey Crowned Crane and good numbers of raptors including the unique Secretary Bird, Bateleur and Martial Eagle. Amongst the many other species that we may encounter, we hope to see the uncommon Shelley`s Francolin, Black-bellied Bustard, Dusky Turtle Dove, White-headed Barbet, Pectoral-patch Cisticola, comical Anteater Chat, Black-crowned Tchagra, the striking Rosy-throated Longclaw, Fan- tailed Widowbird and the skittish African Quail-Finch, the latter probably more easily seen here than anywhere else! In the evening, we ascend to our lodge on the scenic crater rim and at dusk will attempt to track down Montane Nightjar. Overnight Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge (BLD)

June 19 - Serengeti

This morning we make our way to the world famous Serengeti National Park. En route we pass through an area which is home to the Maasai people. These tall, proud nomadic warriors are famous for their legendary prowess in battle and single-handed acts of bravery in fights with wild animals. Here, we have the opportunity for an excursion to a traditional Maasai village. A local guide will explain their unique culture as you watch the people busy about their daily chores. You will also be treated to a display of the famous Maasai dancing and will have unlimited photographic opportunities. Our lunch venue will be the well-known Olduvai Gorge, so named after the wild Sisal plant that grows in the gorge. As a result of massive geological activities over the eons, Olduvai provides a unique record of countless years of fossilized creatures and plants in a series of stratified rock-layers. Most famous of all discoveries, which revolutionized thinking on hominid evolution, have been those of Australopithecine hominid remains found by the Leakey family. After an introductory lecture we have time to explore the very informative museum at the site which exhibits replicas of the hominid fossils and extinct animals that used to inhabit the region, ranging from River Elephant and Giant Swine to Short-necked Giraffe! A bird walk around the site may yield a variety of arid-country species such as the vocal Slate-colored Boubou, Red-fronted Tinkerbird, Rufous Chatterer, Kenya Sparrow, Vitelline Masked Weaver, beautiful Purple Grenadier and both White-bellied and Southern Grosbeak-Canaries. Thereafter, we continue our travels westward on the rutted dirt track across the vast, flat and seemingly endless Serengeti Plains, to spend three nights in one of the world`s most renowned game reserves. Overnight Nasikia Central Camp (BLD)

June 20 - Serengeti

Extending for an incredible 5,790 square miles, the Serengeti is one of the world`s largest natural sanctuaries. Despite the vast space, the numbers of game that we can expect to see is still astounding. The Serengeti, literally meaning "Endless Plain" in Maasai, consists mostly of grasslands interspersed with Acacia woodlands and rocky outcrops. There is little permanent water in the park and this fact, combined with a fairly regular rainfall pattern, has resulted in the world-famous Wildebeest migration, when up to two million large ungulates move between the Serengeti in Tanzania and Maasai Mara in Kenya. During our visit to the Serengeti we will explore the southern and central areas. Once again we have the chance of finding the full complement of African mega fauna. We hope to see lazing prides of Lion, Leopard draped over large trees, aloof Cheetah resting on or near vantage points, skulking Spotted Hyena, jackals and, if we are fortunate, the bizarre Bat- eared Fox. Several species of smaller cats such as Caracal, Serval or African Wild Cat may also be seen. Besides the wildebeest, the Serengeti supports huge populations of Common Zebra, African Buffalo, Maasai Giraffe, Warthog, Thomson`s and Grant`s Gazelles, Impala, Topi, Kongoni, Bohor Reedbuck, Eland and smaller numbers of African Elephant, Hippopotamus, rubber-nosed Kirk`s Dik-dik, Oribi and Defassa Waterbuck. Overnight Nasikia Central Camp (BLD)

June 21 - Serengeti

Another day of exploration. There will certainly be a veritable feast of superb birds to keep us very busy for the time spent exploring the park. Star birds include the East African endemics Grey-crested Helmetshrike, and Red-throated Tit, the striking Steel-blue Whydah and the highly localized Karamoja Apalis. Other specialties are Grey-breasted Spurfowl, Fischer`s Lovebird, Rufous-tailed Weaver, the localized race of D`Arnaud`s Barbet (sometimes split as Usambiro Barbet) and Athi Short-toed Lark. These birds can be found together with a host of other species such as the magnificent Saddle-billed Stork, up to six species of vulture, the grotesque Marabou Stork, stately Secretary Bird, Bateleur, Chestnut-bellied and Yellow-throated Sandgrouse, Kori Bustard, coveys of Coqui Francolin, White-bellied Bustard, Temminck`s Courser, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Red- fronted Barbet, Tanzanian Red-billed Hornbill, the whimsical Southern Ground Hornbill, Abyssinian Scimitarbill, Black-lored Babbler, Taita and Grey- backed Fiscals, Magpie Shrike, Hildebrandt`s Starling, both species of oxpecker, Silverbird, the cute Buff-bellied Warbler, aptly named Beautiful Sunbird, Grey-capped Social Weaver, Blue-capped Cordon-bleu, Black-faced Waxbill and, if we are fortunate, Grey-headed Silverbill. Not only is this a great place in which to find game and birds, but the wide green-gold savannas, dotted with thorn trees, also make it ideal for photography. The Serengeti is ravishingly beautiful and offers long, undisturbed views and utterly dramatic panoramas. Overnight Nasikia Central Camp (BLD)

June 22 - Serengeti

Another day in the Seregeti. Overnight Nasikia Central Camp (BLD)

June 23 - Ngorongoro

After breakfast, we will drive to Ngorongoro Farm House to explore the lush, rambling gardens of this colonial-era mansion. This private estate built on the style of an old colonial farm and rustically decorated with local materials and full of details of good taste, facing the Oldeani Volcano, just 5 kilometers from the Ngorongoro Loduare gate, the Lodge is home to several target species, including Grey-capped Warbler, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, Green-headed Sunbird and Southern Citril. In the evening we may be visited by the local pair of Greater Galagos that make their home in the gardens. Overnight Ngorongoro Farm House (BLD)

June 24 - Arusha

After some early morning birding and breakfast we depart the Farm House and head back to Arusha. En route we might find White-fronted Bee-eater, which can often be seen sallying for insects from roadside perches. Overnight New Arusha Hotel (BLD)

June 25 - Arusha

After some final birding out iur ideally located lodge, we will go for a walking tour in Arusha and Shopping if needed, otherwise you will have some time at leisure and then celebrate your stay in Tanzania with a special farewell dinner before being transferred to the Kilimanjaro International Airport. (BLD)

June 26 - Arusha

arrive home

Pricing

$6,970 (12 participants)

Cost includes international airfare from Tampa. Does not include gratuities or $100 visa fee (must be paid in cash upon arrival).

For more information contact Debbie Sturdivant Jordan at 866-748-6146 or email debbie@holbrooktravel.com.