Changa Safari Camp has a prime location on the banks of one of the world’s largest man-made dams: Lake Kariba- which has year-round water and so invites an abundance of wild animals and a huge array of birds. Over 240 bird species have been recorded in the Matusadona area and due to the natural environment, many of the birds are waders and other water-associated breeds. In addition to an abundance of food and water for the birds, the dead mopane tree’s make for excellent perches for birds such as fish eagles, falcons and cormorants. Needless to say, this beautiful area is a bird photographers dream, especially against our famous Kariba sunset.
While the best time to spot wildlife is from June to October, the prime time to venture to see the birds in this area is traditionally from November to April as it is the nesting season for the resident birds and the simultaneous arrival of the migratory birds from northern Africa and Europe.
Birder guests over the years have had the pleasure of spotting Giant Kingfishers catching and eating crabs, Verreaux’s Eagles, Black-crowned Night Heron, African Finfoot, Fish Eagles, Ospreys and Darters in the petrified forests of the lake and Herons and Egrets hunting for fish on the shoreline. The list doesn’t end there! Also, White-crowned Lapwings, Brown-hooded Kingfishers and Grey-headed Bushshrikes are regular visitors to the Changa pool area and, in the scrub around the camp you will find Tchagras, Blue Waxbills and White-browed Scrub Robins.
In camp, we recently had a “lifer” sighting which had novice and serious birders at Changa fluttering in excitement. A “lifer sighting” for those non-twitchers simply means seeing a bird that you will probably only see once in your lifetime- so this was an incredibly rare and exciting occasion for us!
Photo credit: Roger McDonald
The Denham’s Bustard also known as Stanley’s bustard (Neotis denhami) is a large bird in the bustard family that breeds only in Sub-Saharan Africa. We were lucky to have well-known birder Roger McDonald, staying with us at the time to photographically capture the Denham’s Bustard right close to the camp.
As the sunset over the vast lake that very special evening after this incredible lifer sighting, all those that witnessed it, had an extra reason to cheers and celebrate this truly memorable moment at Changa Safari Camp.