NW Tanzania - Rusumo Falls to Bukoba

I arrived at Rusumo Falls, the Tanzania/Rwanda border at 7am Rwanda time on the 27th and after a not too lengthy process of passport, vehicle documents and changing money, I was on my into uncharted territory - for me anyway. Before I crossed the bridge over the Akagera River I walked halfway first to get a photo of the falls in full tilt after all the rains in the north and had to try and get a good angle without getting the lens wet from the spray. Across the border I entered I entered East Africa time-zone and it became 8am - hour lost grrr!

A stretch of road for 15miles with Copper Sunbird and Yellow-throated Longclaw when I reached a little village where I suspected the turn-off north should be but got no sign saying so. Stopped and chatted to a local, getting my Swahili back into swing and he explained about the road, the alternative route further east and the need for a cop escort on the road I intended to take. He pointed out where the cops were although all I saw was guerilla-like figures with AK47's slung over the shoulder. Apparently they don't wear uniform for this as it attracts more attention than is necessary. Anyway, I set off with my escort into amazing bush country with 2m+ high grass along the road-side and stacks of birds flitting up and dropping down into the realms of invisibility.

After dropping the escort off, north of Kamisi Game Reserve we'd just driven through, there were some more patches and amazing scenery. This is a "good" section of road by the way!

Stopping occasionally, the Tz list got underway with Sooty Chat (extremely common I would eventually realise), Green-winged Pytilia and Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu. The Lilac-breasted Rollers were everywhere with a few female Bateleurs along the way.

Many species were in breeding plumage and displaying including Pin-tailed Whydah and Broad-tailed Paradise Whydah although I was gutted I couldn't get shots of the latter.

Trilling Cisticola kept me busy for awhile with one of its lesser known calls and Plain-backed Pipits abounded along the way, many of them showing a light tawny-orange wash on the flanks. Further species to Kyaka included Common Buttonquail (flushed from the side of the road), Common Scimitarbill, pair of Black-chested Snake-eagles, Arrow-marked & Black-lored Babblers. Rueppell's Long-tailed Starling was all over the shop and competing with Speckled Mousebird for abundancy awards.

At Kyaka I drove a section of road along the Akagera River again, and saw the bridge along the road heading north to the Uganda border - the road I would be taking the next day to meet up with friends coming from the Uganda side.

The road further to Bukoba and Lake Victoria was good tar seal and it was getting late in the afternoon (I had planned an island trip but was already 2hrs late), So not much stopping but did get a pair of Palm-nut Vultures along the way. Massive wetlands along the road and some rocky outcrops promised some good birding for the next few days.


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