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LaughingDove's Little Tanzanian Adventure

Discussion in 'Tanzania' started by LaughingDove, 22 Feb 2015.

  1. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    Hello All,

    I have just come back from a 6 night/ 8 day trip to Tanzania. It was with my school and was composed of a mixture of relaxing in our camp (for me birding), safari in Tarangire National Park, community service, learning and being exposed to the local culture.

    What I did each day:

    Day 1:
    Birded on camp and visited a nearby bush area and game reserve

    Day 2:
    Safari in vehicles in Tarangire National Park

    Day 3:
    Safari in vehicles in Tarangire National Park

    Day 4:
    Building a goat shed and providing a goat for a poor family

    Day 5:
    Building a goat shed and providing a goat for a poor family and visiting a government school

    Day 6:
    Tour around a village visiting farms, houses, a school and traditional medicine healer

    Day 7:
    Visited an orphanage and a full afternoon of birding

    Also for an hour every morning and evening I had the chance to explore and do some birding in the camp that I was staying at.

    I Plan to upload photos and write a little review for each day in this thread but for now, I have uploaded some photos to the Tanzania-Wildlife gallery (http://www.zoochat.com/gallery/tanzania-wildlife) of the few species for which I need to confirm identities.

    :)
     
    Last edited: 22 Feb 2015
  2. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    Throughout my trip (apart from Tarangire National Park) my line of sight was dominated by Mount Meru, which is Tanzania's second highest mountain, so I attach a picture to show you what it is like.
    :)
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Nice view and sounds like a great trip. Look forward to the pics.
     
  4. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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    I'm also looking forward to the pictures and your adventures !
     
  5. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    Me too!! What was the name of the places you camped?

    And did you find the Pearl-spotted Owlet in the carpark at Tarangire?

    :p

    Hix
     
  6. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    I was camping in a private tented camp that was being used by the group of international schools that I go to (It was a school trip).

    I did look in the carpark in Tarangire, in the big baobab, but didn't see the pearl-spotted owlet. My guide said he sees it about half the time.
     
  7. lowland anoa

    lowland anoa Well-Known Member

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    I will go to the Scottish wild as a part of the school trip in May but phones are not allowed so I'll tell you what species I saw and the trip is for 5 days
     
  8. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    Warsaw to Kilimanjaro via Istanbul

    I left school and went to the airport on Friday the 13th of February and left on Turkish airlines from Warsaw to Istanbul. The layover was very long so I got a Turkish visa so that I would have most of a day to tour around Istanbul. I arrived in Istanbul on Friday evening and left the airport to sleep in a hotel in central Istanbul for that night.


    The next day (Saturday 14th of Februrary) I had time to do the basic sightseeing around Istanbul. I won't spend much time discussing the sights in Istanbul but I visited the Grand Bazaar, Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. Around Istanbul, I managed to see two birds that were I hadn't seen since I left Saudi Arabia in the middle of last year. They were laughing doves and alexandrine parakeets.
    Around three that afternoon, after the tour around Istanbul, I headed back to the airport for the overnight flight to Kilimanjaro which was another Turkish airlines flight.


    I landed in Kilimajaro International Airport in the very early morning (around 1 AM), of course it was still dark but still half asleep, I got my first experience of Tanzania. I climbed down the stairs of the plane and was smacked in the face by the humidity. Though even more so than the humidity was the rain. It was chucking it down seriously hard and fast so I ran across the tarmac of the airport and to the gate. There were no buses here, so I had to go as quickly as I could so as not to get soaked. I got really wet from the rain falling from the air and also from the puddles on the ground with water being kicked up by the other passengers running into the terminal. I was worried that in the terminal, I would become cold because most airports in hot countries are very heavily air conditioned but not so in Kilimanjaro.
    The cooling involved fans that just blew hot air onto your heads and I was soon sweating to death in the coats that I was wearing on the plane. I took of all of my layers down to a T-shirt and trousers and despite it being the middle of the night, I was still hot.
    I then had the stand in line ready to pick up a Tanzanian visa which is just 50 US dollars and you show up and give it to an immigration officer who scribbles something in your passport then another person stamps it.
    I liked the general feel of Kilimanjaro airport. It had the opposite feel of a sterile white environment that most airports (at least most international ones) have and had wooded floorboards and even a few stray cats running around.
    I then picked up my bag and was picked up to be taken to the camp that I was staying in. It was completely dark but on the way, I saw my first Tanzanian animal of many, which was a jackal running across the road in front of the minibus.
    I got to the camp at around 3 AM and crawled into my tent, trying not to wake up two people who were sharing the same (large) tent as me. Fully aware that I would have to be up for breakfast at 8 the next morning - in only 5 hours time - I went straight to sleep in my sleeping bag.
     
  9. lowland anoa

    lowland anoa Well-Known Member

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    1AM way too late to arrive in Tanzania but still a good adventure
     
  10. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    It was either 1 AM or hiring a private plane!
     
  11. lowland anoa

    lowland anoa Well-Known Member

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    Or a speedy jet:p
     
  12. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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  13. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    First day in Tanzania


    I got up the next morning at 5 to 8, threw some clothes on and went for breakfast. It had been raining all night, apparently it had been raining for 15 hours solid, but as I went up for breakfast it was just drizzling lightly. Breakfast was in the large tented dining room with a canvas roof supported by poles and no walls, as were all the other meals that I had on camp. There was much very nice food along with fresh fruit grown in the farm area on the camp. After breakfast, I went back down to my tent and then sat on the “porch” (an area in front of the tent which had a small canvas roof over it) to see what birds would be around. There was a family of common fiscals with a nearly fledged juvenile that hopped around on a fence. Behind was a large African tulip tree in which I saw a few more species. Several weavers came and left from the tree, along with some brown-breasted barbets and a group of speckled mousebirds. After under an hour, the drizzling rain stopped and the clouds began to clear so I decided to have a look around more of the camp. Just as I was about the head off down to the bottom of the camp which was on a slight slope, I saw a giant kingfisher flying over and decided to follow it to see if I could see where this beautiful and very large kingfisher had landed. I walked off in the direction that the kingfisher had flown and to my surprise and delight, I found a very nice pond.

    This pond was not huge, but had fairly thick vegetation surrounding it on one side and open views of a small slightly wooded grassland area on the other. It was covered in flowering water lilies and had a large wooded island, accessible by a bridge in the middle. There was also a clump of reeds that had many different weavers nesting in it. I identified these as Taveta golden weavers, Holub’s golden weavers and black-headed weavers. This is also the area where I saw the many grosbeak weavers that I couldn't identify at the time. Walking on the lily pads on the lake, I saw several black crakes. Over the week of visiting the pond every morning and evening I realised that there were three black crakes resident on the pond which nested in a clump of long grass that grew in a shallow area of the pond. I really like black crakes and they are now one of my favourite birds with their small, compact glossy black body and the very delicately coloured beak. Other bird species that I always saw on and around the pond were hadada ibis, black-headed heron and African mourning doves and somewhat surprisingly helmeted guinea fowl and African pied hornbills. The pond was also home to quite a few tilapia fish and tadpoles and one not yet fully grown nile monitor.

    After exploring that pond, I got the chance to look around the farm area of the camp. This was a large area covered in tropical fruit trees. These were bananas, mangoes, avocados and guavas. Deep within the banana plants, I didn't see any more birds but in an avocado tree, I saw a bush squirrel which has turned out to be an ochre bush squirrel.

    After that, I was driven to a privately owned area of native bushland that was in a much dryer area that the camp that I was staying in, though still within view of Mount Meru. This area was preserving the natural habitat with the plants, animals and birds all protected from threats such as poaching. It was quite a large area, though the animals were restricted from leaving by the farmlands and settlement that surrounded it completely. I don’t believe the natural habitat was maintained by people, though paths were cleared and I think some water was artificially provided in the dry season because there is no year-round water source. This left a fairly arid environment, quite similar to that of Tarangire national park. Within this “estate” was a small café with some accommodation and stables for horse-riding and I saw a few people riding along the paths. What I was doing though, was an orienteering exercise around the “estate”. Though it was quite a simple exercise, it took me slightly longer due to the fact that I couldn't help myself from stopping to photograph and identify the many birds and animals that I saw whilst walking. New birds that I saw were long-tailed fiscals, purple grenadiers, pied crows, red-backed shrikes, superb starlings, pin-tailed wydahs, african grey hornbills, crowned lapwings and some swallows and swifts. The mammals that I saw were blue wildebeest, impalas, dik-diks, grant’s gazelles and gerenuk. Zebra were also supposed to be present though I didn't see any.

    I was then taken back to camp and did a bit more birding around the pond. This time, I just saw the same species as well as a tawny eagle flying overhead. I went to bed early because I had to get up at 5:30 the next morning to go to Tarangire national park for the two day safari that I was going to have.
     
  14. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    Sounds like a lot of fun! Do you know the name of the place you were staying, or the place where you did the orienteering?

    :p

    Hix
     
  15. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    I do, but I'm not sure if I should be giving the names out online :eek:.
    I believe the owner of the place is with the board of directors of the group of schools that I go to and he allows the schools to use the camp for "life-changing" expeditions to Tanzania. I don't think members of the public can just book to stay in the place, in fact, the only mention of it online that I can find is on my school's website saying students visited it. I'm not going to say any more due to the fact that if you search the name you will be able to find personal details of students and I wouldn't want to infringe confidentiality, sorry.
     
  16. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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  17. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    If the information is already on the web, then you aren't breaching any confidentialities because anybody can see it. If the students (or their legal guardians) did not give the school permission to post their personal details, then the school should not have put it on the web in the first place.

    But I understand why you want be cautious.

    Incidentally, African Pied Hornbills are not found in Tanzania. Do you have a photo?

    :p

    Hix
     
  18. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure how I managed to identify them as African pied hornbills, looking in my book, the range is nowhere near and the bill doesn't fit the colour of the birds that I saw.
    I have, however, managed to identify them correctly (I hope) as crowned hornbills. But here are some pictures anyway:
    http://www.zoochat.com/2258/crowned-hornbill-402386/
    http://www.zoochat.com/2258/crowned-hornbill-402385/
    Thanks for spotting my error
    :)
     
  19. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    I was wondering if it would be possible to tell what species of monkey this is?
    I saw it at quite a distance from the camp that I was at and as a result wasn't able to get much of a view or picture at all.
    But I have attached what I have so would it be possible to identify from this. It is a very heavy crop.
    I think it's either a vervet or blue monkey.
     

    Attached Files:

  20. lintworm

    lintworm Well-Known Member

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    The monkey is a vervet.