Working for birds in Africa

Hotspots

Tue, 02/05/2013 - 16:19 -- abc_admin
Stripe_cheeked_Greenbul_Zimbabwe

Stripe-cheeked Greenbul Andropadus milanjensis, Eastern Highlands, Zimbabwe

Image Credit: 
John Caddick, November 2012

The following list has been suggested by Peter Ginn to provide some of the best birding in Zimbabwe.

There is much to see in the Vumba area without having to travel far into Zimbabwe. We received the following information from a correspondent who runs Ndundu Lodge in the Vumba, Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe on 27/01/07 (see the visiting section for further details). For birders travelling in Mozambique, coming to the Vumba is very easy. A 35km drive from the Mozambique border will take you to one of the most beautiful mountains in the region. The area is good for Buff-spotted Flufftail Sarothrura elegans, Stripe-cheeked Greenbul Andropadus milanjensis, Swynnerton's Robin Swynnertonia swynnertoni, Chirinda Apalis Apalis chirindensis and Bronzy Sunbird Nectarinia kilimensis.

Another place which is good for guided birdtours is the Leopard Rock Hotel. They have opened a small game reserve and have a guide who knows the birds and the area quite well. As it is quite a bit lower the birdlife here is different with the possibility of Green-backed (Little Spotted) Woodpecker Campethera cailliautii, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher Trochocercus cyanomelas and Pale (Mozambique) Batis Batis soror. In Mutare itself (the nearest town from Vumba, about 30km distant), there is a perfect place, Cecil Kop, for Miombo specials. A few hours there usually yields all the specials such as Red-faced Crombec Sylvietta whytii, Southern (Mashona) Hyliota Hyliota australis, Spotted Creeper Salpornis spilonotus, Rufous-bellied Tit Parus rufiventris and Cabanis Bunting Emberiza cabanisi.

Haroni- Rusito Valleys & Chirinda Forest Kiledo Lodge but it is probably not accessible at the present time.

Save Conservancy Senuko Lodge

Save-Rundi Confluence area - River Lodges Chilo and Mahenye Lodges

Matopos National Park: the Matopos or Matobo Hills are a fascinating area of granite kopjes and wooded valleys commencing some 35 kilometres south of Bulawayo. The Hills cover an area of about 3,100 km2, of which 440  km2 is National Park. There is a substantial raptor population, with 35 diurnal birds of prey and 9 nocturnal species recorded within the Hills and a good range of other birds with a total of over 300 species.

Hwange National Park is the largest National Park in Zimbabwe, over 14,600 km2 in area, and is one of the country’s main tourist attractions. It has a good network of gravel roads, hides, guided walking trails, night drives, hutted camps, campsites and safari lodges. The Hide is very highly recommended, as is the Hwange Safari Lodge.

Victoria Falls area and gorges - This is a prime tourist destination which has a network of access roads, walking trails, boat trips on the river, and a full range of accommodation from hotels to camping. It has good birding opportunities in the rain forest next to the Falls, along the Zambezi River and the gorges below the Falls.

The Zambezi Valley above the Victoria Falls - Imbabala Camp is very highly recommended for all birders. They have Swamp Nightjar Caprimulgus natalensis plus all the Okavango specials and a number of Zambian birds which only enter Zimbabwe at this point.

Chizarira — we are not sure who is operating there at present so it is worth checking with ZATSO - see Contacts section.

Central Kariba Basin - The Bumi Hills area and Chizarira are both excellent birding areas, but not easy to access unless you are using the local lodges and hotels.

Lower Zambezi Area - Mana Pools. There is wonderful birding at Mana Pools National Park and at various places on the escarpment above the park. Waders can be found along the river which is also a breeding site for African Skimmer Rynchops flavirostris.

Gosho Park Environmental Education Park at Peterhouse, 8 km east of Marondera has an excellent example of climax Brachystegia Woodland with a complete range of the Brachystegia specials.  It is open to all birders for a small visitors fee.

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