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  • Photograph of Lioness

    Lioness by Alice Perry. In Southern Tanzania it is possible to track lions on foot in Selous Game Reserve.

    SOUTHERN TANZANIA

    Best Wildlife in Southern Tanzania

    Mammals
    Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Spotted Hyaena, African Elephant, Giraffe, Hippopotamus, African Buffalo, (Angola) Black-and-white Colobus, Iringa Red Colobus, Sanje Mangabey and Gentle Monkeys, Burchell's Zebra, Blue Wildebeest, Yellow Baboon, Honey Badger, Roan, Sable, Eland, Greater and Lesser Kudus, Waterbuck, Topi, (Lichtenstein’s) Hartebeest and Impala. Also a chance of African Wild Dog, Kipunji Monkey and Chequered Elephant Shrew.

    Birds
    Ostrich, African Fish Eagle, Secretary Bird, Saddle-billed Stork, Hamerkop, African Grey, Crowned, Pale-billed, Trumpeter, Silvery-cheeked and Von der Decken’s Hornbills, White-winged Apalis, many of the 30 or so Tanzanian endemics including Yellow-collared Lovebird, Tanzanian (Ruaha) Red-billed Hornbill, Ashy Starling and those in the Eastern Arc Mountains such as Udzungwa Forest Partridge, Uluguru Bushshrike, Green-throated and Uluguru Mountain Greenbuls, Mrs Moreau’s Warbler, Iringa Akalat, Loveridge’s and Rufous-winged Sunbirds, Kilombero Weaver and Kipengere Seedeater, as well as Helmeted Guineafowl, African Darter, vultures including Lappet-faced and Palm-nut, Bateleur, African Crowned and Martial Eagles, Black-bellied and Denham’s Bustards, Grey Crowned Crane, White-headed Lapwing, Blacksmith Plover, Black-winged Stilt, Temminck's Courser, African Skimmer, African Green Pigeon, doves, parrots, Livingstone’s and Purple-crested Turacos, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Coppery-tailed Coucal, owls including Verreaux's Eagle Owl, mousebirds, Bar-tailed and Narina Trogons, kingfishers including Brown-hooded and Giant, bee-eaters including Boehm’s and Swallow-tailed, Lilac-breasted and Racket-tailed Rollers, African Hoopoe, Green Woodhoopoe, Southern Ground Hornbill, barbets, woodpeckers, African Broadbill, batises, Vanga (Black-and-white Shrike) Flycatcher, Retz’s and White-crested Helmetshrikes, Grey-headed Bushshrike, orioles, African Paradise Flycatcher, Eastern Nicator, greenbuls, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, cisticolas, Bar-throated, Black-headed, Brown-headed and Chapin’s Apalises, African Tailorbird, Red-faced Crombec, Sharpe’s Akalat, robin-chats, White-headed Black Chat, Orange Ground Thrush, Northern Pied Babbler, Superb Starling, Red-billed and Yellow-billed Oxpeckers, sunbirds including Beautiful, Malachite, Purple-banded, Scarlet-chested and Shelley’s, Yellow-throated Longclaw, weavers including Bertram’s, Montane Marsh Widowbird, waxbills, Peter’s Twinspot, Red-faced Crimsonwing, Oriole Finch and Cabanis’s Bunting. Also a chance of pelicans, Black Heron, Greater Painted Snipe, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Blue Swallow (mostly Oct-Mar), Dappled Mountain (Dapple-throat) and Swynnerton’s Robins, and White-chested Alethe.

    Reptiles, Amphibians and Fish
    Nile Crocodile. Also a chance of chameleons.

    Invertebrates
    Over 500 butterfly species have been recorded in Udzungwa Mountains NP alone.

    Plants
    About a quarter of the flora, notable for its bizzy-lizzies, in Udzungwa Mountains NP is endemic, and there is a particularly rich flora, notable for its orchids, in the highland grasslands, especially in Kitulo NP.

    Best Sites for Wildlife in Southern Tanzania

    Best Times for Wildlife in Southern Tanzania

    The peak time to visit for most mammals and birds is the long dry season which usually lasts from June to October, although February is usually the peak time for plants. African Wild Dogs are easier to track down during their denning season which is normally in June-July. Short, light rains usually occur in November-December and long, heavy rains from March to May.

    Recommended Books etc. for Southern Tanzania

    Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa by T Stevenson and J Fanshawe. Helm, due 2017 (Second Edition).

    Field Guide to the Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania by D Pearson et al. Helm, 2005.

    Birds of Africa south of the Sahara by I Sinclair and P Ryan. C Struik, 2011 (Second Edition).

    The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals by J Kingdon. Bloomsbury, 2015 (Second Revised Edition).

    The Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals by J Kingdon. Bloomsbury, 2016 (Second Edition).

    Bradt Travel Guides: East African Wildlife by P Briggs. Bradt, 2015 (Second Edition).

    Watching Wildlife: East Africa by M D Firestone et al. Lonely Planet, 2009 (Second Edition).


    Apps etc.

    The Kingdon Guide to African Mammals.

    Audubon African Wildlife.

    eGuide to Birds of East Africa.

    Where to watch birds in Africa by N Wheatley. Helm, 1995.

    Don’t know which country/countries to visit in Africa? Then it may be worth considering taking a look at this book, written by this website’s author. It is many years old of course but it still provides a starting point, an overview and a guiding light to the best birds and the best places to look for them on the continent, and could save hours of searching for similar information on the internet. However, it is important to check more up-to-date sources for sites which have been opened up, sites and species which have been discovered, lodges that have been built etc. since the book was published.

    Trip Reports for Southern Tanzania

    Many trip reports, some for Southern Tanzania, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours to Southern Tanzania. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to Southern Tanzania' below.

    Local Guides and Tours in Southern Tanzania

    The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently, employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the wildlife you wish to see.

    Accommodation in Southern Tanzania

    Some Organized Tours to Southern Tanzania

    There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit. Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ.

    While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes, whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of strangers, and they are popular with people with partners with different interests. Individuals, partners and small groups will almost certainly have to pay more for a custom tour than an organized tour with a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the price quoted for a set tour.

    Tour companies who run organized tours to Southern Tanzania include the following. Many of these also offer custom tours.