Impressions of the Tanzania/Zanzibar field trip 2010

In the beginning of the year 2010 the Department of Zoology of the University of Bonn offered an two week excursion to the coral reefs of Zanzibar. As I had never been to Africa before, I applied for this field study in January, but was already late. So, the remaining lots were distributed by a small raffle, where I had bad luck. But later on, I was noticed of a vacant seat, so I decided to get on the trip. Having done so, I thought it would be wise to make this trip a longer journey, as such an opportunity would probably not reoccur soon. Other participants thought the same and also planned for longer stays. Thus, I planned for a five week jouney which framed the actual field trip with visits to Cairo and Northern and Southern Tanzania. In the middle of this journey I joined our excursion group, comprising of 16 participants, including the organizers Prof. Bleckmann und Dr. Schlüssel.
This website intends to provide some of the intense impressions of this journey by posting some of the made photographs. Although the journey was originally planned as a biological field trip focused on reef organisms, the images shown here will cover a much broader range of interests. If you like, you can consider this website as a regular tourist diary with a focus on the diversity of the coral reef eco-system. Certainly, not all of the photographs I've produced can be shown here, so only a subjective selection is presented. Also, do not expect brilliant, high-quality images, as nearly all photographs were created by a quite cheap, but water-tight pocket camera. Such a camera does not weigh too much and can be easily carried to every place, but it is often not suitable for panorama images or high-quality shots. Moreover, I have tried to avoid to post images of people, especially from our field trip group, in order to protect and respect their personal rights. All the images are marked with a copyright notice in order to avoid finding some of my images somewhere else without my explicit consent. I hate to humilate the images this way and I also assume it will not really protect the photographs from abuse, but I hope it indicates what is being meant. Should anybody be in need of a certain unmarked and original photograph (e.g. for wider distribution or publication), please drop a request under the address posted on the Legal Notice & Disclaimer site, otherwise proper referencing and keeping the copyright markings will do the job.

In preparation for the field study, an introductionary seminar was held, where each participant held a talk about a specified topic. I gave a presentation on the topic 'Marine Invertebrates of the Western Indian Ocean' which is available for download at:

At the end of the field course further talks were held, where each of the groups presented the results of their projects. Moreover, brief summaries of the introductionary topics were created. My summary about the invertebrates of the Western Indic, written in German language, can also be downloaded at:

There are many books on animal taxonomy, African wild life, reef ecology and similar topics.
For identification of reef inhabiting species I chiefly made use of two books, which I found very helpful and want to recommend herewith:

Richmond, M.D. (Ed.); A Field Guide to the Seashores of Eastern Africa and the Western Indian Ocean Islands, 2nd Edition, Sida/SAREC, UDSM, 2002

Lieske, Ewald and Myers, Robert; Coral Reef Fishes, Revised Edition, Princeton University Press, 2001

For a convenient navigation to a certain date of the journey, you can use the calendar below:


Sun. 15.08.10, Day 1
- Departure from the Airport Frankfurt a.M. with Egypt Air, destination Cairo
- Arrival in Cairo, check-in to the hostel and afterwards footwalk across El Tahrir square to the river Nile, where I walked down to the bridge of the 6th October, crossed it and walked back to the Kasr als Nile bridge, which leads back to the El Tahrir square. Although it was already around midnight and I had no exact knowledge of the location I felt quite safe, as hundreds of people were on their feet, their bike's and other mobiles along the banks of the nile. Many were offering nuts or other snacks. The overwhelming atmosphere flowed, quite in good accord to the geographical position, in two main waves of Oriental and African streams, dotted by Western influence.

Kasr al Nile Bridge      Nile By Night

Fig. 1: Left: Bridgehead of the Kasr als Nile Bridge with a local guy posing beneath the lion, Right: View on the river nile, illuminated by uncounted lights

Back to the start of the document
Mon. 16.08.10, Day 2
- Today I went on sightseeing tour through Kairo and visited the pyramids of Gizeh with my Egyptian guide Solon. The trip included a quite adventurous camel ride to the pyramids and through the city backyards adjacent to the pyramids.
Later, I learned from another Egyptian, that those guys had totally ripped me off. Nevertheless, it was a funny and interesting trip and while I was on my own, they were at least a crowd of one hundred !!

Pyramids of Giza      Nile Island

Fig. 2: Left: The Pyramids of Giza, as seen from a hill within the surrounding desert. Right: View on one of the green islands of the river Nile, used mainly for farming. In the background the skyline of buildings on the Eastern bank is seen, contrasting the idyllic farm land.

Back to the start of the document
Tue. 17.08.10, Day 3
- Gone on another sightseeing tour of Kairo, visiting the citadel, climbing a mosque's minaret and visiting the coptic church's place.

Saladin's citadel      Al Hassan Mosque

Fig. 3: Left: The mosque of Muhammad Ali, built 1828-1848, within the citadel of Salah ad-Din; Right: The Al Hassan Mosque, completed in 1392, as seen from the Mokattam hill of the citadel

Back to the start of the document
Wed. 18.08.10, Day 4
- Trip to Alexandria by train with the Egyptian railroad. In Alexandria I visited the catacombs and walked, after I had an quite adventurous drive in a kind of mini-taxi stuffed with at least 15 people, the whole half circle of the Eastern harbour to see the Fort and the Library, disappointed that all were closed at the time (afternoon) I arrived.
As all muslims were celebrating Ramadan at that time, I had tried it out myself and had just drunken a small cup coffee in the morning and nothing else the whole day. Then in the evening, after walking nearly half the day under the Alexandrian sun, I felt slightly elevated and exhausted at the same time. My black jeans were spotted with white all down the legs from the sweat's salt and I desperately searched for a shop to get something to drink.

Eastern harbour of Alexandria      Montaza palace

Fig. 4: Left: View from the West on the Eastern port of Alexandria with the new Alexandrian Library visible in the background; Right: The rear of the Al-Haramlik palace, built 1932, within the Al-Montaza royal gardens

Back to the start of the document
Thu. 19.08.10, Day 5
- The last day in Cairo I strolled around and visited the impressive Egyptian Museum, located near the El-Tahrir square

El Tahrir square      Egyptian Museum

Fig. 5: Left: View on the buildings lining the El-Tahrir square; Right: View on the main buidling of the Egyptian Museum

Back to the start of the document
Fri. 20.08.10, Day 6
- Left Cairo in the late evening and arrived in Dar es Salaam in the early morning. Unfortunately, I had lost my travel guide earlier on, so I was left totally ignorant of the local modes of business. So I wasn't aware that the cabs at the airport of Dar es Salaam belong to a privileged class of drivers which charge much too high fares (payable in Dollars) for bringing guests into town and try to rip off their guests on every looming occasion. Thus I paid much to much money for getting to the Ubungo bus terminal ($35), made a bad exchange ($60) and paid a overly expensive fare for the bus transfer to Arusha ($40). Later on I made the same trips for 10000 TSh (~ $6) for the taxi and about 22000 TSh (~$14) for the bus trip. Although it's not my intention to stress the point of travel expenses all too much, anybody visiting Africa for the first time and on a limited budget should be aware that a great part of the daily life is about negotiating prices and discussing conditions of service. Be ensured that you've to pay your chunk for learning the rules. This is part of the culture and also reflect the economic realities of the local people. A lot depends on your budget and your attitude of traveling. You can certainly experience safe, all-inclusive travel packages but this comes at a price (e.g. lodges for $1500 a night) and most probably the money will go into the pockets of established, not to say corrupt, dealers and companies. As a backpacker and out on your own, things are very different and you will have much more hazzle in finding your way. Most of the time you will find yourself paying a foreigner and a safety surplus and there are always people around, luring on a dollar from your purse. But from my experience you should get used to a positive point of view, learn the modes of this 'bazarism' and realize that the money you spend will be distributed much more fairly between a greater and more diversified share of local people and not just a single travel agent and its employees.
Anyhow, I managed to claim a seat in the bus and after a long overland journey, I arrived in Arusha without any incident. In Arusha I got a Taxi, checked in to a small hostel at the rim of the city and had the day done.

Ubungo Bus Terminal      Mount Kilimanjaro

Fig. 6: Left: Impressions from the Ubungo bus terminal, the major traffic hub in Dar es Salaam;
Right: View on the summit of the Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa with a height of 5895 m, as seen from the driving bus.

Back to the start of the document
Sat. 21.08.10, Day 7
- Walked around in the town of Arusha to get a basic orientation and to get accustomed to the local conditions. Furthermore, I organized cash and a Tanzanian cell phone card, which was an little adventure on its own. Arusha is a nice and quite relaxed town with a moderate, montaneous climate, influenced by the magnificent Mount Meru, the 4th highest mountain on the African continent with a height of 4566 m. Mt. Meru is definitely the dominating landmark, as it is seen from almost every spot within the city.

Saw-mill      Mount Meru

Fig. 7: Left: African saw-mill, just opposite to my accomodation; Right: View on the Mount Meru, the 4th highest mountain in Africa with a height of 4566 m, as seen from the streets in Arusha.

Back to the start of the document
Sun. 22.08.10, Day 8
- Visited the Arusha declaration museum and the German boma, a remnant of former colonial ambitions, housing today a small museum of natural history and bearing testimony of the cruelties of their former inhabitants. The German founded Arusha is a history-ladden town, symbolizing peace and freedom by its Uhuru and Tanzania-Uganda war monuments not only for the Tanzanian people, but also be of importance for the supra-regional development of African affairs. As to underline such ambitions, Arusha also houses the UN international criminal tribunal for Rwanda.

UN international criminal tribunal for Rwanda      German boma

Fig. 8: Left: The UN international criminal tribunal for Rwanda.; Right: View on the entrance of the German boma, built in 1901, and housing today a small museum.

Back to the start of the document
Mon. 23.08.10, Day 9
- Climbed the foothills of Mt. Meru. On dusty roads and narrowing trails I ascended the area uphill of Arusha, which is cultivated by various land uses like gardens, coffee plantations with irrigation systems, small timber production or goat herding. This was a very interesting trip as it gave me the first insight to the modes and conditions of African rural living. Although the people, especially the kids, were generally friendly, I also felt sometimes uncomfortable, as most of the people seemed not used to the presence of white foreigners, visiting this area. A sentiment of distrust and disturbance mixed with curiosity was quite sensible. So some of the people I encountered were begging for money, others were anxious of being photographed, and a few were showing explicit anger. Finally, I reached over steep slopes a small, idyllic village already quite high in the hills (~2000 m elevation), which possibly belonged to one of the local tribes of the Wa Meru or the Wa Arusha. Here I returned and started my descend, accompanied by two girls from this village, who were transporting potatoes down to the town. The whole situation was quite strange and sometimes funny, as the girls had an eager watch on me and were trying to keep me going and forcing me by gestures and word of mouth to leave their mountain. As we finally reached the more populated areas downhill, they left me alone.
Since I had arrived in Arusha I was plagued by diarrhoea, probably caused by an EPEC or ETEC bacterial infection. But as I reached back to town from my little climb, the diarrhoea was gone and did not return for the rest of the whole journey.

Uniformed school pupils      Small stool

Traditional saw mill      Female carriers

Mountain trails      View down the hill on Arusha town

Fig. 9: Left top: A group of uniformed pupils; Right top: A small stool in front of a hut
Left middle: A traditional saw mill, operated by 2 men; Right middle: The two female carriers, accompanying me on my way back down the hill
Left bottom: A view on the trails, traversing the hills; Right bottom: A view downhill on the town of Arusha

Back to the start of the document
Tue. 24.08.10, Day 10
- Managed to get on a Safari tour to the Arusha National Park. How I get on this tour is a story on its own, as usually these tours are group operated and single person safaris are not very common. Anyhow, I was stuffed into a group o Italian female tourists and we we're driven to the Arusha National Park in the morning. The Arusha National Park is most famous for its abundance of giraffes; members of the safari "big five game" are rarely observed here, but the park has a fantastic landscape with mountains covered by rain forests, saline lakes, many smooth hills and savanna-like plateaus. From the photographers point of view it turned out that I was technically quite 'under-equipped', as my pocket digital camera was in most cases not capable to capture good images of distant groups of animals or the magnificent landscape. Moreover, I made the sobering experience that this mode of safari does not satisfy my sense of wilderness, as the guides are instructed to chase for good motifs (big game for most of the tourists) and therefore hop much too fast from point to point throughout the park. If I ever have the chance again, I certainly would prefer to visit such parks on foot...

Rain Forest in Arusha National Park      Fig Tree Arch

Group of Giraffes      Swarm of flamingoes

Fig. 10: Left top: Foggy rain forest in the mountains of the Arusha National Park; Right top: Fig Tree Arch formed by a 'strangler fig', possibly a species of the subgenus Urostigma (Banyan) within the Ficus (Fig) genus or a species belonging to the Ficus genus itself
Left bottom: A group of giraffes, zebras and wart-hogs; Right bottom: A flock of flamingoes at Big Momella Lake

Back to the start of the document
Wed. 25.08.10, Day 11
- Travelled back from Arusha to Dar es Salaam via an overland bus. Arrived in Dar I was so tired I just managed to find a hostel, get something to eat and slept in mosquito enriched air until the next day.

Arusha Bus Terminal      Flying salesman

Houses beside a huge baobab tree      Market at a bus stop

Fig. 11: Left top: View on the Arusha bus terminal; Right top: a flying salesman, selling various snacks and little goods to bus passengers
Left bottom: Houses at the roadside beside a huge baobab tree; Right bottom: A spontaneous market for tomatoes and onions at one of the bus stops

Back to the start of the document
Thu. 26.08.10, Day 12
- An elder man, in his very friendliness extremely distinct from the more gang-like behaviour of the usual cab drivers, drove me to the ferry terminal in his VW van. From here I snatched a ticket to Unguja, got on board of one of the ferry vessels and reached, enjoying the refreshing breeze of the Indic, safely Stone Town, the capital city of the Zanzibar archipelago on the main island Unguja, sometimes falsely denominated as Zanzibar. Without pre-booking I found a room in a hostel in Malindi, a part of Stone Town located close to the port.

Ferry Terminal Dar es Salaam      Skyline of Stone Town, Unguja, Zanzibar archipelago

Fig. 12: Left: View on the Dar es Salaam ferry terminal; Right: the 'skyline' of Stone Town

Back to the start of the document
Fri. 27.08.10, Day 13
- Strolled around to get a basic orientation of the town with its amazingly labyrinthic streets and to get accustomed to the hot, humid climate. Stone Town is indeed one of the most interesting towns I've ever visited, suprising the visitor with its narrow streets, the many wooden, artful works of carving, like doors and balconies, its tropic plants and gardens, the oriental flair and the beautiful views on the turquoise waters of the Indic ocean. In the evening I enjoyed the dining in Fordhani gardens with its plentiful offerings of local food.

Artful door framing      Palace

Fish market in Malindi      Fishing boats

Fig. 13: Left top: One of the numerous artful doors and door framings in Stone Town; Right top: The front of the old dispensary
Left bottom: Squids on a fish market in Malindi; Right bottom: Fishing boats moored in Malindi

Back to the start of the document
Sat. 28.08.10, Day 14
- Rented a motorbike today and after purchasing a Zanzibarian driving licence and taking a test drive, I cruised across the island to the Eastern coast. Here I visited the awesome Jambiani beach and the Jozani national park, with its red colobus monkeys and its mangrove stands

Motorbike      Jambiani beach

Mangroves      Red colobus monkey

Fig. 14: Left top: The rented motorbike with which I explored part of the island; Right top: View of the 'paradise': Jambiani beach
Left bottom: Mangroves within the Jozani forest; Right bottom: Red colobus monkey, Procolobus kirkii, in Jozani forest

Back to the start of the document
Sun. 29.08.10, Day 15
- Got on a local dalla-dalla (a kind of mini-van used as an all-purpose taxi for passengers and goods) and drove to Chwaka, where I asked around for someone to ferry me across Chwaka bay. Eventually, a young guy organized a motor and gasoline and together with his colleague, they carried me across the bay onboard of his traditional boat. Really a nice trip ! On the other side of Chwaka bay we stepped off the boat and walked around the tip of the Michamwi peninsula and reached, by wandering on fantastic untouched beaches, the Ras Michamwi resort, where I awaited the arrival of my excursion group the next day.

Chwaka bay      Michamwi beach

Fig. 15: Left top: View on a traditional boat, sailing across Chwaka bay; Right top: The amazing beaches of Ras Michamwi

Back to the start of the document
Mon. 30.08.10, Day 16
- Today the excursion group arrived from Germany and after the usual welcome ceremony and the subsequent organizational chaos we went out for the first snorkeling trip right in front of our resort. Now the 'core' part of the excursion started ! For the next 2 weeks the resort should become our base for various snorkeling trips in the lagoon and other tours, exploring the island of Unguja. Although our group leaders Prof. Bleckmann and Dr. Schüssel are experts in fish neurophysiology and the excursion was meant to have a main focus on reef fish diversity and ecology, I present here mostly images of marine invertebrates, not only because I had covered this topic in the preparational seminar, but also because the images are of much better quality as the inverbrates are easier to photograph due to their sessility or much slower movements. Thus, although I made also a lot of images of fishes, these are in general of a minor quality. Nevertheless, if I look on these images of reef fishes, they exhibit a great diversity and maybe I will present a collection of reef fish images on a separate page...

Culcita schmideliana      Protoreaster lincki

Diadema savignyi      Bohadschia sp.

Fig. 16: Left top: A cushion seastar Culcita schmideliana; Right top: Protoreaster lincki; both seastars belong to the family of Oreasteridae
Left bottom: Diadema savignyi, the Needle Spined Urchin with its very long pointed spines;
Right bottom: A sea cucumber (Holothuroidae), most probably a species of the genus Bohadschia with its defense organs, the cuvierian tubules, thrown out

Back to the start of the document
Tue. 31.08.10, Day 17
- Taken a snorkeling session in the lagoon just in front of the resort. Snorkeling is only possible on low tide, but it turned out that the lagoon reef is in many areas already quite degraded, probably due to overfishing, shell colllecting and touristic activity. Such reef degradation results in a severe disturbance of the ecological balance, diminishing the predators (e.g. the triton horn) of reef degrading species, like sea stars and urchins. The latter proliferate and thrive very well under such conditions and with such growth the corals will be affected even more by the reef degrading appetite of these species. Thus, in the fringing shallow water of the intertidal, but also in several spots within the lagoon, the abundance of urchins, especially of Echinometra mathaei which accumulated in huge numbers, was impressive. This abundance of urchins led also to the first injuries as some were not careful enough as they entered the water... In order to gain some more insight to the reef eco-dynamics our excursion group were divided in smaller project groups. The group I belonged to was targeted at the occurence of Echinometra mathaei, while others focused on the defending behavior of anemonefishes or the behavior of fishes in so-called 'cleaning stations'.

Sunrise      Padina sp.

Platax sp.      Amphiprion akallopisos

Fig. 17: Left top: Sunrise at Ras Michamwi at about 6:30. As Zanzibar is already close to the equator the sun rises at nearly the same time every morning;
Right top: A species of a calcifying brown algae called Padina sp.
Left bottom: A cleaning station with a juvenile batfish Platax sp. and a cleaner wrasse Labroides dimidiatus;
Right bottom: A anemonefish Amphiprion akallopisos within one of its favorite host anemones Heteractis magnifica

Back to the start of the document
Wed. 01.09.10, Day 18
- Snorkeling in front of the resort. Today the underwater sight was worse than the days before, so not many good images were produced. After each snorkeling session the group came together and discussed the made observations and tried to identify as much species as possible from the produced image material. The identification were sometimes not that easy as certain groups, like the Chaetodontidae (Butterflyfishes) showed a high degree of similarity and diversity. For other groups, like the Pomacanthidae (Angelfishes) it was not always clear which are the juvenile stages and which could be identified as adults. For the Angelfishes it turned out that the lagoon reef seems to provide a kind of childhood shelter for them and thus mostly juvenile forms are found, while the adults occurred only at spots of the lagoon reef which had greater water depth.

Diadema setosum      Nardoa variolata

Echinometra variations      Echinometra variations ventral

Fig. 18: Left top: Another reef degrading species: Diadema setosum with its orange to red coloured anus; Right top: Sea star Nardoa variolata, Ophidiasteridae family
Left bottom: Color variations of Echinometra mathaei; Right bottom: The ventral side of the urchins revealing their mouth with the teeth of the Aristotle's lantern

Back to the start of the document
Thu. 02.09.10, Day 19
- Today our group went onto an organized 'spice tour' and a visit to Stone Town. Although I was at first quite skeptic about an organized tourist tour, it was in the end a very interesting trip into the world of tropical gardens and farming practices. In Stone Town we visited the main market, the slave market and the Anglican church.

Breadfruit      Stone Town market

Butcher stand      Slavery Memorial

Fig. 19: Left top: Breadfruit of the tree Artocarpus sp.; Right top: Market booth on Stone Town market
Left bottom: Meat for sale on the Stone Town market; Right bottom: Slavery memorial in front of the Anglican Church in Stone Town

Back to the start of the document
Fri. 03.09.10, Day 20
- Moved to another snorkeling area, about an hour footwalk to the South on the Ras Michamwi peninsula. The patch reef here was in much better shape with large coral banks and much more diversity and abundance of fish species

Dactylosaster cylindricus      Astropyga radiata

Arothron hispidus      The restaurant rock

Fig. 20: Left top: Sea star Dactylosaster ; Right top: Sea urchin Astropyga with its vividly colored interambulacral zones, on top the anal sac is visible
Left bottom: A white spotted pufferfish Arothron hispidus, perfectly camouflaged within the seagrass bed; Right bottom: The little restaurant on top of a shoreline rock near Paje

Back to the start of the document
Sat. 04.09.10, Day 21
- Tour to the Jozani National Park, visiting the Mangroves and the small rain forest jungle of the Jozani forest

Snail      Red colobus

Buttress root      The restaurant rock

Fig. 21: Left top: An Achatina sp. snail. These slugs are eaten in many regions and even exported to Europe or raised in farms; Right top: A female red colobus with its offspring
Left bottom: A typical buttress root of a rain forest tree within Jozani forest; Right bottom: A not yet identified phasmid in the bushes near the Mangroves

Back to the start of the document
Sun. 05.09.10, Day 22
- Day off. Snorkeling session out to the fringing reef about an 1 km outward from our resort. Actually a quite demanding swim....

Lionfish      Sea cucumber

Echinometra mathaei accumulation      Shell

Fig. 22: Left top: A lionfish Pterois miles; Right top: A sea cucumber, probably Actinopyga miliaris
Left bottom: An accumulation of Echinometra mathaei, highlighting the reef degrading power of such a mass occurrence;
Right bottom: Unidentified, empty shell, probably belonging to the family of the Cerithididae

Back to the start of the document
Mon. 06.09.10, Day 23
- Snorkeling session at the Southern site. Meanwhile, a real 'photo hunting' for species of the butterflyfishes Chaetodontidae was taking place between my roommate and me, as we had discovered that this diverse family seems to be present with many species on the reefs we visited. So we were trying to discover and photograph new species on each snorkeling trip. Moreover, today we started with our field work by counting species of Echinometra in two groups with two different schemes of counting (ordered and random). For that purpose one of the gardeners in the resort had build two counting rectangles of about 1x1 m, which were put and moved around on the intertidal ground while we're counting the urchins within. Although the method is quite simple, it produces reliable data which allows for comparison with the data of former publications (e.g. Khamala 1971, McClanahan & Muthiga 1988) and thereby enabled us to discriminate between regular abundance and mass occurrence.

Chiton      Butterflyfish

Surgeonfish      Neddlefish

Fig. 23: Left top: A chiton Acanthopleura gemmata (family Chitonidae, class Polyplacophora);
Right top: A butterflyfish, most probably Chaetodon trifasciatus
Left bottom: A surgeonfish, the commonly occurring Powder-blue Surgeonfish Acanthurus leucosternon (family Acanthuridae);
Right bottom: A needlefish swimming right below the surface, probably the Houndfish, also known as Crocodile needlefish, Tylosurus crocodilus crocodilus

Back to the start of the document
Tue. 07.09.10, Day 24
- Snorkeling session at the Southern site. Today I discovered in a hidden area of the reef the amazing Giant Triton Shell, which is really a huge and magnificent shell...

Didemnum molle      Sulfur damsel

Triton shell      Montipora coral

Ambulacral tube feet of Echinometra      Brittle star

Fig. 24: Left top: Didemnun molle (Ascidacea), the green coloring is due to a symbiosis with the blue alga (Cyanobacteriota) Prochloron;
Right top: A quite common Sulfur Damsel Pomacentrus sulfureus
Left middle: A very rare Giant Triton Shell Charonia tritonis (family Ranellidae), one of the predators of reef degrading echinoderms, like the Acanthoaster planci;
Right middle: An impressing Montipora coral
Left bottom: The spines, pedicellaria and ambulacral tube feet of Echinometra mathaei;
Right bottom: A small brittle star (class Ophiuroidea)

Back to the start of the document
Wed. 08.09.10, Day 25
- Tour to the island of Mnemba in the North-East of the island. The reef in front of Mnemba is a well known hot spot for diving and snorkeling. The island itself is privately owned and not accessible for the ordinary visitor. Thus, we were lucky, finding ourselves quite alone at this place on our arrival. Later on, it was getting busier and loads of divers, swimmers and snorkelers were carried to this really beautiful underwater place.

Scorpionfish      Eggs of a sea slug

Squid      Forcipiger longirostris

Fig. 25: Left top: A scorpionfish from the family of Scorpaenidae, either the Raggy (Scorpaenopsis venosa) or the Tassled Scorpionfish Scorpaenopsis oxycephala;
Right top: Eggs from a sea slug, attached on the substrate in folded ribbons, looking like a kind of strange 'sea-flower'
Left bottom: A Big-fin Reef Squid Sepioteuthis lessonia (order Teuthoidea), separated out of a swarm I was trying to chase for several minutes;
Right bottom: A beautiful Long-nosed Butterflyfish Forcipiger longirostris (family Chaetondontidae)

Back to the start of the document
Thu. 09.09.10, Day 26
- Snorkeling session at the Southern site.

Acanthurus triostegus      Parupeneus bifasciatus

A catch of squids      Zanclus cornutus

Fig. 26: Left top: A Convict Surgeonfish Acanthurus triostegus of the family Acanthuridae;
Right top: A Doublebar Goatfish Parupeneus bifasciatus accompanied by a Goldbar Wrasse Thalassoma hebraicum to the left and a Sulfur damsel Pomacentrus sulfureus to the right; other fishes are around as well
Left bottom: A catch of squids, spread out for sale on the sand of the beach. I purchased two or three of the squids and returned to the resort for a delicate diner...;
Right bottom: Some elegant Moorish Idols (Zanclus cornutus, family Zanclidae)

Back to the start of the document
Fri. 10.09.10, Day 27
- Snorkeling session at the Southern site.

Pipefish      Worm shell

Sea hare      Guineafowl pufferfish

Fig. 27: Left top: A pipefish (family Syngnathidae); Right top: The operculum of a worm shell, possibly Vermetus, inside a coral block
Left bottom: A quite big sea hare on the bottom of the reef, unidentified, possibly belonging to the Aplysia genus; Right bottom: A Guineafowl pufferfish Arothron meleagris

Back to the start of the document
Sat. 11.09.10, Day 28
- Today some of our group went on a dolphin watching tour and they were successful and returned quite elevated from the amazing experience to have met and swum with these beautiful creatures. Those who had decided to stay and miss the tour could maybe termed 'the pessimistic fraction'...Anyway, I took the time and went swimming and snorkeling, but found only some algae mats :-)

Yellow sponge      Algae mat

Fig. 28: Left: A not yet identified, brightly yellow sponge; Right: The phycologist's paradise: A mat of green and brown algae, forming a special micro-environment.

Back to the start of the document
Sun. 12.09.10, Day 29
- Last day of our coral reef excursion. I got out for snorkeling in front of our resort and returned with some new, interesting findings and images, which again underlined the fascination of the coral reef eco-system: This diversity of organisms, animals, plants and microorganisms provide such a plethora of impressions and observations, that you can discover new things every day.

Halimeda sp.      Leiaster coriaceus

Snowflake Moray      Leaf Scorpionfish

Catch      Brown House Snake

Fig. 29: Left top: Green alga Halimeda sp.; Right top: A starfish Leiaster coriaceus (family Ophidiasteridae)
Left middle: A Floral or Snowflake Moray Echidna nebulosa (family Muraenidae);
Right middle: Most probably a toxic Leaf Scorpionfish Taenianotus triacanthus, belonging to the family of scorpionfishes Scorpaenidae. The fish was so well camouflaged that I only recognized it by its red-colored eyes.
Left bottom: A catch of one of the fishermen. They bind their shoes and possessions and their catch to a bundle, which they carry behind them when swimming back to the shore.;
Right bottom: A Common Brown House Snake Lamprophis fuliginosus, found in the evening laying on the wooden planks in front of our room

Back to the start of the document
Mon. 13.09.10, Day 30
- Today our excursion group was splitted to several smaller groups: While the major part left Zanzibar by plane in the early morning, some of us had decided to stay for some longer time on the mainland Tanganyika, so we left Zanzibar by ferry. Arrived at the port of Dar es Salaam, some choose to stay in Dar, while I headed to the Ubungo bus terminal and seated on a bus to Iringa, where I arrived in the early evening. From the Iringa bus terminal I got a cab which brought me to a hotel at the city's border. The cab driver, a young guy called Jack, offered me to call him up if I would be in need of any transportation in the area.

Harbor scene      Nyerre Academy

Uluguru mountains      Ridge of stones

Fig. 30: Left top: Rusty ship hulls at the entrance of the Dar es Salaam harbor; Right top: The building of the Nyerre Academy, as seen from the ferry
Left bottom: A view on the Uluguru mountains from the bypassing bus;
Right bottom: View on a stony ridge from the bypassing bus, these rounded stones are the typical appearance within the highlands of the Iringa area

Back to the start of the document
Tue. 14.09.10, Day 31
- In the morning I called Jack the cab driver and we then took a tour to the Isimila valley and visited the big rock of Gangilonga. Jack explained the pecularities of the city and showed me some of his favourite bars and places within the Iringa city boundaries. Interestingly, although the Isimila valley is a world-renowned place of stone age findings, my guide Jack had never visited the site before, so I invited him to accompany me on the descent to the valley which was additionally guided by a local guard, taking care of the site. While I was really impressed by the fascinating geological formations in this valley, it was even more interesting to observe the amazement of Jack, who was born in the Iringa area and had lived in the region for years, but never had visited the site. So, as we left the valley, he swore to return to this place and bring his family with him. The others from our excursion group were expected to arrive in Iringa in the evening, so I spent the rest of the day with organizing a Safari to the Ruaha National Park.

Isimila Valley      Agame

Stone pillars      Cathredal like formation

Small hut      Bar kitchen

Gangilonga rock      View on Iringa

Fig. 31: Left top: The Isimila Valley, on the left valley rim the guard station houses are visible. At first glance, the valley just looks like an ordinary dry river bed and nothing unusual is apparent.;
Right top: A Ground Agama Agama aculeata perfectly camouflaged and watching like a sentry at the entry of the stone formations
Left upper middle: Typical pillars of the Isimila rocks on top covered with a volcanic lava crust; Right upper middle: Cathedral like rock formation
Left lower middle: A small hut with a little crop field in front, illustrating the real living conditions within the dry climatic conditions of the highlands;
Right lower middle: Kitchen in a bar of Iringa with grills loaded with different kinds of meat
Left bottom: Gangilonga, the 'talking rock', towering over the city of Iringa; Right bottom: View from the Gangilonga over the city of Iringa

Back to the start of the document
Wed. 15.09.10, Day 32
- After reunion with the others, we went on a Safari tour to the Ruaha National Park, Tanzania's 2nd largest park with about 10300 sq. km. We were picked up by our driver and guide Peter in the morning and arrived in the park in the early afternoon. Because of our limited budget we stayed just for one day, which left us two half days of safari cruises. I enjoyed especially the travelling to the park, as we passed through several differing landscapes, ranging from dry, elevated regions with red tinged soils, thorny vegetation and white rocks to lush and fertile valleys with modest cultivation and cattle herding. We drove through little villages with huts of peculiar architecture, all made of natural material found in the surroundings. I would have enjoyed to make frequent halts along the track, but unfortunately, with the exception of a damaged tire, we made no further stops on the way.

African bull      Hippopotamus

Male lion      Female lion

Ruaha riverbed      Leopard

Fig. 32: Left top: A herd of cattle with an impressive bull. Right top: A hippopotamus Hippopotamus amphibius
Left middle: A male lion Panthera leo; Right middle: A female lion
Left bottom: The Ruaha riverbed, nearly fallen dry.; Right bottom: A leopard Panthera pardus hiding in a secure position on a tree.

Back to the start of the document
Thu. 16.09.10, Day 33
- We got out early this morning to make use of the remaining half day for a safari cruise, because we had to leave the park at noon. The Ruaha Park is known for its diversity of bird species, but although we spotted a lot of fascinating birds, like a dwarf falcon or great horn bills, we did not had the right equipment for more intense observations and identification of most of the species. Bird observation in Ruaha is certainly be a task on its own. We got back to Iringa in early evening, after we nearly had lost half the motor block midway on the track, because some screws had turned loose by the vibration of the rubble road. Thus, the Land Rover was running on only three and then only two of its cyclinders as the cyclinder head had left more and more of its well-engineered position. But our driver kept astonishingly calm and after about an hour long repair stop in a desert-like section with a temperature certainly above 40° C, we were able to drive on and safely reached Iringa.

Group of elephants      Young elephant

Dik-Dik antelope      A flowering shrub

Euphorbia flowers      Sunset over Iringa

Fig. 33: Left top: A small herd of elephants.
Right top: A young elephant within that group
Left middle: A Dik-Dik antelope Madoqua sp.;
Right middle: A flowering shrub, in bloom without that any leaves are present. Such mode of flowering was observable on several shrub species along our way.
I'm not sure about it, but I guess this shrub shows a peculiar kind of flowering termed cauliflory, where the flowers insert directly at the stem of the plant
(for a short introduction to cauliflory see The Truth About Cauliflory by W.P. Armstrong).
Left bottom: Flowers of Euphorbia quadrilatera, a species endemic to the Iringa region and identified with the generous help of C. Kunath, formerly owner of a web site about succulent euphorbia;
Right bottom: Sunset over Iringa.

Back to the start of the document
Fri. 17.09.10, Day 34
- While the rest of the group left Iringa and travelled further to the West, heading to the Malawi Lake, I was already close to the end of my journey and had to return to Dar es Salaam. Thus, before noon I got on a bus to Mikumi, a town lying a the feet of the Southern highlands. The bus was very slow, overly crowded and stopped frequently, so it took a long time before we reached Mikumi. Arrived in Mikumi, I realized that I had lost my camera charger, so photographing was very limited from this point on. Anyway, the hotel I found was nice and so I got a meal and a beer, while sitting at the dusty roadside and watching the scenery of the passing by trucks.

Back to the start of the document
Sat. 18.09.10, Day 35
- Today I took a trip to the Udzungwa National Park, a park well recognized for its biodiversity of plants and animals, reflected by its listing as a World Biodiversity Hotspot (see Conservation International Eastern Afromontane biodiversity hotspot) and as one of the 200 WWF Ecoregions of global critical importance. The park has an area of 1990 sq. km and covers part of the Eastern Arc Mountains with elevations up to 2576 m. As the quite adventurous trip to this place had already taken some hours, I just had time for a short hike and so I climbed into the mountains on a trail only few kilometres long, accompanied by two young guides, one of the Heier tribe and the other, his apprentice, from the Kilimanjaro based Chagga tribe. Just a few meters into the park a huge Black Mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis) crossed our trail and vanished into the nearby bushes. I was very excited about this encounter but missed to take a photograph from this amazing snake. My guides were not that excited at all and exhibited the greatest awe towards the snake, well aware of its deadly bite. After that we encountered only rarely signs of animals, with the exception of a huge monitor lizard, climbing up a rocky slope and only visible for a short moment. The climb was quite exhausting as we progressed about a few hundred meters above the Kilombero plains; my guides seemingly enganged in a kind of sport competition... At midpoint we reached a beautiful waterfall, where we paused and talked for about an hour and then started our descend. Back to the valley floor we visited a local hospital, before I entered a bus back to Mikumi.

Tanned hides      Bark

View on the Kilombero plains      Seed

Fig. 34: Left top: Tanned hides on the way to Udzungwa National Park; Right top: Bark of a tree known as crocodile tree
Left bottom: A view on the Kilombero plains, which are a major center of sugarcane agriculture;
Right bottom: Peculiar seed, adapted for flight and attachment at the same time

Back to the start of the document
Sun. 19.09.10, Day 36
- Left Mikumi in the morning by bus, arrived at Dar at noon. In Dar I strolled around and visited a local market.

Market in Dar es Salaam      Butterfly

Fig. 35: Left top: Scenery of a market in the city of Dar es Salaam; Right: Butterfly on the hotel room's balcony

Back to the start of the document
Mon. 20.09.10, Day 37
- Departure Dar'es Salaam
- Arrival Frankfurt a.M., train to Cologne

Back to the start of the document

© tom linder,
Back to the Zoology Area
Legal Notice & Disclaimer
last updated: 07.11.23