Birdman of Arusha
e-mail: [email protected]
A member wrote the following in September 2012.
Martin James SMS +255 -7861-08-086
"Martin has lived, worked and guided 'for birds' around Amani in the East Usambara Mountains for many years. He also knows all the seeable birds of the West Usambaras. His 'ears' are, one might say, outstanding and his eyesight is definitely second to none! Quite simply he is the best guide there is in the mountain forests. Anyone interested in seeing the mountain endemics should take the opportunity to use his high quality and remarkably inexpensive services."
Independent birders can fly from Europe to Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro Airport or Nairobi. Dar can also be reached easily from other major African cities such as Nairobi, Cairo and Johannesburg. Travel from the United States will almost certainly require a change in Europe, say in London or Amsterdam. There is a metalled road with regular and fast bus services which connects Dar to Moshi, Arusha and Nairobi, and from Dar to Tanga and Mombasa. Kilimanjaro airport is situated between Moshi and Arusha. Trips to the northern reserves can be organised in Arusha and to Kilimanjaro in Moshi. Access to the Selous, Uluguru and Udzungwa is easier from Dar and probably best organised from there. There are regular boats between Dar and Zanzibar and to Pemba and there is a local airline which connects Dar, Tanga, Pemba and Zanzibar. Accommodation is available in the major centres ranging upwards to high quality hotels and accommodation in the reserves varies from basic campsites to upmarket safari lodges in some areas such as Ngorongoro and Serengeti.
Safety issues encountered in Tanzania are similar to those in any other African country. Guidebooks, travel companies and the above websites provide much of the advice one needs, but some key points warrant repetition here. (1) be aware of the risk of malaria, seek current advice, sleep in a sealed tent or under a net and take prophylaxis as recommended. (2) always ensure you have sufficient water and some method of purification (even if this comprises a pot and a campfire for boiling). (3) do not under-estimate the danger of being in the sun too long. Ensure you use sun-block and drink plenty of water, and wear a hat. (4) The incidence of Aids is high (5) Ensure that you take a reasonably-equipped first-aid pack with you including a supply of hypodermic needles. In addition, if you are camping on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater or on Mount Kilimanjaro, even though you are on the equator, the nights can be bitterly cold so ensure that you have suitable clothing and sleeping bags. A final point worth mentioning is that you are not allowed to photograph government property so take care when you are using cameras and binoculars.