NEW! Tanzania

Birding and Big Game including Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater

Destination
Focus
2021 Dates
  • 28 Apr - 07 May 2021
Duration10 Days
Guides
2021 Price
£4495 pp
£375 single supplement. Deposit £800

pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are inc.

Max Group Size12

Tanzania is known for its vast wilderness and protected areas. This new tour takes you to some of the world's most iconic wildlife destinations as we follow a fascinating route filled with a good array of habitats and specialist species including many endemic birds and key African mammals.

Perhaps the two most famous locations are the plains of Serengeti National Park, a safari mecca populated by the “big five” game (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino), and the majestic Ngorongoro Crater, one of the wonders of Africa, and a 'must visit' location. We should also enjoy (good weather permitting) views across to Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain.

Other key locations include Lake Manyara, a pristine soda lake in the Rift Valley where a range of wetland species may be encountered, and we also go to Tarangire National Park, a superb, largely unexplored location renowned for its high density of Elephants and Baobab trees. You can look forward to excellent birding with a sizeable list, plentiful herds of wild animals and many memorable wildlife encounters on this rewarding and enjoyable holiday.

Birdlife abounds, and endemics and near-endemics alone include Tanzania Red-billed Hornbill, Yellow-collared Lovebird, Ashy Starling, Fischer’s Lovebird, Grey-breasted Spurfowl, Rufous-tailed Weaver, Usambiro Barbet, Swahili Sparrow and Karamoja Apalis. Other birds we hope to find include Grey Crowned Crane, Secretarybird, Kori and Black-bellied Bustard, Yellow-throated and Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Coqui, Hildebrandt’s and Shelley’s Francolin, Crested Guineafowl, Double-banded, Temminck’s and Three-banded Courser, Crowned and Martial Eagle, Brown Snake Eagle, Eastern Chanting Goshawk, Greater and Grey Kestrel, Pygmy Falcon, Woodland Kingfisher, Bearded and Brown-backed Woodpecker, Greater and Lesser Flamingo, Great White Pelican, Yellow-billed and Saddle-billed Stork, Goliath Heron, Great Painted Snipe, Pied Avocet, Caspian and Chestnut-banded Plover, Black-winged and Blacksmith Lapwing, Knob-billed Duck, Cape Teal, White-headed Mousebird, Black Cuckoo, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Mottled Spinetail, Southern Ground Hornbill, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Meyer’s Parrot, African Olive Pigeon, White-naped Raven, Schalow’s and Purple-crested Turaco, Black Coucal, Black-lored Babbler, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, African Scops-Owl, Superb, Waller’s and Hildebrandt’s Starling, Short-tailed, Foxy, Athi Short-toed, White-tailed and Flappet Lark, Black Bishop, Southern Red Bishop, White-headed Buffalo-Weaver, Black-necked Weaver, Magpie Shrike, Black-fronted Bush-Shrike, Northern White-crowned Shrike, Grey-crested Helmetshrike, Taita Fiscal, Tiny, Pectoral-patch, Lynes’, Zitting and Hunter’s Cisticola, Abyssinian Wheatear, Red-throated Tit, Miombo Wren-warbler, Green Woodhoopoe, Brubru, Red and Yellow Barbet, White-headed Barbet, Grey-olive Greenbul, Abyssinian Scimitarbill, Slate-coloured Boubou, Golden-winged and Eastern Double-collared Sunbird, Bar-throated Apalis, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Brown Woodland Warbler, Banded and Brown Parisoma, Southern Citril, Thick-billed Seedeater, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Rosy-breasted Longclaw, Steel Blue Whydah, Rufous Chatterer, Silverbird, African Penduline Tit, Southern Grosbeak Canary, and Blue-capped Cordon-bleu. A true feast of African birding!

Herds of wild animals are plentiful, and we watch for Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Savannah Elephant, Black Rhino, Golden Jackal (now called African Golden Wolf), Serval, Common Zebra, Cape Buffalo, Nile Hippo and Wildebeest, plus a number of monkey and gazelle species. 

Enjoy your complimentary pre-flight overnight hotel before your holiday begins. Full details from our office! Read more about our Pre-flight Service here!

Day 1: Wednesday 28 April - London Heathrow - Arusha
After relaxing in our complimentary VIP Airport Lounge, we fly via a European hub to Arusha in eastern Tanzania. Located at the base of volcanic Mt. Meru, this city is the gateway to the best safari destinations and to Africa's highest peak, 5,895m Mt. Kilimanjaro, lying some 100 kilometers northeast. We meet our local guide and head to our hotel (distance 50 km, 50 mins). Depending on arrival time, we may do some birding enroute to the hotel, and/or on arrival. Overnight in Arusha at Planet Lodge Hotel.

Day 2: Thursday 29 April -  Lark Plains to Tarangire 
We leave early for dryland habitat north of Arusha where rare endemic Beesley’s Lark is found. We enjoy birding here for the morning, the array of birds including Abyssinian Wheatear, Banded Parisoma, Tiny Cisticola, Greater Kestrel, Eastern Chanting Goshawk, Red-throated Tit, Short-tailed Lark, Foxy Lark, Athi Short-toed Lark and White-headed Mousebird. We may be lucky to spot Mt. Kilimanjaro between the clouds, and should also see Mt. Meru. We also keep an eye open for key mammals including Maasai Giraffe and Common Zebra.

Later we continue to Tarangire, where excellent birding awaits. As we travel we will see Baobab trees, which enrich our journey. These magical trees have huge significance in the African culture, fable having it they were planted upside down. We may make a stop by the roadside to try the famous “Baobab tree hug”. On the way we may see new birds including Banded Parisoma, Hildebrandt’s Starling, Black Bishop, Two-banded Courser, endemic Yellow-collared Lovebird and near-endemic Rufous-tailed Weaver. Travel distance 140 km (2.5 hrs) We stay at an excellent tented camp, which we anticipate could be a favourite place for many! Overnight for two nights in Tarangire at Burunge Lodge.

Day 3: Friday 30 April - Tarangire National Park
We begin with birding around our lodge and the neighbouring area. We then head deeper into Tarangire National Park, a less explored birding gem, often known as the 'Land of Elephants and Baobabs'. We also scan the Tarangire Swamp and the beautiful banks of the famous Tarangire River. The local Acacia woodland is very graceful and full of birds, and highlights might include endemic Yellow-collared Lovebird, Woodland Kingfisher, Double-banded Courser, White-headed Buffalo-Weaver, Coqui Francolin, Pygmy Falcon, Brown Snake Eagle, Black Cuckoo, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Great Painted Snipe, Mottled Spinetail, Southern Ground Hornbill, Meyer’s Parrot, Bearded Woodpecker, Southern Red Bishop, Knob-billed Duck, Banded Parisoma, Miombo Wren-warbler, Green Woodhoopoe, Brubru, Magpie Shrike, Red and Yellow Barbet, near-endemic Rufous-tailed Weaver and endemic Ashy Starling. Big game will be encountered as we bird, and we might expect African Elephant, Banded Mongoose, Cape Buffalo, African Lion and Cheetah.

Day 4: Saturday 1 May - Lake Manyara
We drive to Lake Manyara, a pristine soda lake in the Rift Valley. We take a back road that enables us to enter this great habitat soon after leaving our hotel, and after around one hour we arrive at Lake Manyara to a spectacle of birds awaiting us. There are many Greater and Lesser Flamingos in the soda waters, and other birds include Grey-olive Greenbul, Crowned Eagle, Purple-crested Turaco, Crested Guineafowl, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Blue-capped Cordon-bleu, Grey Kestrel, Martial Eagle, Yellow-billed Stork, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Abyssinian Scimitarbill, Slate-coloured Boubou, Goliath Heron, Superb Starling, Hildebrandt’s Starling and Great White Pelican. Local game is mainly composed of monkeys, though we might also see Savannah Elephants, the famous 'tree-climbing Lions' and much more.  Overnight in Karatu at Bougainvillea Safari Lodge.  

Day 5: Sunday 2 May - Ngorongo Highlands and Crater
Today we visit the magical Ngorongoro Crater, immediately to the south of the Serengeti, and an amazing place, packed with wildlife. Ngorongoro is a large and scenic crater about 600m deep, located at about 2000m above sea level, with amazing views both from the top and inside. A truly unique location, the crater is nestled in a pristine natural forest, full of beautiful indigenous trees, and boasts incredible views. We begin birdwatching in the high forest around it's rim, and we might expect Hunter’s Cisticola, Golden-winged Sunbird, Eastern Double-collared Sunbird, Black-fronted Bush-Shrike, Bar-throated Apalis, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Brown Woodland Warbler, Southern Citril, Thick-billed Seedeater, Brown Parisoma, African Olive Pigeon, Brown-backed Woodpecker, Waller’s Starling, White-naped Raven, White-headed Barbet and Schalow’s Turaco.

Next we enter the majestic Ngorongoro Crater itself, rightly known as one of the wonders of Africa. Descending down to the crater floor takes us through great scenery, and we take note of the local Euphorbia tree varieties. Herds of wild animals are plentiful, and we watch for Lion, Cheetah, Savannah Elephant, Black Rhino, Golden Jackal (now called African Golden Wolf), Common Zebra, assorted gazelles, Nile Hippo and Wildebeest. Birds include Hildebrandt’s Francolin, Shelley’s Francolin, Grey Crowned Crane, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Pectoral-patch Cisticola, Lynes’s Cisticola, Pied Avocet, Yellow-throated Sandgrouse, Black-bellied Bustard, Kori Bustard, Secretarybird, Rosy-breasted Longclaw, Flappet Lark, Lesser Flamingo, Greater Flamingo, Chestnut-banded Plover and Rufous-tailed Weaver. We spend most of the day birding and enjoying game drives in the crater. Later in the afternoon, we ascend back to the crater’s rim, enjoying some more highland forest birds as we move higher. Travel is around 20 km, and we stay overnight at Rhino Lodge, Ngorongoro Crater.  

Days 6 and 7: Mon 3 and Tues 4 May - Serengeti National Park
Leaving Ngorongoro behind, we drive across land inhabited by local Maasai Herders dressed in beautiful traditional attire, and we may come across their huge herds of cattle. On the roadsides, we also see several of traditional villages, often localy known as “Enkangs” or “Manyattas”. Roadside birding will be busy and we also come across a good number of mammals including Maasai Giraffe and Thompson’s Gazelle. Soon we arrive in Serengeti, where vast plains and lots of wildlife will be waiting. We enjoy game drives as we transect this vast savannah, and we sample local wetlands and scrublands to boost our species list.  
Highlights include endemic Fischer’s Lovebird, Black Coucal, Steel Blue Whydah, near-endemic Usambiro Barbet, Swahili Sparrow, Rufous Chatterer, near-endemic Karamoja Apalis, Black-necked Weaver, African Scops-Owl, Temminck’s Courser, Black-winged Lapwing, Caspian Plover, Zitting Cisticola, White-tailed Lark, endemic Tanzania Red-billed Hornbill, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Northern White-crowned Shrike, Grey-crested Helmetshrike, Magpie Shrike, Silverbird, Black-lored Babbler, Cape Teal, Saddle-billed Stork, Blacksmith Lapwing and endemic Grey-breasted Spurfowl. Mammals here include Serval, Lion, Leopard, assorted antelopes, Common Zebra and Cheetah. Travel around 80km, (1.5 hrs). Overnight for two nights in Serengeti at Sopa Lodge.  


Day 8: Wednesday 5 May - Serengeti NP to Arusha
Today we drive from Serengeti across the Ngorongoro Conservation Area on our way back to Arusha. Birding will be active all day, and we hope to also enjoy some good big game. Roadside birds likely include Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, African Penduline Tit, Taita Fiscal, Southern Grosbeak Canary, Red-throated Tit, Short-tailed Lark, Black Bishop, Two-banded Courser and much more. Travel around 250 km (4.5 hrs). Overnight once more in Arusha at Planet Lodge Hotel.


Day 9: Thursday 6 May - Departure
We enjoy breakfast at the hotel, before our airport transfer and international flights home, arriving in the morning of Day 10: Friday 7 May.

Please note: all itineraries are given as a guide only. Actual holiday content may vary according to the judgement of your guide, and elements beyond our control (eg weather).

What's included in your holiday price:

  • return scheduled flight from London – Arusha, Tanzania, via a European hub airport. Airport taxes, baggage up to 20kg, hand luggage to 5kg, in-flight meal, airport transfers.
  • accommodation and meals including breakfast and lunch, evening meal and water during the day.
  • the services of your Heatherlea leader and professional local guide(s).
  • ground transportation and park entrance fees.
  • The Heatherlea Pre-Flight Service offers everything you need at the airport, including hotels, car parking, airport lounges, regional flights, and upgrades. Let Heatherlea take the strain! Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge included, subject to terms and conditions. Read more..

What's not included in your holiday price:

  • Travel to and from the airport before and after the holiday, baggage above 20kg, incidental tips, drinks with meals, expenses of a personal nature and personal insurance.

More holiday information

Accommodation is in excellent, friendy lodges and hotels. Rooms are comfortable, clean and attractive with en-suite bathrooms. Details via links on the 'Itinerary' page.
Food is usually plentiful. Breakfasts offer a good choice, with tea, coffee, juice, fruits, eggs of your choice and other options. Lunches are taken at hotels or in the bush depending on the day’s plan. Evening meals are at the accommodation with a full dinner. Vegetarian and other diets are available.
Walking is easy though restricted in the national parks. This is no hindrance, as we will be safe and able to get up very close to many animals and birds.
Travel is by comfortable Landcruiser-type vehicles, with open-top roofs. These are the best vehicles for this environment, smaller minivans are no more than adequate, and though you will see many of these, the larger vehicles are much better in our opinion. All clients have a window seat. Tarmac roads make travelling much easier these days, though there are rough and dusty roads en-route. Roads around National Parks are unmade, though we travel slowly here to maximise our chances of birding and game.
Weather will be warm to hot most days although it can sometimes be cool, especially in the early mornings. You will probably experience 'dry heat', though rain is certainly possible on some days, and can benefit our wildlife watching!
Insects There are few biting insects at this time of year, but precautions are advised. Before travelling consult your doctor about suitable anti-malarial medication, and on arrival take adequate precautions against mosquito bites although you may not encounter mosquitos.
Clothing We recommend a mixture of light and warm clothing as temperatures will vary from place to place. Gloves and hat are advised. Please bring waterproof clothing, it hopefully won't be needed but rain is possible at any time.

Your Leaders

Pete Cosgrove
Pete is a highly experienced leader and very well-travelled overseas birder, with an interest in Africa and Kenya/Tanzania in particular. Pete will be accompanied by experienced local driver/guide(s) on this tour.
 

 

Free Field Guide!   'The Birds of Eastern Africa' by Ber van Perlo is included in your holiday price. One copy per room booked.

Why choose Heatherlea for your African wildlife holiday?

Our overseas holidays are planned with care to offer great birding and wildlife, led by capable Leaders who really look after you. Every holiday is run the 'Heatherlea Way', and we hope our Overseas Adventures remind you of the quality and care so many of you enjoy in Scotland. That means rewarding and exciting days in the field, and good quality accommodation and meals, with a real flavour of the country we are visiting. Heatherlea always seek to include the personal touches that make all the difference.

Heatherlea holidays are not ‘dawn to dusk’ expeditions. Our less-intensive approach is ideal for those who want to relax whilst experiencing the best wildlife watching, and wherever possible we organise early or late activity on an optional basis. We also take sensible breaks when in very hot places and regular comfort breaks on every holiday whenever possible. All itineraries are planned carefully around the best wildlife opportunities, and you won’t miss out on memorable wildlife, whilst enjoying relaxed, informal days that are great fun.

The really important part of any wildlife holiday is the experience for you, our valued customer. Heatherlea invest in many things to offer you the best possible service;

  • We have been organising birding and wildlife holidays for over 30 seasons, and have a highly experienced and capable office team. We also offer a telephone and email service outside normal office hours.
  • Heatherlea overseas holidays have a maximum of 12 clients per trip, putting the emphasis on personal service, and helping you get the best possible experience.
  • Our holidays often include things which others might invite you to pay yourself, for instance Departure Taxes and tips to hotels.
  • All elements of our holidays are sold under our own licence, ATOL 6113. Under ‘Flight-Plus’ legislation it is a legal requirement of any tour operator to hold an ATOL licence for the supply of any overseas holiday where a flight is involved, if that holiday includes either overseas accommodation and/or car hire. It can be a criminal offence for an operator to book flights as part of a package without an ATOL licence. Heatherlea also hold full Tour Operator Insurance for your added protection.
  • Heatherlea is your complete wildlife holiday provider. Our ‘Back Office’ team can organise all your pre-flight and other travel needs. Our specialists will help you book the right services, at the best price. Book holiday extensions through us, and your ATOL protection is extended further. We don’t charge extra for this service.
  • Heatherlea is a limited company, registered in Scotland, and registered to pay VAT (applies to all holidays within the European Union).

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Contact Information

The Mountview Hotel, Nethybridge,
PH25 3EB Scotland

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