Nchila Reserve

Nchila Reserve: Our full report


Nchila Reserve is tucked away in the far northwest of Zambia, and is best reached by flying from Lusaka or northern Kafue. Dr Walter Fisher founded a mission here in 1889, and the estate (known as Hillwood Farm) is still run by his descendents. It's an amazing place, including an orphanage, a school, a farm, and the reserve.Looking at Nchla on a map, you'll realise that it's close to the rainforests of the Congo Basin. Hence ornithologists know it as a place to spot numerous birds which are either rare in, or absent from, the rest of southern and East Africa. Enthusiasts can find black-collared bulbuls, Angola larks, blue-breasted kingfishers, blue-headed and green-throated sunbirds, Forbe's plovers, red-bellied paradise flycatchers, white-cheeked bee-eaters, white-spotted flufftails and many other rare species.

Aside from the birds, the reserve is one of Africa's best places to see roan and large, relaxed herds of eland and sable antelope (including the rare Angolan giant sable). You'll also find Kafue lechwe, Lichtenstein's Hartebeest, Oribi, some very relaxed sitatungas, and a variety of other more common antelope.

Accommodation is in one of three beautiful thatched chalets - stylish and comfortable. Come for three nights to explore; it's an unusual place to visit, but well worth the trip.

Getting to Nchila usually requires us to charter a private plane from Lusaka, or at least northern Kafue. Hence getting there is costly. It's a destination for those who are serious about their birds, and we recommend that if you visit, then you stay for at least 3-4 days.


Location: Northern Zambia, Zambia

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Independent / Owner Run

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Dining style: Group Meals

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Further dining info: No

Special interests

Birdwatching: Dozens of species are found here and in the equatorial forests which are hard to rare or hard to find elsewhere. An amazing place to visit on a Zambia birdwatching break for those wishing to explore a remote area, close to the Congo Basin.

See more ideas for Birdwatching in Zambia


Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Dangerous animals: Low Risk


Disabled access: Not Possible