The Nchila Reserve was founded as a mission station in 1889. Found on a small finger of Zambian land between Angola and the Congo (DRC), this is a peaceful, rural area with a relatively prosperous farming community. The land is so close to the rainforests of the Congo Basin that bird watchers find many species here that cannot be seen elsewhere.
What sets the Nchila Wildlife Reserve apart is the unique section of equatorial forest that it guards – it has been nurtured by the same family farm for generations and is a well-protected, flourishing natural area that has been guarded from any potential human harm. The safety offered by the well-organised Fisher family means that birders can see many species common to the unstable Angola and Congo regimes, without the potential risk of visiting these countries. There are currently 30 species of bird in Nchila that cannot be seen elsewhere outside the DRC and Angola.
Bird species of note include Bocage’s Weaver, afep, bronze-naped pigeons, rosy-breasted long-claws, honeyguide greenbuls, red-bellied bee-eaters and paradise flycatchers, orange-tufted, green-throated and Bates’ sunbirds; shining blue, white-bellied and blue-breasted kingfishers, and a number of other colourfully named avians!
Access is difficult and usually by charter plane from Lusaka which makes this an expensive destination and usually more popular with serious birders than those looking for typical African safaris.
The best time to visit is August to late October.
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