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Southern and Central Mozambique Trip Report - July August 2006
This was a 16 day trip organized and Led by Etienne Marais. In total 14 people in 6 vehicles took part. Overall over 370 species were recorded, (with the trip list starting outside of South Africa) including most of the Mozambique and Eastern Zimbabwe specials. All in all, the 14 people who went on the trip (including the leader) recorded over 650 lifers.
Etienne Marais, Lisl van Deventer, David Hall, John van Zyl, Mike Clacey (From Vilanculos onwards), Peter Wilgenbus, Gina Wilgenbus, Rob Cliff, Stephanie Webber, William Dunn, Marion Dunn, Nicole Rossi, Pieter van Zyl, Lukas Botha – all in six vehicles – all linked with radios.
Day 1: 28 July South Africa to Casa Lisa
In order to include Panda in the itinerary we entered Mozambique via Komatipoort and everyone traveled independently to Casa Lisa. Several people made use of a “border agent” at Ressano Garcia – which made the border passage fairly smooth. We exchanged Rand for Mets for rand at a rate of R1:3.5 (The Meticais has just been changed to Mets which involves losing three zeros, so R1: 3500 of old currency)
All vehicles traveled through the border independently and proceed to Casa Lisa. Several who had got through the border early explored the area around the Komati River Estuary and a number of birds were recorded including Senegal Lapwing, White Pelican and Greater Flamingo on the wetlands at Maputo. General Bushveld birding in the area towards Casa Lisa produced species such as Green Pigeon and Purple-crested Turaco. Casa Lisa is somewhat of a haven - well off the road and in nice surroundings about 48km north of Maputo. The entire group enjoyed a good sit-down dinner at Casa Lisa (R75-00 per head) , before settling into comfortable chalets with the ever-present watch of armed guards, which are a feature of Mozambique’s post-war rehabilitation programme.
Day 2: 29 July Casa Lisa to Zavora – birding en-route.
The group left Casa Lisa at 7:30 am headed northwards on the EN1. This was to be mostly a driving day, but a stop was made at the wetland and floodplain areas before Magul (on the Nkomati River Floodplain) to search for Rosy-throated Longclaw. Many Yellow-throated Longclaws were seen, as well as species such as Grey-rumped Swallow, Rufous-winged Cisticola, Fan-tailed Widowbird and Rufous-bellied Heron. There are many tempting looking wetlands on this drive, and those alongside the Limpopo also produced Marsh Owl and Osprey. The roads were generally in better condition than expected save for some horrendous patches. A massive thunderstorm was experienced at the town of Inharrime – turning the road to mud, but the last stretch of road to Zavora Lodge was reasonable. At Zavora Lodge most of the group ate seafood in the restaurant, with the others doing a braai on the seasand.
Day 3: 30 July Zavora to Panda and on to Morrungulo
During the night several of the group were unsettled by the massive frog chorus, through which the hooting of Red-chested Flufftail could hardly be discerned. We left camp at 5:30am, and disturbed a Swamp Nightjar on the road adjacent to the marsh, where African Rail called. The road to Inharrime was good, but it deteriorated afterwards, making progress to Panda slow. Anxious not to use up “weaver” time, our stops on the wetlands between Inharrime and Panda were frustratingly brief, but we did see a few good birds in the form of Jacana’s, Purple Heron and a nice Rufous-bellied Heron which sat out in the open. Soon afterwards a flock of Black-eared Seed-eaters did not stick around to allow views and our next stop – south-west of Panda was for a superb Cuckoo Hawk which circled low overhead. About 14km from Panda we started birding and took several walks through the woodlands. The birding was good with several bird parties on offer, almost all of which included numbers of White-breasted Cuckoo-shrike, Pale Batis and Southern Hyliota. We had cracking views of a pair of Raquet-tailed Rollers in the woodland. The group had a hard time getting onto the bird parties which included Olive-headed Weavers. This bird repeatedly managed to disappear from view as soon as a few people had got onto them. Eventually everyone obtained satisfactory birds of the weavers – which actually seemed quite common – we may have seen as many as 5 pairs in all. Red-faced Crombec, Stierling’s Barred Warbler, Giant-eagle Owl, Fawn-coloured Lark and Miombo-glossy Starling were also recorded, along with Golden-breasted Bunting (not Cabanis’s).
We headed north back to Panda and then towards Morrungulo via Homoine – the latter town which boasts one of the worst patches of “tar” road anywhere. Good time was made and we arrived in Morrungulo with time to bird. This superb beach locality has excellent facilities and proved to be alive with Collared Palm-thrush! Everyone self-catered at Morrungulo.
Day 4: 31 July Morrungulo to Vilanculos, Save Pan and on to Rio Save Game Reserve.
We spent a little time birding in the morning and everyone had cracking views of collared Palm-thrush, while Rufous-winged Cisticola, Thick-billed Weaver, Tambourine Dove, Scarlet-Chested and Purple-banded Sunbirds were also seen.
We then headed north in somewhat overcast conditions and found the road good. About 48km north of Massinga, we stopped at the first of the two major Baobab forests and soon located both Bohm’s and Mottled Spinetails, although the latter proved a little un-co-operative. A stop at the second group of Baobab’s about 10km further on was even more productive with a host of birds in the area – including Klaas’s Cuckoo, Gymnogene, Mosque Swallow, Collared Sunbird and this time more obliging Mottled Spinetail – which are no doubt often overlooked because of their similarity to Little Swifts (also present)
Next stop was Vilanculos- to pick up Mike Clacey (who had just phoned to say that he was looking at Madagascar Bee-eaters from his lodge lawn). Unfortunately the Bee-eaters seemed to have moved into cover (or away) as a three hour search of the area did not produce any. We did see more Collared Palm-thrush, Purple-banded Sunbird, Whimbrel, Red-backed Mannikin and Red-billed Firefinch. Some of the group changed money and refueled (the former rather time-consuming) and some birding on the wetlands outside of town produced Pink-backed Pelicans, various egrets, Pygmy Geese, Whiskered Tern, African Fish Eagle and Quail Finch.
We headed north, with time running out, and popped in at Save Pan – the track substantially widened since last year. A walk to the pan produced a nice Plain-backed Sunbird and we found the level of the pan very low. Lizard Buzzard and a nice pair of Dickinson’s Kestrel watched over the open spaces around the pan.
Then it was on to Rio Save Game Reserve, the entrance of which is 29km north of the impressive Save River Bridge. This is a 300 000 ha hunting and eco-tourism concession and the camp is fairly new, and simple. It is beautifully set amidst giant baobab trees and although the facilities are fairly basic, everyone appreciated the wilderness experience of sitting around a fire beneath one of the giants, with regular fly-pasts of a pair of Barn Owl, who were feeding young living inside the Baobab. Scops Owl were everywhere and all had excellent views of one who came to visit us.
Day 5: 1 August (Tue) Rio Save to Rio Savanne
Early morning birding at Rio Save Game Reserve produced typical bushveld birds such as Brown-headed Parrots, Black Flycatcher, Pale Batis, Greater Honeyguide, Red-headed Weaver and Lizard Buzzard on the way out. The drive northwards was mixed with the usual variation between excellent highway and atrociously potholed detours. Birding along the way was sporadic, and we picked up a variety of Bushveld birds including Kingfishers, Hornbills and Shrikes. As one approaches Inchope, the woodland looks very enticing, but we pushed on with the Rio Savanne wetlands in mind. Just before Tica two vehicles which stopped to refuel picked up a flock of Black-winged Bishop,, and several African Marsh Harriers were seen on the Pungwe flats. The search for unleaded fuel in Beira proved fruitless, and after some shopping at the Shoprite about 3km beyond the Rio Savanne turn-off (where some also drew cash with a credit card), we headed through the village on the Rio Savanne road.
We found the Rio Savanne floodplain generally rather dry, compared to 2005, and headed for the forest patch (11km beyond Beira), but found it relatively quiet. On the way in to Rio Savanne many Senegal Lapwing were in evidence and after an epic “unload” 14 birders managed to cross the river on one boat without too much trouble. The Rio Savanne camp was visited by Magpie Mannikin and also had resident Collared Palm-thrush. Dinner was pretty good – but the beer better – particularly with the realization that we had completing the toughest part of the driving on this trip.
Day 6: 2 August Rio Savanne area
Sunrise found us on the boat, crossing southwards over the river. We stopped in the grasslands near the parking area to look at many displaying Flappet Larks and the local Grey-rumped Swallows. We then headed into the private reserve area south of the river and west of the main road (previously known as the area behind the locked chain). Several hours of walking on the grasslands produced a number of Locust Finches, Quail finches, Black-rumped Buttonquail, and near a small wetland, a calling Anchieta’s Tchagra – which we were however unable to locate. Collared Pratincole wheeled overhead, and after working hard at it, most of the group eventually got satisfactory flight and ground views of Locust Finch. Short-tailed Pipit were not quite as co-operative – and seemed far less numerous here than the previous year. We also saw some fine Wattled Crane, Rufous-bellied Heron, African Snipe and a variety of storks including Saddle-billed, Woolly-necked and Yellow-billed as well as raptors such as Dark-chanting Goshawk, Bateleur, African Marsh Harrier and Yellow-billed Kite.
A visit to the Chinese-run Prawn “factory” area was a little disappointing from an access point of view, but we did pick up a variety of herons, shorebirds and a few terns (Common, Little, Caspian, Whiskered). In the late afternoon we returned across the river to Rio Savanne, and as it got dark, did some nightjar watching to get good looks at the resident Square-tailed Nightjars.
Day 7: 3 August Rio Savanne area
After crossing the river for the fourth time, we stopped to have another look at the Grey-rumped Swallows, and found them feeding young in a burrow on the edge of the road. We then headed for the forest patch and spent several hours birding there. Birding with a big group in a forest is challenging and those who got best results were those who sat quietly on their own and waited for bird parties to come past, birds seen included included Tiny Greenbul, Puffback, Black-headed Apalis (only seen by a few people), Eastern Nicator, Green Malkahoa, Woodward’s Batis, Red-capped Robin-chat, Olive Sunbird and Grey-backed Camaroptera. We then headed back north to Rio Savanne in convoy, and Stephanie spotted a Great Bittern on the edge of the road, As the message came over the radio, spectacular U-turns were the order of the day as 5 vehicles converged on the spot, where a Great Bittern sat motionless only 5m from the road in an absolutely open position. Shortly afterwards it flushed and landed a bit further, where inferior, more concealed (but for a Bittern, still very good) views were enjoyed. John and Mike had stopped for lunch in the forest, and were getting onto a Black-headed Apalis, when Rob Cliff most generously went back to fetch them (their radio was off), and after arriving, John thrice flushed the bird for all to enjoy superb flight views of this “bird of birds”.
Back at Rio Savanne, John and Mike enjoyed a beer in the outside pub, when a Green-backed Woodpecker came into the pub to inspect the timbers. Other birds seen in the camp area included Yellow Weaver, Collared Palm-Thrush, Grey Sunbird and Purple-banded Sunbird.
Day 8: 4 August Rio Savanne to Chinizua
A short delay to allow everyone to look at the local Green-backed Woodpecker, was successful as the blighter arrived in camp and completely ignored everyone! We planned to stop briefly in Beira, but the lack of unleaded fuel, or a working ATM delayed our departure for some time and we headed up to Dondo and on towards Muanza later than hoped.
Several roadside stops for birding produced a variety of birds, which included Eastern Saw-wing and a flock of Miombo Starlings near Muanza. We then headed onto the wonderful Chinizua miombo road, and stopped immediately to chase after woodpeckers and other birds which came past. Apart from many Green-backed Woodpeckers, bearded and Cardinal Woodpeckers, we also saw Cabanis’s Bunting, White-breasted Cuckoo-shrike, Green-capped Eremomela, Red-faced Crombec, Grey Penduline Tit, Violet-backed Sunbird, Retz’ Helmet Shrike, Pale Batis, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater and others. The search through every bird party we encountered was facilitated as Etienne rode on the roof and led the chase into the woodland whenever parties were encountered. As we approached the taller, damper woodlands near Chinizua itself we also encountered Red-winged Warbler, a pair of obliging Black and White (Vanga) Flycatchers and Red-throated Twinspot. We found the bridge over the small Chinizua stream to consist of some wonky looking poles and rather than risking a crossing with six vehicle we decided to camp in a clearing 2km back along the main road. This not before a moment of frustration as a Speckle-throated Woodpecker called in the tree graveyard/mielie field which was once pristine lowland forest adjacent to the small field. However the day gave out on us, and we opted to set up camp in the twilight rather than continuing to search for the elusive woodpecker.
Day 9: 5 August Chinizua to Catapu
During the night we were serenaded by Barrred, Wood and Verreaux's Eagle- Owl and Fiery-necked Nightjar. In the pre-dawn gloom African Broadbill called near the camp. A walk in the semi-degraded woodland in this area produced some bird parties and every Hyliota was examined carefully, but all were Southern! Here we also saw a number of Black-eared Seed-eater and Magpie Mannikin. We then walked to denser forest beyond the Chinizua River, where all had excellent close up views of an East Coast (Gunning’s) Akalat. This woodland is essentially mostly secondary growth, and not virgin forest. Further birding in the Chinizua area produced a nice flock of Chestnut-fronted Helmet-shrike, Plain-backed Sunbird and Red-throated Twinspot. We then headed back towards Muanza, birding all the way and saw many of the areas specials again including better views of Red-winged Warblers, Violet-backed Sunbird and still more Green-backed Woodpecker.
Our concern for the Muanza-Inhamitanga road was largely unfounded as the road had been recently worked on and was actually quite OK. En-route to Catapu, the most notable sighting was a Thick-billed Cuckoo – seen only by the birders in the lead vehicle.
Day 10: 6 August - Catapu –area Zambezi Coutadas (Zambezi Valley)
The morning focus was on some good patches of lowland forest in the Coutadas (Hunting Concesssions) about 40km from Catapu, in Coutada 12. Early on we had our first Livingstone’s Flycatchers - which are common in the area. In one of the denser patches of lowland forest with well-developed understory we located a White-chested Alethe, which responded vigourously to tape playback, and was well seen by four of the group. This bird moves very quickly, and when sitting still is hard to pick out. The rest of the day was taken up with a long drive through the Coutadas, during which we saw species such as Plain-backed Sunbird, all three Helmet-shrike species , Eastern Bearded Robin, Dark-backed Weaver, Kirk’s Francolin, Pale Batis, Red-throated Twinspot, African Crowned, Wahlberg’s, African Hawk and Bateleur Eagles, Black-chested and Southern-banded Snake Eagles, White-headed Vulture, Bohm’s Spinetail and Green-backed Woodpecker. Some of the group saw Short-winged Cisticola – which was strangely inconspicuous on this trip. We ended up at the Zambezi River at the grave site of Mary Moffat Livingstone and here saw a lone Southern Carmine Bee-eater, Pratincoles and hordes of Plain Martins. We arrived back at Catapu dusty and tired after the long drive.
Day 11, 7 August Catapu Birding
An early morning trip by some birders to try for the Alethe again, produced good views of Akalat, but no Alethe. The morning seemed much more active than the previous one with Silvery-cheeked Hornbills and Tiny Greenbul calls echoeing around the Coutada forest patches. We then headed up to Caia, and birded the somewhat dry wetlands near Caia where Collared Pratincoles where everywhere in evidence. Shorebirds included Avocet, Marsh Sandpiper, Ruff and we also saw African Openbilled Storks, Orange-breasted Waxbill and Southern-banded Snake Eagle. On the river we had Saddlebilled Stork and White-crowned Lapwing. The afternoon was further take up with exploring the Catapu area, some in search of Nicators, which are common around the sawmill. Others tried for the Alethe again and had good birding, including African Broadbill and Silvery-cheeked Hornbill.
Day 12, 8 August Catapu to Gorongosa to Catandica
We left Catapu at five and spent 25 minutes birding (Black-winged Bishop in partial breeding plumage) before Paul arrived at 7:15. Mike McNamara of the Carr Foundation who is involved with trying to save the forest on Gorongosa Mountain facilitated all the arrangements (including the compulsory “Ceremony”), and we paid a modest fee to contribute to a conservation fund aimed at replacing slash and burn agriculture on the mountain slopes with more sustainable land uses. A 16km drive to the Morrombedze Waterfall hike start point was relatively straightforward, and we started hiking at about 9:00am. We had three guides, the walk was enjoyable and the birding excellent. We saw Grey Waxbill, Variable Sunbird, Moustached Grass-Warbler, Singing Cisticola, Eastern Saw-wing, Croaking Cisticola, Dark-capped Yellow Warbler, Long-crested Eagle and Livingstone’s Turaco - on the way up. The hike was a total of 16km and was relatively easy. A stop at the superb Morrombedze Waterfall produced Long-tailed (Mountain) Wagtail. On arriving in the forest proper we walked in a little way, before playing the call of the Green-headed Oriole, which appeared shortly afterwards. The height of the canopy provided a challenge, but eventually the whole group (except Gina Wilgenbus who had stayed a the Waterfall) got good views of the Oriole. As it turned out, Gina saw the Oriole at the waterfall itself, but I would not bet on it being seen there regularly!
The walk down also offered good birding, the highlights being Blue-spotted Wood Dove and a pair of Anchieta’s Tchagra, just a short way from the Car Park. We arrived back at the Car Park just after 3:00pm and then headed for Casa Msika, some seeing Miombo Glossy Starling on the drive down the mountain. The drive to Casa Msika was slow and we also stopped to fill up all fuel tanks and jerry cans with fuel (unleaded available) in Chimoio. We arrived at about 7:00pm to find the accommodation at Casa Msika was in a rather disappointing state of disrepair, and for some the much anticipated hot shower did not materialize! The food at the restaurant was not bad and worked out at about R34 per head.
Day 13, 9 August Casa Msika to Aberfoyle (Border crossing into Zimbabwe)
The keenest of the group were up early for some birding and picked up species such as Kurrichane Thrush and Red-faced Crombec. The lake-shore was alive with birds and we added species like Mocking Cliff-chat and Green-backed Heron to the trip-list, before heading to the border post. The border post into Zimbabwe was relatively non-problematic, (R400 per vehicle in border charges) and we headed into Mutare, where we met up with David from Seldomseen. While the group leader spent 13 million Zim dollars on provisions the rest of the group birded the lower end of Cecil Kop Nature reserve, where highlights included Scarce Swift, Livinstone’s Turaco and an unidentied bird. Once Etienne arrived, some more good birding produced Whyte’s Barbet, and the unidentified birds turned out to be juvenile Orange-winged Pytilia – which responded well to a recording of it’s call. We also saw Golden Rumped Tinker Barbet, Heuglin’s Robin and an assortment of Sunbirds. Mottled Swift made another fly-past, and on the way out we had excellent views of an Ayre’s Eagle. The top end (wilderness area) of Cecil Kop proved to be brilliant with a bird party which included Cinnamon-breasted Tit, Miombo Tit, Lazy Cisticola, Cabanis’s Bunting and the most exciting of all: Spotted Creeper. When first spotted, the call of “Creeper” produced the amazing site of 14 birders charging at speed up a fairly steep slope to get close to where the bird had landed. Everyone subsequently got excellent views of this bird and some also saw Miombo Rock-thrush and a pair of Augur Buzzard. We then headed for Aberfoyle – some 130km from Mutare, and everyone enjoyed checking into the excellent accommodation there, but not before we watched one of the resident Palm-nut Vultures doing a fly-past.
Day 13, 10 July Aberfoyle to Seldomseen (Bvumba)
Apart from the superb accommodation and setting, Aberfoyle was a little of an anti-climax, not least because we had already seen many of the local specials. We did two walks with local guide Morgan (who still has a lot to learn), which produced a juvenile Narina Trogon, African Goshawk, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Grey Waxbill, Starred Robin, Cabanis’s Bunting, African Golden Oriole, Mountain Wagtail, Eastern Saw-wing, Palm-nut Vulture, Black-throated Wattle-eye, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, White-eared Barbet, Ashy Flycatcher, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Black-fronted Bush-shrike, Green Twinspot and Tropical Boubou.
The breakfast vigil from the lodge itself was probably the most productive period of the day and we then headed back towards Mutare – destination Seldomseen. We took a detour via the Penalonga road, where we found another bird party with Hyliota’s and a pair of displaying Brown-backed Honeybird, as well as several Augur Buzzards.
Arriving at Seldomseen some of the group immediately started to get lifers in the form of White-tailed Crested Flycatcher which was seen along the driveway.
Day 13, 11 August Seldomseen area and Bvumba
The group was divided into two and each was taken by Peter and Bulawesi for a walk through the forest. One group saw a few more birds than the other, which is always a risk if you divide the group up, but all in all the morning was very successful with species like White-tailed Crested Flycatcher, Starred and Swynnerton’s Robin, Red-faced Crimsonwing, Briar Warbler, Chirinda Apalis, Orange- Ground Thrush, Stripe-cheeked Greenbul, Gurney’s Sugarbird, , Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, and Miombo-Double-collared Sunbird.
The Bvumba Botanical Gardens were very expensive to get into but provided good birds in the form of Swynnerton’s Robin, Bronzy Sunbird, Livingstone’s Turaco, Barratt’s Warbler, Black-fronted Bush-shrike and Green Twinspot. Most of the group also visited Leopard Rock Hotel, where Miombo Tit and others obliged.
In the afternoon most of the group melted into the forests and some, with the help of the superb Bulawesi – or on their own, got better views of Orange-ground Thrush, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Swynnerton’s Robin, Red-faced Crimsonwing, Buff-spotted Flufftail and other forest birds.
A further excursion into prime miombo near the White-horse Inn produced another excellent bird party which once again included Cinnamon-breasted Tit – which seems to be really quite a different bird from the Rufous-bellied which is found in Caprivi and Western Zambia, and with which it is curiously lumped by some works. This party also had Miombo Tit, both Chin-spot and Pale Batis, Red-faced Crombec and others, while Mottled Swift was once again seen in the area.
Day 14, 12 August Seldomseen to South Africa
We left at about 5:00 am and headed towards Masvingo, where a flock of Miombo-glossy starlings eluded us. A stop for likely looking widows produced only Yellow Bishop, although the most likely looking candidates for Yellow-backed Widow (non-breeding) disappeared before we could confirm the sighting. After negotiating several mostly innocuous roadblocks we stopped for some woodland birding – and chased a good bird party for some time in the hope of picking up Green-backed Honeybird.
The last lifer for most of the group was a Boulder Chat seen in a koppie about 80km south of Masvingo, but the drive added a host of new trip birds in the form of Meve’s Starling, White-crowned Shrike and even an “edge of range” Great Sparrow south of Masvingo.
The Beit Bridge border post proved to be very quick and easy on the Zim side and somewhat more tricky and frustrating on the South African side.
Back in South Africa, most of the group headed for fast food, before making their way back to their various destinations.
Travelling in Mozambique remains challenging, and the challenge of communication for English speakers is one of the most daunting issues. Corruption remains a problem, although only one minor incident of intimidation/bribe in Mozambique and a few rather innocuous “hints” in Zimbabwe were experienced by the group. We adopted the approach of “friendly respect” towards all officials, and feigned dumb ignorance at rather obtuse hints about money and wealth. We even had a Zimbabwean female police official admitting to being a closet birder! Most frustrating for the group was when the leader and a reserve bank official got into a lengthy discussion on the relative merits of Eric Cantona vs Thierry Henry as strikers!
Accomodation facilities in Mozambique are generally much more basic than in South Africa, and the food was not always of the highest standard, but other than at Casa Msika (which has gone downhill somewhat over the last few years), the group generally enjoyed the locations we visited.
We generally felt safe throughout the trip, and experienced no cases of theft, intimidation or unpleasantness. Despite traveling through 13 Roadblocks with six vehicles (in Zimbabwe), only one vehicle experienced any more than a cursory search.
Vehicles with unleaded fuel are not advisable for a trip like this – not yet anyway and the two unleaded vehicles had to fill up with ordinary petrol – apparently not a problem for a few thousand km or so. Fuel availability in Zimbabwe remains a problem and trips to Eastern Zimbabwe should be combined with trips to Central Mozambique, where fuel is readily available. All vehicles on this trip were able to cover about 1100km without refueling to manage the Catapu and Zimbabwe legs of the trip.
Roads are variable, but improving all the time. Care and awareness is always required when driving in Mozambique. Roads varied from atrocious to very good. Overall distance traveled was about 4300km
The highlights of this trip from a birding point of view, were probably the Great Bittern, The Spotted Creeper and the Anchieta’s Tchagra on Mount Gorongosa. A minority vote from the lucky few who saw it, was for the White-chested Alethe at Catapu. Locality-wise, Panda, Gorongosa and Seldomseen probably stood out a little above the rest, and Aberfoyle was probably the largest anti-climax of the this particular trip.