Zimbabwe has a rich and proud history of conservation in Africa and contains some of the most famous African parks, such as Hwange National Park and the vast Mana Pools National Park located in the sprawling Zambezi River Valley. Although perhaps better-known for their incredible array of mammals, and in particular the full spectrum of big game and the Big 5, these parks protect an incredible diversity of bird species and offer truly excellent bird watching. Species such as the charismatic African Skimmer, the boisterous Southern Carmine Bee-eater, the range-restricted Lilian’s Lovebird, and the musical Collared Palm Thrush are only some examples of the vast array of birds that call these areas home.
Another area the country holds proud is the scenic Eastern Highlands, located on the Mozambique border. Stretching from the mighty Nyanga Mountains in the north to the unique Chimanimani Mountains in the south, this area is vast and one of the country’s premier tourism regions. Aside from a scenic break from office work, bird watching is the main drawing card of visitors to the area, as this region supports a number of highly range-restricted and unique bird species, such as Swynnerton’s Robin and Roberts’s Warbler, along with hosting very important breeding areas for the Vulnerable (IUCN) Blue Swallow, among others. The bird watching potential in the Eastern Highlands is high and supported by the diversity of habitats, some of which include stunning miombo ‘Brachystegia’ woodlands, tropical lowland forests, and some of the most pristine montane forest pockets in existence, which are typically surrounded by stunning rolling montane grasslands.
The mighty Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River that stretch across an impressive width of 1,708 meters (5,604 feet) and plummet from a height of 108 meters (354 feet) into a rocky gorge are, however, still the country’s crown jewel, and after the summer rains they are a sight to behold with the ‘smoke that thunders’ (the meaning of the local name, Mosi-oa-Tunya) drowning the falls and the immediate area and giving credence to the name.
Zimbabwe is an easy country to travel in with its vast road network making much of the country accessible and its excellent choice of lodgings catering to all standards. These together with a population fluent in English, a strong tourism industry with a high reputation of friendliness, and the country’s vast number of sought-after bird species make a bird watching tour to the country very enjoyable.