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Meru’s montane forests and the desert steppe of Lark Plains – Tanzania’s Nature

Arusha’s Biggest Day in Nature

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We will collect you at your hotel in Arusha, preferably by 0600, and drive to the southern gate of Arusha National Park to arrive by 0715.

Bird fairly slowly from the vehicle through the forested central area of Arusha National Park to arrive at Momella gate by about 0900, where we will collect a ranger and ascend to the Kilimanjaro viewpoint (2200 m) on Mount Meru, again birding from vehicle en route.

A leisurely walk in the high altitude lichen-festooned forest around the viewpoint on Mount Meru from 1000 for one hour: African Crowned Eagle, Mountain Buzzard, Dusky Turtle Dove, Lemon Dove, Bar-tailed Trogon, Mottled and Nyanza Swift, Black-capped Mountain Greenbul, White-starred Robin, Mountain Thrush, Dusky and White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Brown Woodland Warbler, Hunter’s Cisticola, Eastern Double-collared, Taccaze and Golden-winged Sunbirds, Abyssinian Crimsonwing. Also Mitis (Sykes’s) Monkey, Guereza Colobus and Harvey’s Red Duiker.

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Walk down the trails from low stature cloud forest at 2000m through lofty juniper and podocarpus forest down to Maio waterfall at 1600m for lunch; all on the Miriakamba trail (three hours): Scaly Francolin, Red-fronted Parrot, Hartlaub’s Turaco, Bar-tailed Trogon, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Moustached Green Tinker-Bird, Abbott’s, Waller’s and Kenrick’s Starling, Stripe-faced and Placid Greenbul, Evergreen Forest Warbler, Grey-capped Nigrita, Abyssinian Crimsonwing.

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Afternoon (1330): slow drive from Momella gate down to the arid steppe in a rain shadow of Mount Meru (one hour) and along the Osugat track in Longido’s Maasailand searching for the Critically Endangered Beesley’s Lark, Athi Short-toed, Short-tailed and Foxy Lark with up to five other lark species possible; resident, wintering and passage raptors, some acacia-commiphora specialities such as Black-faced Sandgrouse, White-headed Mousebird, Taita Fiscal, Fischer’s Starling, Red-fronted Warbler, Tiny and Ashy Cisticola, Mouse-coloured Penduline Tit, Southern Grosbeak Canary, Somali Golden-breasted Bunting (1600 to 1800). Possible mammals – Golden Jackal, Gerenuk and Lesser Kudu. Return to Arusha (about one hour) and drop off at hotel by 1930.

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The financial cost of this Natural Big Day, which is “tba” will be based on two persons sharing, includes:

  • Hire of Toyota Landcruiser 4WD, with pop-up roof, and the service of a mature and responsible driver
  • Entrance fees for Arusha National Park (TANAPA) and the Engikaret Maasai Lark Plains visitor permit
  • Services of a global-standard nature guide, plus an armed TANAPA forest ranger whilst on Mount Meru
  • Refreshment in the form of flasked coffee (instant!) or tea (bags!)

Please note that at least $85 would be required for any additional person, simply to cover the entrance fees, up to a maximum of six customers in the vehicle.

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