By Wawire James
This was a long journey that I did embark, from Nairobi, Mombasa, Dar es Salaam to Selous Game Reserve. The date of departure was on the 8th February 2011 with Modern Coast bus. Modern Coast Express Ltd is a luxury coach company operating within Kenya and Uganda.
Time of departure was 1130hrs; en route towards Mombasa I did spot a few of the species (Lilac breasted Roller, Pale Chanting Goshawk, Superb Starling, Pied Crow, Emerald Spotted Wood dove) and the Baobab trees in their blooming stages. Regarded as the largest succulent plant in the world, the baobab tree is steeped in a wealth of mystique, legend and superstition wherever it occurs in Africa. It is a tree that can provide food, water, shelter and relief from sickness.
As one approaches Kibwezi, one has a better view of the Chyulu Hills. Chyulu Hills is located about 150 east of the Great Rift Valley. It consists of several hundreds of small flows and cones. As you approach Mombasa that’s from Mariakani town common species to be seen much is the Indian House Crow. We did arrive in Mombasa at around 1830hrs, where I had overnight at the Bandari Hotel.
On the 9th February 2011, I boarded an early departure Coach bus from Mombasa via South Coast to the border of Lunga Lunga, (Tahmeed Bus, they do operate Mombasa to Dar es Salaam bus), which took as an hour drive on a well tarmac road to the border, We did cross over to Tanzania side, its from here you get a dirt road till you get to Tanga, where we did make a stop for lunch before proceeding to Dar es Salaam.
Tanga was chosen in 1889 as a military post of German East Africa, and became a district office in 1891. The name Tanga comes from the word for farm or cultivated land in several of the local languages
The coach bus did arrive in Dar es Salaam late evening at around 1920hrs, upon arriving I was directed by one of the taxi driver to the Gold Plaza Hotel where I did spend 2 nights. Dar es Salaam translation: "house of Peace", formerly Mzizima, is the largest city in Tanzania.
On the 11th February 2011, I did meet up with the rest of the team( David Gitau, Simone Kombe and Dominic Bartol who was on a 42 Day Bird Photography safari, which covered both Kenya & Tanzania with BSA) we did depart to Selous via Morogoro road, it’s a 6 hour journey and scenic one, one get to have a view of the Uluguru Mountains. The vegetation of the Uluguru main ridge and the outlying blocks is extremely variable. It ranges from drier lowland coastal forest habitats, to transitional rainforests, to sub-montane, montane and upper montane forest types. We did arrive in Sable Mountain Lodge at around 1830hrs, where we were to spend 4 nights.
The Selous Game Reserve is one of the largest faunal reserves of the world, located in the south of Tanzania. It was named after Englishman Sir Frederick Selous, a famous big game hunter and early conservationist, who died at Beho Beho in this territory in 1917 while fighting against the Germans during World War I. Scottish explorer and cartographer Keith Johnston also died at Beho Beho in 1879 while leading a RSGS expedition to the Great Lakes of Africa with Joseph Thomson. The Selous was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982 due to the diversity of its wildlife and undisturbed nature. Habitats include grassland, typical Acacia savanna, wetlands and extensive Miombo woodlands.
Birding in Selous was delightful because we actually spotted some of unique species such as the Bohms, Swallow tailed Bee-eaters, Pale-billed Hornbill, Dickinson’s Kestrel, Crested Barbet, White headed Chat and Retz Helmet Shrike.
The below is list of species that were seen during the birding trip in Selous Game Reserve.
Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Black-headed Heron, Hamerkorp, Marabou Stork, African Open-billed Stork, Sacred Ibis, Hadada Ibis, Eurasian Honey Buzzard, African White-backed Vulture, Bateleur, African Goshawk, Palm-nut Vulture, Wahlberg's Eagle, Eurasian Hobby, Dickinson's Kestrel, Crested Guineafowl, Helmeted Guineafowl Black-bellied Bustard, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Red-eyed Dove, Ring-necked Dove, Brown-headed Parrot, Purple-crested Turaco, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Red-chested Cuckoo, Yellowbill, White-browed Coucal, African Palm Swift, White-rumped Swift, Woodland Kingfisher, Striped Kingfisher, Eurasian Bee-eater, White-throated Bee-eater, Böhm's Bee-eater, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Eurasian Roller, Lilac-breasted Roller, Broad-billed Roller, Green Wood-hoopoe, Southern Ground Hornbill, Crowned Hornbill, Pale-billed Hornbill, Trumpeter Hornbill, Crested Barbet, Nubian Woodpecker Cardinal Woodpecker, Red-rumped Swallow, Lesser Striped Swallow, Zanzibar Sombre Greenbul, Yellow-bellied Greenbul, Common Bulbul, Rüppell's Robin-Chat, Spotted Flycatcher, Dusky Flycatcher, Pale Flycatcher, Singing Cisticola, Rattling Cisticola, Red-winged Warbler, Grey-backed Camaroptera, Red-faced Crombec, Chin-spot Batis, Retz's Helmet-Shrike, Black-crowned Tchagra, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Tropical Boubou, Black-backed Puffback, Common Drongo, Eurasian Golden Oriole, House Crow, Black-bellied Starling, Greater Blue-eared Starling, Violet-backed Starling, Red-billed Oxpecker, Collared Sunbird, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Variable Sunbird, Golden Palm Weaver, Black-headed Weaver, Dark-backed Weaver, Cardinal Quelea, Yellow Bishop, Green-winged Pytilia, Red-billed Firefinch, Crimson-rumped Waxbill, Common Waxbill, Southern Cordon-bleu, Yellow-fronted Canary, Golden-breasted Bunting
All photos taken by Dominic Bartol http://nicknaturephoto.com/