Zimbabwe Birding Safari


Zimbabwe Birding Safari

With a birding list of more than 670 species and some of the most beautiful birding areas in Southern Africa, Zimbabwe is a wonderful birding destination. The main birding attraction is the Eastern Highlands consisting of the Nyanga Highlands, Honde Valley and Vumba Highlands and is home to some of the most south after specials in Southern Africa. Birding habitats in this country varies from Miombo Woodland, Montane Grassland, Forest, Riverine Woodland, Wetlands and Savannah. A birding trip to Zimbabwe can easily be combined with a Zambia, Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique. 

Variable Sunbird

Harare: Miombo and Wetlands: 2 nights

We will start with two days of birding in and around the capital city which offers excellent wetland, Miombo and is home to wonderful garden birds. We will visit Monavale and Marlborough Vleis (wetlands) which is excellent if it rained recently when we hope to find Black Coucal, Streaky-breasted Flufftail, Yellow-mantled, Red-collared and White-winged Widowbird, Yellow Bishop, Cuckoo Finch, Orange-bellied Waxbill, Pale-crowned Cisticola, Spotted, Striped and Bailon’s Crakes. Grass and Marsh Owls are also possible. Variable, Copper, Miombo Double-collared, White-bellied and Scarlet-chested Sunbirds can all be seen in the garden and Miombo Woodland.
The Miombo Woodland areas around Harare is excellent for the Miombo specialists including Miombo Tit, Cinnamon-breasted Tit (probably later in the trip), Miombo Rock-thrush, Cabanis’s Bunting, Boulder Chat, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Red-faced Crombec, Miombo Blue-eared Starling, Spotted Creeper, Southern Hyliota, Tree and Wood Pipit, Whyte’s Barbet, Black-eared Seedeater and Green-capped Eremomela.

Bronzy Sunbird

Nyanga Highlands: 1 night

From here we will make our way to the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe with the montane grasslands of Nyanga our first destination. We should arrive by lunchtime depending on how much road-side birding we did and have the afternoon and following morning to explore this very scenic areas which also offers some spectacular waterfalls and views. The main birding attractions here include the endangered Blue Swallow, Eastern Saw-wing, Scarce Swift, Mottled Swift, Cape Grassbird, Singing Cisticola, Bronzy Sunbird, Long-crested Eagle and Augur Buzzard.

Red-winged Warbler

Honde Valley: 2 nights

Our next destination is the Honde Valley which offers excellent marsh and forest birding. The lodge gardens and golf course is home to Palm-nut Vulture, Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon, Red-throated Twinspot, African Wood-owl and even Red-faced Crimsonwing. We will spend a good deal of time in the beautiful forests looking for Chirinda Apalis, Barratt’s Warbler, Square-tailed Drongo, African Broadbill, Red-faced Crimsonwing, Black-throated Wattle-eye, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Pallid Honeyguide, Black-fronted Bushshrike, Pale Batis, Blue-spotted Wood-dove, White-eared Barbet and Dark-backed Weaver.
We will also visit the Wamba Marsh and other interesting areas looking for Marsh Tchagra, Green-backed Woodpecker, Lesser Seedcracker, Red-chested Flufftail, Magpie Mannikin, Black-winged Red Bishop, Red-winged Warbler, Moustached Grass-warbler, Grey Waxbill, Short-winged Cisticola and Red-faced Cisticola. Interesting raptors we might come across include Lizzard Buzzard, Eleonora’s Falcon, Amur Falcon, Black Sparrow-hawk, Steppe Eagle, Tawny Eagle and Wahlberg’s Eagle.

Swynnerton's Robin

Vumba Highlands: 3 nights

Our last destination in the Eastern Highlands will be the stunning Vumba Highland forests where we will spend 3 nights. Some of our main target birds here in include Swynnerton’s Robin, White-starred Robin, Orange Ground-thrush, African Olive Pigeon, Cape Batis, Robert’s Warbler, Stripe-cheeked Greenbul, White-tailed Crested Flycatcher, Olive Sunbird, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Zambezi Indigobird, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Buff-spotted Flufftail, Olive Thrush, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, Lemon Dove, Tambourine Dove, African Yellow White-eye and Livingstone’s Turaco to name a few. 

Swainson's Spurfowl

Mozambique: 4/5 nights

After leaving the Vumba highlands we will cross the border at Mutare into Mozambique for 4 or 5 days of excellent birding (time we spend here depends on your wish list). We will visit the woodlands around M’phingwe Camp and the Zambezi Delta for specials like African Pitta, White-chested Alethe, East Coast Akalat, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Lesser Seedcracker, Tiny Greenbul, Chestnut-fronted Helmet-shrike, Mangrove Kingfisher, Plain-backed Sunbird and Southern Banded Snake-eagle to mention a few of the specials.
We will also visit the famous Mount Gorongosa home to the much localised Green-headed Oriole and also spend time birding around Beira where our trip will end and your international flight home will depart from here.

Bradfield's Hornbill

Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park and Matopos: Alternative pre or post trip

Another great alternative for a pre or post trip would be the beautiful north-western part of Zimbabwe where we will visit the mighty Victoria Falls, one of the 7 natural wonders of the world, which also offers excellent birding for birds like Schalow’s Turaco, African Skimmer, Rock Pratincole, Pel’s Fishing-owl, White-backed Night-heron, Racket-tailed Roller, Green-backed Honeybird and Coppery-tailed Coucal to name a few but the list of new species is impressive.
We will also visit Hwange which offers a different suit of birding with specials like Bradfield’s Hornbill, Yellow-billed Oxpecker and some of the species normally associated with areas further west in Botswana like Crimson-breasted Shrike. Hwange also offers wonderful game viewing as a great distraction to the birding and is home to lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog, elephant, buffalo, hippo and giraffe to mention some of the bigger mammals. En route we will visit the Great Zimbabwe Ruins and spend time in Matopos National Park with its impressive granite rocky outcrops and home to a very impressive range of raptors including Verreaux’s Eagle and other regional specials like Boulder Chat.

Victoria Falls

The birding possibilities and itinerary options are endless so we can use this itinerary as a guideline and create your perfect birding safari. Just let us know what you are looking for or type of safari and we will do our best to make it happen. See you in Zimbabwe!

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