Domboshawa and Ngomakurira

Mocking Cliff-chat

Cinnamon-breasted Bunting

Spotted Eagle-owl

The granite dwalas Domboshawa and Ngomakurira lie just north of Harare in the Chinamora Communal Lands. The surrounding habitat is miombo woodland mostly removed or thinned for cultivation but the hills are fun to explore for the rock-loving birds of the area.

Domboshawa is the closer hill (S17.60460 E31.16192) to the city and an entrance fee is charged (at both in fact) and you can find Spotted Eagle-owl at the base if you are here at night and Freckled Nightjars on the hill (Harare residents often hold full moon picnics and the gates are left open to accommodate them). During the day you could flush the nightjars from their roosts on either hill.

Ngomakurira (S17.54779 E31.22693) requires a more arduous walk up through a belt of fringing miombo around the base of the hill and here you can find miombo specials and others like Whyte’s Barbets, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbirds, occasional Racquet-tailed Rollers, Black and White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Green-capped Eremomela, Stierling’s Wren-warbler, Striped Pipit, Miombo Blue-eared Starling, Miombo Double-collared Sunbird, Variable Sunbird, and African Yellow White-eye. Lazy Cisticolas scold whilst Lanner Falcons are often perched on the steep bare slopes. The first ascent brings you to an open level with scattered trees and boulders; head to the right and the large boulders where you can usually find Cape Buntings, and where Mocking Cliff-chats sneaking out of sight over their tops. Heading down to the small stream and up the little valley through dense trees leads to rock art worth seeing – Boulder Chats are a feature in this section. You will have to backtrack to the marked trail up to the top where you should keep a lookout for raptors, White-necked Ravens and Black Storks. The valley to the northwest is where Yellow-bellied Waxbills have been found, a strange eastern highland addition to the area!

For those who may like to explore further, Chikupo Caves lies further north. Turn onto the dirt at S17.52478 E31.24092 (4×4 not required but a strong non-sedan recommended) and turn off onto a track at S17.43547 E31.27854. The ‘caves’ are about a kilometre up this track. Cinnamon-breasted Tits can be found here (though there look to be other suitable spots on the dirt road) and Mottled Swift breed in the cracks.

Keeping Common Birds Common