Best Field Guide for Tanzania

Nov 25th, 2010, 10:46 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 114
Best Field Guide for Tanzania

I am looking for the best compact field guide for a Tanzania safari. I want it to help me easily & quickly identify the mammals, birds, reptiles & trees. I read that Wildlife of East Africa and National Audubon Society Field Guide to African WIldlife are both good. Could anyone who has been to Tanzania with a field guide please give me their input on these or other guides used? Thank you for your assistance!
karn is offline  
Nov 25th, 2010, 10:54 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
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I use the Safari Companion... I was told thats what is used in (some) guide trainings.
It has extensive descriptions of the animals, along with their behaviour. Especially the behavior is valuable information when photographing the animals.
Nikao is offline  
Nov 25th, 2010, 11:53 AM
Join Date: Oct 2007
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The Safari Companion by Estes is excellent- a wonderful book. I don't think it says much about birds or trees, etc.

However Newmans and Roberts are well-known books on birds of southern Africa. I'm not that much of a birder to invest in different books for East Africa, but no doubt there is huge choice similar to those.

Note that Ruaha is at the crossroads of Eastern and Southern Africa, so you will get birds from both eco-systems there.

Collins also publish a compact but wide-ranging "African Wildlife".
mcwomble is offline  
Nov 25th, 2010, 01:07 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
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I have several field guides but frankly, nothing comes close to a small PDA with internet connection. Internet is cheap in Tanzania as well, there are Vodacom programs with unlimited access. And coverage is pretty good. Even without internet, you could still have already downloaded pictures and details for all mammals you may encounter. Not to mention that there are several software applications for birders that besides drawings also include bird calls. And you can't beat the size and weight of a PDA. I usually take pics of birds and reptiles during the drives and at night I identify them in the PC. Sometimes insects too, but those are difficult. I think I don't need identification help for the vast majority of mammals anymore
micmic is offline  
Nov 25th, 2010, 02:35 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Get a copy of "Birds of East Africa", by Stevenson and Fanshawe. If your driver/guide is any good, he'll have one already. You'll want to have one for yourself once you see how amazing the birds are. Jim.
Otis72 is offline  
Nov 25th, 2010, 07:36 PM
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I second Estes Safari Companion.
Then we always carry Tracks and Tracking - rare(r) sightings will be marked there eg bat eared foxes, jenets, af. wild cats, civets etc.. That guide is handy the safari companion is rather bulk.

spassvogel is offline  
Nov 25th, 2010, 09:12 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 642

I have the National Audubon Society Field Guide to African Wildlife which has seen me through 3 safaris so far. Its compact and has good mammal info and a good representation of East African birds.

For home reference I like the books by Chris and Tilde Stuart Field guide to the larger mammals of Africa and Birds of Africa which are both too heavy for me to carry.


Treepol is offline  
Nov 26th, 2010, 11:21 AM
Join Date: Oct 2009
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I really liked having Wildlife of East Africa (Withers and Hosking) on my recent trip to Tanzania. Great color photos, easy to use, compact to carry. Almost everything we saw was in the book.
Cateyes555 is offline  
Nov 26th, 2010, 07:38 PM
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Our guide had the National Audubon Society Field Guide as mentioned by Treepol, and it was wonderful. We bought our own copy at Nairobi Airport, but it's cheaper on Amazon, and can also be bought at Serena gift shops and at the entrance to Ngorongoro Crater reserve. It has two sections with photos of birds and animals in their groups, and then a section with text.
tinydancer is offline  
Nov 27th, 2010, 08:43 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,859
Hi Karn, I used "Wildlife of East Africa" by Martin B. Withers and David Hosking. Its a Princeton Pocket Guide. I ordered all the different guides at Barnes and Noble. When they arrived, I went in and had a look at each one. Then decided on this one. The reason I liked it best are:
- Small size -- 250 pages
- Photos, instead of drawings, making for ease of ID
- Covers mammals, birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians, and a few common tress and flowers all in one book.
- Even includes a "Travelers Guide to Safari Photography"
- Cost $20

I also have copies of Birds of East Africa and the Safari Companion -- but nether are something I would take along.
TC is offline  
Nov 27th, 2010, 11:33 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
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I second TC's suggestion. I also use this guide for all the reasons listed.
ShayTay is offline  
Dec 4th, 2010, 08:25 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 114
Thanks for your input everyone! I ordered the ones you suggested from the local bookstore, so that I can see them first-hand & make a selection. I appreciate you taking your time to help me-thanks again!
karn is offline  

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