Bird Watching Specialist Tour visiting the top spots in Malawi plus relaxation on the shores of Lake Malawi.
Price: USD $3,235 person,Single supplement: Plus USD $750 for a single person booking
Day 1- Lilongwe
Arrive in Malawi and transfer to a comfortable hotel in town. A walk in the nearby Lilongwe Nature Sanctuary for those who are willing and able. Our main target birds will include African Finfoot, White-backed Night Heron, Schalow’s, Half-collared Kingfisher, African Broadbill, Black-throated Wattle-eye, Mountain Wagtail, Giolden Weaver and Pied Mannikin.
Day 2 – Liwonde National Park.
After breakfast we head south, to the escarpment beyod Dedza, then drop down into the hot, steamy Rift valley. We enter Liwonde National Park – a 548 sq. km wilderness of swamps, grasslands and mopane wodlands in the upper Shire River valley. We will be staying at Mvuu Camp, a luxury tented camp set beautifully overlooking the Shire river. An afternoon boat ride on the river should add many waterbirds to the list, possibly including specials like White-backed Night-Heron, White-backed Duck, African Pygmy Goose, Lesser Jacana, White-headed Lapwing, Long-toed Lapwing, Gull-biled Tern, African Skimmer, Black Coucal and Southern Brown-throated Weaver.
Day 3 – Liwonde National Park.
Two days of drives and bush walks should reveal a good diversity of wood and and riverine forest birds. Our main target birds will be Boehm’s Bee-eater, Brown-breasted Barbet, Lilian’s Lovebird and Livingstone’s Flycatcher, with other specials including Bat Hawk, African Cuckoo Falcon, Red-necked Falcon, Dickinson’s Kestrel, Red-necked Spurfowl, Yellowbill [Green Coucal ], African Barred Owlet, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Mottled Spinetail, Eastern Nicator, Collared Palm Thrush, Meve’s Long-tailed Starling and Broad-tailed Paradise-Whydah. Among these will be more typical woodland species such as Brown-headed Parrot, Purple-crested Turaco, Green-capped Eremomela, Pale Flycatcher, Southern Black Flycatcher, Black-crowned Tchagra, Tropical Boubou, Grey-headed Bush Shrike and White Helmetshrike.
Day 4: Thyolo
We will spend much of these days walking in the forest. Thyolo mountain [1462 m] is the most prominent feature of the Shire Highlands. The mountain extends north and south in long ridges, dropping sharply to the Shire River in the west, and undulating gently down to the Thuchila and Ruo Rivers in the east. Isolated pockets of a once-extensive forest mosaic remain, but are becoming increasingly threatened by illegal felling. We will be staying in the delightful, well positioned colonial houses of a big tea estate. A number of highly range-restricted species occur here and our targets will include Green Barbet, near-endemic Thyolo Alethe and White-winged Apalis. Other montane forest specials could include Green-headed Oriole, Spotted Ground Thrush, Esatern Bronze-naped Pigeon, Moustached Green Tinkerbird, Cabanis’ Greenbul, Grey-olive Greenbul, Evergreen Forest Warbler, Black-headed Apalis, Black-throated Wattle-eye, Bar-tailed Trogon, White-eared Barbet, Bertrand’s Weaver, Green-backed Twinspot and African Citril.
Day 5 – Lengwe National Park.
A drive down into the Lower Shire offers splendid views of the vast plains below. Lengwe National Park is an 887 sq km wilderness of dense thickets and mixed open woodland. A wide variety of typical woodland species occur here and the list should grow considerably. Apart from Lengwe’s special birds [see tomorrow], a good variety of more widespread species should include [Western Banded Snake Eagle, Brown-headed Parrot, Crowned Hornbill, African Golden Oriole, African Paradise Flycatcher, Retz’s [Red-billed] Helmetshrike, Southern [Miombo] Blue-eared Starling, Variable [ Yellow-bellied] Sunbird, African Yellow White-eye, Southern Grey-headed Sparrow and Red-headed Weaver. Our overnight chalets are comfortable and spacious all with en suite facilities.
Day 6: Lengwe
Full day spent birding in the thickets and woodlands. Lengwe’s special birds are found in the dense, low-lying thickets and include Crested Guineafowl, Tambourine Dove, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Boehm’s Bee-eater, Green-backed [Little Spotted] Wodpecker, Square-tailed Drongo, Cabanis’ and Grey-olive Greenbuls, Eastern [Yellow-spotted] Nicator, Rudd’s Apalis, Livingstone’s Flycatcher, Black-and-white Flycatcher, Woodward’s Batis and Grey Sunbird.
Day 7,8,9 – Dzalanyama Forest Reserve
Days birding the rich miombo woodlands. Some of the many target birgs will include Pale-billed Hoenbill, Whyte’s Barbet, Miombo Pied Stierlng’s Woodpecker, Miombo [Central Bearded] Scrub-robin, Yellow-bellied Hyliota, Rufous-bellied Tit, Boehm’s Flycatcher, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, Souza’s Shirke, Anchieta’s [Red and blue] Sunbird, Shelly’s Sunbird, and the rare Olive-headed Weaver. Along with these should be a number of typical miombo birds such as Green-backed Honeybird, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Spottede Creeper, Miombo Grey Tit, Retz’s [ Red-billed] Helmetshrike, Wood Pipit, Miombo Rock Thrush, Southern [ Mashona] Hyliota, Peters’ [Red-throated] Twinspot, Breaod-tailed Paradise Whydah, Miombo Double-collared Sunbird, Western Violet-backed Sunbird, Black-eared Seedeater and Cabanis’ Bunting. Overnight at Dzalanyama Forest Lodge.
Day 10 – Vwaza Marsh Game Reserve
An early morning drive northwards with stops on the Viphya plateau will hopefully produce a number of endemics like White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, Miombo Rock Thrush, African Spotted Creeper, Trilling Cisticola, Brown Parisoma, Rufous-bellied Tit, Miombo [ Northern Grey] Tit, Anchieta’s [ Red and Bule] Sunbird, Miombo Double-collared Sunbird and Reichard’s [Stripe-breasted] Seedeater. We will arrive at Vwaza Marsh Game Reserve at early afternoon. The surrounding woodlands host two highly localised specials, White-winged Starling and Chestnut-mantled Sparrowweaver. In the late afternoon, we undertake a birding / game walk around Lake Kazuni. Overnight in a luxury tented camp at Lake Kazuni..
Day 11 & 12 : Nyika
After a morning birding walk along the shores of Lake Kazuni and followed by breakfast, we continue to Nyika. A short stop will be made to search riparian forest at Thazima Gate [entrance to Nyika National Park ] for the highly localised Black-backed Barbet. Two days birding the mountain grasslands and forests of the Nyika Plateau. We will overnight in the delightful Chelinda lodge with commanding views of the surrounding grasslands The Nyika and Viphya Plateau have a host of birds that are scarce or absent elsewhere in Malawi. Some of our target birds will be Rufous-chested Sparrow hawk, Red-winged Francolin, Denham’s [Stanley’s] Bustard, Rwenzori [Mountain] Nightjar, Angola Swallow, Jackson’s Pipit, Black-lored [ Mountain ] Cisticola, Churring Cisticola, Mountain Yellow Warbler, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Red-tufted Malachite Sunbird, Mountain Marsh Widow and Streaky Canary. Aside from these, we could also find Shelley’s Francolin, Common Quail, Blue Swallow, Wattled Crane, Augus Buzzard, Malachite Sunbird, and a number of common grassland birds. Hopefully some of the monatne evergreen forests near the Zambian border and the forests on the eastern rim of the plateau. A bewildering array of new birds await, hopefully including Dusky [Pink-breasted] Turtle Dove, Waller’s Starling, Slender-billed Red-winged Starling, Olived-flanked Robin-chat, White-chested Alethe, Brown-headed Apalis, Chestnut-throated Apalis, African Hill Babbler, shape’s Greenbul, Green-headed Sunbird, Baglafecht Weaver, and a number of more widespread forest specialists such as Schalow’s Turaco, Bar-tailed Trogon, Moustached Green Tinkerbird, Fuelleborn’s Boubou, Malawi batis, White-starred Robin, [ Olive-breasted] Mountain Greenbul, Orange Ground Thrush, Evergreen Forest Warbler, White-tailed Crested Flycatcher, and others. The eastern forests have several birds not found elsewhere on Nyika, namely Mountain Illadopsis, Sharpe’s Akalat and Oriole Finch.
Day 13 – Chintheche
After an early morning’s birding and breakfast we pack our things and head off to the shores of Lake Malawi. Remnants of Lowland evergreen forest en route support East Coast Akalat, Red-capped Robin-chat, Green-backed [Little Spotted] Woodpecker, Eastern Sawwing, Grey-olive Greenbul, Purple-banded Sunbird, Yellow bill [Green Coucal] Yellow-spotted Nicator, African Broadbill and Eastern Olive Sunbird. If time permits we will also search for Lemon-breasted Canary on the floodplain. We arrive in the early afternoon at Makuzi Beach, south of Chintheche. Our comfortable chalets are on the beach overlooking the lake.
Day 14 :
At Chintheche at leisure and exploring the surroundings.
Transfer 4 hrs along the lakeshore to Lilongwe in time to catch your return flight.
Logistics –Vehicle used
Toyota Land Cruiser specially built to seat 7 or 9 people comfortably – trailer taken for luggage
Accom Used – varied accom used according to the area – generally 1 to 2 star accom. (In some forest lodges we provide our own provisions however there is a chef to do the preparation)
1 driver / guide – He is a keen and enthusiastic birder and is fully trained.
Renowned local area guides usually join us in their area of operations.
all meals, accom, entrance fees, Guide, bottled drinking water, bird checklists, game walks, game drives, boat safaris etc.
Flights to and from Malawi, departure taxes, alcoholic drinks.