Mid-Congress Excursion Day

The mid-congress excursion day is scheduled for Wednesday 18 November 2020.

The weather in November in Victoria Falls is extremely warm, so it is imperative to get out early for good birding. Later in the day, the wildlife tends to retreat to the shade to rest. It seems wise for people to do the same, preferably with a cool refreshment close to hand. The chance of afternoon thunderstorms in mid-November is a distinct possibility.

An organized excursion activity will be scheduled for the morning, after which delegates will be provided with a simple lunch and drink then be free to explore independently for the rest of the day. Victoria Falls is a vibrant, bustling centre with much to see and do.

Choices for excursion activities available to delegates are on a first come, first served basis. Please indicate your preferred choice on the drop down on the registration form. If your first choice is already fully subscribed, we will do our best to accommodate you on a similar activity.

Options are as follows:

1. Visit to view the majestic Victoria Falls

The beautiful Victoria Falls is located within the Victoria Falls National Park. A cobblestone pathway all the way through the rainforest leads you to various viewpoints along the length of the Falls. Looking for bird specials in the Rain Forest, listen for the strange calls of Trumpeter Hornbills echoing through the rainforest, their child-like cries often giving away their presence amongst the tree canopy. Also keep a sharp eye out for the colourful Schalow’s Turaco, a large but secretive bird, predominantly green but with a blaze of red feathers which show on the wing in flight. You may spot small, fast flying Sunbirds, or ground feeding Fire-finches and Blue Waxbills, among the many colourful and varied species found in the region.

The Falls are truly awe-inspiring – the sight, the sound, the smell; the humbling feeling that here indeed is a breath-taking masterpiece of nature. No photograph can begin to depict the reality…and nothing prepares you for your first sight.

On the way back to the hotel, delegates will be taken past the ‘Big Tree’ where they may stop for a short while. Apart from being the best known, this tree is possibly the oldest and biggest Baobab (Adansonia digitata) in Zimbabwe.

2. Ra-Ikane Birding Cruise.

The Ra-Ikane offers a unique vantage point for viewing birdlife up-close on the islands along the Zambezi. Boats are small, accommodating between 12 and 16 guests, and are carefully manoeuvred by experienced captains to take you close to the river’s edge and into narrow river channels to get right up close for the best view of the flurry of birdlife. Over 400 bird species can be found in Victoria Falls and its surrounds.

Many of these are unique and can only be spotted in select locations close to the banks of the river. Specials to be found are the African Finfoot, Western Banded Snake Eagle, White-backed Night-heron, African Skimmer, Long-toed Lapwing and a variety of Kingfishers and Waders. This cruise will also take you downstream towards the Victoria Falls with some fantastic views of the spray thrown up by the Waterfall. Experience the magic of the Zambezi River at its best.

3. Early morning boat cruise on the Zambezi River.

There are very few boats out on the river in the early morning, the peace and tranquility are sublime. It is cool and calm catching the early morning glows of the sun. This is the best time to view birds such as African Finfoot, Western Banded Snake Eagle, African Skimmer, Goliath Heron, Long-toed Lapwing and African Fish Eagle.

You cannot see the actual Victoria Falls from the boat as the cruise is above the Falls themselves, but you will see the rising spray from the Waterfall. Lush riverine vegetation, beautiful scenery, a variety of wildlife and prolific birdlife makes going on a cruise on the iconic Zambezi River a unique and special experience.

4. A Drive in the Zambezi National Park with the emphasis on birds.

This may be through the southern side of the park in the Chamabondo Vlei which includes a variety of habitat including Mopane and Teak woodlands as well as savanna grasslands. The alternative is to meander along the Zambezi River Drive. Delegates will be accompanied by guides from Discover Safaris, a company owned and operated by respected local guide Charles Brightman who is known widely for his conservation and wildlife work, especially anti-poaching.

An estimated 400 species of birds have been recorded within the Zambezi National Park making this a bird lovers’ paradise, with specialties including the Pel’s Fishing Owl, African Skimmer, Collared Palm Thrush, Lanner Falcon, Goliath Heron, Kori Bustard, African Finfoot, Rock Pratincole and Long-toed Lapwing.

5. Walk/drive on Wild Horizons wildlife concession.

This private concession is nestled between the Mazuwe River and the Zambezi gorges. As well as unparalleled views that will give delegates a view of the breath-taking spray that swells above the Victoria Falls rainforest, a vast array of bird species may be found through habitat that includes indigenous teak woodlands, grassland and riverine forest.

Time will be spent overlooking the Batoka Gorge searching for raptor traffic that may include Verreauxs’ Eagles, Auger Buzzards, Lanner and Peregrine Falcons. The outing culminates with a visit to the Victoria Falls Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. This trust rescues and rehabilitates wildlife while actively advancing and promoting environmental conservation.

6. Visit to Gorges Lodge.

Perched on the edge of the spectacular Batoka Gorge, Gorges Lodge provides an exciting platform from which to watch and enjoy a fantastic array of birdlife. The gorge here is nearly 270 metres deep in some places and over a kilometre wide. The colossal cliffs that provide hundreds of potential nesting sites for raptors create winds and up-draughts that offer an environment perfect for avian predators.

The Lodge overlooks the dramatic junction of the Dibu Dibu River and the Zambezi, where Verreauxs’ Eagles, Augur Buzzards, Peregrine and Lanner Falcons nest in the sheer cliff faces. If you’re very lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of a Taita Falcon. As well as looking for raptors, delegates will explore the surrounds of the lodge where Trumpeter Hornbills, exquisite Emerald Cuckoos, jeweled Sunbirds, colourful Waxbills and a variety of other species may be found.

Sign Up to the PAOC15 Mailing List for Updates.