|Safari Name||15-Days Eastern Zimbabwe and Central Mozambique Birding Safari|
Day 1. Arrival in Harare, Zimbabwe
Our international flights arrive in Harare, Zimbabwe (usually around midday), and we transfer to a guest house within this city’s suburbs, where we spend two nights. The gardens sometimes host Variable Sunbird, barbets, and other dazzling species. If this is your first trip to Africa, prepare to be swamped with new birds, many of them brightly colored. In the afternoon, time permitting we can head to nearby wetlands such as Monavale and Marlborough vleis. In years of good rainfall these wetlands support some rare crakes and other water-associated birds, but more usually we see a selection of relatively common species such as Yellow-mantled Widowbird and various others. Overnight: Crake Cottage or similar, Harare
Day 2. Birding Harare’s wetlands and woodlands
Today we spend much of the day visiting Miombo woodland sites, where we hope to find African Spotted Creeper, Cinnamon-breasted Tit, Whyte’s Barbet, Miombo Rock Thrush, Miombo Blue-eared Starling, Boulder Chat, and quite a big range of other species. Visits to sites with blooming flowers such as the Botanic Gardens sometimes generate a lot of sunbirds, including Miombo Double-collared Sunbird, White-bellied Sunbird, and with luck Western Violet-backed Sunbird or Copper Sunbird.Overnight: Crake Cottage or similar, Harare
Day 3. Transfer to Aberfoyle Lodge, woodland birding en route
Today we plan to leave early and embark on a half-day drive to the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe near the border with Mozambique, followed by a two-hour drive down a long winding road to the low altitude Honde Valley, which is contiguous with the Mozambican coastal plain. We have a lot of distance to cover today, but en route we’ll be sure to spend some time birding around Gosho Park, just east of Marondera, for any miombo birds we might have missed near Harare.
Eventually we reach our lodge for the night, where feeders attract some strikingly beautiful birds such as Red-throated Twinspot and Red-faced Crimsonwing. Nearby riverine forests are home to Pallid Honeyguide, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, White-eared Barbet, Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon, African Broadbill, Square-tailed Drongo, and as always a lot of others. Ayres’s Hawk Eagle is often seen in the area. A small colony of Scarce Swift can be accessed nearby, but this usually requires a walk of a kilometer or two (depending on the condition of the track above the lodge). Keeping an eye skywards might also generate this bird, along with Mottled Swift and a number of other swifts and swallows. Lesser Seedcracker is the most sought-after bird here in the Honde Valley, and while we’ll allocate a good amount of time looking for it, this remains one of the toughest trip birds and it’s certainly easy to miss.
This, the Honde Valley, is a scenic area, with huge tea estates punctuated by some villages, subsistence farmland, and small patches of attractive riverine forest. The Mutarazi Falls can be seen in the distance as they plummet an impressive 762 meters down from the Nyanga Highlands towering above this fertile valley. Overnight: Aberfoyle Lodge, Honde Valley
Day 4. Aberfoyle Lodge to Nyanga National Park
After spending the morning birding the Honde Valley (continuing to look for the species mentioned for the previous day), we ascend to the mountains above Aberfoyle. These mountains, which reach 2,600 meters, are protected within the splendid Nyanga National Park. This park is one of the few places within the species’ range where Blue Swallow is still common. If enough rain has fallen, drainage lines can support the mega-elusive Striped Flufftail. Here we also hope to get a head start on some forest birds, to take pressure off when we bird the Bvumba. And, as always, there are tons of more widespread species to look for, such as Cape Grassbird. A colony of Mottled Swift can be seen from our hotel. There is, of course, always a chance of finding something really tricky, such as a “Mackinder’s” Eagle Owl (a distinct subspecies of Cape Eagle Owl ). Overnight: Pine Tree Inn, Nyanga area
Day 5. Birding Nyanga National Park and the Bvumba Highlands
After birding during the morning at Nyanga National Park, we head via Mutare to the Bvumba highlands, a couple of hours to the south. We will spend three nights here, birding around Mutare and in the evergreen forests of the Bvumba Highlands. Overnight: Seldomseen Cottages, Bvumba Highlands
Days 6 – 7. Birding the Bvumba Highlands area
These forests are phenomenally productive for some of the region’s star specials, including the likes of Swynnerton’s Robin, Orange Ground Thrush, Chirinda Apalis, Roberts’s Warbler, Barratt’s Warbler (what a skulker!), White-tailed Crested Flycatcher, Stripe-cheeked Greenbul, Livingstone’s Turaco, Buff-spotted Flufftail (widespread but relatively easy to actually get visuals on here – although still needing a very large amount of luck!), and many others. Sometimes Gurney’s Sugarbird can be found here, away from its main population in South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. We can also look for any temperate forest or Miombo woodland birds we may have missed previously. The Miombo woodlands of this particular area are very good for Cabanis’s Bunting, Miombo Tit, Miombo Double-collared Sunbird, and many others. Overnight: Seldomseen Cottages, Bvumba Highlands
Day 8. Bvumba Highlands to M’Phingwe Camp, Mozambique
In the early morning we will be birding around Seldomseen. We depart after breakfast for Mozambique, entering Mozambique through the Forbes Border Post, Mutare. Then we travel via Chimoio and Inchope to M’Phingwe Camp near Caia. This is the Zambezi Delta area, which is another absolute treasure-chest for special birds – including a whole new suite of species we won’t yet have seen. While we spend a lot of time traveling today, we are still likely to add several new birds to our growing list. Overnight: M’Phingwe Camp, Catapu.
Days 9 – 10. Birding M’Phingwe Camp and surrounds
Two days are spent birding in woodlands and lowland forests, among them the renowned Coutada 12. We spend a lot of our time birding along a track that gives access to some pristine lowland forest, which is where the bulk of the special birds we’re after are found. These include African Pitta, Lowland Tiny Greenbul, Mangrove Kingfisher (in this area away from mangroves), East Coast Akalat, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo and other cuckoos, three helmetshrike species including Chestnut-fronted Helmetshrike (all three sometimes mixing in the same flock!), Plain-backed Sunbird, White-chested Alethe, Southern Banded Snake Eagle, and more. Finding all these specials, many of them real skulkers, takes time. So, we have two full days here, searching for the birds mentioned above. We can also visit the bridge over the Zambezi River at Caia for a completely different habitat, which is sure to augment our bird list a fair amount. Overnight: M’Phingwe Camp, Catapu.
Day 11. M’Phingwe Camp to Gorongosa National Park
After early morning birding around Caia we travel via Gorongosa town to our rustic but well-positioned “lodge”, Gorongosa Aventuras camp at the entrance to Gorongosa National Park. After our arrival we may have time for some afternoon birding in the expansive grounds of Gorongosa Aventuras. Overnight: Gorongosa Aventuras
Day 12. Mount Gorongosa and birding the Gorongosa area
Today we embark on a real adventure, driving part-way and walking the rest of the way up the slopes of Mount Gorongosa. This is an isolated massif rising majestically from the otherwise flat Mozambican coastal plain. The mountainside contains some evergreen forest, which hosts Green-headed Oriole (an endemic subspecies), Pallid Honeyguide, and a lot of other good birds. En route to this forest patch we hope to stop in the scrub for a host of exciting possibilities, which include the likes of Marsh Tchagra, Blue Quail, Moustached Grass Warbler, Magpie Mannikin, Lesser Seedcracker (if we missed it at Aberfoyle), and Pale Batis. We return to camp around lunchtime. The rest of the day is spent birding in Miombo woodland around Gorongosa Aventuras. A night drive can, with a little luck, generate three Nightjar species, Fiery-necked, Square-tailed, and the miraculous Pennant-winged, and other night birds. Overnight: Gorongosa Aventuras
Day 13. Birding the Gorongosa area
We spend the day around the lodge, where several species lurk that are tough to find anywhere. These include Red-winged Warbler, Speckle-throated Woodpecker, Pel’s Fishing Owl with luck (in some years we find roost sites), Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, and various Cuckoos, including the scarceThick-billed.
Overnight: Gorongosa Aventuras
Day 14. Gorongosa to Beira
Early morning departure for Beira. We arrive mid morning and spend the rest of the day birding wetlands and grasslands around Beira. Rufous-bellied Heron, African Marsh Harrier, and various other birds are usually present in good numbers. Locust Finch, Blue Quail, Short-tailed Pipit, Cuckoo-finch, Eurasian Bittern, Senegal Lapwing, and others are typically less predictable, and their presence depends on various factors such as the amount of water around. The declining Great Snipe is occasionally seen.
Overnight: Hotel in or near Beira
Day 15. Birding Beira, Departure
For part of the morning we bird around Rio Savane and Beira. Then we head to the Beira airport for our international flights home. Hopefully we will have cleaned up on all the specials (whether localized, or whether more widespread but easier to find here than elsewhere, such as African Pitta). We certainly will have birded a very rich variety of habitats from the mountains to the steaming lowlands, so we have a very good bird-list by the end of the trip.
Activities/services included in the cost:
• Arrival and departure airport transfer. • Accommodation as per the itinerary.
• Accommodation in the National Parks is based on Full Board
• Road transportation in custom made safari vehicles.
• Exclusive private vehicle and driver-guide throughout the safari
• Game dives as per the itinerary
• Park and game reserve entrance fees
• English Driver guides available for the safari
• Our 24hours support throughout the safari
Activities/services excluded in the cost:
• All International Flights/local Flights + Taxes
• Visa fees, Travel & Personal accident insurance
• Excursions, services and activities not mentioned in this program
• Flying option available for certain safaris at an extra cost
• Personal expenses e.g. laundry, telephone calls, Drinks, Tips etc
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Mozambique beckons with its coastline and swaying palms, its traditions, its cultures, its vibe and –most of all – its opportunities for adventure. This enigmatic southeast African country is well off most travelers’ maps, but it has much to offer those who venture here: long, dune-fringed beaches, turquoise waters abounding in shoals of colourful fish, well-preserved corals, remote archipelagos in the north, pounding surf in the south and graceful dhows with billowing sails. Most safaris to Mozambique incorporate a bush experience, visiting the untamed Transfrontier Peace Park and/or the Maputo Elephant Reserve. You also get to experience Mozambique’s rich culture and colonial past in the towns and cities visited during safaris, as well as the exotic cuisine and abundant fresh seafood of this beautiful country.
Add to this colonial-style architecture, pulsating nightlife, an endlessly fascinating cultural mix and vast tracks of bush populated with elephants, lions and birds galore. Discovering these attractions is not always easy, but it is unfailingly rewarding. Bring along some patience, a tolerance for long bus rides and a sense of adventure, and jump in for the journey of a lifetime.
Mozambique stretches for 1,535 mi (2,470 km) along Africa’s southeast coast. Tanzania is to the north; Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe to the west; and South Africa and Swaziland to the south. The country is generally a low-lying plateau broken up by 25 sizable rivers that flow into the Indian Ocean. The largest is the Zambezi, which provides access to central Africa
Mozambique’s Tourist Attractions
This enigmatic southeast African country has much to offer those who venture here: long, dune-fringed beaches, turquoise waters abounding in shoals of colourful fish, well-preserved corals, remote archipelagos in the north, pounding surf in the south and graceful dhows with billowing sails. Mozambique is broken up by 25 sizable rivers that flow into the Indian Ocean. The largest is the Zambezi, which provides access to central Africa
Mozambique beckons with its coastline and swaying palms, its traditions, its cultures, its vibe and – most of all – its opportunities for adventure. Most safaris to Mozambique incorporate a bush experience, visiting the untamed Transfrontier Peace Park and/or the Maputo Elephant Reserve. The country is generally a low-lying plateau broken up by 25 sizable rivers that flow into the Indian Ocean. The largest is the Zambezi, which provides access to central Africa