Best places to film birds in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a prime destination to film birds. It is endowed with several places that have a variety of bird species. With over 700 species recorded in the country. Making it a good place to film and take photos if the birds. National parks are the best places to go to if you are interested in filming birds. While doing so, you will also have the opportunity to spot other wildlife species that live in these parks. It should be noted that the best time to film birds in Zimbabwe is during the period of November to April when the migratory birds flock to the parks in large numbers.
Hwange National Park
With over 420 species recorded, Hwange National Park is Zimbabwe’s birding hotspot. The park is best known for its huge variety of raptors; about 50 species have been recorded. The bateleur eagle is very common and can usually be seen soaring overhead. Grassland birds are well represented too; kori bustard, southern ground hornbill and secretary bird are some of the more conspicuous ones. Migratory birds flock to the park in big numbers from November to April.
How to get to Hwange Natonal Park
Hwange National Park is very accessible. The Main Camp can be reached on a tar road, 200km/124mi south of Victoria Falls. The drive takes less than three hours .To reach some of the other camps deeper in the park, a 4WD might be necessary, especially during the wet months, from November to May. Some of the lodges have airstrips for chartered flights. You will probably arrive in Zimbabwe by flying to Victoria FallsAirport (VFA), near the town of Victoria Falls. Usually, you will be picked up from the airport or hotel by your fixer guide, who will be with you onwards as you travel throughout the country as part of your filming package.
Matobo hills National Park
This park however small has a great number of bird species. It is prided with its concentration of the verreaux eagles that breed in the park. They are easily sighted soaring in search for prey in the months of November to April. The other birds in the park include coqui francolin, mocking cliff chat, augur buzzard, martial eagle, African hawk eagle, boulder chat, cape batis, crowned eagle and many more. Filming birds in this park is definitely fulfilling.
How to get there
Matobo hills national park has several entrances but the main one is via Bulawayo road. Your main point of entry into Zimbabwe is Victoria Falls Airport (VFA), located near the town Victoria Falls. It is possible to drive to Matobo from Victoria Falls. The distance is 540km/335m, and the drive takes about 6½ hours. Alternatively, you can fly to Harare International Airport (HRE) and fly or drive from there. Your filming package will, in most cases, include your pick-up at the airport or hotel by your local fixer operator, along with further travel arrangements.
Mana pools National Park
This park is endowed with over 380 recorded species of birds making it a great filming destination. It has notable species that one should look out for namely the African skimmer, long-toed lapwing, pel’s-fishing owl, the southern carmine beef eater and rufous –bellied heron. If you’re interested in these bird species, then Mana pools national park is the place to come to. Other birds include. Lilian’s lovebird, littler bittern, somber greenbul, western nicator and many more
Although good year-round, filming birds is at its best from November to April when the migratory birds arrive from Europe and northern Africa. This is also the best time to witness resident birds nesting. The Dry season is best for wildlife viewing, and occurs from June to October.
How to get there
The remote Mana Pools National Park is located in the northern tip of the country, 388km/241mi from Harare and far from any human settlement. The park is mostly off limits to vehicles from November to April. Travel by 4WD is essential. Most people fly into Mana Pools airstrip from Kariba, although charters can be booked from other destinations in Zimbabwe. You will most likely enter the country via Victoria Falls Airport (VFA), a short distance from the town of Victoria Falls. Alternatively, you can fly to Harare International Airport (HRE) and drive from there. Your fixer package likely provides for further transportation throughout Zimbabwe as arranged by your fixer Operator.
Matusadona National Park
Matusadona National Park being on the shore of Lake Kariba, has more than 240 bird species recorded and is particularly rich in waders and other water-associated birds. The dead mopane trees on the lakeshore are covered by large numbers of perched birds, including cormorants, darters and many fish eagles with their cries regularly filling the air. A boat trip in the scenic Sanyati Gorge offers a chance to see rare species including the elusive African finfoot. Migratory birds are present from November to April.
The birdlife in Matusadona is good all year, but at its best from November to April. This is the nesting season for resident birds, as well as the time of arrival of migratory birds coming from Europe and northern Africa. The Dry season happens from June to October, which is a better time for viewing wildlife.
How to get there
Matusadona National Park is located in the northwest of the country on the shore of Lake Kariba and is 470km/292mi northwest of Harare. The drive into the park from Victoria Falls is very rough and needs a 4WD. In the Wet season from November to May, the road tends to be unnavigable. The best way to get to Matusadona is by chartered plane or by boat across the lake from Kariba, which is 18km/11mi away. Victoria Falls airport (VFA) is the main point of entry into Zimbabwe. Alternatively, you can fly to Harare International Airport (HRE) and fly or drive from there. Your pick-up from the airport will be arranged by your fixer as part of your filming package. You can opt to fly to Tashinga camp instead of driving. This camp has a landing strip found in the north west of Matusadona.
Nyanga National Park
Nyanga is one of Zimbabwe’s birding hotspots. Over 300 species have been recorded, of which several are near-endemics. The park is part of the globally important Eastern Zimbabwe Mountains Endemic Bird Area (EBA). This makes it a great place for those interested in filming the bird species that call it home.bird species in this park include livingstones turaco, blue swallow golden-breated bunting, mottled swift, brown hooded kingfisher, Dideric cuckoo and many others.
How to get there
Your point of entry to the country is either Victoria Falls Airport or Harare international airport. Then drive to Nyanga to the mutare highway and proceed to the park headquarters.
Gonarezhou National Park
Gonarezhou national park has recorded over 400 bird species making it one of the best destination to film birds in Zimbabwe .this park supports wide range of birdlife and some of the most notable birds in the area include African fish eagle, brown-headed parrot, lappe-faced vulture, martial eagle, Pel’s fishing owl. In addition to these are other common species namely, African pitta, bat hawk, narina trogon, yellow bill, mosque swallow and manymore.
How to get there
Gonarezhou National Park is remote and relatively inaccessible. There are two areas to visit: Chipinda HQ is located 550km/342mi south of Harare, and Mabalauta HQ is located 667km/414mi south of Harare. The roads in the park are often very poor, especially in the Wet season, and a good 4WD is essential. Some lodges have airstrips, and we can organize chartered flights. The road transfer to the lodge from the airport takes 45 minutes. Victoria Falls Airport (VFA) will be the point of arrival for most safaris. Another option is to fly to Harare International Airport (HRE). Your filming package includes travel arrangements throughout the country booked by your local fixer operator
Chizarira National Park
Chizarira national park is a notable birding paradise with over 360 recorded bird species. The crested Francolin, lilac breasted roller, stripped kingfisher, tropical bou bou are some of the common bird species to film in the park. Birds of prey include the lanner, verreaux’s eagle and the peregrine falcon. In addition to these are other birds like the African broad bill, African emerald cuckoo, African pitta, western nicator and many more.
How to get there
Chizarira National Park is very remote and hard to access. Your main point of entry into Zimbabwe is Victoria Falls Airport (VFA) located near the town Victoria Falls. Normally, your local fixer operator will pick you up at the airport and arrange your further transportation throughout the country as part of your filming package.
Requirements to film birds in Zimbabwe
In order to film birds in Zimbabwe. You will need to acquire permission. The process of securing a filming permit in Zimbabwe can be time-consuming so it needs enough time before the filming in order to complete the necessary process and secure the filming permit. Filming permits in Zimbabwe are processed by the ministry of information. National park, park charges by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority also apply.
Media accreditation is also vital for filming in Zimbabwe and the application is made to the Zimbabwe media council. The charge for accreditation is 2000usd for shoot accreditation application and in addition to this, each member of the crew pays 200usd. Contact film crew fixers for further information on the requirements for filming in birds in Zimbabwe.
Filming equipment also needs to be cleared and this can be done through a bonded agent or securing a 5% percent of the value of equipment, however this is not advisable and the preferred procedure is that of using a bonded agent. Africa Fixers has all the necessary connections with a number of bonded agents that can clear your equipment on entry and exit. Contact us for any help with kit clearing.
Zimbabwe visa and work permit advice
A tourist visa or business visa can work for your entry into the country. The single entry visa costs USD30. Film crews prefer getting there visa before coming into the countries and this is possible through the online system of the Zimbabwe department of immigration. Proof of yellow fever and vaccination and a Covid 19 free negative certificate are necessary for entry. The prices of visas and work permits change regularly. For updated information regarding travel to Zimbabwe, you can contact your embassy or us regarding the following issues.
- A passport is required for all foreign visitors and has to be valid for at least six months
- Passports must have at least three empty pages
- Citizens of most countries require a visa, which can be obtained at arrival
- A list of countries whose citizens don’t require a visa or can acquire one upon arrival is available
- A list of countries whose citizens are required to obtain their visa in advance is available. The application can be made online.
- When arriving from a yellow-fever-infected country, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required
Zimbabwe transport services
Africa Fixers organizes transportation for film crews to film in Chizarira national park. Depending on their interest and Budget and the nature of roads to the destination. We organize both road and air transport for film crews. We recommend customized 4×4 safari land cruisers for vehicles because of the nature of roads in Zimbabwe. These land cruisers cost USD200-250 per vehicle per day. Fuel is estimated on the number of days that are scheduled by the filming schedule. We will need to look at it for establishing the mileage and distance to be traveled.
Film fixers in Zimbabwe
All our vehicles come with drivers who act as location fixers and most of them have been to most of the parts in Zimbabwe and are very conversant with the local situations .they provide relevant information and fix any situation on ground. They also act as intermediaries between you and our office while on location. Contact us if you need a film fixer in Zimbabwe.
Why use film crew fixers to film birds in Zimbabwe
Africa Fixers is a company based in Uganda that assists production agencies and filming companies in South and East African countries as a whole. We handle all fixer services required with our professional team of local fixers and driver guides. We have all the relevant connections with other service providers and government agencies to make sure that accreditation and filming permits are processed in a short time. Contact us for details and all relevant information you would like to know for successful filming in in Zimbabwe.