|Safari Name||10-Days Birding Safaris|
Itinerary at a glance
|Day1||Aberdare||The Ark Lodge/ Treetops||BB||Trsf + P|
|Day2||Mount Kenya||Serena Mountain Lodge||LDBB||P|
|Day3||Naivasha||Naivasha Country Club/Sopa Lodge/Crescent Camp||LDBB||Boat ride|
|Day4||Masai Mara||Mara Sopa Lodge/Mara Leisure Camp/Sentrim Mara Camp||LDBB||P|
|Day5||Masai Mara||Mara Sopa Lodge/Mara Leisure Camp/Sentrim Mara Camp||LDBB||AP|
|Key: L-Lunch, D-Dinner, BB-Bed and breakfast, LDBB-Lunch, dinner, bed and breakfast, Trsf-Transfer, E-Early morning game drive, A-Morning game drive, P-Afternoon game drive, HDS-Half Day sightseeing, FDS-Full Day Sightseeing.|
Day 1. Arrival, transfer to and birding at Nsobe Game Farm
Your international flight arrives at Ndola Airport. After collecting your luggage, we depart on a short 50 km drive south from the Ndola airport to Nsobe Game Camp.
Nsobe Game Farm offers exciting Miombo specials in stands of mature Miombo woodland as well as some water birds. This area gives the opportunity to familiarize oneself with the Miombo avian fauna. Nsobe traces its origins to the “Cape to Cairo” railway. In 1908 the steam engine track was laid through what would later become Nsobe Game Camp and Miengwe Farm. Cottage 200 (the ruins of which are on the farm) was built, and a man called George Rankin was based there with the task of keeping the trains supplied with water and fuel.
This privately owned woodland game ranch includes some lovely little dams and fish ponds, which attract birds such as Pel’s Fishing Owl and African Fish Eagle, along with waders, ibises and various kingfishers. Wildlife has been re-introduced to this game farm, making it a very special location, and blue duiker is seen rather frequently. The accommodation consists of clean and comfortable chalets.
The bird list here boasts 330+ species, including some exciting specials such as Marabou Stork, Hooded Vulture, African Wood Owl, Crowned Eagle, Ayres’s Hawk-Eagle, Western Osprey, Dickinson’s Kestrel, Red-necked Falcon, Blue Quail, Denham’s Bustard, Coqui Francolin, Temminck’s Courser, African Darter, Long-tailed (Reed)
Cormorant, White-breasted Cormorant, Coppery-tailed Coucal, White-browed Coucal, Black Coucal, Hadada Ibis, Knob-billed Duck, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Blue-spotted Wood Dove, African Green Pigeon, Ross’s Turaco, Schalow’s Turaco, Thick-billed Cuckoo, African Emerald Cuckoo, Anchieta’s Barbet, Baillon’s Crake, Red-chested Flufftail, Purple Swamphen, Allen’s Gallinule, Lesser Moorhen, Common Moorhen, Lesser Jacana, Greater Painted-snipe, Three-banded Plover, Common Greenshank, Ruff, Curlew Sandpiper, Terek Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Little Stint, Whiskered Tern, White-winged Tern, Pale-billed Hornbill, Giant Kingfisher, Miombo Scrub Robin, Cabanis’s Bunting, Miombo Rock Thrush, Chestnut-backed Sparrow-Weaver, Bar-winged Weaver, Grey-olive Greenbul, Red-throated Twinspot, Square-tailed Drongo, Arnot’s Chat, Sooty Chat, Little Rush Warbler, Lesser Swamp Warbler, Chirping Cisticola, Pin-tailed Whydah, and Brown Firefinch. Overnight: Nsobe Game Camp, Ndola
Days 2 – 3. Transfer to and birding in Kasanka National Park
This park quite possibly has the highest number of bird species recorded in Zambia. Accommodations are at Luwombwa Lodge – rustic and comfortable chalets located on the banks of the Luwombwa River in the western half of the park. This beautiful river gently meanders through heavily fringed evergreen forest. This 400 km² park, south of Lake Bangweulu, is situated in Luapula Province in the north-west. Nine permanent natural lakes occur in the park, and it is dissected by a network of rivers and streams. Migrants appear from November to March and the bats in November and December.
With a bird list of over 460 recorded species, and with such varied habitats, Kasanka reveals some of the finest birding in Africa with a host of varied Miombo woodland, mushitu riverine forest, termitaria zones, open grassland, papyrus swamp, and open wetland. The wetland abounds with ibises, rallids, egrets, herons, kingfishers, bee-eaters, cranes, storks, coucals, and, very rarely, the occasional Shoebill. Some of Kasanka specials include Miombo Double-collared Sunbird, Böhm’s Flycatcher , Ross’s and Schalow’s Turacos, African Barred Owlet, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Anchieta’s Sunbird, Marsh Tchagra subspecies anchietae), White-rumped Babbler, African Finfoot, Crowned Eagle, Palm-nut Vulture, Sharp-tailed and Violet-backed Starlings, Square-tailed Drongo, Red-throated and Green Twinspots, Black-fronted Bushshrike, Bocage’s Akalat, Red-capped Robin-Chat, Black and Purple-throated Cuckooshrikes, and four species of Flufftail, just to wet a birder’s appetite. A boat trip along the Luwomwba River, or any other major river in the park, may reveal Half-collared Kingfisher.
The vast wetlands of Kasanka support some species not easily seen elsewhere, such as Rufous-bellied Heron, Lesser Jacana, and African Pygmy Goose. Shoebill was confirmed for the first time in 20 years at the end of 2010 but remains very rare here. Breeding pairs of Wattled Crane and their offspring are often encountered. Other specials include Coppery-tailed Coucal, Fülleborn’s Longclaw, Locust Finch, Pale-crowned, Croaking, and Short-winged Cisticolas, Chestnut-headed and Streaky-breasted Flufftails, Harlequin and Blue Quails, Black-rumped Buttonquail, and Fawn-breasted Waxbill on the wetland fringes and in large dambos. A slow guided walk through the mushitu will reveal that it is host to a wide range of other species, such as the sought-after Narina Trogon, which can often be heard and seen in the small patches of forest close to the pontoon and Fibwe Hide.
A range of other species occur, such as Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Brown-headed Apalis, Black-backed Barbet, Grey Waxbill, Bocage’s Akalat, Dark-backed Weaver, Red-throated Twinspot, Green Twinspot, Red-backed Mannikin, Green-headed Sunbird, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Pallid Honeyguide, Purple-throated Cuckooshrike, Black-throated Wattle-eye, Yellow-throated Leaflove, and Little, Grey-olive, Yellow-bellied, and Cabanis’s Greenbuls.
A variety of Miombo specialist species occur here, many of which are not found outside the sub-region. These include Black-necked and Green-capped Eremomelas, Racket-tailed Roller, Rufous-bellied and Miombo Tits, Grey Penduline Tit, Wood (Woodland) and Bushveld Pipits, Spotted Creeper, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Hyliota, Red-capped Crombec, Cabanis’s Bunting, Reichard’s and Black-eared Seedeaters, Miombo Scrub Robin, Miombo Rock Thrush, Thick-billed Cuckoo, Anchieta’s Sunbird, and Anchieta’s, Whyte’s, and Miombo Pied Barbets.
In addition to the large and more visible game and wildlife, Kasanka is home to an incredible variety of insects and other arthropods. The many rivers and marshes host a wide range of frogs and other amphibians. Large crocodiles dwell in the rivers, and huge specimens can be seen along the Kasanka and Luwombwa Rivers. Large Nile monitors occur as well, as does Speke’s hinged tortoise. Common snake species include African rock python, forest cobra, lined Olympic snake, olive marsh snake and herald snake. Three geckos, one agama, five skinks, one worm-lizard and two lizard species are known to occur as well. Overnight: Luwombwa Lodge, KasankaNational Park
Days 4 – 5. Transfer to and birding in Bangweulu Swamp
A flight from Kasanka to Bangweulu takes approximately 30 minutes. This flight gives you an amazing aerial view of Kasanka and the Bangweulu wetland system. Accommodation is at the: Shoebill Island Camp – a rustic but comfortable tented camp with en suite facilities. Bangweulu is situated in the Luapula Province of Zambia, which is one of the world’s greatest wetland systems. The words mean “where the water meets the sky”.
The Bangweulu Swamps, surrounding Lake Bangweulu, extend from the north-west clockwise around to the south. The main part covers an area of roughly 3000km² and is approximately 75km long and 40km wide. It expands when it floods, and by the end of May it reaches its maximum and is fed by numerous rivers, of which the Chambeshi (the source of the Congo River) is the largest.
There are huge wetlands to the south and south-east of the lake, which are more than double the size of the lake itself, consisting of seasonal floodplains, islands, reed beds and shallow lagoons. This vast area of swamps holds an amazing richness of aquatic birdlife, with a bird list of over 390 species. It abounds with common swamp passerines and wetland birds of all types of ducks, geese, storks, ibises, rallids jacanas, spoonbills, herons, egrets, kingfishers, ibises, cranes, pelicans, and often flamingos. As flood waters begin to recede after the end of the rains, large numbers breed in huge colonies. The king of Bangweulu, however, is the otherworldly bizarre, astonishing, and intriguing Shoebill.
Bird specialties here include, in addition to the famous Shoebill, Wattled Crane in great numbers (>1000 est.), African Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, Saddle-billed Stork, and Pink-backed and Great White Pelicans. There are possible sightings of the near endemic Slaty Egret (which can occasionally be numerous). Bangweulu is also thought to be one of Africa’s strongholds for Eurasian Bittern and Long–toed Lapwing, with Spur-winged Lapwing being a vagrant.
Black Egret, Spur-winged Goose, Intermediate (Yellow–billed) Egret, White-backed Duck, Yellow-billed Duck, Hottentot Teal, Collared Pratincole, Ruff, Whiskered Tern, and African Skimmer are all here in large concentrations at various times of the year. This is certainly an extremely important wetland for breeding as well as passage migrants stopping over.
Dry season possibilities include African Snipe and Greater Painted-snipe, Swamp Flycatcher, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, White-rumped Babbler, Marsh Tchagra (subspecies anchietae), Fülleborn’s and Rosy-throated (Rosy-breasted) Longclaws, Dusky Lark, Greater and Lesser Swamp Warblers, Dark-capped Yellow Warbler, Little Rush Warbler, Katanga Masked Weaver, Cuckoo-finch, Chirping, Desert, and Rufous-winged Cisticolas, and Locust Finch. In the woodlands Sharp-tailed Starling mingles with Ross’s and Schalow’s Turacos and Southern Ground Hornbill. On the floodplain Denham’s Bustard is common, and during passage periods they are found alongside large numbers of Abdim’s and White Storks. A wide variety of raptors is also present. In particular, vultures are numerous, and during the rains the three Palearctic Harriers are all regular, with Montagu’s being the most numerous.
All these avian denizens mingle with the vast herds of black lechwe in the floodplain, feasting on the food generated by such large quantities of fertilizer. The innumerable gatherings here of this strikingly beautiful antelope (estimated at over 75 000 during a survey in 2011) make a visit to the Bangweulu floodplain one of the greatest wildlife experiences on earth. The endemic black lechwe – an attractive darker subspecies – can be seen in tens of thousands on the open grass plains. They breed using leks in the rutting season on the verdant green retreating floodplain, and then the females retire deeper into the reed-beds to have their young in safety, leaving large bachelor herds of males.
Other wildlife you can hope to see are the rare sitatunga, which lives in the swamps, tsessebe, reedbuck, oribi, grey duiker, various mongooses, monitor lizard, porcupine, and spot-necked otter. There are also a few elephant that pass through occasionally, African buffalo in large numbers at times (1000’s) and the plains zebra. Predators include mainly Nile crocodile, spotted hyena, serval, and side-striped jackal.
In June and July the waters recede, and black lechwe gather on the floodplain – a great time for game viewing, but the nights are cold. Over the next months the area gets increasingly drier, and the wildlife recedes into the heart of the wetlands, far from the camp. This drying-up also makes it very difficult to locate the shoebill. The birds retreat deep into the swamps to areas inaccessible by boat.
David Livingstone was the first European to see Lake Bangweulu as he searched for the source of the Nile. He died in 1873 in Chief Chitambo’s village in the southern floodplain. His heart was buried there and is now marked as one of the Livingstone memorials. His embalmed body was carried back overseas by his two faithful servants, Sussi and Chuma, where it now lies in Westminster Abby.
Days 6 – 7. Transfer to and Birding at Mutinondo Wilderness
We have a 6-hour drive to Mutinondo Wilderness. This is a beautiful location with grand landscapes and sweeping vistas. Its most striking feature are a number of enormous domed granite rocks or inselbergs, which rise majestically out of pure stands of Miombo woodland. These are interspersed with beautiful crystal-clear streams carving through dambos garnished in ferns and orchids. Waterfalls delight in thick mushitu riverine forest, where succulents struggle for light, draped in creepers. The trees drip in Usnea or “Old Mans Beard”, a lichen that creates a fascinating eerie atmosphere as one walks through the woodland.
At the end of the rains in April, the Miombo woodland has a full canopy and the majority of the plants have fruited. The understory has tall grasses interspersed with deep leaf litter. This is the time when seedeaters benefit. There is a hive of activity with termites, and the termitaria vegetation proves very productive. Food becomes scarce, and the birds tend to group together in bird feeding parties, post breeding. Rich bird parties often hold 15 or 20 different species, all moving together through the woodland, feeding. This makes for exciting birding once you locate such feeding parties. Not long after May, wildfires begin to burn through the woodland, often in an uncontrolled fashion. Rainy-season migrants are replaced by dry-season visitors from further south, many of which breed on the ground that has been opened up by fire.
With a bird list of 300 with many Zambezian endemics and near-endemics, we can count on “must see” and interesting birding in the Miombo. This bird list includes Miombo Rock Thrush, Sousa’s Shrike, Common Scimitarbill, Green Wood Hoopoe, African Hoopoe, Miombo Pied Barbet, Green-backed andScaly-fronted Honeyguides, Green-backed, Cardinal, Golden-tailed, and Bennett’s Woodpeckers, Thick-billed Cuckoo, African Broadbill, Striped Pipit, Black and White-bellied Cuckooshrikes, Green-capped Eremomela, Southern and Yellow-bellied Hyliota, Böhm’s Flycatcher, and Chinspot Batis.
Ten species of sunbirds occur here, including Anchieta’s Sunbird, Western Violet-backed Sunbird, and Miombo Double-collared Sunbird (two forms of this species occur here, suggesting they are in fact different species – both nominate around the rocks and pintoi in the Miombo). We could also find White-winged Black, Rufous-bellied, and Miombo Tits, Spotted Creeper, Pale-billed Hornbill, Bearded Scrub Robin, Trilling Cisticola, Stout Cisticola, Fan-tailed Grassbird (Broad-tailed Warbler), three orioles, Marsh Tchagra (subspecies anchietae), Grey-headed Bushshrike, Arnot’s Chat, Violet-backed (Amethyst) Starling, Yellow-throated Petronia, Miombo Pied Barbet, Anchieta’s Barbet, Whyte’s Barbet, Bar-winged Weaver (our Usnea special),Anchieta’s Sunbird, Chestnut-headed (Long-toed) Flufftail (always present but never guaranteed), Bocage’s Akalat, and Reichard’s Seedeater. Around the inselbergs are Freckled Nightjar, Rock-loving Cisticola, Mocking Cliff Chat, and Black Stork. Mushitu specials include Grey-olive Greenbul, Bar-throated Apalis, Bocage’s Akalat, White-tailed Crested Flycatcher, and Green Twinspot.
Along the streams one can find Mountain Wagtail, African Dusky Flycatcher, White-backed Night Heron, African Black Duck, and Half-collared Kingfisher. Watch the migrant Pennant-winged Nightjar’s display in groups over the Miombo canopy from above at sunset. Stunning ! The Muchinga escarpment seems to be an important migration route with large numbers of migrant raptors being recorded
A wide variety of mammals can also be encountered in this area. Good sightings of roan can be achieved. Sharpe’s grysbok, sitatunga, common reedbuck, and klipspringer are resident (the latter, regularly on the inselbergs, needs a trained eye). Sable, occasionally, and Lichtenstein’s hartebeest move through. Bushpig, common warthog, Smith’s red rock hare, chequered elephant shrew, spotted hyena, leopard, and lion have been observed. Over 126 species of butterflies have been recorded to date, and new ones, so far undescribed, are still being discovered.
Days 8 – 9. Transfer to and birding at Shiwa Ng’andu
A magnificent mansion, Shiwa Ng’andu was founded in the early 1900s by Sir Stewart Gore-Brown. It is located close to Impandala, one of the most beautiful of farm houses with dramatic views. Both have an impressive history. This is a beautiful and peaceful haven for birds and has been referred to as a birders’ and writers’ paradise. Other activities here include horseback rides and a visit to an iron-age archaeological site by prior arrangement (both at own cost).
The estate lies at sub-montane levels (altitude 1460 – 1760m), and as a result the climate is relatively cool with high rainfall. The large Shiwa Lake, part of the estate, is a natural water body with fringing reed beds and papyrus swamps. Elsewhere the area is dominated by Miombo of various heights, being especially stunted on the rocky hills. There are numerous broad and very wet dambos, some riparian forest and thickets, and several patches of tall mushitu forest. Some small patches containing Afro-montane forest tree species can also be found.
With such a wide variety of habitats one would expect a wide diversity of avifauna, and this is indeed the case: Shiwa Ng’andu is an important IBA. Over 400 species of birds can be found in and around the beautiful and peaceful Lake Shiwa. Wetland and dambo water birds are well represented with a wide variety of herons, storks and wildfowl. Western Osprey is regular around the lake, Greater Swamp Warbler inhabits the papyrus, and African Finfoot and Half-collaredKingfisher can be found along the streams. The area supports a large amount of Raffia palms and Palm-nut Vulture is frequent. The bird list here includesCoppery-tailed Coucal, Black-rumped Buttonquail, Chestnut-headed Flufftail, Great Snipe, African Grass Owl, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Rosy-throated (Rosy-breasted) Longclaw, Fan-tailed Grassbird (Broad-tailed Warbler), Black-chinned Quailfinch, Stout and Levaillant’s Cisticolas, andSwamp (Natal) Nightjar.
Mushitu specials (close to the main house) are Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Splendid Starling, Black-bellied Seedcracker (difficult), Narina Trogon, Lemon (Cinnamon) Dove, Bocage’s Akalat, Laura’s Woodland Warbler, Evergreen Forest Warbler, Bar-throated Apalis, and White-tailed Crested Flycatcher. Overhead, among a multitude of migrant raptors, keep an eye out for the White-headed Saw-wing. Miombo specials occur throughout the woodland with numerous Ross’s and Schalow’s Turacos and Bar-winged Weaver found in the richer Miombo, the latter at the extreme eastern edge of its range. Dusky Lark breeds here as the Miombo burns, and Mocking Cliff Chat and Rock-loving Cisticola can be observed in the rocky outcrops. Over 22 species of mammal have been recorded here. The typical antelope species can be found, along with big herds of zebra and wildebeest. Large populations of sitatunga still occur naturally, and some large specimens can be seen. Cape clawless otter, blue duiker, and klipspringer are occasionally found, and of course the Nile crocodile is ever-present; some huge animals are often seen taking antelope, sheep, and sometimes cattle, which roam alongside the game.
Kapisha Hot Springs The Kapisha Hot Springs are situated approximately 20 kilometers from Shiwa Ng’andu on the Mansha River, which drains from Lake Shiwa. Here one finds a thick grove of riverine thicket and woodland with a number of interesting birds. Among them there are some good specials, such as Laura’s Woodland Warbler, Bocage’s Akalat, White-tailed Crested Flycatcher, Grey Waxbill, Black-throated Wattle-eye, Yellow-throated Leaflove, and African Thrush. Overnight: Shiwa Ng’andu
Day 10. Day of Departure
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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Blessed with awe-inspiring natural wonders, an abundance of wildlife, huge water bodies and vast open spaces, Zambia offers unforgettable holidays exploring the real Africa. Zambia is regarded as one of the most beautiful, friendly, diverse and unspoilt countries on the entire African continent. Aside from the majestic Victoria Falls, Zambia has more natural water resources than any other southern African country, including a myriad of other falls dotted across the country, not to mention the famous Zambezi River. The many National Parks offer great opportunities for observing Africa’s plains game and their attendant predators, whilst bustling urban areas offer a taste of eclectic Zambian culture. Discover the wealth of stunning destinations this friendly country has to offer. Not to be missed are the spectacular views of the magnificent Victoria Falls, followed by a safari.
Zambia’s game reserves provide pristine sanctuary to a wide variety of wildlife, and boast some of the best game viewing opportunities in the world. From the North and South Parks on the hippo and croc-infested Luangwa River, to the wide expanse of the Lower Zambezi, the vast and little-explored Kafue.
As if all the lakes and waterfalls weren’t enough, Zambia is also home to the magnificent Zambezi River as well as the Luangwa and Kafue river systems, offering great fishing opportunities, adventure activities and canoeing safaris. These are some of the most unspoilt and best-protected rivers on the continent and are home to much of Zambia’s wildlife.
Whether it’s the history and sheer size of Lake Tanganyika (the world’s longest lake) that draws you, getting off the beaten track at Lake Mweru, or taking in the secluded beach holiday atmosphere that can be found on the banks of Lake Kariba.
While Victoria Falls, not surprisingly, tends to steal the limelight, Zambia has an array of wonderful waterfalls, cascades, rapids, cataracts and flumes on the many rich waterways that dissect the country.
Blessed with awe-inspiring natural wonders, an abundance of wildlife, huge water bodies and vast open spaces, Zambia offers unforgettable holidays exploring the real Africa. Zambia is regarded as one of the most beautiful, friendly, diverse and unspoilt countries on the entire African continent. Aside from the majestic Victoria Falls, Zambia also has the famous Zambezi River and eclectic Zambian culture. The many National Parks offer great opportunities for observing Africa’s plains game and their attendant predators. Discover the wealth of stunning destinations this friendly country has to offer.