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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.
Saturday 15th September —
Saturday 29th September 2018
Leader: Nik Borrow
Group Size Limit: 8
Tour Category: Easy walking for the most part and mostly good accommodations
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, 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.
Birdquest has operated tours to Zambia since 2004.
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 vehicles or minibuses 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
These are provisional prices
Tour Price: £4550, €5370, $5960 Lusaka/Livingstone.
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: £520, €614, $681.
Deposit: £550, €660, $720.
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.
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