Personalised Namibia Birding

Personalised Namibia Birding Trip Report
25 October to 9 November 2019

During the tour the temperature ranged from 09ºC to 43ºC.
We recorded 41 mammal species, over 350 species of birds and 9 species of reptiles. The species mentioned in the daily summaries are only some of those seen.

Daily Report
Day 1: Friday 25 October 2019. Zambezi River. Katima Mulilo.
Our wonderful birding trip of Namibia started with us all meeting along the Zambezi River just east of the town of Katima Mulilo in northeastern Namibia’s Caprivi Strip. The group arrived from Kasane, settled in and we got our first taste of some of the great birding the Caprivi has to offer. Highlights included Tropical Boubou, Whiskered Tern, Lesser and Greater Honeyguide, Hartlaub’s Babbler, African Fish Eagle, Coppery-tailed Coucal and a stunning pair of Schalow’s Turaco – a top bird to get and we had brilliant views.

We enjoyed a lovely traditional braai (BBQ) dinner and all had a good night’s rest before the start of a great birding adventure through Namibia.

Day 2: Saturday 26 October 2019. Zambezi River, Broad-leaf Woodland and Zambezi floodplain
Our Namibian birding adventure began with us heading to the Zambezi floodplain to do some early morning birding. We enjoyed a good morning and birding highlights included Hartlaub’s Babbler, African Openbill, African Pygmy Goose, Long-toed Lapwing, Ruff, Hottentot and Red-billed Teal, Lesser Jacana and Black-chested Snake Eagle.

With the mercury rising above 35 degrees Celsius we headed back to our lodge for a late breakfast, during which we enjoyed a fly-by sighting of Little Sparrowhawk. We tried our luck in a patch of Miombo woodland for Racket-tailed Roller; we missed the roller but had some other good birds which included Bennett’s Woodpecker, Retz’s Helmetshrike, Broad-billed Roller and Cardinal Woodpecker. With it being hot and the bird action dying down we headed for the lodge to relax, cool off in the pool and enjoy lunch in the shade and comfort of the lodge.

Racket-tailed Rollers in the Miombo woodland
Our afternoon activities included a boat trip on the mighty Zambezi River and a visit to the famous Southern Carmine Bee-eater colony. We had a wonderful afternoon and enjoyed some great birding, highlights included African Skimmer, Giant Kingfisher, White-crowned Lapwing, Great White Pelican, Saddle-billed and Yellow-billed Stork, African Spoonbill and Banded Martin. The cherry on the top was visiting the Southern Carmine Bee-eater colony. We had over 2,000 birds coming into the colony and scraping and digging to build nests. It’s an incredible sight to see over 2,000 Bee-eaters fly up in front of you and a sighting any birder should witnesses. With the sun setting we headed back to our lodge and freshened up for another wonderful dinner.

We chatted about our great first day, about birding in Uganda and all the recent birding spikes that have taken place across the globe. It’s great to see the hobby growing. It was interesting to hear from one of our clients about the birding he is done in the Far East and how birding has grown across the globe. We tried our luck at some owling and a short night drive and we didn’t get any owls but an amazing sighting of a Serval lying next to a pan! We got close to her and managed to get top views on this beautiful cat – a great mammal sighting for the trip. We also managed to see a Square-tailed Nightjar and Southern Lesser Galago.

Southern Carmine Bee-eaters

Giant Kingfisher

Day 3: Sunday 27 October 2019. Zambezi River and birding boat cruise
An early start was on the cards for us to enjoy some birding in the Miombo and broadleaf woodland before it gets too hot. We had some good luck and managed to obtain some incredible views on a pair of Arnot’s Chats displaying for us. Other highlights included Yellow-throated Bush Sparrow, White-crested Helmetshrike, Striped Kingfisher, Meyers’s Parrot, Violet-backed Starling and Willow Warbler. We headed for a local wetland to see what birds we could connect with and managed to get good views of Northern Grey-headed Sparrow, Jacobin and African Cuckoo, Rufous-bellied Heron, Common Moorhen, African Reed Warbler and African Swamphen. We made our way to our lodge for a late breakfast and enjoyed a slight break in the shade and out of the heat. We said our goodbyes to the wonderful staff at the lodge and made our way to our next lodge only a few kilometres further along the Zambezi River.

On the way we tried a local spot we know of for Racket-tailed Roller and lady luck was on our side and we had a wonderful sighting of a pair of birds – what a great bird to get! With the temperature over 40 degrees Celsius we headed for our lodge, checked in and enjoyed lunch overlooking the river. On the lodge grounds we enjoyed some good birding and managed good views of Red-billed Firefinch, Marico Sunbird, Terrestrial Brownbul, Southern Yellow White-eye, Schalow’s Turaco, Gabar Goshawk and Olive Woodpecker.

Our afternoon birding boat trip was most enjoyable and our luck continued and we enjoyed good sightings of Giant Kingfisher, African Finfoot, Black-crowned Night Heron, Striated Heron and as we arrived back at camp the resident African Wood Owl greeted us. What a way to end the day! We had a glorious African sunset and freshened up before dinner. We had a wonderful meal listening to the calls of the owls as we chatted away about birding and how our hobby has lead us to travel all around the globe. We all had a good night’s rest after a busy and successful day birding in northeastern Namibia.

African Finfoot along the Zambezi

Day 4: Monday 28 October 2019. Okavango Panhandle. Botswana
We once again had an early start to get some good birding in before the heat really kicks in and to also make our way along the Caprivi Strip towards Botswana. The Caprivi Strip was named after German Chancellor Leo von Caprivi (in office 1890–1894), who negotiated the acquisition of the land in an 1890 exchange with the United Kingdom. Caprivi arranged for the Caprivi Strip to be annexed to German South West Africa in order to give Germany access to the Zambezi River and a route to Africa’s east coast, where the colony of German East Africa (now part of Tanzania) was situated. The river later proved unnavigable and inaccessible to the Indian Ocean due to the Victoria Falls. The transfer of territory was a part of the Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty of 1890, in which Germany gave up its interest in Zanzibar in return for the Caprivi Strip and the island of Heligoland in the North Sea.

After a coffee and rusks we headed for Divundu. On the way we stopped at a pan in Katima Mulilo and got rewarded with some great views of a Slaty Egret – a top find and a big target for the trip. We also tried a local spot we know of for Copper Sunbird and with some work managed to get great views and pictures of a female bird – a great start to our morning. We made our way along the strip to Bwabwata National Park and enjoyed a picnic breakfast in the park. Roadside highlights included Bradfield’s Hornbill, Southern Black Flycatcher, Bateleur and Arrow-marked Babbler. We all enjoyed our breakfast while watching a stunning Crimson-breasted Shrike. As we made our way into the park and onto the Okavango River floodplain we had good views of Lappet-faced, White-backed and White-headed Vultures. Our drive in the park was a success and we enjoyed views of Black-faced Babbler, Meves’s Starling, African Spoonbill, Goliath Heron, Long-toed Lapwing and Wattled Crane. The mammal sightings were also great and we enjoyed the lovely scene of the hundreds of African Buffalo, Red Lechwe and African Elephants on the floodplain – like a scene from National Geographic. We also enjoyed a wonderful sighting of a Sable Antelope bull posing for us beautifully.

Sable Antelope in Mahangu NP
We enjoyed lunch overlooking the Okavango River and at lunch we had another sighting of a Slaty Egret – two in one day! Other highlights included Swamp Boubou, Hartlaub’s Babbler, Greater Blue-eared Starling, Spectacled Weaver and Groundscraper Thrush. We soon had to pull ourselves away from the river and head for the Botswana border before it closed. A quick detour was made at the waterhole in Mahangu National Park to try and see Roan Antelope as it’s a mammal lifer for the group and our efforts paid off and we had a sighting of Roan and Sable Antelopes together at the waterhole – a top sighting of some of Africa’s more rare antelope species. We also enjoyed views of stunning Violet-eared Waxbill, Capped Wheatear and Green-winged Pytilia.

Our border crossing went smoothly and one of the first birds we saw in Botswana was a flock of Meyer’s Parrots coming into land. We arrived at Drotsky’s, our stunning lodge on the Okavango panhandle, and freshened up before dinner. We enjoyed a wonderful meal chatting about our day, birding trips we have done and would like to do. I enjoyed listening to the group chat about the birding in Asia and it was enjoyable to hear about the birds seen in the Far East.

After dinner we tried our luck at some owling and managed to connect with a lovely Southern White-faced Owl that posed perfectly for us. We also came across some big African Elephant bulls just outside the camp. The clear sky meant we also had some incredible views of the stars. African Barred Owlet, African Scops Owl and Fiery-necked Nightjar were all heard on the drive. We all enjoyed a good night’s rest after another exciting and busy day of birding.

African Elephant bull in Etosha NP

Day 5: Tuesday 29 October 2019. Okavango Panhandle Boat Cruise and Mahangu National Park – Namibia
This morning we decided to do a short walk around the lodge grounds before breakfast. Our walk was most enjoyable and sightings included Chirping Cisticola, African Reed Warbler, Broad-billed Roller, Southern Yellow White-eye, Southern Brown-throated Weaver, Holub’s Golden Weaver and Meyer’s Parrot.

After a hearty breakfast we headed out on our boat trip on the Okavango to try and find Pel’s Fishing Owl – one of our main targets for the trip. We were also targeting some of the Okavango River specials we still had to see. The trip was a huge success with us having the most incredible sighting of Pel’s Fishing Owl close to the boat – they showed off well and we all got some great photos! Other highlights for the trip included Western Osprey, Chirping and Luapula Cisticola, European Honey Buzzard, Greater Swamp Warbler, Southern Brown-throated Weaver, Sanderling and Blue-cheeked Bee-eater. What a wonderful trip!

Pel's Fishing Owl
At the lodge as we enjoyed a cup of coffee we had a great sighting of a flock of Brown Firefinch come by and give us some great views. We soon hit the road again and headed into Namibia and towards our lodge for the night on the Okavango River. We made a quick stop at a spot to see Rock Pratincole and managed to get some decent scope views on the birds.

Brown Firefinches along the Okavango
We enjoyed a relaxing lunch at our lodge on the river and settled into our accommodation before heading off to Mahangu National Park for the afternoon. Just as we were leaving we had a great sighting of an Ovambo Sparrowhawk in the gardens – a good bird to see.

We had another great drive in the park and managed to get good views of Tinkling Cisticola – a target for the trip. Other good birds included Double-banded Sandgrouse, Meves’s Starling, Spur-winged Goose, Marabou Stork, Red-billed Teal and Bradfield’s Hornbill. We enjoyed sightings of Roan and Sable Antelope, Common Warthog and African Buffalo in the park and got treated to a breathtaking sunset over the Okavango River as we left the park.

At our lodge just before dinner we had another great bird for the trip, and enjoyed watching a Bat Hawk trying to catch bats in front of the lodge. Dinner was enjoyed by all, and we laughed and chatted away about the funny things on the trip thus far and all got to bed for a good night’s rest as the next day we have an early start to bird the broadleaf woodland.

Day 6: Wednesday 30 October 2019. Birding the broadleaf woodland between Rundu and Divundu
Our morning once again began nice and early so we could enjoy birding the broadleaf woodland before it gets too hot. Our morning was productive and we enjoyed sightings of Green-capped Eremomela, Violet-eared Waxbill, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Tinkling Cisticola, Black-headed Oriole, Scarlet-chested Sunbird and Violet-backed Starling. The dry conditions that Namibia is experiencing make the woodland birding a challenge but we did enjoy some good sightings.

We made our way along the strip towards Rundu and checked a spot we know of for Sharp-tailed Starling and Lady Luck was on our side and we managed to get great views of this difficult to find species. Just before lunch we followed up on a report of Caspian Plover close to the lodge we were staying at. After some searching we managed to connect with two birds that gave us some great photographic opportunities.

We enjoyed our lunch overlooking the Okavango River and had some good garden birds in the lodge grounds. This included Kurrichane Thrush, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Hartlaub’s Babbler, Bradfield’s Hornbill and African Hoopoe. We took a slight break during the heat of the day before heading out to the woodland for some afternoon birding.

Our afternoon was a little quiet and we had sightings of typical woodland birds but unfortunately not our target the Rufous-bellied Tit – tomorrow is another day. We did however have good sightings of Fiery-necked and Square-tailed Nightjar on our way back and also managed to see a Central African Large-spotted Genet Genetta maculata – a good mammal for our trip. We sat down to enjoy another wonderful meal together and enjoyed a good laugh at each other about events that happen during the day – this is what makes tours great fun for a guide. We soon completed our lists and headed for bed as another early start awaits in the morning.

Day 7: Thursday 31 October 2019. Okavango River to Etosha National Park
Our morning once again began with an early start to get some birding in before the heat sets in and we also had a long drive to get to Etosha from the Caprivi Strip. We had a wonderful sighting of Coppery-tailed Coucal and Lanner Falcon as we left our lodge. Some birding highlights on route included Bradfield’s Hornbill, Martial Eagle and Brown Snake Eagle. We all enjoyed some good conversation on the long drive and chatted about birding and how the hobby is growing and how new destinations are opening up. We enjoyed lunch in Grootfontein before heading into Etosha National Park – the Great White Place.

Damara Red-billed Hornbill
Etosha in my opinion ranks as one of the top game parks in Africa and the wildlife and birding diversity is truly spectacular. As we made our way into the park we were greeted with a lovely sighting of Ashy Tit and Kalahari Scrub Robin. At Klein Namutoni waterhole we enjoyed watching a clan of Spotted Hyaenas sitting in the waterhole cooling off – it looked as if they were in the jacuzzi! Needless to the say the Giraffe and Plains Zebra did not look too impressed. We also enjoyed a wonderful sighting of a big bull African Elephant walking close by the safari vehicle. Other highlights included the endemic Kirk’s (Damara) Dik-dik, Black-faced subspecies of Impala, Common Wildebeest and Springbok. Birding highlights included Northern Black Korhaan, Damara Red-billed Hornbill, Pale Chanting Goshawk, Sabota and Red-capped Lark, Grey-backed Sparrowlark, African Cuckoo, Southern White-crowned Shrike and Tawny Eagle.

We had to make our way out of the park for gate closing time and enjoyed a spectacular sunset over the plains of Etosha. We arrived at our stunning lodge overlooking Etosha and settled in for dinner and a good night’s rest.

Day 8: Friday 1 November 2019. Exploring and Birding Eastern Etosha and Fisher’s Pan.
We started our day with an early breakfast overlooking the camp’s waterhole so we could get into Etosha and enjoy the birding and wildlife. As we entered the park we were greeted by the resident Giraffe around the gate and checked Klein Namutoni waterhole. The waterhole was pretty quiet so we made our way through the park slowly in the direction of Halali camp. The day was cooler and the wind had picked up so our morning started a little slow. We did however pick up some good bird sightings and highlights included Sabota and Fawn-coloured Lark, Red-necked and Peregrine Falcon, Northern Black Korhaan, Kalahari Scrub Robin and Tawny Eagle. We also enjoyed multiple sightings of the plains game which included Gemsbok, Plains Zebra, Springbok, Kirk’s (Damara) Dik-dik, Impala, Steenbok, Greater Kudu and Hartebeest (Red/caama subspecies). We also enjoyed some lovely interaction between some vultures and a Black-backed Jackal fighting over a Springbok kill. It was amazing to watch the vultures overpower the jackal and then see the pecking order between the Lappet-faced and White-backed Vultures. To see the huge Lappet-faced Vulture walking around wings spread out chasing the other vultures was comical!

Soon after this we had some more luck and managed to get some great views on Double-banded and Burchell’s Courser. Our lunch stop was enjoyed at Halali camp and we got lucky and had a good sighting of the Violet Wood Hoopoe in camp. After lunch the sightings continued to flow and we had the most spectacular sighting of a female Cheetah with three small cubs close to our safari vehicle.

Cheetah cub in Etosha NP

The Cheetahs really put on a show and we got some incredible pictures and the group really enjoyed the sighting. Soon after the Cheetah sighting we had a great sighting of two Lionesses next to the road. Wow what an afternoon! Birding was also good with us enjoying views of Dusky Sunbird, Acacia Pied Barbet, Great Sparrow, Chestnut-vented Warbler, Short-toed Rock Thrush and Desert Cisticola. We also got treated to a lightning show as we made our way out of the park – a little rain fell which is great for the area.

Double-banded Courser in Etosha NP
We freshened up for dinner and enjoyed a lovely venison steak at our stunning lodge overlooking Etosha. We completed our lists and chatted about our next day’s plan up to the Kunene region. I also enjoyed chatting to one of our clients about the birds he has in his yard in Northern California and seeing the pictures he has taken. We all enjoyed a wonderful meal and soon hit the sack as tomorrow was going to be another early start.

Day 9: Saturday 2 November 2019. Etosha National Park to Kunene River Lodge.
As per the norm our day began nice and early with breakfast at the lodge before we said goodbye to our wonderful hosts and headed into Etosha. We made our way up to Andoni plains to try and focus on some of the species we had missed. Our morning started off with a lovely sighting of Southern Pied Babblers just outside our lodge. As we made our way to Audoni plains we enjoyed a fantastic sighting of a handsome Lion and his two females, the beauty of birding in Etosha and a good distraction. The birding was good as usual with us enjoying sightings of Kori Bustard, Scaly-feathered Weaver, Cape Penduline Tit and Bateleur.

As we made our way on to the plains we started to enjoy some more great birding and the Andoni waterhole was extremely productive; highlights included South African Shelduck, Cape Teal, Marsh Sandpiper, Blue Crane, Lesser Flamingo, Pied Avocet, Saddle-billed Stork, and Namaqua and Burchell’s Sandgrouse. We also enjoyed a lovely sighting of a herd of Common Eland coming down to the waterhole to drink.

We made our way north to the Kunene River for the next two nights and our drive up was smooth and uneventful. We chatted about our sightings, birding across the globe and looked at planning a trip to Ghana. As we approached the Kunene River the birding picked up and we enjoyed sightings of Olive Bee-eater, White-tailed Shrike and Monteiro’s Hornbill. In our lodge grounds we had a good sighting of Red-necked Spurfowl – this race known as the afer race and is unique to the Kunene River area and Western Angola.

We settled in our accommodation and enjoyed our dinner on the lodge’s deck overlooking the Kunene River. We completed our lists and chatted about the plan for the getting the localised Angola Cave Chat the next day. A spectacular thunderstorm entertained us and cooled down the area. We hit the sack as tomorrow we have an early start to get to the site of the Angola Cave Chat.

Day 10: Sunday 3 November 2019. Kunene River and surroundings
Our morning begun very early with us leaving in the dark to get to the chat site for sunrise and to catch the birds calling and displaying. The Angola Cave Chat was first found in 2012 in the Zebra Mountains and is the only place it can be found within Southern Africa – before 2012 it was thought to be endemic to Angola. We arrived at the spot and made our way up the steep hill and positioned ourselves at the best vantage spot. With some patience we heard the birds calling and managed to obtain great views on a pair of birds mating and then on a single male calling! We really got lucky and managed to get some great views on this special bird.

Other highlights for the morning included Ruppell’s Parrot, Pririt Batis, Familiar Chat, Carp’s Tit, Chestnut Weaver, Augur Buzzard, Olive Bee-eater, Pale-winged Starling and Lark-like Bunting. Wow a spectacular morning! Our host Pete is a wealth of knowledge and we all enjoyed learning a lot from him about the area, the Zebra Mountains and conservation in Namibia.

Olive Bee-eater along the Kunene
We made our way back to our lodge for lunch and a break from the heat and as we arrived at the lodge we enjoyed some spectacular birding with us getting views of Bare-cheeked Babbler, Rufous-tailed Palm Thrush, Violet Wood Hoopoe, Meves’s Starling, White-browed Coucal and Red-billed Firefinch.

We took a slight break and met up in the afternoon for some birding in the lodge gardens. Unfortunately a heavy thunderstorm hit and put a stop to our plans. We did however manage to see Jameson’s Firefinch, Rosy-faced Lovebird, African Green Pigeon, African Reed Warbler and Coppery-tailed Coucal.

We all freshened up and met for a lovely dinner on the deck. We had a lovely sunset after the storm and enjoyed sundowners looking over the Kunene River into Angola. We had a wonderful meal chatting away about the exciting day and after dinner did a short walk around the grounds. We enjoyed a sighting of a pair of African Scops Owls and another genet feeding in the tree – a great end to an exceptional day.

Day 11: Monday 4 November 2019. Kunene River to Erongo Mountains
Our morning started off with a bang as we tried to spot one of Southern Africa’s most sought after birds – the Cinderella Waxbill. We had the most incredible sighting of five birds in the lodge gardens and managed to get some good pictures!

Cinderella Waxbill along the Kunene
We then enjoyed a lovely break before hitting the road and heading south to the Erongo mountains. Our drive was uneventful and we enjoyed sightings of Cape Vulture, Pale-winged Starling, Pale Chanting Goshawk, Tawny Eagle, Southern Pied Babbler and Ruppell’s Parrot on route – some good birding for a travel day.

Ruppell's Parrot at Erongo
We arrived at our lodge in the Erongo Mountains and got treated to a spectacular sunset as we settled in. We enjoyed having the Freckled Nightjars feeding at the lodge while chatting away before dinner. Our lovely meal was enjoyed under the stars as we completed our lists and ran through the plan for the next day. We all had a good night’s rest after another great day.

Day 12: Tuesday 5 November 2019. Erongo Mountains
Our morning begun nice and early so we could try and target some of the special birds of the area. Highlights for the morning included Peregrine Falcon, Mountain Wheatear, White-tailed Shrike, Rock Kestrel, Pririt Batis, Cape Bunting, Carp’s Tit, and Black-throated Canary. We enjoyed a wonderful breakfast while watching the Rosy-faced Lovebirds feeding from our breakfast table.

We all took some time out from the heat before our afternoon walk. Highlights for our walk included a special sunset over the Erongo Mountains and a brief view of a Rockrunner at the camp’s waterhole. We all enjoyed another great meal at the lodge and had the Freckled Nightjars calling around us as we sat under the African stars finishing our meal. We all enjoyed a good night’s sleep after another busy and eventful day.

Rockrunner outside Windhoek

Day 13: Wednesday 6 November 2019. Erongo Mountains to Walvis Bay
Our morning started off nice and early so we could try and connect with some of the endemics we had missed in the area yesterday. This morning Lady Luck smiled upon us and as soon as we met after our coffee we could hear a family of Hartlaub’s Spurfowl calling from the rocks behind the lodge. The scramble was on to try and locate these beautiful birds. On the way we bumped into 3 different sets of Rockrunner which offered the group some great views. We also managed to get great views on a pair of Hartlaub’s Spurfowl calling which was enjoyed by the whole group. That was both our main targets done before breakfast! Other highlights included White-tailed Shrike, Peregrine Falcon, Rock Kestrel, Green-winged Pytilia and Mountain Wheatear.

We made our way towards the coast, making a stop near Brandberg – Namibia’s highest mountain. Here we enjoyed sightings of Ruppell’s Korhaan, Tractrac Chat, Yellow-bellied Eremomela and Monteiro’s Hornbill in the area. We had our picnic lunch under a shady tree at the base of the impressive Brandberg Mountain.

We made our way towards the coast and made a quick stop at one of the shipwrecks and enjoyed the ocean views. As we made our way along the coast we had multiple sightings of Cape Cormorant, Kelp and Hartlaub’s Gull, White-fronted Plover and Rudy Turnstones. We tried one of our know spots for Gray’s Lark and with some searching we found a few birds which offered us some great views, we also enjoyed views of the pale form of Tractrac Chat.

We made our way across to the salt works north of Swakopmund and here we enjoyed some great birding, highlights being Chestnut-banded and Grey Plover, Common, Sandwich and Greater Crested Tern, Curlew Sandpiper, Whimbrel, and Greater and Lesser Flamingo. We also enjoyed views of Common (Atlantic Ocean) Bottlenose Dolphin and South African (Cape) Fur Seal. As we made our way along the coast the wind picked up and this did not aid our birding. As we arrived at our lodge overlooking the Atlantic Ocean we had a great sighting of Orange River White-eye, one of the targets for the group and a great end to a fantastic day.

Chestnut-banded Plover at Walvis Bay
We freshened up for dinner and enjoyed a wonderful meal at one of the local restaurants in Walvis Bay. We chatted away about the contrasting landscapes in Namibia, the diversity of birds we have seen and about birding in general.

Day 14: Thursday 7 November 2019. Walvis Bay to Spreetshoogte Pass.
We started our morning with some birdwatching in the lagoon in front of our lodge, we had some good birds and the highlight was great views on the endangered Damara Tern – a lifer for the group. We enjoyed a quick breakfast and headed for Rooibank to try and locate Namibia’s only true endemic bird, the Dune Lark. We managed to get some exceptional views on the Dune Lark and the group was very chuffed with the pictures that were taken. We also enjoyed a sighting of a Karoo Thrush near the Dune Lark Site – this is a good record for the area.

Dune Lark outside Walvis Bay

We enjoyed a wonderful scenic drive through the Namib Desert and enjoyed the breathtaking views of the Kuiseb and Gaub Pass. We enjoyed lunch just before the desert oasis town of Solitare and enjoyed a break out of the car taking in the breathtaking views of the Namib Desert. Highlights for the drive through the desert included Mountain Zebra (hartmannae subspecies), Springbok, Gemsbok, Buffy Pipit, Sabota Lark, Sociable Weaver and Ruppel’s Korhaan.

We made our way towards the Spreetshoogte pass. This scenic mountain pass provides travellers with unrivalled views of the dramatic landscape below the pass. The pass winds its way over the Great Escarpment, continuing up to 1,810m above sea level. Along the pass one covers a big elevation difference, descending almost 1,000 metres (3,300 ft.) within 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) of road. The top of the pass has a viewpoint affording scenic views of the Namib Desert.

The pass is also home to the special Herero Chat. After some time searching the hillsides we got lucky and enjoyed a wonderful sighting of a pair of Herero Chats posing on top of a bush for us – what a sighting. We made our way up the pass towards our lodge and enjoyed a spectacular sunset over the Spreetshoogte Mountains. As we arrived at the lodge we enjoyed a sighting of Karoo Scrub Robin and Yellow Mongoose. After freshening up we enjoyed a lovely home cooked meal by our hosts. After dinner we enjoyed the stunning night sky and headed off to bed.

Day 15: Friday 8 November 2019. Spreetshoogte to Windhoek.
We began our morning with a beautiful sunrise over the Spreetshoogte Mountains before meeting for breakfast. Soon after breakfast we managed to get some great views on a family of Orange River Francolin – another target for the trip. We did some birding in the gardens of the lodge and enjoyed sightings of Karoo Scrub Robin, Gabar Goshawk, Marico and Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Bokmakierie, Alpine Swift, Ant-eating Chat, Chestnut-vented Warbler and White-throated Canary.

Bokmakierie on Spreetshoogte Pass
We made our way towards Windhoek, Namibia’s capital and enjoyed a relaxed lunch on the outskirts of town. We settled into our accommodation and took a short break before heading to Avis dam on the outskirts of town for some afternoon birding. The afternoon’s trip was a success and we enjoyed great views of Burnt-necked Eremomela, one of our targets for the afternoon. Other good birds included Short-toed Rock Thrush, Monteiro’s Hornbill, Rockrunner, Buffy Pipit and Rock Kestrel.

We headed back to our lodge for our final dinner together. A quick trip was made into Windhoek town to try and connect with the town’s population of Bradfield’s Swifts and with some looking we soon located a good number of birds feeding and managed to get exceptional views on these large swifts.

We all enjoyed a sundowner overlooking the mountains on the outskirts of Windhoek and enjoyed a lovely meal at our lodge. We chatted about the birds we had seen on the trip, the landscapes seen and completed our lists for the trip. We all enjoyed a good night’s rest and packed for our flights home.

Day 16: Saturday 9 November 2019. Windhoek and Departure
We enjoyed our last morning on tour birding the area around Avis Dam on the outskirts of Windhoek. We enjoyed a relaxing morning of birding and photography and enjoyed views of Chestnut Weaver in breeding plumage, Black-faced Waxbill, Greater Striped Swallow, Black Cuckoo, White-rumped Swift, Acacia Pied Barbert, Pin-tailed Whydah and Red-headed Finch.
We made our back to our lodge for breakfast and enjoyed a relaxed meal together. We soon had to be on the road to make it for the airport and to catch our flights back home.

I had a great time and really enjoyed the group’s company and I thank the group for the great time we had, the sightings we enjoyed and the good times we shared. It was enjoyable to learn from the group and to gain an insight into the birds and birding taking place in the United States, Australia and in the Far East. It’s always sad saying goodbye, especially when it’s been such a successful and enjoyable trip. Thanks for being such great travel companions and for the good laughs we had on the trip. Thanks must go to the Nature Travel Birding office team for a well-run and planned trip and for all the hard work that goes into planning a trip. I can’t wait to welcome my next guests to Namibia to enjoy the country’s amazing birds and wildlife.