Highly-targeted tour to Angola focusing on all ~20 endemics and many West African specialties in a pleasingly short time-frame. With camping no longer required, and a refreshingly easy E-Visa available for citizens of most countries, now is the time to visit this hidden gem! Much of the habitat around Angola is fragmented and highly threatened, but we still have access to some excellent Afromontane forest and Miombo woodland where we can expect to find around 500 species. From stunning species like Red-crested Turaco, Gabela Helmetshrike, Braun's Bushshrike, and White-headed Robin-Chat, to scarce and poorly-known oddities like Angolan Cave Chat and Bocage’s Sunbird.

Next dates

1-17 August 2023

Tour length: 17 days

Group size limit: 6


Joshua Bergmark and a local agent

Guaranteed departure


Day 1: International arrivals into Luanda early this morning, then transfer to Muxima for afternoon birding and overnight. Note that the easiest option is via Lisbon with TAP.

Day 2-3: During our time in Kissama National Park, we will search for the dapper endemic White-fronted Wattle-eye, secretive Grey-striped Francolin, the exquisite Gabela Helmetshrike, plus both the restricted-range Bubbling Cisticola and Golden-backed Bishop (unfortunately not in breeding plumage at this time of year!). If we are fortunate we will come across one or two of the scarcer species in the park such as Crested Guineafowl or perhaps the stunning Egyptian Plover which can sometimes be found here. Unusually for Angola, mammals and in particular primates are quite conspicuous here, and species we may see include Blue Monkey, Malbrouck Monkey and Southern Talapoin Monkey. Nights in Muxima.

Day 4-5: After a fairly long drive through the middle of Day 4, we will arrive in the attractive hills of the Uige region where a tongue of evergreen and semi-deciduous Guinea Forest extends southwards. Our prime target here will be the brightly-coloured and rare endemic Braun’s Bushshrike, but there is also the chance to see many classic West African species such as Guinea and Great Blue Turacos, African Emerald Cuckoo, Black-casqued Hornbill, Black Bee-eater, Blue-throated Roller, Bristle-nosed Barbet, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Bocage’s Bushshrike, Pink-footed Puffback, Simple Greenbul, Chestnut-winged and Narrow-tailed Starlings, Grey-headed, Chestnut-breasted and White-breasted Nigritas, Orange-cheeked Waxbill, Thick-billed Weaver, and Brown-backed Scrub Robin. Nights in Uige.

Day 6-7: Driving next to the town of Calandula, we will see the magnificent Calandula Falls while searching nearby for nesting Red-throated Cliff Swallow and Blue-breasted Bee-eater, but we might also find “Anchieta’s” Marsh Tchagra or Blue-headed Coucal. One of the main reasons for visiting the Calandula region is to search for the little-known endemic White-headed Robin-Chat, first collected in 1966, but now known to be fairly common in the area. Grey-winged Robin-Chats and White-spotted Flufftails call from the thickets, while African Broadbills and Brown-headed Apalises loiter in the canopy. At the edge of the forests, we will also search for the localised and attractive Black-backed Barbet. Out in the Miombo itself, we hope to find the specialised Anchieta’s Barbet, Anchieta’s Sunbird and Sharp-tailed Starling amongst more widespread species such as Black Scimitarbill, Pale-billed Hornbill, Golden-tailed and Bearded Woodpeckers, Meyer’s Parrot, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, White-crested and smart Retz’s Helmetshrikes, Thick-billed Cuckoo, Grey-headed Bushshrike, Ross’s Turaco, Broad-billed Roller, Greater Honeyguide, and the smart Rufous-bellied Tit.

Day 8: The scarp forests of N’Dalatando are a convenient halfway point, and some birding on arrival may produce Red-fronted Parrots, Naked-faced, Hairy-breasted and Yellow-billed Barbets, Speckled Tinkerbird, Cassin’s Honeybird, the smart Yellow-crested Woodpecker, Black-winged Oriole, Little, Slender-billed, Plain and Honeyguide Greenbuls, Rufous-crowned Eremomela, Sooty Flycatcher, Splendid Starling, the smart Rufous-vented Paradise Flycatcher, and Little Green, Green-throated and Blue-throated Brown Sunbirds, whilst canopy flocks may hold Red-headed and Crested Malimbes and the very smart Yellow-mantled Weaver.

Day 9-10-11: On the afternoon of Day 9 we will arrive at Kumbira Forest, an area of degraded habitat on the southern scarp that was selectively logged before the civil war. We will be exploring various forest patches in the area, in particular for three little-known and rare endemics, namely the unassuming Gabela Akalat, the unusual blue-eyed Pulitzer’s Longbill and the attractive Gabela Bushshrike, and with perseverance, we should find all three. Less difficult is the spectacular Red-crested Turaco, and Angolan Batis. We may also find the attractive local form of Monteiro’s Bushshrike, Yellow-bellied Wattle-eye, Pale-olive Greenbul, Forest Scrub Robin, Gorgeous Bushshrike, Gabon Coucal and the endemic Hartert’s Camaroptera. On our second full day, we will visit to Mount Namba to the north. Hosting the largest tracts of surviving Afromontane forest in Angola, we will hope to find Naked-faced Barbet (split by Birdlife to a new endemic, the Pale-throated Barbet) and Margaret’s Batis. Also here we will have a chance of finding a few other new species such as Western Tinkerbird, Purple-throated Cuckooshrike, Red-tailed Bristlebill and Cabanis’s Greenbul.

Day 12: Driving further south to Huambo, we will be in search of Finsch’s Francolin, Angolan Lark, “Huambo” Rock-loving Cisticola, Dusky Twinspot, Black-chinned Weaver, Bocage’s Weaver and the delightful Bocage’s Akalat. More widespread species in the forest patches may include Olive Woodpecker, Red-throated Wryneck, Tropical Boubou, Yellow-throated Leaflove, the elusive Evergreen Forest Warbler, African Dusky and White-tailed Blue Flycatchers, African Hill Babbler, African Spotted Creeper, Bronzy Sunbird, Northern Yellow White-eye, Spectacled Weaver and Thick-billed Seedeater. In scrubby grasslands below the higher slopes, we will look for another suite of species, including the rare Bocage’s Sunbird and striking Black-collared Bulbul. Some aerial species to look out for include Black-and-rufous Swallow, Horus Swift, and Brazza’s Martin.

Day 13: After spending the whole morning around Huambo we will drive to our final destination, Lubango.

Day 14: The stunning view from the cliffs of Tundavala near Lubango, which tower over 1000 metres up above the coastal plain far below, will certainly be a highlight of the tour. Amongst the stunted windswept vegetation we shall search for the handsome Angolan Cave Chat, Angolan Slaty Flycatcher, Ludwig’s Double-collared and Oustalet’s Sunbirds. This is also one of the few known sites for the recently rediscovered endemic Swierstra’s Francolin and we shall certainly be on the lookout for this rare bird. In some of the gullies and little gorges, some vegetation clings to the rocks and in these sheltered and moister places we will look for the handsome Miombo and Short-toed Rock Thrushes as well as the near-endemic Hartlaub’s Spurfowl and Red-backed Mousebird and the endemic Angolan Waxbill. The brightly coloured local form of Jameson’s Firefinch can also be found. We look for the smart Fülleborn’s Longclaw, the extremely rare Angolan endemic form of White-headed Barbet, possibly “Benguela” Meves’s Starling, and Rufous-cheeked Nightjar. On the rocky slopes, we are likely to encounter the cute Yellow-spotted Hyrax.

Day 15: Today we will head off the escarpment onto the coastal plain below. On the way down, we will check for Rockrunner and White-tailed Shrike, two near-endemics shared only with Namibia. The main target of the morning will be the elusive Cinderella Waxbill, another near-endemic which is otherwise only very rarely observed in the far north-west of Namibia. We may also find Rüppell’s Parrot, Damara Red-billed Hornbill, Monteiro’s Hornbill, Carp’s Tit, Bare-cheeked Babbler, and the small local form of the Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill.

Day 16: After final morning of birding in the region to further our chances for Swierstra’s Francolin and hopefully the rare Angolan form of White-headed Barbet (split by Birdlife as White-bellied Barbet), we will take an afternoon flight back to Luanda. Note that this domestic flight is included in the tour price, however unfortunately the once-daily departure arrives too late to safely transfer internationally this evening, so we will stay overnight in the surprisingly modern city and enjoy a celebratory meal!

Day 17: The tour ends this morning with transfers to the airport in time for early international departures.

Tour details

Cost: $ 7,350
Deposit: $ 750
Single room supplement: $ 400

Please note that this tour cost includes the flight from Lubango to Luanda at the end of the tour, plus the requisite extra night of accommodation before international flights the next day.

Accommodation: Simple but comfortable hotels and guesthouses throughout. Note that twin rooms are a rarity in Angola, so participants must choose either double or single!

Walking difficulty: Mostly flat and easy, but some optional longer walks away from the road to access good habitat on one or two mornings.

Tour cost includes: All accommodation, main meals, drinking water, internal flights (as stated in itinerary), overland transport, tips to local drivers and guides, travel permits, entrance fees, and guide fees.

Tour cost excludes: Flights before and after the tour start/end, visa, travel insurance, tips to tour leaders, laundry, drinks and other items of a personal nature.