Running Time:

118 min

Release Date:

September 2014

Recording Location:

Mount Meru, Arusha National Park, Tanzania

Equatorial Africa - The Forests of Arusha

The bulk of volcanic Mount Meru dominates the Arusha landscape in equatorial East Africa. Looking out from its forested slopes toward the east, its sister volcano, Mt. Kilimanjaro, can be seen on the horizon some 70km distant.

This recording begins in silence under a canopy of tropical forest in the hours before dawn. From far away comes a barely audible murmuring; the huffing of distant colobus monkeys. Like a mexican wave, the sound grows closer, with each successive troupe around the base of the mountain waking the next, until a family of monkeys in the trees overhead begin calling; a wonderful, gruff, barking chorus.

Then it falls silent again. Bush babies call occasionally in the darkness. Soon the dawn birdsong begins, the air becoming filled with the sounds of greenbuls, flycatchers, sunbirds, and groups of colourful turacos which vocalise loudly as they scurry along high branches. Silverey-cheeked hornbills wing overhead, and diurnal cicadas begin buzzing. Birds move around the forest, as do the colobus monkeys, now active and clambering noisily around the treetops.

By late afternoon, other birds are heard, including the dusk singing of an olive thrush. The colobus give their evening chorus and the forest moves imperceptibly into the night.

Andrew comments:

This is an extended recording, nearly two hours in duration. The morning sequence is presented unedited, exactly as it happened.

Our camp at Mt. Meru was in a small forest clearing, a short distance from open areas frequented by large animals. By day, troupes of baboons cavorted and played around our tent. Each night, the parks service provided an armed guard, who slumbered oblivious in our secure kitchen building while we slept in the open. By darkness, our grassy clearing was visited by giraffe, zebra and antelope, and on one occasion we awoke to find a massive buffalo grazing a few metres away. Much of my recording was done in the pitch dark, setting up microphones in the depth of the forest, whilst cautiously scanning for eye-shine from a leopard.

The sounds of colobus monkeys were the highlight - their songs are so gloriously full of life. It was the first time we'd heard them, and we listened spellbound that first afternoon as the forest around us resounded with their voices. Anticipating a morning chorus to counterpoint their afternoon calling, I had the microphones ready the next dawn, and captured the recording presented here.

Audio sample of this album


The Predawn Colobus Monkey Chorus



Arusha Dawn, with Hartlaub's Turacos and Mountain Greenbuls



Morning Birdsong on the Slopes of Mt. Meru



Late Afternoon, and the Colobus Dusk Chorus



Into the Evening


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