Posts Tagged ‘Iringa’

Hi all

I’m back ………………………

Leaving the Indian Ocean behind us we drove steadily westwards passing the famous Uluguru Mountains.  There are a bunch of special birds up there including the Uluguru Bush-shrike.  Unfortunately it is a long hard and arduous climb and as ANBM had a triple by-pass some months previously it was deemed unwise for us to attempt the climb.

Uluguru

The famous Uluguru Mountains

Through the Mikumi National Park and into the town of Mikumi itself, where we booked in to the Tan-Swiss Lodge.  Very comfortable motel type accommodation and a restaurant.  Next morning we were off again on a new mission !

Southwards, skirting the also famous Udzungwa Mountains National Park.

Udzungwa Mountains

The sign ….

Our destination was to go past the town (village ?) of Ifakara and into the Kilombero swamps !  Why – you ask ?

Kilombero Weaver

Kilombero Weaver – only discovered in 1986 !!

There are two other specials, also both discovered as recently as 1986 ……………….

Kilombero Cisticola

Kilombero Cisticola

White-tailed Cisticola

White-tailed Cisticola

Well our intentions were good.  The reality is that at that time of year the locals burn the swamp vegetation to plant their crops !!  So to get away from the road we resorted to a different form of transport ……

Kilombero River

Dugout on the Kilombero River

Whilst this little sojourn was great for general birding it failed in it’s quest to find any of the three specials !!  Sigh …..

We were entertained on the return journey (of some 140 km) by this ……..

Nice Truck

A very Nice Truck

We checked back into the same motel in Mikumi and went exploring into the adjacent National Park to be rewarded by a bird which ANBM was very keen to see.

Long-tailed Fiscal

Long-tailed Fiscal

The next day we were once again off westwards and through the amazing Ruaha Valley which gave us a whole string of new species that we were keen to find.

Ashy Starling

Ashy Starling

White-winged Tit

White-winged Tit

von der Decken's Hornbill

Male von der Decken’s Hornbill

Female von der Decken's Hornbill

.. and the female

It was a long day but most productive from a birding point of view.  Very tiring because the driving in Tanzania can be a little frenetic with about 80% of the traffic being huge trucks.

Tanzanian Highway

.. busy roads….

But it can be quite entertaining too ……..

Bob Marley

Bob Marley

We eventually arrived back at the Mount Rungwe Avocado Company and were once again welcomed and royally accommodated by the Clowes family.

The last chapter was about to begin……….

And it will unfold soon …………….

Thanks for listening

Tony

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Hi all

When we were in Chizarira ANBM mooted the idea of us going to the 13th Pan-African Ornithological Congress. By road !

He kept up the pressure and suddenly we were definitely going. With a fully packed vehicle, passports, GPS and some maps we left Harare at 04h00 one morning and entered Mocambique at Nyamapanda and by 09h30 we were in Tete on the Zambezi river.

Zambezi bridge

The bridge over the mighty Zambezi

We had  crossed the border into Malawi at Dedza by about 14h30.  This little town is named after Dedza Mountain which rises out of the plains.

Dedza Mountain

Dedza Mountain and town

Now most people heading north in Malawi would proceed to the capital, Lilongwe. Us ?  No chance – east it was to be – to Lake Malawi ! It appears quite suddenly and is a delight to view its vastness.  We followed the lake shore via Salima, Nkhotakota and Dangwa by which time it was quite dark. Eighteen kilometres outside Dangwa was our destination – the delightful Ngala Beach Lodge.  We were welcomed by the owner, Chris Buckley, and proceeded to replenish all the fluids we had lost on our 1200 kilometre trek!   Now remember we have arrived in the dark !   Lot’s of beer and a fantastic dinner followed by extremely comfortable rooms and I awoke early to walk out my door and see ……….

Lake Malawi

Dawn over Lake Malawi

…. it was stunning !

The lodge itself is a fantastic retreat and certainly on the cards for a repeat visit.

Ngala Beach

My room at Ngala Beach Lodge

Ngala Beach

Ngala Beach Dining Area

After breakfast we made our farewells and hit the road. Northwards to Nkhata Bay then up the mountains to Mzuzu,  back down the mountains to the Lake, past Livingstonia and Karonga to the Songwe River Bridge and suddenly we were in Tanzania !! Four countries in two days !!  And only half way to our destination !!

We arrived at Mount Rungwe, after passing through Tukuyu where we were expected by the Clowes family who are ex-Zimbabweans farming avocados there.

Now it was time to start birding !  We set off early the next morning to climb into the foothills where we found Scaly-throated Honeyguides to be common as were Livingstone’s Turaco but best of all our first ‘lifer’ for the trip was Black-lored Cisticola.

Black-lored Cisticola

Black-lored Cisticola

(I guess I need to say here that most of the bird pictures posted have been gleaned from many sites on the internet and if I offend anyone and they want me to remove their picture just let me know and it will be done!)

After a quick-lunch it was back on the road and to Mbeya and on-wards towards Iringa stopping for the night at Kisalonza Farm House – a very nice campsite where we froze because we hadn’t realised we were sitting at about 1600 metres above sea level.  We broke camp early the next day and after a mug of coffee we were on our way.

Kisalonza

Making coffee at Kisalonza

That’s the last time you will see the gas bottle !  We did camp again but managed to get fed and watered by others.  Good planning.

This was another long haul !  Past Iringa, Morogoro (where we got some money from the ever present Barclay’s Bank), a left turn and to Korogwe where we booked into the Motel White Parrot.  About 950 kilometres that day !

Kilimanjaro

Thirsty Work

Kilimanjaro

Thirsty Work

The next day was a doddle !  Continuing ever north(ish) we soon past Moshi where Mount Kilimanjaro was totally hidden in cloud and to our intended destination Mount Meru Game Sanctuary.

Mt Meru lodge

Mount Meru Game Sanctuary

Mt Meru

Up market lodging

As lovely as this place was it really was too inconvenient for our conference (remember – we were going to the Pan-African Ornithological Congress) but we did find some interesting stuff before leaving.

Kirk's Dikdik

Kirk’s Dikdik

Black & White Colobus

Black & White Colobus in the garden !

The next day was the final 20 km into Arusha, find a hotel just a few minutes walk from the conference and we had arrived !

Pan African Ornithological Conference

Success !

Well dear readers I think that will be about enough for now.  We will continue again later.

Thanks for joining me.

Cheers

Tony