Bagamoyo region, Coastal Tanzania north of Dar es Salaam - 2016

After a tiresome safari, it is always good to relax some days by the sea before returning home. On this particular journey, I booked a lodge at a place called Bomani Beach Bungalows, about 60 km north of Dar es Salaam. This lodge is situated on coastal mainland Tanzania in the outskirts of the city of Bagamoyo. There I got a rustic room with a terrace overlooking a lagoon for about one week in early December. A perfect spot looking for birds and the locals doing their fishing business.

With December and January easily being the warmest months in the region, I preferred to stay in the shadows enjoying the Indian Ocean breeze. In close vicinity to the AC room. I kept my camera with the 200-500mm lens nearby, and occasionally got some photos of birds overflying the lagoon or smaller birds visiting the garden in front of me. Many of the images shown here were taken from this terrace spot. During my stay, I booked a two-hour boat trip in nearby Sadaani National Park. Sadaani National Park was gazetted as recently as in 2005. Sadaani National Park covers 1062 km2, and is located about 130 km north of Dar es Salaam. Not known to be particular rich of wildlife, and far from resembling the in-land parks in terms of wildlife, the coastal vicinity present a different ecosystem. The trip, that cost me about $180 for a two-hour boat ride (yikes!), was probably not worth the dollars. Anyway, the most memorable moment of the trip was when the amateurish "guide" managed to ground the boat on a sandbank. An American, maybe aged 65, offered to help out by jumping into the crocodile-infested river, to help pushing the boat free. His final words were, "I have lived a good life" :) With the help of the clients, the boat was freed. We got so see some hippos, and I got photos of Pied Kingfisher. At the boat ramp area, I managed to get a photo of the Palm-Nut Vulture, the highlight of the trip. Not saying you should not visit this park, although the Americans joining my boat ride claimed to have only seen giraffes during their morning safari game drive. So my advise is to skip this park for mammals, but go there for birds. Although we did not see a lot of birds during the boat ride, Sadaani National Park is supposed to be a good place for birding.

I also went for a half-day dhow trip in the lagoon to look for flamingos. No flamingos were seen, unfortunately, but the white Indian Ocean beaches were well worth the trip. I also managed to see a number of waders and terns from a distance. And got to see the Crab Plover, a new species to me.



Lagoon seen from Bomani Beach Lodge

Birding terrace at the Bomani beach Bungalows


On a in the lagoon

Slowly turning pink, or maybe red?


dhow trip

Indian Ocean

Dhow sailing


Lagoon view from the cabin terrace

Palm-Nut Vulture (Gypohierax angolensis), Wami River, Sadaani National Park. The highlight of the trip to Sadaani NP. Although I also observed this species from my terrace at Bomani, and also on my dhow trip at the same location. Meaning this vulture is rather common on this coastal stretch


Palm-Nut Vulture, appears to be the same individual as the opposite bird, coming back for more catfish


Northern Carmine Bee-Eater (Merops nubicus), Bagamoyo


Northern Carmine Bee-Eater, Bagamoyo

Blue-Cheeked Bee-Eater (Merops persicus), Bagamoyo


Blue-Cheeked Bee-Eater, Bagamoyo

European Bee-Eater (Merops apiaster), Bagamoyo


Brown-Breasted Barbet (Lybius melanopterus), grass

Common Scimitarbill (Rhinopomastus cyanomelas)


Purple-banded Sunbird (Cinnyris bifasciatus)

Flower of the Baobab Tree (Adansonia digitata)


Baobab Tree fruit


Salt production plant in Sadaani National Park


Grey-Headed Kingfisher (Halcyon leucocephala), Bagamoyo


Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis), Wami River, Sadaani National Park

Southern Cordon-Bleu (Uraeginthus angolensis), Bagamoyo


Red-Billed Firefinch (Lagonosticta senegala), Bagamoyo

Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata), Bagamoyo


Dark-Capped/Common Bulbul (Pycnonotus barbatus)

Bronze Mannikin (Lonchura cucullata)


Indian Ocean seabirds, Bagamoyo

Indian Ocean seabirds, terns and waders


Sooty Gull (Ichthyaetus hemprichii), Bagamoyo

Lesser Crested Tern (Thalasseus bengalensis), Bagamoyo


Gull-Billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica), Bagamoyo

Crab Plover (Dromas ardeola), Bagamoyo


Crab Plover, Bagamoyo

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta), Bagamoyo


Little Egret, or more likely Dimorphic Egret, dark morph (Egretta dimorpha), Bagamoyo. Little and Dimorphic Egret is now considered the same species by some experts

Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta), Bagamoyo


Dimorphic Egret (Egretta dimorpha), Wami River, Sadaani National Park

Ring-Necked Dove (Streptopelia capicola), Bagamoyo


Emerald-Spotted Wood-Dove (Turtur chalcospilos), Bagamoyo

Namaqua Dove (Oena capensis), Bagamoyo


Fork-Tailed Drongo (Dicrurus adsimilis fugax), Bagamoyo

Black-Bellied Starling (Lamprotornis corruscus), Bagamoyo


Speckled Mousebird (Colius striatus)

Spectacled Weaver - male (Ploceus ocularis), Bagamoyo


Spectacled Weaver - female (Ploceus ocularis), Bagamoyo

Tropical butterfly


Indian House Crows harassing a Pied Crow. The first species is introduced to the region, and considered a pest species since it decimate local bird wildlife by eating eggs and chicks. The Pied Crow, which is the natural crow in the region, is larger, but still was chased away by the more aggressive House Crows

Here chasing away a Yellow-Billed Kite


African Harrier Hawk, here with a Pied Crow

Local fisherman with dug-out canoe


Another type of boat

Long-Tailed Cormorant (Microcarbo africanus), Wami River, Sadaani National Park

Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus), Wami River, Sadaani National Park

African Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer), Wami River, Sadaani National Park


African Harrier Hawk (Polyboroides typus), Bagamoyo

Scarlet-Chested Sundbird (Cinnyris bifasciatus)


Mouse-Coloured Sunbird (Cyanomitra veroxii)

Hippo (Hippopotamus amphibius), Wami River, Sadaani National Park


Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)

Slender Mongoose (Galerella sanguinea)



Slender Mongoose. Notice those strange horisontal slit pupils

Banded Mongoose (Mungos mungo)


Banded Mongoose on alert


Stranded nudibranch



Mangrove Fiddler crab (Uca sp.), Sadaani NP. Female left, only males have large claw. Six species of fiddler crabs occur in East Africa: Uca annulipes (=Uca occidentalis), Uca gaimardi, Uca inversa, Uca hesperiae, Uca urvillei and Uca tetragonon. Could be Uca tetragonon?

African Open-Billed Stork (Anastomus lamelligerus), Bagamoyo


Woolly-Necked Stork (Ciconia episcopus), Wami River, Sadaani National Park

The Sausage Tree (Kigelia africana) fruit


From the beach at Bomani BB

Zanzibar Bushbaby (Galagoides zanzibaricus udzungwensis), the most common bushbaby in coastal Tanzania


Tropical House Gecko (Hemidactylus mabouia)