Zimbabwe is an avian paradise for birding enthusiasts and avid birdwatchers from across the globe. Large numbers of notables, specialty and range-restricted species, the rare and near-endemics make the country a must-visit destination for birders whether novice or professional.
Zimbabwe is a highly productive birding destination for birding enthusiasts and avid birdwatchers, whether professional or novice. With over 700 species of birdlife, most are easily accessible on foot, by vehicle or boat. Among them are the rare, the specialty birds, the endangered, notables as well as the near-endemics – that is, species marginally indigenous only to the Southern African region (although many are centred in Zimbabwe).
While the country has no true endemics, it remains famous for its regular sightings of one of the most wanted of birds, the African Pitta. The impressive avian biodiversity and the unique nature of the Zimbabwean landscape makes for an interesting birding experience in the region.
Best Time for Bird-watching
For the avid birdwatcher, the wet season from October to March or April is the best time for bird-watching. This is the perfect time as all species are in full breeding plumage and most migratory birds will be present. The dry and cooler months of May to August offer the keen spotter an opportunity to focus on local species with the professional assistance of highly experienced local Bird Guides.
Key Birding Areas
As a popular avian destination, the country has key major birding areas and each with its own bird population. They are divided as follows:
- Zambezi Valley which includes Kariba is a wildife, fishing and birding hotspot.
- Eastern Highlands and Montane
- Matabeleland which encompasses Hwange National Park with over 420 species of birds including rich wildlife; Matobo National Park rich in diverse birdlife, flora and fauna as well as endangered wildlife; Chizarira National Park, Victoria Falls and Kazungula.
- South east Lowveld and Gonarezhou National Park, an untamed wilderness.
- Central Plateau which comprises of Mashonaland (plateau) and Masvingo’s Kyle Recreational Park among others.
Even though hardly mentioned by the country’s tourism industry or those promoting it, Zimbabwe has Birding Safaris that offer eco-friendly birding tours. Although customized, these tend to be small, intimate and tailor-made for small groups. The tours are led by knowledgeable, highly-skilled local Bird Guides professionals who are also among the most respected in the world because of their training. The tours offer birding enthusiasts an opportunity to observe and photograph different types of bird species, reptiles and mammals.
Whether you are a birding enthusiast, a professional birder or simply a budding novice of the art, there is no better birding destination than Zimbabwe.
Ready to explore? Unleash the Wanderlust in you! Explore, experience and discover Birding in Zimbabwe.