Best camps and lodges for birding in Tanzania

Tanzania is a major birding destination boosting a range of local and exotic species. The country is well known for Lake Natron a hypersaline shallow lake situated to the northern edge of the country and which is the  world’s largest flamingo breeding site. Tanzania has a recorded 1158 bird species. Each year about 200 Eurasian varieties, mostly songbirds, migrate to the region creating excellent bird scenes that you will enjoy. To experience birdlife in Tanzania you do not need to be an avid birder and excellent in walking safaris. It can start and end in your camp/ lodge. Set in riverbanks, hills and lake shorelines some lodges create some of the most alluring bird encounters. Some of these facilities are:

#        Lake Manyara tree lodge

Wound on indigenous trees at the middle of dense flora and overlooking the flamingo tinged and the juxtaposed steep scarps of the Gregory valley, the lodge location offers an excellent view of all an African wilderness has to offer at a glimpse. The bush lodge’s undisturbed greenwoods creates one of the best preserve of nature playing host to different fauna and avifauna species. The facility is strategically set at a raised position where you will enjoy relaxing at a private lounge with your pair of binocular and watch over birdlife in the lower reaches of the canopy.

 But it’s a guided walking safari that will yield the explicit bird experience you deserve as an avid birder.  The quite adventurous walk begin in a boardwalk that steadily rises above the canopy leading to some fascinating and strategic viewpoints where you will gather details of several terrestrial species.

During the wet season when the lake is full consider adding a shoreline walk.  Lake Manyara shorelines are  popular breeding ground and you will enjoy the sights and tones of different birds in their most active moment. Around the same time the lake is also optimally occupied by wading birds that flocks the shoreline. The most common are storks and herons.

#        Sand river lodge, Selous National park

This lodge is on the banks of the dramatic river Rufiji that breathes life to the diverse and extensive wilderness. The river boosts rich riparian flora that attracts numerous local and migrant bird species. The entire park has 440 recorded bird species. Set on a uniquely elevated position the facility’s lounge rewards visitors with a touchdown view of birds playful on the wet sandbanks. During your stay you will have an opportunity to engage in a range of the activities that reveals some of the most guarded secrets of the parks birdlife and flora. A 1-2 hrs Boat excursion along Rufiji is perhaps the most adventurous birding activity taking you through sites of wading birds foraying on the wetlands on the river bank. If you are visiting the park for more than 2 days we recommend that you book a fly camping package for unmetered feel of the wilderness.

#        Momella wildlife lodge

The lodge is situated in Arusha national park towards the slopes of Mt Meru. The areas birdlife is largely inspired by the presence of Lake momella and other 6 smaller alkaline lakes that are some of the popular flamingo spots in Tanzania. Flamingos are mostly in the lakes over the rainy period.  The area is also a popular ground for wading birds like Egyptian goose, African fish eagle, red-billed duck, helmeted guinea fowl, maccoa duck and cape teal. Boat riding along the shorelines of the is the most rewarding activity for birders.

#        Kichaka camp

The park is situated in Ruaha National park birding paradise in central Tanzania. Set where the southern Africa miombi woodlands habitat overlap with the savannah plains of East Africa, Ruaha boost impressive birdlife of close to 600 bird species. Kichaka camp is set atop a small hill in Landa section near the eastern edge of the park. The region is a stronghold for close to 150 species that you can easily spot on a normal birding day. Having been strategically located along the suez canal flyway the camp is a popular site for Eurasian migrant birds that come to sub-sahara Africa over the winter period. Some of the most common bird species include African fish eagle, white bellied go away bird, Ashy starling, Namaqua dove and southern ground hornbill . For better birding experience we recommend that you take a 3-4 fly camping plan for more intimate and detailed bush experience.

#        Roving bushtop camp

This is a luxury safari camp perched on the seronera valley at the heart of Serengeti National park. Characterised with quintessential savannah planes and slightly denser shades of acacia and other trees found on the banks of river seronera, the region boost a wealth of habitats that play host to a number of Serengeti 500 bird species. Roving bushtop camp provide a more detailed bird experience through a bush walks guided by an expert birding guide. The walk could range from a short stroll in the precincts of the facility not lasting more than an hrs to a 4 hrs wilderness trail depending on your personal desire.

#        Ndutu lodge

The lodge is perched in a grove of acacia shades in south eastern serengeti facing lake Ndutu. Here the slightly dense woodland inspire a host of terrestrial species from the parks front yard. Ndutu region is also one of the most popular hunting hotspots with the migration season being the optimal period for a predation sighting. In equal measures, the region is one of the best location where you can sight scavenging birds. Some vulturine flocks are permanent resident in the Ngorongoro Ndutu area.

The nearby seasonal alkaline lake Ndutu is also a popular flamingo spot. Shoreline birds especially waterfowls and are also common occurrences.

#        Stanleys Kopje lodge

The facility in mikumi national park and set in an elevated rocky outcrop offering a bird-eye view of the rolling savannah plains, perfectly viewable from all the rooms in the facility. Stanley kopje has a private lounge over looking a waterhole frequented by a range of fauna and avian species. The area surrounding this facility boost fascinating sights of sunbirds and rollers. There is a daily guided nature trail starting from the facility taking you through various bird habitats guaranteeing encounter with over 150 bird species in the approximately 400 varieties in mikumi birds checklist.

#        Swala tented camp, Tarangire

Set in a slightly flora rich location in the riparian south west area of Tarangire, Swala tented camp offer one of the best highlights of the tarangire-lake manyara ecosystem’s birdlife. Here you will enjoy the view of differently unique aquatic and terrestrial species among them white faced whistling duck, woodland kingfishers, black headed heron, yellow necked spurfowl and northern white crowned shrike. To create the best bird experience for visitors the camp has a team of guide who accompany travelers who go for a nature trail within the concession area which is part of a major game stronghold in the park.

#        Rubondo island camp

This is the only facility in a small island on the south western edge of Lake Victoria.  Covered with dense tropical greenwoods the island boost over 300 both terrestrial and aquatic avian species. The park boost the worlds largest Africa fish eagle population.

 The wetlands on the shoreline are common breeding grounds for wading birds. The forest walk here is quite rewarding with the low number of visitors keeping the wilderness undisturbed and the best spot to sight even the most elusive birds.