Usambara, Uluguru, Udzungwa, Rubeho & Ukaguru – the names alone make you want to go there! Tanzania has a surprising number of country endemics within its borders due to islands of isolated forest mountains in the Eastern Arc chain stretching from Taita Hills (Kenya) to the Udzungwa mountains in Tanzania. With a short taste in Kenya earlier this year we couldn’t wait for more. Special thanks to Ross Gallardy for pre-trip information, David Moyer for contact with Elia and Elia Mulungu for his excellent guiding for a part of the trip.
It had been too long since we had been to Africa, and since Helen did not visit Ethiopia, East Africa was the biggest gap in her life list. Kenya was a perfect destination for a three-week self-driving trip in April, with a great variation in habitats, lots of species and a nice set of endemics.
A long weekend independent trip to Western Sahara for some desert birding with Sander Bot & Lenze Hofstee. The destination has become more interesting in recent years since it offers the chance to see Golden Nightjar and Sudan Golden Sparrow. Both were seen excellent in addition to many other new species.
After several birding trips to South America and Asia we decided Africa would be de next continent. Rob had been to Ethiopia before (in 2011) but for Helen it was the first Africa-experience. We chose South Africa because it is very rich in endemics, has both birds and wildlife, it has the possibility to join a pelagic and furthermore the country is easy to travel around independently by car. In total we saw 470 species.
This is a report of a 24-day independent birding trip to Ethiopia by 5 Dutch friends. We rented a Jeep with driver, but without local guide. Because we still wanted to see all the good birds, we invested a lot of time in preparation of the trip. In the end, we were pretty successful as we recorded over 550 species, including all possible endemics (ok ok, we skipped Nechisar Nightjar). Doing an independent trip is thus definitely feasible, as a few other groups before us have also demonstrated. If your birding and/or preparation time is more limited, however, it’s probably better to take a local guide along, or join one of the many available tours.