Birding Tour Zimbabwe and Mozambique 2018

Duration: 15 days

Zimbabwe and Mozambique combined show the highest diversity on the planet in terms of 30 different avian orders represented. They also share with coastal West Africa and Tanzania and Uganda the second-highest count of different families, only surpassed by northern India. This tour easily yields more than 400 species out of this incredible avian biodiversity. It also leads through varied and extremely beautiful scenery. Combined with excellent infrastructure in Zimbabwe and ever improving conditions in Mozambique, this is a delightful and exciting tour for the avid world birder.

Beginning the tour in Harare on Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland Plateau, we almost immediately start searching for a host of south-central African endemics, largely confined to Miombo woodland and occurring in neither South nor East Africa. Many of these birds have this unique woodland type in their name, such as Miombo Tit, Miombo Rock Thrush, Miombo Double-collared Sunbird, and a lot of others. After a couple of days birding around Harare, we head eastwards to the beautiful mountains straddling the border between Zimbabwe and Mozambique, en route hoping to find the unusual Boulder Chat, a species almost confined to Zimbabwe.

Here in the Eastern Highlands evergreen forests hold some very localized endemics such as Chirinda Apalis and Roberts’s Warbler, as well as several birds that are more easily found here than in other countries, including Swynnerton’s Robin. We also bird mountain grasslands for the vulnerable Blue Swallow, and with luck we might find Striped or Buff-spotted Flufftail, Scarce Swift, and other birds that are fairly widespread but never easy to find.

After a few days in this idyllic mountain paradise, we eventually cross the border into the steaming lowlands of Mozambique and head to the sprawling delta area of the Zambezi, one of Africa’s greatest rivers. Here we hope to find the dazzling African Pitta displaying (we try our best to time the tour right for this). We also hope to find a rich array of other specials, such as East Coast Akalat, White-chested Alethe, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Thick-billed Cuckoo, Lowland Tiny Greenbul, Mangrove Kingfisher, and tons more.

The wide coastal plain is interrupted by Mount Gorongosa, where we stop for three days in search of Green-headed Oriole, Blue Quail (with luck), Pallid Honeyguide (difficult to get visuals on!), Speckle-throated Woodpecker, Pel’s Fishing Owl (if we’re lucky), Red-winged Warbler, and many others.

We end the tour in the port city of Beira. Nearby, at Rio Savane, we hope to find some excellent waterbirds (Rufous-bellied Heron can be surprisingly common here), but the number of waterbirds depends on how much rain has fallen.

All in all, this tour includes some of the richest parts of Zimbabwe and Mozambique for birds, encompassing an amazingly wide range of habitats. Starting the trip in Harare and ending it in Beira means that we can minimize driving time and maximize birding time. Given just 15 days, this is the route to take if you want to find the greatest number of tough and localized birds, along with an extremely respectable total bird list.

This tour can be combined wuth our pre-trip, North-eastern South Africa 2018 or with our Namibia, Okavango, and Victoria Falls 18-day Birding Adventure 2018, which could be preceded by our 16-day Subtropical South Africa Birding Adventure October 2018 and even, preceding that, with our Western Cape South Africa 8-day Birding Adventure October 2018 for a stunning Southern African mega tour.

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