I’m back in Dar after another incredible week at the Emau Hill camp in Amani Nature Reserve, where I got to spend several days hiking in tropical forests, chasing chameleons and tree frogs at night, and exploring the tea estates surrounding the forest reserve.
I owe a big thanks to Roy Hinde and his staff at Wild Things Safaris for their support, extensive knowledge of the local ecosystem, and fine cooking.
This ESP trip is one of my favorites because of its location. The Usambara Mountains are still my favorite part of Tanzania, even after 7 years in this country. I’ve traveled there six different times, and I look forward to going back again because there’s always more to explore and something new to do.
Amani is one of the best places for birding in East Africa. Over 400 species have been recorded within the reserve, owing to its habitat diversity: tropical montane forest, miombo woodland, river valleys, and agricultural fields. During this trip, I spotted 14 bird species new to me, bringing the total number of bird species I have encountered in Tanzania to over 150. Unfortunately, I don’t have a fancy camera with a telephoto lens, which means I don’t have any photos of these new species, but here are my latest observations:
- Uluguru violet-backed sunbird, Anthreptes neglectus
- Trumpeter hornbill, Bycanistes bucinator
- White-tailed crested-flycatcher, Trochocercus albonotatus
- Augur buzzard, Buteo augur
- African palm swift, Cypsiurus parvus
- Lanner falcon, Falco biarmicus
- Waller’s startling, Onychognathus walleri
- Yellow-bellied waxbill, Estrilda quartinia
- Pin-tailed whydah, Vidua macroura
- Striped kingfisher, Halcyon chelicuti
- Yellow wagtail, Motacilla flava ‘superciliaris’
- Mountain buzzard, Buteo oreophilus
- Red-rumped swallow, Hirundo daurica
- Martial eagle, Polemaetus bellicosus
All in all, despite averaging over 15 km a day of strenuous walking and hiking, I came back from the trip refreshed and energized because of the chance to get out of the city for a week. If you have the chance to visit the East Usambara Mountains, please do – you won’t regret it.