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Victoria Falls – A Birdwatcher’s Paradise

By Ilala Lodge Hotel on January 18, 2018

As the new year and era dawns on Zimbabwe, changes are afoot (or a wing) as the migratory birds have returned home to nest, with their breeding plumage in full flirty splendour. Visitors to Victoria Falls at this time of the year can delight in the best bird watching months which will continue all the way through to April. And what better way to enjoy a birding safari, than serenely cruising down Ilala Lodge’s very own Ra-Ikane Victoria Falls birdwatching cruise along the Zambezi River.

A guest enjoying a breakfast and birdwatching cruise aboard the Ra-Ikane.

The Zambezi River is well-known for its legendary bird watching safaris as the meandering river supports a lively riverine ecosystem along its banks, drawing in a wide variety of birds.

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African Finfoot on shore, checking out the Ra-Ikane guests. Photo credit: Roger MacDonald.

The Ra-Ikane recently had the pleasure of hosting birding enthusiast, Roger MacDonald and his wife Alison, for a birdwatching cruise. Roger has travelled to numerous locations in Southern Africa to pursue his passion in birding photography, so it was an honour to have him aboard the Ra-Ikane and to receive his wonderful feedback:

“The Ilala Lodge morning birdwatching trip on the Zambezi is a ‘Must do activity’ for any birder visiting Vic Falls.”

The colourful Half-collared Kingfisher. Photo credit: Roger MacDonald

You can take his word for it, but we think the proof is in his pictures! Roger and Alison spotted over two hundred species of birds in their short time in Victoria Falls and many of them were seen on the Ra-Ikane. From the African Pitta, Trogon and Finfoot to black-crowned night Heron, Purple Heron and nine Cuckoo species! Some of these bird species are not only elusive and rare in other parts of Southern Africa but often only occur along the Zambezi River’s life-giving waters.

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Purple Heron in breeding colours, performing the act of “rousing” (shaking feather in agitation). Photo credit: Roger MacDonald.

Our birdwatching cruise is available seven days a week, with pick-up in the early morning from 6.30am and the cruise runs from 7am until 9am. Whilst you can sit back, relax and enjoy spotting your favourite birds, please feel free to consult the reference books provided and make use of the Ra-Ikane bird checklist we have available on board. Breakfast includes a fresh and delicious continental breakfast with fruit platters, cheese and biscuits, fresh pastries served with butter and jam, yoghurt and hot and cold beverages.

The cruise not only focuses on birds as you will find, the wildlife on the banks of the river often intrudes in your photography! You can expect to see elephants, crocodiles, plains game and pods of hippos, during your cruise as they surface and bask in the early morning sunshine.

An African Skimmer with Crocodile. Photo credit: Roger MacDonald

Come spot your favorite birds, enjoy a delicious breakfast and take home some beautiful photography and memories this 2018 aboard the luxury Ra-Ikane.

Western Cattle Egret elegantly posing for the camera. Photo credit: Roger MacDonald.

For $85 per person, what are you waiting for? Contact our Tours Desk today to book this popular cruise here and keep updated on our latest river sightings by following the Ra-Ikane Facebook page.


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