Welcome to Birdquest

ANGOLA

Birdquest's Angola birding tour features one of those 'off-the-beaten-track' destinations that is gradually becoming better known. Our comprehensive itinerary has the potential to turn up every one of the Angolan endemics. Road conditions in the country have greatly improved in recent years (indeed one can say that many of the roads have been transformed), making travel here much easier than in the past, but comfortable safari-style camping is still the best option for birders who want to see the country's many specialities.

Saturday 7th September — Wednesday 25th September 2019
(19 days)


Leader: a Birdquest leader

Group Size Limit: 9

Tour Category: Easy to moderate walking for the most part and simple but comfortable camping

The stunning White-headed Robin-Chat is one of the star attractions of our Angola itinerary  (Nik Borrow)

The stunning White-headed Robin-Chat is one of the star attractions of our Angola itinerary (Nik Borrow)

Not so very long ago, one of the African countries that seemed set to continue to be a veritable ‘no go’ area for travellers was Angola. Torn apart by civil war since its independence from Portugal in 1975, a peace accord was finally reached in 1992, although fighting continued up until 2002 when a final cease-fire was announced after the death of the insurgent leader Jonas Savimbi.

For birders, the current stability of the country means that a wealth of mouth-watering African specialities is now once more within reach. Our visit is timed at the end of the dry season, just before the hotter and wetter months begin. Angola has some of the least known and most interesting endemic birds in Africa, but the infrastructure of the country is now rapidly recovering from the long civil war and hotel accommodation is available in all areas on our itinerary. Our itinerary is an ideal one both for finding the key specialities of the country and to keep the relative amount of time spent travelling within reasonable bounds (as Angolan roads are still very variable in quality, although rapidly improving thanks to all that oil money).

The tour begins in Lubango and the spectacularly beautiful escarpment at Tundavala, where we should find the endemic Angola Cave Chat to be common. We will also be looking here for Ludwig’s Double-collared Sunbird and the elusive Cinderella Waxbill. If we are lucky we may find the recently rediscovered Swierstra’s Francolin. A day’s drive into the deserts towards the town of Namibe will give us a completely different set of birds and here we should see Benguela Long-billed and Stark’s Larks as well as many other species more typical of neighbouring Namibia.

Heading inland and northwards we shall make our way to Mount Moco where we shall explore the ever-shrinking forest patches on the heights of this isolated montane refuge and its surrounds and in particular hoping to find the unassuming Angola Slaty Flycatcher, Margaret’s Batis and the localized Bocage’s Sunbird. Additional specialities include Black-and-rufous Swallow and Bocage’s Weaver.

We shall then head northwestwards to the Gabela area. In and around the farmbush and remaining intact patches of semi-deciduous forests on the scarps, the endemic Gabela Bush-Shrike, Red-crested Turaco, Bubbling Cisticola and Hartert’s Camaroptera and the near-endemic Monteiro’s Bush-Shrike and Red-backed Mousebird should be easy to find. More diligent searching, however, will be needed to find the endemic Gabela Akalat and Pulitzer’s Longbill.

Continuing our journey northwards near the impressive Calandula Falls we will search for the striking and the highly localized endemic White-headed Robin-Chat and the restricted-range Brazza’s Martin before continuing to the northern scarp forests in search of the endemic Braun’s Bush-Shrike.

Finally we shall visit thev Muxima area and Quiçama (or Kissama) National Park, which contains extensive mangrove forest, flood plains, raffia palm-covered islands and lowland riverine forest, as well as dry baobab-euphorbia woodland. Here we shall hope to find the endemic Grey-striped Francolin, White-fronted Wattle-eye and Gabela Helmet Shrike, and other specialties such as Pale Olive Greenbul, Rufous-tailed Palm Thrush, Angola Batis and Golden-backed Bishop.

Birdquest has operated tours to Angola since 2005.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels range from good to simple but reasonably comfortable. Some bathrooms are shared. Roads range from excellent to bad. We will be travelling in 4x4 vehicles.

Walking: The walking effort is mostly easy to moderate, but there will be at least one optional longer, harder walk at Mount Moco.

Climate: Most days will be warm or hot. There is likely to be some rain and this could be heavy at times.

Bird Photography: Opportunities are worthwhile.

Important: Obtaining a visa for Angola is not a simple matter for some nationalities. Requirements differ widely and Angolan embassies are few and far between. If you are not a British passport holder, we will need you to ascertain, from the appropriate Angolan embassy, what documentation you will need us to supply to you to support your visa application, and whether it is practicable for you to pay visits in person to an Angolan embassy if these are required by the embassy, prior to us confirming your booking. If, unlike British applicants for whom a scanned copy is fine, you will need a letter of invitation that bears original official stamps from the Angolan foreign ministry, as well as other original documentation from Angola, kindly note that this can be both costly and time-consuming to obtain owing to the considerable time and effort that will be spent by our local 'fixer', the high Angolan government processing fees involved and the courier charges.

Prices are provisional

Tour Price: £5190, €6130, $6800 Lubango/Luanda.

Price includes all transportation, all accommodations, all meals, bottled water, some drinks, all excursions, all entrance fees, all tips for local drivers/guides and for accommodations/restaurants, leader services.

Single Room Supplement: £270, €322, $354.

Note that twin-bedded rooms are not available during most of this tour.

Deposit: £650, €800, $850.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency can arrange your air travel in connection with the tour from a departure point anywhere in the world, or you may arrange your own air travel if you prefer. We can tailor-make your itinerary to your personal requirements, so if you would like to travel in advance of the tour (and spend a night in an hotel so you will feel fresh when the tour starts), or return later than the end of the tour, or make a side trip to some other destination, or travel business class rather than economy, we will be happy to assist. Please contact us about your air travel requirements.

Rufous-tailed Palm Thrush is an Angolan near-endemic  (Nik Borrow)

Rufous-tailed Palm Thrush is an Angolan near-endemic (Nik Borrow)

Miombo Scrub-Robin is another restricted-range species  (Nik Borrow)

Miombo Scrub-Robin is another restricted-range species (Nik Borrow)

Fülleborn's Longclaw is as strikingly-plumaged as a meadowlark in the Americas and, together with the other longclaws, thought to represent a case of convergent evolution  (Nik Borrow)

Fülleborn's Longclaw is as strikingly-plumaged as a meadowlark in the Americas and, together with the other longclaws, thought to represent a case of convergent evolution (Nik Borrow)

The little-known Angola Cave Chat is one of the country's more unusual near-endemics  (Nik Borrow)

The little-known Angola Cave Chat is one of the country's more unusual near-endemics (Nik Borrow)

Benguela Long-billed Lark inhabits the arid coastal zone of Angola, washed by the cold waters of the Benguela Current and in effect a continuation of Namibia's Skeleton Coast. (Nik Borrow)

Benguela Long-billed Lark inhabits the arid coastal zone of Angola, washed by the cold waters of the Benguela Current and in effect a continuation of Namibia's Skeleton Coast. (Nik Borrow)

Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOL Certificate

Birdquest Ltd is Registered in England, Company No. 01568270. The address of our registered office is Two Jays, Kemple End, Stonyhurst, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 9QY

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