We booked this safari, called 'The Ultimate Tanzanian Safari, with Kuoni last year and I managed to negotiate a private vehicle at the same price so I could birdwatch and photograph at my leisure without involving anyone else. We flew out at 7.00pm with Kenyan Airways from Heathrow to Nairobi, arriving at 6.30am (3 hours ahead) then caught the 40 minute flight to Kilimanjaro at 9.00am. I bumped into Tim Appleton and the Ornitholidays MD at Heathrow who were going to Nairobi and were also sitting opposite me in the plane. Arriving at Kilimanjaro, we had a one hour transfer to our hotel in Arusha by Ranger Safaris who were organising the trip starting the next day.
Snow capped Mt. Kilimanjaro in the distance and Mt. Meru in the foreground
Picked up from the comfortable hotel at 8.00am to start our safari and headed off to The Arusha National Park for a morning visit. The park is mainly wooded with just a few open areas but is noted for the Blue Monkey and the Black and White Colobus monkey.
Entrance Gate to Arusha N.P.
Juvenile Fiscal Shrike
Animals seen were zebra, warthogs, giraffe, waterbuck, bush buck and red duiker, birds included, 2 mountain buzzards, 4 cinnamon-chested bee-eaters but not much else. We drove through the forest and up onto the rim of the Ngurdoto Crater which is about two miles in diameter and 100 metres deep finding lots of colourful butterflies along the track. On the way back we came across a family of black and white colobus monkeys and one blue monkey.
Black and White Colobus Monkey
Zebra and Waterbuck
We drove on to a wetland and lake area where there were c.60 little grebes all fishing together in a frenzy, most strange. Around the lake, little stints, ruff, common sands, 7 lesser flamingoes, cape teal, 3 sacred ibises etc.. Of course all photography and viewing on the parks has to be done from inside the vehicle.
We left the park and headed back towards Arusha and the 'Mountain Lodge' for a 4 course lunch then at 3.00 pm drove to our next stop for two days at the Tarangire N.P arriving at 7.20 pm, virtually dark! A few short stops to check out some birds inc. chestnut sparrow, ashy starling, speckle-fronted weavers, crowned lapwings, tawny eagles (common), gabon nightjars and grey-crowned cranes. Animals included, dik diks, Grant's gazellles, impala, buffalo, elephants and giraffes.
Buffalo and Cattle Egrets
Very hot in our rondelle but an overhead fan kept things a bit cooler, excellent food but very tired and soon went to sleep ready for the 6.30 breakfast next morning.