“Birdwatching” and “extreme” are not usually two words you’ll find together. But when you're birdwatching in the severely threatened rainforests of Tanzania's Uluguru Mountains, the pastime trades its dull reputation for something more befitting a suspense-filled, high-altitude mission.
Hiding in the dense vegetation of the Uluguru are species that exist literally nowhere else on the planet. A hiker with a sharp eye (and a stiff neck) might spot flashy red-breasted Trogons or clumsy-looking hornbills; but the most elusive prize is the thrill of finding the endemic Uluguru bushshrike in your binoculars.
A critically endangered species, the bushshrike was finally spotted in the Uluguru South Forest Reserve in 2007. Its presence hadn't been recorded in that region since its call was last heard in 1981.
To explore the Uluguru’s rainforests and try your luck at locating one of Africa's rarest birds, arrange a hike with one of the great guides from the Chilunga Cultural Tourism Center in Morogoro; visit their website at www.chilunga.or.tz.
(I am a birdwatching success story: I was fully prepared to spend the whole day rolling my eyes as my friends lost their minds over glimpses of feathers, but after this hike, I'm now the one screaming things like "STOP THE CAR! THAT'S A RED BISHOP!")