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ZAMBIA: AFRICAN PITTA SPECIAL

with Zimbabwe Extension

Zambia Birding Tours: This unusual Zambia bird watching holiday’s prime focus is the much-sought-after African Pitta, a very special bird for which there is a short window of opportunity when it arrives back in its south-central African breeding grounds just before the onset of the rainy season, and starts to call. Our ‘Pitta Special’ Zambia birding tour also includes Zambia’s two endemics, Black-cheeked Lovebird and Chaplin’s Barbet, many other great birds and the spectacular Victoria Falls. There is also a short optional Zimbabwe birding tour extension in search of some very special birds in the Vumba Mountains.

Wednesday 5th December — Wednesday 12th December 2018
(8 days)


Zimbabwe Extension: Wednesday 12th December — Sunday 16th December (5 days)

Leader: Nik Borrow

Group Size Limit: 7

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

ZAMBIA: AFRICAN PITTA SPECIAL BIRDING TOUR: OVERVIEW

Of all the wonderful birds of Africa, its two pittas stand out among the most sought-after species on the continent. Quite a lot of birders have seen the Green-breasted Pitta in Kibale Forest in Uganda, but far fewer have ever set eyes on the fabled African Pitta, a species that only becomes ’available’ for a short period around the onset of the southern tropical rainy season and for the rest of the year is effectively off the birding menu! The Zambezi valley in Zambia is currently the best place for seeing this avian gem, and this special Zambia birding tour is focussed on achieving exactly that.

As well as hosting a lot of breeding African Pittas, Zambia has a bird species list of over 750 that includes many exciting birds, including 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 specialities.

Our Zambia birding adventure starts at Lusaka, from where we head southwards, into the Zambezi Valley at the shores of Lake Kariba, where we shall of course be concentrating on the stunning African Pitta, whose breeding season should just be beginning with the onset of the rains.

Moving on southwards, 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 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 (two of which are shared only with neighbouring Mozambique), as well as Buff-spotted Flufftail.

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

ZAMBIA: AFRICAN PITTA SPECIAL BIRDING TOUR: GENERAL INFORMATION

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels and lodges used in Zambia and Zimbabwe are of good standard throughout. We will be travelling in a 4x4 safari vehicle on a mixture of well-surfaced tarred roads and dirt roads. (In Zimbabwe we use a minibus on tarred roads.)

Walking: The walking effort is easy almost throughout our special Zambia and Zimbabwe birding tour, only occasionally harder

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

Bird Photography: Opportunities during our Zambia and Zimbabwe tour are good.

ZAMBIA: AFRICAN PITTA SPECIAL BIRDING TOUR: PRICE INFORTMATION

Tour Price: £2790, €3170, $3650 Lusaka/Livingstone. Single Room Supplement: £315, €359, $413. Deposit: £350, €420, $460.

Zimbabwe Highlands Extension: £1290, €1470, $1690 (ending at Harare). Single Room Supplement: £140, €159, $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 = $1.150.

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)

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)

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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