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Zimbabwe Highlands 2022

Dates : 1 to 12 April 2022

At 390,624 sq km, Zimbabwe is three times as large as England and about half the size of Texas. This land-locked country is a true paradise for birders, with a total of more than 650 species having been recorded. Although there are no endemics in Zimbabwe, the country boasts more than 50 species of birds that do not occur in South Africa.

Many of these “specials” can be found in the focus area of our trip as we have carefully selected those destinations that will afford us the best chance of seeing the targeted species. Most of the miombo woodland birds are resident and birding is usually good throughout the year.

THE DESTINATIONS

Marondera

The town of Marondera lies some 80km south-east of the capital. The area boasts some 380 species and is home to some extremely sought-after Zimbabwean specials.  Although best known for its miombo woodland birds, grassland and water birds are well represented. The combination of high rainfall and warm to hot summers has created ideal conditions for the growth of the miombo woodlands, which are a feature of the Mashonaland Plateau.

Nyanga highlands

The Nyanga area boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in Zimbabwe. Mountains, rivers and gorges, montane grassland and forest, exotic and miombo woodland and man-made dams, all within a wide range of altitudes reaching up to 2500m, make this a most invigorating birding area. The highest waterfall in Zimbabwe, the Mtarazi Falls, is reached via lovely montane forest.

Honde Valley

The Honde Valley, a prime birding destination, is one of the most picturesque areas in Zimbabwe.  It offers a wide range of species difficult to find in other parts of the region. The low-lying valley (850m) is in an area of high rainfall and one of the major tea producing regions of Zimbabwe. Habitats are varied and include montane forest (fast disappearing), riverine forest, marsh, miombo woodland, tea plantations and cultivated lands.

Bvumba highlands

The Bvumba highlands lie approximately 25km above the city of Mutare and offer exciting and varied birding opportunities.  The “Mountains of the Mist” are an apt name for this part of the eastern Highlands. So often the early morning starts with the mist but clears by mid- morning. The area is probably best known as one of the main breeding areas of Swynnerton’s Robin which lives and breeds in small patches of forest. Habitats within this area are varied and include montane grassland, montane forest, miombo woodland and exotic plantations.

BIRDING ATTRACTIONS

Marondera

Lanner Falcon, African Wood-Owl, Marsh Owl, Freckled Nightjar, Shelley’s Francolin, African Golden Oriole, Boulder Chat, Wood Pipit, Miombo Rock-Thrush, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Grey-headed Bush-Shrike, Orange-breasted Bush-Shrike, Spotted Creeper, Green-backed Honeybird, Stierlings’s Wren-Warbler, Green-capped Eremomela, Western Violet-backed Sunbird, Black-eared Seedeater, Streaky-headed Seedeater.

Rosy-throated Longclaw, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Broad-tailed Warbler, Pale-crowned Cisticola, Yellow-mantled Widowbird, Cuckoo Finch, African Qualfinch, Orange-breasted Waxbill.

Nyanga highlands

Scarce Swift, Mottled Swift, Augur Buzzard, Roberts’s Warbler, Chirinda Apalis, Gurney’s Sugarbird, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Bronzy Sunbird.

Honde Valley

Palm-nut Vulture, Marsh Tchagra, Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon,  Pallid Honeyguide, Green-backed Woodpecker, African Broadbill, Blue-spotted Wood-Dove, Moustached Grass-Warbler, Red-winged Warbler, Red-throated Twinspot, Green Twinspot, Singing Cisticola, Short-winged Cisticola, Red-faced Crimsonwing, Black-winged Bishop.

Bvumba (Seldomseen, Bvumba Botanical Gardens, Cecil Kop NR, Mutare)

Ayre’s Hawk-Eagle, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Black-fronted Bush-Shrike, Swynnerton’s Robin, Orange Ground-Thrush, Red-faced Crimsonwing, Chirinda Apalis, Roberts’s Warbler, Stripe-cheeked Greenbul, Bronzy Sunbird, Buff-spotted Flufftail, Variable Sunbird, Orange-winged Pytilia,  Mottled Swift, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Spotted Creeper, Cinnamon-breasted Tit, Miombo Tit, Cabanis’s Bunting, Southern Hyliota, Miombo Rock-Thrush, Whyte’s Barbet.

African Spotted Creeper
African Spotted Creeper

 

The 12-day tour departs from Harare. We travel in an air-conditioned VW Caravelle, 4-wheel drive Microbus or similar vehicle.

Itineraries

Day 1

Date : April 1, 2022

Johannesburg-Harare-Marondera

Mid-morning departure from OR Tambo International, arriving in Harare around lunchtime.
Head for Marondera for some miombo woodland birding.
Overnight at farm guest house, Marondera.

Day 2

Date : April 2, 2022

Marondera

Day spent birding in Gosho Park and Marondera wetlands.
Overnight in Marondera.

Day 3

Date : April 3, 2022

Marondera-Nyanga

Early morning birding on farm.
Depart after breakfast for Nyanga, arriving around lunchtime.
Afternoon spent birding and sightseeing in the magnificent Nyanga highlands.
Overnight at lodge in Nyanga..

Day 4

Date : April 4, 2022

Nyanga

Day spent birding and sightseeing around Nyanga area.
Overnight at lodge in Nyanga.

Day 5

Date : April 5, 2022

Nyanga-Honde Valley

Early morning birding around Nyanga.
Depart after brunch for Honde Valley, arriving mid-afternoon.
Overnight at Aberfoyle Lodge, Honde Valley.

Day 6

Date : April 6, 2022

Honde Valley

Day spent exploring and birding in various habitats in area.
Overnight at Aberfoyle Lodge

Day 7

Date : April 7, 2022

Honde Valley

Day spent exploring and birding in various habitats in area.
Overnight at Aberfoyle Lodge

Day 8

Date : April 8, 2022

Honde Valley-Bvumba area

Early morning in lodge grounds
Depart after breakfast for Bvumba highlands, arriving mid afternoon
Overnight at Seldomseen Cottages, Bvumba

Day 9

Date : April 9, 2022

Bvumba area

Day spent birding around Bvumba and Mutare
Overnight at Seldomseen

Day 10

Date : April 10, 2022

Bvumba

Day spent birding around Bvumba and Mutare
Overnight at Seldomseen

Day 11

Date : April 11, 2022

Bvumba-Harare

Early morning birding around lodge
Depart after brunch for Harare
Overnight at Guest House on outskirts of Harare

Day 12

Date : April 12, 2022

Harare-Johannesburg

Early morning birding in Haka Park, Harare
Depart after breakfast for Harare Airport for flight to Johannesburg
Mid-afternoon arrival in Johannesburg

Includes

Return flights between Johannesburg and Harare.

Ground transport, all meals and accommodation, guiding, specified activities and entrance fees.

Excludes

Alcoholic beverages, gratuities and items of a personal nature.

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