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Birdwatching in Tanzania
Birdwatching in Tanzania
Birdwatching in Tanzania
Birdwatching in Tanzania
Birdwatching in Tanzania
Birdwatching in Tanzania

A range of endemic bird species make Tanzania a great location for a birdwatching holiday.

Tanzania birdwatching

Best camps and lodges for birdwatching in Tanzania

With a range of endemic bird species, Tanzania is a great location for a birdwatching holiday. A tremendous amount of ornithological research has been carried out here in the past twenty years, which has hugely increased the information and resources for bird watching in Tanzania. Come for great endemics, near-endemics and speciality birds.

The changes suggested by ongoing research make listing an exact number of endemics difficult. Some sources suggest around 22-23, whilst others split into sub-species and suggest as many as 34. A handful of spectacular endemic birds that most sources agree on include: the Udzungwa forest-partridge; Mrs Moreau's warbler; Loveridge's sunbird; and the Usambara eagle-owl.

Birding in Tanzania is not only recommended for endemism. Over 1000 species have been recorded here and birders in Tanzania will love the range of environments and the sheer variety of birds to be seen on a safari holiday. For some of the best lodges and areas for birdwatching in Tanzania, see our ideas below.

Beho Beho

The Selous is a good park for to visit on a birdwatching trip to Tanzania. During our visit in 2019 we saw white-fronted bee-eater, a beautiful hoopoe, a bat hawk, crested guinea fowl, a Verreaux eagle owl and a vibrant red bishop.

Ikuka Safari Camp

Ruaha National Park is a paradise for birdwatching in Tanzania. More than 580 species have been recorded in the park and visitors could well spot a hundred or so different species in a single day. Ikuka’s lofty location is perfect to watch raptors soaring above the plains.


Fanjove Lodge

From November onwards, Fanjove receives hundreds of migratory birds to the island, which will be a fascinating site for any keen birder in Tanzania.


Impala Camp

While birdwatching at Selous on our last visit to Impala Camp we spotted malachite kingfishers and regal African fish eagles. We were also fortunate enough to see dozens of carmine bee-eaters building their nests in the river’s banks.


Sand Rivers Camp

The Selous Game Reserve is a great park for a wide variety of bird species. When we were here last, we saw different species of kingfisher, hornbills and a great deal more. The Sand Rivers hide is a fantastic place to camp out for a few hours and observe these birds.


Kwihala Camp

Ruaha National Park has an extraordinary diversity of birds, with over 520 different species recorded, making Kwihala a good choice for birdwatching in Tanzania. Mid-November to March is a great time for keen birdwatchers to visit this park, and the knowledgeable guides are a real asset.


Mdonya Old River Camp

Ruaha's position at the centre of Tanzania, north of Selous but south of most of Tanzania's other parks, gives it an interested cross section of birds; a fascinating park for birdwatching in Tanzania.


Siwandu

With a wonderful location on the river, birdwatching around Selous Safari Camp is great. The guides are knowledgeable and there’s a wide variety of species. We had no problems sighting European rollers, hoopoes, fish eagles and hammerkops, amongst many others.


Oliver's Camp

Tarangire National Park is the best park for birdwatching in Tanzania. Avid bird watchers will enjoy sitting in the central 'mess tent' at Oliver's where you might spot flycatchers, superb starlings, morning thrushes, and even a pair of yellow-winged bats.


Oliver's Camp

Tarangire National Park is the best park for birdwatching in Tanzania. Avid bird watchers will enjoy sitting in the central 'mess tent' at Oliver's where you might spot flycatchers, superb starlings, morning thrushes, and even a pair of yellow-winged bats.


Oliver's Camp

Tarangire National Park is the best park for birdwatching in Tanzania. Avid bird watchers will enjoy sitting in the central 'mess tent' at Oliver's where you might spot flycatchers, superb starlings, morning thrushes, and even a pair of yellow-winged bats.

Birdwatching elsewhere in Africa

Our top ideas and inspiration for Birdwatching in other countries.


Birdwatching in Botswana

Botswana

Much of northern Botswana consists of vast tracts of untouched wilderness with plenty of wildlife...

Birdwatching in Kenya

Kenya

Kenya is a prime destination for a birdwatching holiday at any time of year. Tremendous geographical ...

Birdwatching in Malawi

Malawi

Malawi has a number of species which are rare in the rest of Southern Africa, and birdwatching ...

Birdwatching in Mozambique

Mozambique

Mozambique stretches over 2000km from north to south. It is a lush and varied country, and birding ...

Birdwatching in Namibia

Namibia

The best time for bird watching in Namibia is during the rains - typically between around November ...

Birdwatching in Rwanda

Rwanda

Birdwatching in Rwanda is somewhat overlooked in favour of gorilla-trekking trips. However, birdlife ...

Birdwatching in Seychelles

Seychelles

The Seychelles is a disparate group of islands - some granitic; some coralline - scattered around ...

Birdwatching in South Africa

South Africa

South Africa has the highest number of endemic bird species in mainland Africa. Birding in the ...

Birdwatching in Zambia

Zambia

Birdwatching in Zambia will reveal a mix of south, east and even central African birds. Birdlife ...

Birdwatching in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe

Whilst Zimbabwe doesn't have any endemics, it's still great for bird watching. A Zimbabwe holiday ...

Where to see wildlife species in Africa

Maximise the chances of seeing your favourite African animals based on traveller sightings reports from the field.


Lion

Lion

Panthera leo

Lions are at the top of the food chain and also most safari wish-lists, but with their numbers falling fast, any encounter with these majestic apex predators always feels like a privilege.

80% SUCCESS

1,314 sightings from 1,646 observations

Where to see lion in Africa

Leopard

Leopard

Panthera pardus

The most numerous of Africa’s big cats, leopard occur across many habitats, from wild tracts to populated areas. Their grace and their elusive nature make them a unique safari drawcard.

45% SUCCESS

840 sightings from 1,873 observations

Where to see leopard in Africa

Cheetah

Cheetah

Acinonyx jubatus

The cheetah is the fastest land animal and the only cat that hunts by pure speed. Found largely in open grasslands, its slim, elegant form is today an increasingly rare sight.

29% SUCCESS

418 sightings from 1,453 observations

Where to see cheetah in Africa

Wild dog

Wild dog

Lycaon pictus

African wild dogs are among the continent’s most compelling animals. Much misunderstood, these rare, tie-dyed canids are amazingly efficient hunters with a fascinating social life.

31% SUCCESS

375 sightings from 1,214 observations

Where to see wild dog in Africa

Spotted Hyena

Spotted Hyena

Crocuta crocuta

The spotted hyena may be thought of as ‘ugly’ and ‘cowardly’. In fact, this versatile and intelligent carnivore is one of Africa’s most fascinating and warrants attention on any safari.

50% SUCCESS

903 sightings from 1,799 observations

Where to see spotted hyena in Africa

Wildebeest

Wildebeest

Connochaetes sp.

Superficially bovine in appearance, wildebeests are known for their spectacular migrations sometimes in huge numbers. These resilient animals are some of Africa’s most successful herbivores.

63% SUCCESS

1,058 sightings from 1,668 observations

Where to see wildebeest in Africa

Buffalo

Buffalo

Syncerus caffer

One of the ‘Big Five’, buffalo earned a fearsome reputation in hunters’ tales. By contrast, big herds of these sociable bovids are placid, but mount formidable defences against predators.

83% SUCCESS

1,112 sightings from 1,335 observations

Where to see buffalo in Africa

Chimpanzee

Chimpanzee

Pan troglodytes

The chimpanzee is our closest living relative. This highly intelligent great ape is a forest animal with a sophisticated social life. Any encounter in the wild is a memorable experience.

100% SUCCESS

17 sightings from 17 observations

Where to see chimpanzee in Africa

Eland

Eland

Taurotragus oryx

Africa’s largest antelope, eland are culturally important from prehistoric rock art to modern game farms. Though widespread, they are also shy so sightings are uncommon and often fleeting.

45% SUCCESS

613 sightings from 1,362 observations

Where to see eland in Africa

Elephant

Elephant

Loxodonta africana

By far the biggest of the so-called Big Five – indeed, the largest land animal on the planet – the elephant shapes the very landscape it inhabits and is a defining presence on any safari.

91% SUCCESS

1,590 sightings from 1,750 observations

Where to see elephant in Africa

Oryx

Oryx

Oryx sp.

Oryx are impressive antelopes, with a powerful physique and elegant markings set off by rapier-like horns. They cut a distinctive dash in some of Africa’s harshest landscapes.

70% SUCCESS

644 sightings from 924 observations

Where to see oryx in Africa

Gerenuk

Gerenuk

Litocranius walleri

With its slender frame and extraordinarily long neck, this unmistakable East African antelope resembles an attenuated impala and often stands on its back legs browse high shrubs.

76% SUCCESS

37 sightings from 49 observations

Where to see gerenuk in Africa

Giraffe

Giraffe

Giraffa camelopardalis

The world’s tallest land mammal, giraffes are herbivores which have evolved many unique adaptations. Their iconic outlines tower above the bush in many of Africa’s wildlife areas.

83% SUCCESS

1,523 sightings from 1,833 observations

Where to see giraffe in Africa

Hippo

Hippo

Hippopotamus amphibius

The territorial calls of the hippo create a signature soundtrack to Africa’s rivers & wetlands. Despite an endearing smile, this aquatic herbivore has a notoriously aggressive disposition.

89% SUCCESS

1,168 sightings from 1,310 observations

Where to see hippo in Africa

Roan antelope

Roan antelope

Hippotragus equinus

Africa’s second largest antelope and one of its most handsome, with a powerful build and distinctive markings, roan are wary of people, but renowned for their bravery against predators.

24% SUCCESS

228 sightings from 959 observations

Where to see roan antelope in Africa

Sable antelope

Sable antelope

Hippotragus niger

Perhaps Africa’s most beautiful antelope, sable are renowned for their combative nature, even holding off lions. Shy and restricted in range, sightings of sable are always special.

21% SUCCESS

198 sightings from 954 observations

Where to see sable antelope in Africa

Sitatunga

Sitatunga

Tragelaphus spekii

The sitatunga is the most aquatic of Africa’s antelopes and specially adapted to its swampy habitats. Though widespread across Africa, only a handful of places offer reliable sightings.

20% SUCCESS

25 sightings from 122 observations

Where to see sitatunga in Africa

Striped Hyena

Striped Hyena

Hyaena hyaena

The striped hyena is the most widespread of the world’s hyenas, but absent from southern Africa. A rarely-seen nocturnal scavenger, it is shyer and more solitary than its spotted cousin.

16% SUCCESS

55 sightings from 346 observations

Where to see striped hyena in Africa

Zebra

Zebra

Equus sp.

The zebra is a quintessential African animal: the horse in stripy pyjamas at the end of every child’s A–Z. There are three species, of which the plains zebra is much the most common.

84% SUCCESS

1,724 sightings from 2,057 observations

Where to see zebra in Africa

Aardvark

Aardvark

Orycteropus afer

The aardvark is one of Africa’s most bizarre and enigmatic animals. A shy, nocturnal termite-eater, signs of its presence may be scattered about the bush whilst sightings remain elusive.

3% SUCCESS

43 sightings from 1,572 observations

Where to see aardvark in Africa

Pangolin

Pangolin

Smutsia sp.

Pangolins appear to be more pine cone than animal in their unique armoury of scales. These nocturnal, ant-eating oddities are not only highly elusive but also increasingly rare.

2% SUCCESS

27 sightings from 1,487 observations

Where to see pangolin in Africa

Black Rhino

Black Rhino

Diceros bicornis

The black rhino is the smaller and rarer of Africa’s two rhino species but has the more fearsome reputation. Shy and heavily persecuted, it tends to stick to cover.

29% SUCCESS

261 sightings from 899 observations

Where to see black rhino in Africa

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