With a birding list of more than 670 species and some of the most beautiful birding areas in Southern Africa, Zimbabwe is a wonderful birding destination. The main birding attraction is the Eastern Highlands consisting of the Nyanga Highlands, Honde Valley and Vumba Highlands and is home to some of the most south after specials in Southern Africa. Birding habitats in this country varies from Miombo Woodland, Montane Grassland, Forest, Riverine Woodland, Wetlands and Savannah. A birding trip to Zimbabwe can easily be combined with a Zambia, Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique
DAY 1 & 2 : Harare: Miombo and Wetlands
We will start with two days of birding in and around the capital city which offers excellent wetland, Miombo and is home to wonderful garden birds. We will visit Monavale and Marlborough Vleis (wetlands) which is excellent after it has rained recently where we hope to find Black Coucal, Streaky-breasted Flufftail, Yellow-mantled, Red-collared and White-winged Widowbird, Yellow Bishop, Cuckoo Finch, Orange-bellied Waxbill, Pale-crowned Cisticola, Spotted, Striped and Bailon’s Crakes. Grass and Marsh Owls are also possible. Variable, Copper, Miombo Double-collared, White-bellied and Scarlet-chested Sunbirds can all be seen in the garden and Miombo Woodland.The Miombo Woodland areas around Harare is excellent for the Miombo specialists including Miombo Tit, Cinnamon-breasted Tit (probably later in the trip), Miombo Rock-thrush, Cabanis’s Bunting, Boulder Chat, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Red-faced Crombec, Miombo Blue-eared Starling, Spotted Creeper, Southern Hyliota, Tree and Wood Pipit, Whyte’s Barbet, Black-eared Seedeater and Green-capped Eremomela.
DAY 3: Nyanga Highlands
From here we will make our way to the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe with the montane grasslands of Nyanga our first destination. We should arrive by lunchtime depending on how much road-side birding we did and have the afternoon and following morning to explore this very scenic area which also offers some spectacular waterfalls and views. The main birding attractions here include the endangered Blue Swallow, Eastern Saw-wing, Scarce Swift, Mottled Swift, Cape Grassbird, Singing Cisticola, Bronzy Sunbird, Long-crested Eagle and Augur Buzzard.
DAY 4 & 5: Honde Valley
Our next destination is the Honde Valley which offers excellent marsh and forest birding. The lodge gardens and golf course is home to Palm-nut Vulture, Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon, Red-throated Twinspot, African Wood-owl and even Red-faced Crimsonwing. We will spend a good deal of time in the beautiful forests looking for Chirinda Apalis, Barratt’s Warbler, Square-tailed Drongo, African Broadbill, Red-faced Crimsonwing, Black-throated Wattle-eye, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Pallid Honeyguide, Black-fronted Bushshrike, Pale Batis, Blue-spotted Wood-dove, White-eared Barbet and Dark-backed Weaver.
We will also visit the Wamba Marsh and other interesting areas looking for Marsh Tchagra, Green-backed Woodpecker, Lesser Seedcracker, Red-chested Flufftail, Magpie Mannikin, Black-winged Red Bishop, Red-winged Warbler, Moustached Grass-warbler, Grey Waxbill, Short-winged Cisticola and Red-faced Cisticola. Interesting raptors we might come across include Lizzard Buzzard, Eleonora’s Falcon, Amur Falcon, Black Sparrow-hawk, Steppe Eagle, Tawny Eagle and Wahlberg’s Eagle.
DAY 6-8: Vumba Highlands
Our last destination in the Eastern Highlands will be the stunning Vumba Highland forests where we will spend 3 nights. Some of our main target birds here in include Swynnerton’s Robin, White-starred Robin, Orange Ground-thrush, African Olive Pigeon, Cape Batis, Robert’s Warbler, Stripe-cheeked Greenbul, White-tailed Crested Flycatcher, Olive Sunbird, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Zambezi Indigobird, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Buff-spotted Flufftail, Olive Thrush, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, Lemon Dove, Tambourine Dove, African Yellow White-eye and Livingstone’s Turaco to name a few.
DAY 9-14: Mozambique Extension
After leaving the Vumba highlands we will cross the border at Mutare into Mozambique for 4 or 5 days of excellent birding (time we spend here depends on your wish list). We will visit the woodlands around M’phingwe Camp and the Zambezi Delta for specials like African Pitta, White-chested Alethe, East Coast Akalat, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Lesser Seedcracker, Tiny Greenbul, Chestnut-fronted Helmet-shrike, Mangrove Kingfisher, Plain-backed Sunbird and Southern Banded Snake-eagle to mention a few of the specials.
We will also visit the famous Mount Gorongosa home to the much localised Green-headed Oriole and also spend time birding around Beira where our trip will end and your international flight home will depart from here.