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Zambia: African Pitta & Endemics

Search for the incredible African Pitta, as well as Black-cheeked Lovebird, Chaplin's Barbet, Grimwood’s Longclaw, Bar-winged Weaver, Black-necked Eremomela, and many miombo specialities! Our Zambia itinerary, crossing from the remote north-western plains down to the mighty Victoria Falls, is designed to complement the two standard circuits of Angola and Malawi.

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Price: $

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Leaders:

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Single Room Supplement: $

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Group Size Limit:

7

Deposit: $

TBD

Add a Title

Price: $

TBD

Leaders:

Add a Title

Single Room Supplement: $

TBD

Group Size Limit:

Deposit: $

TBD

Accommodation:

All comfortable lodges.

Walking difficulty:

Easy throughout.

Tour cost includes:

All accommodation, main meals, drinking water, internal flights, overland transport, tips to local drivers and guides, travel permits, entrance fees, and guide fees.

Tour cost excludes:

Flights before and after the tour start/end, visa, travel insurance, tips to tour leaders, laundry, drinks, and other items of a personal nature.

Day 1: The tour starts this morning at Lusaka International Airport (LUN). From there, we take a domestic flight towards Solwezi and then drive towards our accommodation for the night. Afternoon birding around the lodge, searching for Dusky Indigobird, Black-faced Canary, Bocage’s Akalat, Grey-olive Greenbul, Green-backed Honeybird, and Black-backed Barbet, among others. Night at Mutanda Nature Lodge.


Day 2: Morning birding around the lodge, then drive westwards to Mwinilunga (6 hours), making a few stops to try for the rare near-endemic Bamboo Warbler at some suitable riverine thickets. This is an intriguing species, the only resident Locustella in Sub-Saharan Africa! Keeping an eye out for Red-throated Cliff Swallow on the way, we should arrive this afternoon in time for a first session of birding around our pleasant accommodation at Kalwelwa Bush Camp.


Days 3-4: Two full days birding around Kalwelwa, one of the wilder areas of the country (and located next to Angola and DR Congo), in search of near-endemic Grimwood’s Longclaw, Bar-winged Weaver, and Black-necked Eremomela, as well as Spotted Thrush-Babbler. Other specialties of the area include Angolan Lark, Short-tailed Pipit, Rosy-throated Longclaw, Dambo Cisticola, Fülleborn’s Longclaw, Hartlaub’s Marsh Widowbird (in beautiful breeding plumage!), Sooty Chat, Spot-breasted Ibis, Shining-blue & White-bellied Kingfishers, Compact Weaver, Black-rumped Buttonquail, Black-collared Bulbul, Margaret’s Batis, Grey-winged Robin-Chat, Laura’s Woodland Warbler, Bates’s and Bannerman’s Sunbirds, Western Miombo Sunbird, and the attractive Locust Finch. We also have an excellent chance to see Vermiculated Fishing Owl, recently discovered to be in this area with stakeouts now well-known by our local guides. Nights at Kalwelwa Bush Camp.


Day 5: After a few hours of final birding in the morning, we will drive back east (6 hours). There will be a second chance this afternoon to search for Bamboo Warbler, if needed. Night at Mutanda Nature Lodge.


Day 6: All day driving towards Lusaka (9 hours), making some short stops on the way that should produce Chestnut-backed Sparrow-Weaver, as well as some other miombo species. Night at Fringilla Lodge.


Day 7: Another day of travelling, driving towards Livingstone (8 hours). There is lots of ground to cover in Zambia! Finally, we will reach the very pleasant Nkazi Camp, a riverside lodge west of town on the northern bank of the mighty Zambezi River. Night at Nkazi Camp.


Day 8: In the morning, we will explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Victoria Falls, a magnificent and scenic location (despite the reduced water at this time of year!). We may see Brown Firefinch and Copper Sunbird, among others, before we return to our lodge for birding on the grounds and an afternoon river cruise on the Zambezi. This could produce Slaty Egret, African Finfoot, Rock Pratincole, Schalow’s Turaco, Coppery-tailed Coucal, Swamp Boubou, Southern Brown-throated Weaver, Collared Palm Thrush, and the eastern form of Meves’s Starling. Overnight at Nkazi Camp.


Day 9: Today, we will drive to Bilili Hotsprings for the Zambian endemic Black-cheeked Lovebird. We will spend most of the day birding in this area, where we can find a nice range of open woodland species, including Dickinson’s Kestrel, Southern Ground Hornbill, Meyer’s Parrot, Burnt-necked Eremomela, Magpie Shrike, African Cuckoo, and a small chance of the unpredictable Dusky Lark. Night at Nkazi Camp.


Day 10: After some final morning birding, we will drive east to Choma (3 hours) for a two-night stay at Nkanga Conservation Area. Usually, there are Arnot’s Chat and “Miombo” Blue-eared Starlings hanging around the rooms! We will begin our exploration of the area after lunch. Night at Masuku Lodge.


Day 11: Our time around the Nkanga Conservation area will initially be focused on finding another Zambian endemic: the fig-loving Chaplin’s Barbet. This area also holds some excellent miombo woodland, where we can find specialties like Racket-tailed Roller, Miombo Pied Barbet, Miombo Tit, Stierling’s Wren-Warbler, Southern Hyliota, African Spotted Creeper, Wood Pipit, Red-capped Crombec, and Cabanis’s Bunting. Other species might include Bennett’s Woodpecker, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Green-capped Eremomela, Purple-banded Sunbird, and Red-throated Twinspot. Some spotlighting here will give us a real chance at seeing Aardvark, along with Marsh Owl. Night at Masuku Lodge.


Day 12: Final morning birding at Nkanga, then drive east to Zambezi Valley (6 hours). Night at Gwabi.


Days 13-14: We will spend two full days targeting the stunning African Pitta in the Lower Zambezi. It might take some effort, but we expect to have great sightings of this exciting species in full display, performing little bounces off his chosen perch! Other birds here may include Purple-crested Turaco, African Broadbill, Livingstone’s Flycatcher, Red-capped Robin-Chat, Eastern Nicator, and more. Night at Gwabi.


Day 15:  We will have a final full morning of birding in the area before we transfer back to Lusaka International Airport (3 hours), where the tour ends this evening.


NOTE: On this tour, we will use the services of an accredited Zambian ground agent, and an expert local bird guide will also be coming along. We can arrange a day of miombo birding on the outskirts of Lusaka for anyone who wishes to arrive a day early or depart a day late. Specialties here we will likely not see on this tour (but all seen regularly in Angola and Malawi) include Pale-billed Hornbill, Rufous-bellied Tit, Souza’s Shrike, and Miombo Rock Thrush.

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