Dates: Friday 7 to Sunday 9th May 2021. You are welcome to join for 1 or 2 nights. Please contact us if you would prefer a longer itinerary, for instance tying in Choma or Kafue NP. Number of people: Flexible. Package type: Birds & Bush – we will spend all our time in the field, where the focus is on birding and exploring, with ample attention for all wildlife. Package and accommodation type: Camping safari on self-driving and self-catering basis. Package price: $50 pppn. This 2021 Special rate includes specialist guiding by Frank Willems and use of general camp setup (toilet & shower, kitchen and dining), excluded are park fees (k135.50/k57 pppn for resident/citizen including camping the last time we visited, and k25.50 per vehicle per night). The following are optional: use of kitted tent ($50 pppn), catering ($50 pppn), transport (costcovering charge, depending on number of people interested), drinks (on cash bar basis). Prior notice essential. This special applies to BirdWatch Zambia members. Non-members will be invoiced an additional (once-off) $25 to become BWZ member for 2021 and 2022. For each booking, a donation will be made to BirdWatch Zambia
LOCHINVAR NATIONAL PARK
We will pick a camping site next to the shore of Chunga Lagoon, which forms the prime birding area. Exact locality depends on water levels and hence birding concentrations. Fanatic birders will easily enjoy more than 3 nights to explore the area. Alternatively, consider combining it with a visit to the Choma and Livingstone areas, Kafue N.P. or the Zambezi Valley, all of which Birding Zambia can facilitate.
7 May 2021: Drive from Lusaka or Livingstone. It takes roughly 5 hours from either starting point to the camp site on Chunga Lagoon. See below for directions.
8 May: full day in Lochinvar. We will let the program depend on where the birds are (strongly dominated by water levels). Presumably focus on adjacent areas of Chunga Lagoon in the morning. Afternoon drive into the plains to the northeast or west.
9 May: Early morning exploration of the southern parts of the park, which hold the Gwimbi and Banda Hotsprings (good for plains species like Secretarybird and Yellow-throated Sandgrouse), Big Baobab and Drumming Rocks. Continue to Lusaka/Livingstone from here.
Introduction Lochinvar is part of the Kafue Flats, a million hectares floodplains area, not far short of the size of the Okavango and Bangweulu. It can easily be argued to be Zambia’s prime birding site. Against a background of stunning scenery dotted with the endemic Kafue Lechwe, it holds a remarkable diversity in waterbirds, many of which in internationally important congregations. Possibly most notable are the large populations of Grey Crowned and Wattled Crane and (seasonally) African Skimmer and Caspian Plover. It is the only site in Zambia where Black-tailed Godwit, Caspian Tern and Gull-billed Tern are present in numbers year-round while Slaty Egret and Greater Flamingo are regular. The many thousands of migrant waders and terns commonly include vagrants. The adjacent drier shrubs are excellent for warblers including seasonally Olive-tree Warbler (Zambia’s only annual location?) while the drier plains hold breeding populations of Secretarybird, Denham’s Bustard and (seasonally) large numbers of Yellow-throated Sandgrouse. Among numerous raptors are Montague’s and Pallid Harrier (seasonal), Red-necked Falcon and all vultures (resident). Kafue Lechwe will be seen in good numbers, while Serval and Oribi are among other mammals of interest likely to be seen. In 2020, Lochinvar reinforced its status as Zambia’s prime rarity spot producing Zambia’s first Little Terns as well as Lesser Sand, Pacific Golden and Grey Plover, Terek Sandpiper, Curlew, Whimbrel, Bartailed Godwit, Cape Teals, Cape Shovelers (suspected to have bred), Lesser Black-backed Gull, Blackwinged Pratincole and Red-rumped Swallow, among others. May is transition period between the wet and dry seasons. Migrant waders from the (sub)arctic region are still present in numbers, most in stunning breeding plumage, while dry-season migrants like Yellow-throated Sandgrouse have started arriving. The plains should be dry enough to explore extensively along the Chunga Lagoon and further afield. We will participate in the Global Big Day on 8 May, hoping to see Zambia rank again in the Top 20 globally. Expect to see or hear a 100 species before finishing your early morning cup of coffee!