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The town itself and immediate environs offer plenty of good birding.

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Cecil Kop Nature Reserve

A day ticket to Cecil Kop Nature Reserve gives entrance to three separate areas.

1. At Cecil Kop itself there are few animals remaining but the elephant are sometimes seen. There are plenty of common garden and woodland birds on the track leading to the entrance and the left fork which follows the game fence for a few kilometres. Almost all 'red' Bishop birds are Black-winged Bishop here in the east of the country. The small dam has nesting Hamerkop and occasional waders.

2. In Thomson's Vlei there is a vulture restaurant in the montane grassland at the top of Scenic Drive, but this is rarely in use. African Broadbill have been seen in the Bamboo, Widows abound in the vleis, and the woodland contains a wide variety of species including Bearded Robin.

3. Mutare Heights, the Wilderness Section of the park, is at the top of Christmas Pass on the Harare road from Mutare. The gate is not manned but the road to the TV Aerial is good and passes through mature miombo which is home to Miombo Rock-Thrush, Rufous-bellied Tit, Miombo Tit, Grey Penduline-Tit and Southern Black Tit, Cabanis's Bunting, Mashona Hyliota, Spotted Creeper and Collared Flycatcher on passage. Augur Buzzard and African Goshawk are the resident raptors.

Cecil Kop Nature Reserve is situated on Arcadia Road. For further details contact Manicaland Publicity Association 263-20-64711

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La Rochelle Hotel and Gardens

La Rochelle Hotel and Gardens (National Trust) in Penhalonga, 20kms from Mutare is a good place for accommodation and birdwatching. Sunbirds are numerous when the aloes are in flower, Narina Trogon has been seen and Half-collared Kingfisher occur on the dam. Green Twinspot frequents the garden.

Contact details: La Rochelle Hotel 263-20-22250



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