Fish Eagle Point, Tanga
Unspoilt and unpretentious Fish Eagle Point is surely the best place along the coast of Northern Tanzania for some relaxed and undisturbed Naturalist Birding. It’s also the perfect place to get all that Masailand dust (and Tan-roads bumps) out of your system after a full-on motorised safari jolting about on Tanzania’s famous northern circuit.
And thanks to the diligence of our Chinese road engineers it’s now easy to get to from both Tanga and the adjacent, yet often far more crowded, coastline of Southern Kenya.
The owners of Fish Eagle Point have gone to great pains to minimise the impact of their lodge. In fact, by setting-up here, they have successfully protected a small area of spray-bevelled coral rag forest, into which the few bandas (the ‘delightfully rustic’ accommodation) have been lovingly secreted.
So, as regards “Sustainable Biodiversity Tourism” it’s a very good example.
There are even a few observable medium-sized terrestrial mammals – Mitis Monkeys, Yellow Baboons, two or three Galagos and even the diminutive and secretive light brown moschatus race of Sunni, a ‘dwarf’ antelope.
In truth this small strip of forest continues to support a very pleasing variety of coastal wildlife. The canopy community includes the nationally scarce Green Tinkerbird and on the forest floor there are such localised butterflies as the Gold-banded Forester. It appears that this elfin coastal woodland currently delineates the northern edge of the distribution of some southern bird species – such as the Kurrichane Thrush. More conspicuous are the Black-bellied Starlings and Purple-banded Sunbirds present all day, all year, in the trees all around the lodge.
Whilst close looks at BIG choosy birds, like Woolly-necked Stork and African Fish Eagle, remind you that you are currently luxuriating in one small patch of what’s left of our Earthly paradise!
Over the Indian Ocean there are good numbers of terns, of at least four species, offshore at all seasons. Uniquely wonderful, Crab Plovers sometimes exceed 250 individuals among the varied shorebirds at the wader roosts, especially on neap tides, and in the southward-facing of the paired bays (see aerial photo below) and throughout the northern winter.
An hour’s cruise offshore, in the lodge’s motorised dhow, will get you over the deep water of the Pemba Channel. Here a variety of southern seabirds (including occasional sub-Antarctic species that are currently assumed to be merely vagrants to East Africa) and northern migrants and vagrants, such as Long-tailed Skua [Jaeger], occur in season. There are adrenalin-inducing cetaceans here too! Occasionally when it’s calm, especially just after sunrise, late in the South-east Monsoon season (August onwards) Humpback Whales appear, and engage in prolonged sessions of fluke-slapping courtship. All less than a kilometre from land.
I’ve only the one significant suggestion : If you can, get here ASAP.
“All of the sea view room are good; but there’s one of the two-storey forest rooms which is absolutely spectacular, especially if you have a good telescope, try watching for the roosting waders (e.g. shorebirds – think Crab Plovers coming ever closer with the tide). And the new honeymoon suite must be near perfection now that it’s finished. It was simply wonderful when just a shell !”