AT A GLANCE
On this special birding tour, we will visit some of the best birding hotspots in Namibia. The birding tour will cover most of central Namibia and we will focus on finding the endemics and near-endemic birds. Our tour starts in the capital, Windhoek and from there we continue through the Namib Desert and the coastal towns of Walvis Bay and Swakopmund which are known for the high concentration of waders. Along the coast we will look for Dune Lark, Namibia’s endemic.
Then we move to Damaraland before we head for Namibia’s most famous national park, Etosha National Park. We will visit the tropical woodlands of the Caprivi in the area of Rundu and Divundu. Before we finish the safari off in the scenic Waterberg Plateau National Park we will make a stop at Mahangu National Park. Besides the brilliant birding opportunities, we will enjoy great game viewing and great scenery in one of the most beautiful countries on earth.
PRICE – From USD 3 300 per person sharing
This tour starts and ends in Windhoek, Namibia
Depending on what time your flight arrives at Windhoek International Airport we hope to spend a few hours birding around Avis just outside Windhoek. This great birding spot is known to produce sightings of Rockrunner, Monteiro’s Hornbill, Barred Wren-warbler, Rock Kestrel, White-tailed Shrike, Carp’s Black Tit, Bradfield’s Swift, Violet-eared Waxbill, Burnt-necked Eremomela, Acacia Pied Barbet, Southern Red Bishop, Orange River Francolin, Alpine Swift, Rosy-faced Lovebird, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Cape Penduline tit, Crimson-breasted Shrike and Black-faced Waxbill.
Swakopmund and Walvis Bay
With an early start we will bird in Daan Viljoen Game Reserve not far from Windhoek where we hope to find Orange-river francolin, Long-billed Pipit, Monteiro’s Hornbill, Rockrunner, Damara Hornbill, Black Cuckoo, Diderick Cuckoo, White-backed Mousebird, Mountain Wheatear, Pririt Batis, Cape Penduline Tit, Red-headed Finch, Shaft-tailed Whydah, White-rumped Swift, Red-breasted and Greater Striped Swallow, Chestnut-vented Tit-babbler, Short-toed Rock-thrush, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Ashy Tit, Cinnamon-breasted Bunting and Black-throated Canary. The reserve also contains good numbers of Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra, Oryx, Springbok, Kudu, Klipspringer, Steenbok, Giraffe and Eland. We have even spotted Leopard here on a previous trip.
From here we make our way down the escarpment and across the desert plains keeping an eye out for Karoo Korhaan, Double-banded Courser, Tractrac Chat, Stark’s Lark, Lark-like Bunting, Ludwig’s Bustard, Black-chested Snake-eagle, Pale Chanting Goshawk, Lappet-faced Vulture, Greater Kestrel, Crimson-breasted Shrike and Common Ostrich. We should arrive at our Guesthouse in Swakopmund by late afternoon and we will enjoy a well-deserved dinner in one of the well-known seafood restaurants in town.
Swakopmund and Walvis Bay
We will be up early as we spend the first few hours of the day in the Namib Desert looking for Namibia’s true endemic, the Dune Lark. After enjoying the larks against the beautiful sand dunes as a background we will make our way to Walvis Bay to spend of the morning enjoying some of the best wader watching in Southern Africa. The tidal lagoon holds great numbers of Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Pied Avocet, Greater and Lesser Flamingo, Sanderling, Ruddy Turnstone, Grey Plover, White-fronted Plover, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Swift Tern, Caspian tern and Black-necked Grebe. Common Ringed Plover, Chestnut-banded Plover, Ruff, Damara Tern, African Black Oystercatcher, Whimbrel and Black-winged Stilts are present in good numbers as well. This area has produced a lot of rarities over the last few years including Common Redshank, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Red-necked Phalarope, Terek Sandpiper, Pacific and American Golden Plovers and Pectoral Sandpiper.
After lunch, we will spend the afternoon around the salt works and gravel plains just north of Swakopmund looking to find Damara Tern, Gray’s Lark, Tractrac Chat and general shorebirds like Cape, Crested and White-breasted Cormorants, Hartlaub’s and Kelp Gull. Orange River White-eye is fairly common in the town gardens and we will keep an eye open for them. We will again stay in the same guesthouse.
We will have an early start to ensure that we arrive at the Spitzkoppe Mountains around first light. Early morning is the best time to look for the most difficult to find of Namibia’s near-endemic birds, the Herero Chat. Other interesting birds that we can find around here include Karoo Long-billed Lark, Karoo Korhaan, Layard’s Tit-babbler, Verreaux’s Eagle, Augur Buzzard, Great Sparrow, Chat Flycatcher, White-tailed Shrike, Rock Kestrel, Bokmakierie, Cinnamon-breasted and Cape Bunting, Damara Hornbill, Rosy-faced Lovebird, Carp’s Black Tit, Pale-winged Starling and White-throated Canary.
From here we will make our way to the Brandberg, Namibia’s highest mountain. The surrounding plains are home to Burchell’s and Double-banded Courser, Ruppell’s Korhaan and Benguela Long-billed Lark. We should arrive at our lodge situated on the Huab River by late afternoon and we will spend the next night here. We will be welcomed by Olive Bee-eater which nests around the lodge.
After dinner we will look for Southern White-faced Scops-owl, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Freckled and Rufous-cheeked Nightjars. The Desert-adapted Elephants of Damaraland often visit the water points and we might be lucky enough to encounter them during our stay in this beautiful part of the country.
This morning we will depart for Etosha National Park where will spend the next 2 nights. We will continue our journey to the park after breakfast. Depending on the amount of birding and game viewing along the way we plan to be in the park and Okaukuejo Resort, our lodge for the next 2 nights by mid-afternoon.
The resort area is a very productive birding spot and we hope to find African Pygmy Falcon, Acacia Pied Barbet, Barred Wren-warbler, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Long-billed Crombec, Dusky and Scarlet-chested Sunbirds, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Rock Martin, Little Swift, Marico and Chat Flycatcher, Common House Martin, White-throated Canary, Shaft-tailed Whydah, Yellow-billed, Red-billed and African Grey Hornbills, Green-winged Pytilia, Bearded, Cardinal and Golden-tailed Woodpeckers. Lanner Falcon often hunts around the waterhole and there are huge Sociable Weaver nests all over.
The floodlit waterhole at the edge of the camp is very productive at night, both in terms of birds and other wildlife. Double-banded Sandgrouse drink about 25 minutes after sunset and we will keep an eye open for Pearl-spotted Owlet, Verreaux’s Eagle-owl, Fiery-necked and Rufous-cheeked Nightjars. Elephant, Black Rhino, Spotted Hyena and Lion are regular visitors to the waterhole at night.
With an early start we will out on the plains surrounding Okaukuejo where we hope to find Spike-heeled, Sabota, Pink-billed, Red-capped, Rufous-naped, Fawn-collared and Eastern Clapper Larks, Grey-backed Sparrow-lark, Capped Wheatear, Desert Cisticola, Rufous-eared Warbler, Northern Black Korhaan, Kori Bustard, Lark-like Bunting, Double-banded Courser, Secretary Bird, Ostrich, Namaqua and Burchell’s Sandgrouse and Red-billed Quelea. Greater Kestrel, Red-necked and Peregrine Falcon are present in good numbers as well. The plains are also home to big herds of Oryx, Blue Wildebeest, Zebra, Springbok, Red Hartebeest and their predators are never far behind.
Early morning we will make our way to Halali Resort where we will enjoy lunch. The plains will give way to scrub and we will start seeing Monotonous Lark, Kalahari Scrub-robin, Lesser Grey and Red-backed Shrike, Common Fiscal, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Spotted Flycatcher, Great Sparrow, Yellow Canary, Violet-eared and Blue Waxbills. Grey-Go-Away Bird, Lilac-breasted Roller and Cape Turtle Doves are always present in big numbers. Halali Camp is situated in Mopane Woodland and is an excellent place to see Bare-cheeked Babbler, Violet Woodhoopoe, Carp’s Black Tit, Southern White-crowned Shrike, Southern White-faced Scops Owl, Scops Owl and Barn Owl. Elephant, Black Rhino and Leopard are often seen at the floodlit waterhole.
After lunch, we will slowly make our way towards the eastern section with bigger areas of woodland. We hope to find Blue Crane, Black-faced and Bare-cheeked Babblers, Emerald-spotted Wood-dove, Temminck’s Courser and Chat Flycatcher along the way. Etosha is brilliant for raptors and we should see Martial and Tawny Eagle, Bateleur, Black-chested and Brown Snake-eagles, Pale Chanting Goshawk, Yellow-billed Kite, Black-shouldered Kite, Greater Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Steppe Buzzard, Gabar Goshawk, African Harrier-hawk, Red-footed Falcon and Eurasian Hobby. Lappet-faced, White-backed, Cape, White-headed and Hooded Vultures are present in impressive numbers as well.
If the Etosha pan is full of water it is transformed into a water bird spectacle. Huge numbers of Great White Pelican, Lesser and Greater Flamingos, Caspian Plover, Red-billed and Cape Teals, Pied Avocet, Black-winged Stilts, Black-necked and Great Crested Grebes gather here. As with Walvis Bay, any number of rarities might be present.
Mahangu National Reserve
After breakfast and a morning game drive in Etosha, we will depart for the Caprivi, one of Namibia’s hidden secrets. The Caprivi with its lush green woodland and big rivers are completely different from what we experienced in Etosha.
If time allows our afternoon will be dedicated to exploring the productive Mahangu National Park which offers an incredible number of species for a small park. We hope to see Wattled Crane, Long-toed Lapwing, Slaty Egret, Collared Pratincole, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Violet-eared Waxbill, Verreaux’s Eagle-owl, Crested Francolin, Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Greater and Lesser Honeyguide, Long-billed Crombec, Grey-tit Flycatcher, Broad-billed Roller, African Cuckoo-hawk, Ayre’s Hawk-eagle and smaller raptors like Lizzard Buzzard, Little Sparrowhawk, Ovambo Sparrowhawk and Shikra. Mahangu offers excellent game viewing as well and we hope to see Sable, Roan, Tsessebe, Elephant, Buffalo, Hippo, red Lechwe, Kudu, Impala and even Lion or Leopard if we are lucky.
Mahangu National Park
We will start with a pre-breakfast birding walk around the lodge. We should see Black Cuckoo, African Mourning and Red-eyed Doves, African Green-pigeon, Meve’s Starling, Brown Firefinch, Woodland Kingfisher, Thick-billed Weaver, Violet-backed Starling, Swamp Boubou, Meyer’s Parrot, Hartlaub’s Babbler, White-browed Robin-chat and African Yellow White-eye.
We will join the lodge for an afternoon boat cruise hoping to see the resident species around the lodge area.
Today we make our way back west and will spend the morning birding the woodland between Divundu and Rundu. We will have the chance to see some of the Miombo or Broadleaf specialists normally found further north in Zambia. These include Racket-tailed Roller, Rufous-bellied Tit, Souza’s Shrike, Sharp-tailed Starling, Green-backed Honeybird and African Hobby.
Other more common birds found here include Pale and Black Flycatchers, Green-capped Eremomela, Southern Black Tit, Striped Kingfisher, Meyer’s Parrot, Fork-tailed Drongo, Tinkling Cisticola, Neddicky, Coqui Francolin and Dark Chanting Goshawk.
After breakfast and a walk around the lodge area, we will make our way to Roy’s Camp where the habitat is dry scrub. A couple of walking trails allow for birding on the site.
The main attraction is Black-faced Babbler, which we hope to see on our late afternoon walk around the camp.
Waterberg Plateau National Park
We will make our way south towards the Waterberg Plateau National Park after breakfast. Our resort for the night is situated below the beautiful sandstone cliffs. This area is a hotspot for several Namibian specials and endemics. This is the perfect opportunity to catch up on the endemics that we might have missed on the trip.
Some of the birding specials found here include Ruppell’s Parrot, Damara and Bradfield’s Hornbill, Rosy-faced Lovebird, Carp’s Black Tit, Rockrunner, Violet-eared Waxbill, Red-billed Spurfowl, Short-toed Rock-thrush, Cape Vulture, Freckled Nightjar, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Black-faced Waxbill, Ashy Tit, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Black and Brown-crowned Tchagra, Cinnamon-breasted, Golden-breasted and Cape Bunting, Pririt Batis, Green-winged Pytilia, White-tailed Shrike, Martial and Tawny Eagle, Little Sparrowhawk and African Hawk-eagle to name a few.
Windhoek and Departure
After an early morning birding walk looking for any birds we might have missed and breakfast we will depart for Windhoek as our safari come to an end.
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