A spectacular journey across the African sky 

Every year, as the days grow shorter and the temperatures drop in Central Africa, the call of the Southern Carmine Bee-eater migration beckons. With their striking carmine plumage, gracefully elongated tail feathers, and unmistakable chirps, carmine-bee eaters set the sky ablaze at the end of August as they journey across the continent by the thousands.

Their destination? The wilderness of Zambia. The water levels drop along the river banks in Zambia during the dry winter months, revealing the perfect nesting sites for these burrowing birds. With the banks at their most exposed during this season, the carmine bee-eaters choose this time for their annual pilgrimage for breeding to the South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi, returning to the same banks every year.

The diverse landscapes provide a haven for these travellers, with the riverbanks and savannahs offering an abundant supply of insects, the primary diet of these bee-eaters. Bees, wasps, dragonflies, and other insects that inhabit the ecosystem of these regions are a vital source of nourishment for these birds during their stay.

Upon their arrival in Zambia, the bee-eaters set up temporary residences, creating nesting colonies along the riverbanks. Their remarkable communal nests, consisting of tunnels dug into the soft riverbank soil, become bustling centres of activity. Here, the birds engage in courtship rituals, establish their territories, and rear their young in a synchronized dance of life.

The presence of carmine bee-eaters enriches Zambia’s ecosystem in numerous ways too. Carmine bee-eaters are insectivores meaning that they assist in controlling the pest populations, fostering a delicate balance in the local environment. Moreover, their vibrant colours and behaviours add a touch of wonder to the natural tapestry, drawing the admiration of seasoned birders, photographers and safari-goers alike.

Guests joining us on safari in South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi have the opportunity to witness these striking birds from September to November every year, a bucket-list-worthy spectacle for sure.

Did you know? Carmine bee-eaters are known to time their breeding season with the emergence of certain bee species. They rely on these bees as a primary food source for themselves and their chicks, hence their breeding synchronization with the bee populations.

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    Destinations

    Zambia

    Zambia is Africa's best kept secret, with its vast landscapes, diverse wildlife and welcoming culture. Trace the steps of early conservationists while experiencing walking safaris in the South Luangwa. Come face to face with giants as you glide quietly in a canoe along the reeds in the Lower Zambezi. Feel the rumble of a distant thunderstorm on Liuwa Plain’s horizon as you marvel at the sight of gathering wildebeest amongst a flush of colourful wildflowers.

    Destinations

    Madagascar

    Fringed by white sand beaches and colourful coral reefs, Miavana is a haven of luxury at the ends of the Earth. Raw and refined, this private island sanctuary brings together world-class luxury in a world of rare wildlife and extraordinary landscapes. Madagascar is like nowhere else on the planet. A land of lemurs and chameleons, turtles and terns, where unknown species are still being discovered to this day. Miavana is the ultimate destination for modern-day explorers, an adventure playground offering an unrivalled range of activities that span the horizons of land, sea and air, celebrating the very best of this remarkable region.

    Zambia

    South Luangwa

    Just a one hour flight from Lusaka, the South Luangwa is known for its big cat sightings and often referred to as the Valley of the Leopard. It is in the South Luangwa that the legendary Norman Carr pioneered the walking safari and conservation-based tourism in Africa. Zambia's outstanding reputation of guiding is ever prevalent in our team with some of our guides having trained with Norman himself.  Our guides offer guests a raw, authentic safari experience and don't let the finer details in these vast spaces pass you by. 

    Zambia

    Liuwa Plain

    Liuwa Plain’s vast savannah is one of the oldest conservation areas in Africa, yet it’s one of Africa’s best-kept secrets. With its golden grasslands and shimmering lagoons, Liuwa Plain transforms with the arrival of the rains from a vast grass plains to a watery wonderland.

    Zambia

    Lower Zambezi

    Nestled between the imposing mountain escarpment to the north and the mighty Zambezi River to the south, the Lower Zambezi Valley has a variety of activities that few, if any, other destinations can offer. It has been described by guests as their "happy place" because of its beautiful scenery, peaceful riverside woodlands and abundant wildlife. The Lower Zambezi is just a short 30 minute flight from Lusaka and offers guests the thrill of tiger-fishing to peaceful wildlife sightings on the banks of the river while canoeing or boating. Our guides strive to make each guest feel like they are part of the landscape and not a mere spectator.

    "The uniqueness of being in a camp with only four safari tents is the ultimate feeling of luxury.  Luwi overlooks a wide open grassland that on my first morning we watched a high speed chase - a pack of Wilddogs on a hunt.  It was exhilarating to watch and sent our heart rates through the sky adding a lot of chatter and laughter once the pack had passed by."
    Jessica, Guest Time + Tide Luwi
    "The authenticity and remoteness of the seasonal camps will be a special experience that I will long to return to.  There really is no place on earth that you can really escape like you can at the seasonal camps.  Falling asleep at Kakuli to the distant lion roars and waking to the call of the fish eagle - really what a magical walking safari!"
    Lara, Guest Time + Tide Kakuli
    This is the most magical place you're ever likely to experience. Nestled under a grove of imposing Albida trees, it is clearly favoured by the many elephant who graze on the Albida pods. Their presence adds an incredibly special energy to the camp. 
    Charles, Guest at Time + Tide Chongwe Camp
    The lodge is stunning and all the staff are utterly wonderful. The views from the lodge are outstanding, lovely Liuwa wilderness. My bedroom was incredibly comfortable, very stylish, hitting a difficult combination of minimalist yet luxury. Incredibly comfortable bed and many relaxing areas to rest. 
    Mandy, Guest at Time + Tide King Lewanika
    Our family had the most joyful time at Chongwe, really everything was perfect and every detail taken care of. The team ensured we had the best time at every activity (even tiger fishing!). We felt privileged to spend a few days here and look forward to returning.
    Richard, Guest at Time + Tide Chongwe
    "Thank you for embracing the unique culture of Barotseland through storytelling, song, dance, drums and the marimba - this is a jewel in the necklace of the African Parks managed conservation areas we are visiting across Africa - much appreciated."
    Kingsley Holgate, Guest at Time + Tide King Lewanika
    Chinzombo is a stunning lodge in a beautiful location of the South Luangwa. The rooms are luxurious and spacious, with a deck and plunge pool overlooking the Luangwa River. There is always an abundance of wildlife around the rooms, we had a banded mongoose, bushbuck, elephants and hippo's - just to name a few.
    Michael, Guest at Time + Tide Chinzombo