Birding Safaris in Tanzania : Tanzania’s birding safari is among the best among African Safaris, as it offers exceptional opportunities for enthusiasts to explore the country’s rich bird diversity. From the iconic East African species to rare migratory birds, these tours provide expert-guided experiences through diverse habitats, including savannahs, forests, wetlands, and lakes. With over 1,000 bird species, including the Lilac-breasted Roller and the African Fish Eagle, Tanzania’s birding tours promise captivating sightings, educational insights, and unforgettable connections with nature.

Where is birding most popular? 

Tanzania is undeniably one of the best destinations for birding safaris, but whether it’s the absolute best depends on your specific interests and what you’re looking for in a birding experience. Tanzania offers a diverse range of bird species and incredible natural landscapes, making it a fantastic choice for birdwatchers. This diverse range of bird species in Tanzania boasts a variety of top birding tour destinations that cater to bird enthusiasts seeking to explore the country’s diverse avian life. Some of the top birding tour destinations in Tanzania include:

Arusha National Park: This park’s varied habitats, including montane forests and Momella Lakes, offer excellent birding opportunities, with species like the African Fish Eagle and the Hartlaub’s Turaco, Kori Bustard, Lilac-breasted Roller, and Secretary Bird. The Unique Species only found in this national park are Fischer’s Lovebird and grey-breasted Spurfowl.

Serengeti National Park: Beyond the famed wildebeest migrations, the Serengeti’s acacia-studded savannahs are home to avian gems like the striking Kori Bustard, the flamboyant Lilac-breasted Roller, and the Secretary Bird gracefully patrolling the grasslands. The best time for birding is during the wet season from November to April, when resident and migratory birds are plentiful. Unique Species found only in this national park include Fischer’s Lovebird and grey-breasted Spurfowl. 

Ngorongoro Crater: The Ngorongoro Crater is part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in northern Tanzania. Birding is rewarding throughout the year, with the wet season from November to April attracting migratory species. The alkaline Lake Magadi welcomes graceful flamingos inside the caldera’s lush landscapes. Meanwhile, raptors like the Augur Buzzard take to the skies, providing a dramatic backdrop to the diverse birdlife below.

Lake Manyara National Park: In northern Tanzania, near the Great Rift Valley, Lake Manyara National Park is a waterbird haven. The best time for birding is during the wet season from November to April, when the lake attracts flamingos and other waterfowl. Lake Manyara National Park showcases the delicate grace of the Pink-backed Pelican and the vivid hues of the Greater and Lesser Flamingos wading in the reflective waters of the alkaline Lake Manyara.

Tarangire National Park: Tarangire’s baobab-dotted landscapes draw birding enthusiasts in northern Tanzania. Over 550 species, a symphony in the baobab’s shade spots the whimsical Yellow-collared Lovebird, the fiery Northern Carmine Bee-eater, and the stoic Ostrich will not be missed. The best time for birding is during the wet season from November to April when water sources are scarce, concentrating on birdlife.

Selous Game Reserve: Situated in southern Tanzania, the Selous is known for its Rufiji River and diverse habitats. Birding is ideal during the dry season from June to October when the river draws waterbirds and other species. There are around 440 different bird species in this game reserve. African Fish Eagle, Goliath Heron, and Malachite Kingfisher are notable bird species in this game reserve. 

Ruaha National Park: Found in central Tanzania, Ruaha’s expansive wilderness is home to unique bird species. The best time for birding is during the wet season from November to April, when migratory birds are present, and wildlife thrives. There are approximately 570 species, including the Ruaha Red-billed Hornbill, White-headed Lapwing, and Lilac-breasted Roller.

Udzungwa Mountains National Park: Situated in southern Tanzania, the Udzungwa Mountains offer endemic species. The best time for birding is during the wet season from November to April when the forest is vibrant and bird activity is high. There are over 400 bird species, including the Udzungwa Partridge, African Crowned Eagle, and African Green Pigeon.

Mahale Mountains National Park: Located along Lake Tanganyika in western Tanzania, Mahale’s forests host remarkable birdlife. Birding is rewarding from May to October when clear skies allow for sightings of both birds and chimpanzees. Over 300 species, including the Great Blue Turaco, African Harrier Hawk, and Crowned Hornbill, are found in Mahale Mountains National Park. 

Pemba Island: Located off the coast of Tanzania, Pemba Island is an island paradise for bird enthusiasts. Birding is best during the wet season from November to April, when migratory species visit the island. Over 150 species have colorfully decorated this island with Notable Birds: Pemba Scops Owl, Pemba White-eye, and Pemba Sunbird.

What is the best time for birding safaris in Tanzania?

The ideal time for a birding safari in Tanzania depends on your birdwatching interests and the bird species you wish to see. Tanzania offers excellent birding opportunities year-round, but there are important reasons to consider. It’s essential to research your target bird species and their specific habits and habitats to determine the best time for your birding safari. Below is a glance through some of the vital birdwatching seasons:

Dry Season (June to October):

This is the best time for birding in Tanzania. The dry season offers clear skies and less vegetation, making it easier to spot birds. It is also the season when Migratory birds (including raptors and waterfowl) from various places arrive and settle; meanwhile, most resident bird species are actively breeding and are easier to observe.

Wet Season (November to April):

The essential advantage of the wet season is that birdsong is more vibrant as many species are establishing territories. This is also among the best bird photography seasons, as the lush greenery can provide beautiful backdrops for photography.

Migrant Bird Season (Early December to April):

The migrant bird season has a timeline that correlates to the western season. This period is enriching for birdwatchers interested in migratory species. Lakes and wetlands in Tanzania fill with water, attracting a wealth of waterfowl. Many bird species are in breeding plumage, displaying their vibrant colors. 

Green Season (March to May):

While less popular than the dry and wet seasons, the green season can offer unique birding experiences. Birdwatchers can observe courtship displays and nesting behaviors. Fewer tourists can mean a more peaceful birding experience.

Birding in Coastal Areas (Year-round):

Coastal regions of Tanzania, including areas like Zanzibar and Pemba Island, offer birding opportunities throughout the year. You can spot both coastal and migratory bird species in these areas.

Additionally, consider weather preferences, crowd levels, and budget when planning your birding trip. Tanzania’s diverse ecosystems offer something for birders in every season, so you can have a rewarding experience at any time of the year.

Come join East African Safaris Guides for a fantastic birding safari through Tanzania’s diverse national parks, where each destination presents a symphony of colors, calls, and behaviors that underscore the profound beauty of the birds’ world. Whether you’re a birder or simply captivated by nature’s wonders, Tanzania’s birding tour destinations promise an unforgettable journey into the heart of birdlife.