Birding Pal Tours of Zambia with Leslie Reynolds
Birding Pal Tours Fixed Dates Group Rates
MAY 15th to 22nd 2015
4 openings for Pals
4 Pax USD 1,955.00 pp
SHOEBILL, ZAMBIAN BARBET & PEL’S FISHING OWL
Transfer Lusaka – Mpongwe (with Zambian Barbet diversion). 5-6 Hrs
We leave Lusaka at 0600, heading north. On the way, we stop at the spot for the Zambian Barbet. This diversion should not take more than an hour, before we again continue north.
Our base is a lodge with very nice, spacious bungalows set on the East bank of the Kafue River. We bird around camp, for Little Spotted (Green-backed) Woodpecker, Brown Firefinch, Golden-rumped Tinkerbird, African Thrush, Olive Sunbird, Yellow-throated Leaflove and Grey-olive Greenbul, then take a boat ride on the River, targeting chiefly the Pel’s Fishing Owl. We will also hope to spot the Western Banded Snake-eagle.
Other interest: Various game species are kept on the property including kudu, wildebeest and Lichtenstein’s hartebeest.
"Roseate Spoonbill in for a landing" text
We start early, going south to the extensive Imanda Forest, which offers Bocage’s Akalat, Black-fronted Bush-shrike, Laura’s and Evergreen Forest Warblers, Anchieta’s Tchagra and, if we penetrate deep enough, Lemon Dove. We also bird in transit, particularly on the way back. A sample of sightings for this leg are: Broad-billed Roller, Temminck’s Courser and Black Sparrowhawk
Other interest: Blue Monkeys are frequently seen in the forest; Lake Kashiba is a very pleasant, scenic spot where we will stop for a picnic lunch. It has interesting vegetation with a variety of woodland birds.
Transfer Mpongwe – Kasanka. 4 Hrs
On arrival at Kasanka, we check in at the main centre, where we will be staying in their attractive chalets, and bird Lake Wasa for Rufous-bellied Heron, Pygmy Goose and Lesser Jacana. In the evening we drive out to the Fibwe hide, built 18m high in a mahogany tree on the edge of the Fibwe forest, for a sampling of species from the forest and from Kapabi Swamp, the vast wetland which the hide overlooks. Greater Swamp Warbler, Anchieta’s Tchagra, Ross’s Turaco and Olive Woodpecker are possible from here.
Other interest: the Fibwe Hide is also one of the best places in Africa to see the Sitatunga, a large, secretive swamp-dwelling antelope.
Transfer Kasanka – Bangweulu 5 Hrs
The 150 km to the Bangweulu Swamps takes us through woodland, wetlands, streams and villages. In the first 70 km or so there is some good miombo, and we may encounter some interesting species. The Anchieta’s/ Red and Blue Sunbird, for example, can be found in this stretch. The next 70 km runs through the colourful Chiundaponde settlement – prepare to be greeted by the entire population under 18. Finally the country begins to open out a bit, and then suddenly we are on the plains, completely flat in all directions. Usually, we take a boat for the last kilometre into camp, but this depends on water levels. In any case, the trip is very scenic. After arriving at camp, we will spend the rest of the evening birding around camp on foot. We will be staying in tented chalets.
Other Interest: the Bangweulu supports thousands of fishermen who camp for long periods in the swamps. Our trip offers an insight into their unique way of life.
We have breakfast at 0630, and after this, begin the Shoebill Safari. Again, the method depends on conditions and on where the Shoebill is being sighted but this normally involves entering the swamp in banana boats and, hopefully, seeing the Shoebill from the boats. However, we may need to walk over potentially muddy ground, so best to be prepared (if it’s dry, we may also start the search in a vehicle). The search will hopefully be over within 4 hours, but we could be out much longer. Staff at the camp will have a good idea and I will be in communication with them before the trip, so will know what to expect.
After the Shoebill Safari we will take a drive out onto the floodplains and into the termitaria zone for some general birding and sight-seeing. The area has large raptor and vulture populations and we’ll hope to see Martial Eagle, Blackbreasted and Brown Snake-eagles, Lanner Falcon, Lappet-faced, Hooded and Whiteheaded Vultures. Temminck’s Courser may show itself and we have a reasonable chance at Denham’s Bustard. The Bangweulu also has its own Lechwe species (the Black Lechwe) and its own Tsessebe: the Bangweulu Tsessebe. Both species can be seen in herds ranging from tens and hundreds to many thousands.
Other Interest: There are a great variety of reptiles and amphibians in the swamps which may put in an appearance at any point.
Unless there is merit in a second Shoebill Safari, we will spend this day boating among the pools improving on our photos and mopping up any of the obvious wetland specials we might have missed. In the afternoon, we can do the same for the floodplains and woodlands/ termitaria.
Transfer Bangweulu – Mkushi 9 Hrs
We start early on the drive from the Bangweulu to Mkushi, 250km North of Lusaka. There is reasonable woodland birding here, and we will also be looking for a very special mammal-viewing experience: the Lord Derby’s Anomalure. We will aim to get in by 17hr30.
Transfer Mkushi – Lusaka 4 Hrs
We will aim to leave Mkushi by 07hr30, and to be in Lusaka by 11hr30.
4 Pax USD 1,955.00 pp
Pick up and drop off at Lusaka, hotel, transportation, lodging, meals and park entrance fees.
Gratuities, alcoholic beverages, items of personal nature, airport departure tax, or international airfare.
If food is not specified, it is not included in the trip price.
Due to currency fluctuations and fuel cost we reserve the right to adjust any pricing prior to departure.
A 50% deposit is required upon booking a trip. Balance due minimum 30 days prior to departure.
The above birding itineraries are based on what are essentially popular routes for birders. It can be shortened or extended.
All trips are available year round, but prices may be adjusted around special holidays.
Contact us for details
To check availability for tours on short notice, fill out “Request for Quote” form with desirable dates.
Fitness - Easy to moderate hiking is require. For birders with moderate limitations we are able to make a special itinerary. Either way, birders will have a fantastic opportunity to views an impressive number of bird species, and the experience will be an enjoyable one.
Clothing - Dress for hot and humid tropical weather and be prepare for rain. Light clothing is recommended: cotton shirts and t-shirts (earth colors preferable), long and short pants, poncho, hiking shoes, an extra pair or sandals, hat, insect repellent and sun block.
Gear - Binoculars, scope, field guide, notebook and camera.
For more details please contact Leslie Reynolds
"I had a fantastic day - a great number of birds, at times seemingly all at once. Leslie ran a very smooth operation - very well paced and excellent explanations about the birds and their habits. He has an excellent ear and tracked many species. A lovely lunch spot and lunch broke the day well."
Jill Haynes, UK
Electronic map of Zambia
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