Banti Forest (22.2 km²) is south of the Bvumba Highlands, across the Burma valley. It forms part of the international boundary with Mozambique and is bounded by commercial farms and resettlement farms. It is not easily accessible, but can be reached via dirt roads from Himalaya Police Station, about 30 km east from the Mutare–Chimanimani road. There are landmines along the border, the exact placement of which is not known. Banti Forest is administered by the Forestry Commission. There is no infrastructure and the area is used only for cattle-grazing by nearby farmers. There are about five peasant families resident in the south-west corner of the Forest Land.
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. Fifty-one species were collected here in 1962 and 1973. The area was also investigated in the 1970s. Since then there have been no extensive surveys, as the area was inhospitable during Zimbabwe’s Independence War, and until the recent peace accord in Mozambique. A brief field trip (two days) in March 1997 listed 48 species, but did not record Hirundo atrocaerulea, although the habitat appeared suitable.
Non-bird biodiversity: There is little information on other important montane species. The 1997 field trip identified 27 species of terrestrial and epiphytic orchid. There is an endemic butterfly, Mylothris carcassoni.
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Banti Forest Reserve. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/09/2021.