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A Birders Paradise

Before the sun has even risen over the mighty Zambezi River the sounds of the bush can be heard. The groans of a disgruntled buffalo, whooping hyena in the distance and, of course, the bellowing calls of hippo are amongst the most common sounds you’ll hear on safari. However, the birds never seem to stop tweeting in the lower Zambezi Valley.

Both the Anabezi and Amanzi luxury tents are permanently pitched in the most beautiful spots, you don’t need to leave your tent to enjoy the wildlife. All the tents are positioned perfectly under an array of ana trees (Faidherbia albida), rain trees (Philenoptera violacea) and croton trees (Croton megalobotrys) the birds thrive at your doorstep.

The most noticeable calls are those of the bushshrikes – mainly the orange-breasted and the grey-headed. Although their calls can be heard echoing through the valley, they can be quite difficult to spot. Luckily the endless wooden walkways that meander past the luxury tents make it easy to find them. Then there are the resident white-crested helmet shrikes and white-fronted bee-eaters, which have become accustomed to all beings in camp and quite happily pose for pictures within just a couple of feet from where you’re standing. The tropical bou bou’s, grey-backed cameropteras, crowned hornbills, dark-capped and terrestrial bulbuls are all regular visitors and spend most of their day in plain sight. My personal favourite, one that has everyone jumping out of their seats, is the camp eastern nicator. With its bushshrike like head, olive green body, wings lined with yellow spots and tweets a beautiful tune, it isn’t hard to see why this bird is a firm favourite amongst guests.

If you tilt your head towards the skies you might be lucky enough to see a pair of African fish eagles doing their courtship display, a bateleur or crowned eagle on the lookout for a snack, or even a few species of vulture catching the thermals. That’s not all; with Amanzi being situated on the Ngwenya channel, and Anabezi on the Zambezi that spills out on the flood plains, the water birds are plenty too. Goliath herons, kingfishers of all kinds, egrets, skimmers and even the lucrative bat hawk, but you’ll have to wait for sunset if you want to catch a glimpse of it.

With over 403 bird species recorded, the Lower Zambezi National Park is really the perfect place to combine a safari with an unlimited amount of bird watching. I almost forgot to tell you about the breeding colonies of southern carmine bee-eaters but you’ll have to come to visit to find out more about this secret spot.

Written by: Tayla Jane McCurdy