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ZAMBIA SPECIALITIES

with Zimbabwe Highlands extension

Birdquest's Zambia Specialities birding tour features a large African country that is still largely unknown to the birdwatching fraternity. Our Zambia Specialities tour focuses on the endemics and other specialities of this large country that cannot be seen on any other bird tour. There is also a short optional extension to the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe, home to some very special birds.

Sunday 30th September — Wednesday 10th October 2018
(11 days)


Southern Zambia Extension: Wednesday 10th October — Sunday 14th October (5 days)

Zimbabwe Highlands Extension: Monday 15th October — Thursday 18th October (4 days)

Leader: Nik Borrow

Group Size Limit: 7

Tour Category: Easy walking for the most part and mostly good accommodations

The stunning Miombo Rock Thrush is a retiring species that occurs at low density through the vast swathes of miombo that cover much of Zambia(Nik Borrow)

The stunning Miombo Rock Thrush is a retiring species that occurs at low density through the vast swathes of miombo that cover much of Zambia(Nik Borrow)

Deep in the interior of Central Africa lies Zambia, a huge, stable and friendly country that straddles the ‘Spine of Africa’, its barely perceptible watershed separating the vast basins of the Zambezi and the Congo.

Although well known for its prolific big game and spectacular scenery, Zambia has a bird species list of over 750 that includes many exciting birds, including a range of endemics and other localized specialities that are impossible or extremely difficult to see elsewhere on the continent. Zambia is a key country to visit in order to see some of Africa’s most restricted-range miombo woodland specialities.

Within the borders of this amazing country sprawls a sparsely inhabited landscape. This exciting trip will take us to some of the most remote regions of the country, taking in open mopane woodlands and dense, dark evergreen ‘mushitus’ (forests), spectacular miombo wilderness, wide floodplains and ‘dambos’ (marshes), the mighty Zambezi and the incredible Victoria Falls.

We will begin our journey at Lusaka and from here we head towards the far northwest of Zambia, breaking our stay at a comfortable lodge where Pel’s Fishing Owls are regularly seen and where a marvellous selection of miombo birds such as Pale-billed Hornbill, Miombo Pied and Black-backed Barbets, Long-tailed Cisticola, Black-necked Eremomela, Böhm’s Flycatcher, Rufous-bellied and Miombo Tits, Chestnut-mantled Sparrow-Weaver, Black-eared Seedeater and even the scarce Shelley’s Sunbird can be found. In a nearby mushitu we will have our first chance for Bocage’s Akalat and Margaret’s Batis, while another good bird here is Luapula Cisticola.

In the Mwinilunga region, a remote area tucked well out of the way in the extreme north-west corner of the country (where we will divide our time between the area around Mwinilunga town and the pleasant Hillwood Farm Estate), lies an area of forest more typical of the huge rainforests of the Congo basin. Here, near the source of the Zambezi, the water-logged dambos and rich, riparian forests known as mushitus hold such special birds as Dickinson’s Kestrel, Black-rumped Buttonquail, Angola Lark, Black-and-rufous Swallow, Red-throated Cliff Swallow, Grimwood’s and Fülleborn’s Longclaws, Short-tailed Pipit, Black-collared Bulbul, Grey-winged Robin-Chat, Bamboo Warbler, Laura’s Woodland Warbler, Dambo Cisticola, Red-capped Crombec, Hartlaub’s Babbler, Bannerman’s and Bates’s Sunbirds, Bocage’s Weaver, Black-chinned Quailfinch, Locust Finch and Black-faced Canary. The miombo woodland harbours further specialities, including Anchieta’s Barbet, the delightful Bar-winged Weaver and Sharp-tailed Starling.

The beautiful Cryptosepalum or mavunda woodlands that lie a little to the south are the type locality of the White-chested Tinkerbird, a species that has never been seen since the original specimen was collected in 1964! Here we shall be hoping to be the first to relocate this mysterious bird, but, more realistically, we shall also be looking for the beautiful Perrin’s Bush-shrike.

Moving on southwards during the optional extension, we shall stay at one of the cattle ranches of the Kafue basin with its large, spreading fig trees that support the striking Chaplin’s Barbet, one of two species endemic to Zambia. Other good birds here include the spectacular Racket-tailed Roller, Stierling’s Barred Warbler, Souza’s Shrike and African Spotted Creeper.

Finally we will explore the area around Livingstone and visit the stupendous Victoria Falls, for here in the southwest can be found the endangered endemic Black-cheeked Lovebird. Needless to say, the Zambezi valley is rich in many other bird species, including African Finfoot, Coppery-tailed Coucal, Chirping Cisticola, and Burchell’s and Meves’s Starlings, so this rewarding tour will end with both a scenic wonder of the planet and some great birding.

During the second optional extension we will visit Zimbabwe, the one-time Southern Rhodesia. Here, there will be an opportunity to visit the beautiful Vumba Highlands of Zimbabwe, home to Swynnerton’s Robin, Chirinda Apalis and Roberts’s Warbler, three near-endemic specialities that are shared only with neighbouring Mozambique, as well as Buff-spotted Flufftail.

Birdquest has operated tours to Zambia since 2004 and to Zimbabwe since 1987.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels, lodges and comfortable safari-style tented camps are of good or medium standard throughout. We will be travelling in 4x4 safari vehicle on a mixture of well-surfaced tarred roads and dirt roads.

Walking: The walking effort is easy almost throughout, only occasionally harder

Climate: The weather is normally hot with a mixture of sunny and overcast conditions at this season. Rain is unlikely, but when it occurs it can be heavy.

Bird Photography: Opportunities are quite good.

Can be taken together with: MALAWI

Tour Price: £3290, €3880, $4310 Lusaka/Lusaka. Single Room Supplement: £300, €354, $393. Deposit: £400, €480, $520.

Southern Zambia Extension: £1390, €1640, $1820 (ending at Livingstone). Single Room Supplement: £160, €189, $210. Deposit: £150, €180, $200.

Zimbabwe Highlands Extension: £1290, €1520, $1690 (ending at Harare). Single Room Supplement: £140, €165, $183.

Deposit: £150, €180, $200.

Includes surface transportation, accommodations, meals, water, entrance fees and tips/gratuities.

Also includes this flight: Lusaka-Harare.

Base prices for this tour are in US Dollars. The exchange rates applied at the time of costing were: £1 = $1.310 and €1 = $1.110.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency will be pleased to arrange your air travel on request, or you may arrange this yourself if you prefer.

Even at their driest the Victoria Falls are nothing less than spectacular (Nik Borrow)

Even at their driest the Victoria Falls are nothing less than spectacular (Nik Borrow)

Pale-billed Hornbill is a miombo specialist (Nik Borrow)

Pale-billed Hornbill is a miombo specialist (Nik Borrow)

We have an excellent chance of encountering the enormous marmalade-coloured Pel’s Fishing Owl near our lodge along the Kafue River (Nik Borrow)

We have an excellent chance of encountering the enormous marmalade-coloured Pel’s Fishing Owl near our lodge along the Kafue River (Nik Borrow)

The retiring Racket-tailed Roller is one of specialities of Nkanga (Nik Borrow)

The retiring Racket-tailed Roller is one of specialities of Nkanga (Nik Borrow)

The Black-cheeked Lovebird is endemic to Zambia as the few records outside of the country are thought to refer to escapes or feral birds (Nik Borrow)

The Black-cheeked Lovebird is endemic to Zambia as the few records outside of the country are thought to refer to escapes or feral birds (Nik Borrow)

The striking Chaplin's Barbet is endemic to Zambia and frequents the old Sycamore Figs that grow on the ranches within the Nkanga Conservation Area (Nik Borrow)

The striking Chaplin's Barbet is endemic to Zambia and frequents the old Sycamore Figs that grow on the ranches within the Nkanga Conservation Area (Nik Borrow)

The attractive Fülleborn’s Longclaw should be easy to find as we explore dambos in the northwest of the country (Nik Borrow)

The attractive Fülleborn’s Longclaw should be easy to find as we explore dambos in the northwest of the country (Nik Borrow)

Zambia is surely one of the best countries to get to grips with an array of miombo specialists and this Miombo Scrub Robin is just one of so many (Nik Borrow)

Zambia is surely one of the best countries to get to grips with an array of miombo specialists and this Miombo Scrub Robin is just one of so many (Nik Borrow)

The retiring Böhm's Flycatcher is sparsely distributed throughout the miombo (Nik Borrow)

The retiring Böhm's Flycatcher is sparsely distributed throughout the miombo (Nik Borrow)

The Chestnut-backed Sparrow Weaver is another miombo specialist that we will want to find during this tour (Nik Borrow)

The Chestnut-backed Sparrow Weaver is another miombo specialist that we will want to find during this tour (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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