9 Day Luxury Botswana Birding Tour
Let’s go birding in Botswana! You’ll explore the Okavango Delta and greater Chobe river area with our expert-guide for some of the best birding in all of Southern Africa. This is a Luxury birding tour that also includes some of the best game viewing experiences in Africa.
Book this birding tour as a private, small group tour for your preferred travel dates
Full Itinerary – Luxury Botswana Birding Tour
Maun and off to the Delta
Welcome to Botswana! Depending on what time your international flight arrives in Maun, we will board a small aircraft and leave this busy town behind as we make our way into the world-famous Okavango Delta. As our first lodge is situated right in the heart of the Delta we will have spectacular aerial views of this wetland paradise.
After settling in we will have a bit of time for general birding around the lodge before departing on an afternoon drive. The thick riverine bush surrounding the lodge is home to Western Banded Snake Eagle, African Hobby, African and Eurasian Golden Oriole, Hartlaub’s and Arrow-marked Babbler, Southern Yellow White-eye, Terrestrial Brownbul, African Paradise Flycatcher, Swamp Boubou, Yellow-bellied Greenbul, African Emerald, Levaillant’s, Black, Klaas’s and Jacobin Cuckoo as well as the beautiful and ever-present White-browed Robin-Chat.
We will return to our lodge early evening and enjoy dinner at our lodge.
Today will be dedicated to exploring the Okavango Delta both on land and water. We will start off with a morning boat cruise and as we silently float along the many small channels that make up the delta we expect to find Luapula and Chirping Cisticola, Black Coucal, Greater and Lesser Swamp, Great Reed and African Reed Warbler. White-fronted, Southern Carmine, Blue-cheeked and Little Bee-eaters are plentiful while iconic African Fish Eagles are common. The main focus of this boat cruise will be to find Pel’s Fishing Owl at its daytime roost. A sighting of this sought after bird is always a highlight on any birding trip to northern Botswana.
After returning to our lodge for lunch and a few hours to relax we will depart for an afternoon game drive looking for specials like Wattled Crane, Slaty Egret, White-browed, Senegal and Coppery-tailed Coucals, Southern Ground Hornbill and Bradfield’s Hornbill. Raptors are present in good numbers and sightings of Ovambo and Little Sparrowhawk, African Goshawk, African Harrier-Hawk, Shikra and Gabar Goshawk are regular. We will return to our lodge for dinner.
Moremi Game Reserve
We will start the day with an early morning game drive in the extensive Mopane woodlands of Moremi looking for specials like Arnot’s Chat, Tree Pipit, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Retz’s and White-crested Helmetshrike, Bearded, Cardinal, Golden-tailed and Bennett’s Woodpecker, Meyer’s Parrot, Three-banded Courser and Ayres’s Hawk-Eagle. This is also a great place to look for rare antelope species like Sable and Roan Antelope, Topi (lunatus subspecies, also called Tsessebe by some), Common Eland and if we are lucky African Wild Dog. The Mopane woodland also holds big herds of African Buffalo and African Elephant.
By late morning we will slowly make our way back to the lodge, birding and game viewing along the way. After lunch we will enjoy a final boat cruise in this part of the Delta. Besides the birds mentioned yesterday we will also visit a big heronry known to produce great sightings of African Spoonbill, Yellow-billed Stork, Great and Yellow-billed Egret, Hamerkop, African Darter and Saddle-billed Stork. Giant, Pied, Malachite and Half-collared Kingfishers patrol the channels. We will keep an eye open for animals like African Elephant, African Buffalo, Lion, Chacma Baboon, Greater Kudu, Impala and Waterbuck that make their way down to the water to drink. We will return to our lodge for dinner.
Off to Chobe
We will use the first couple of hours of daylight birding around the lodge before enjoying breakfast and departing for Kasane on board a light aircraft. The drive from Kasane Airport to immigration often produces sightings of Northern Grey-headed Sparrow, Bradfield’s Hornbill and Southern Ground Hornbill. After quickly finishing the paperwork we will depart for our lodge on the Namibian side of the Chobe river. We will enjoy lunch at our lodge and enjoy the brilliant birding around the lodge with specials like Holub’s Golden Weaver, Brown Firefinch, Swamp and Tropical Boubou, Yellow-bellied Greenbul, Terrestrial Brownbul, and Marico, Copper and Purple-banded Sunbirds.
We then set off on an afternoon boat cruise in Chobe National Park. Exploring Chobe by boat is famous for producing birding specials like Long-toed and Wattled Lapwing, Rufous-bellied and Goliath Heron, and Slaty Egret. Water birds are very common and we expect to see good numbers of Black Heron, African Openbill, Yellow-billed, Saddle-billed and Marabou Stork, Spur-winged Goose, African Spoonbill, Glossy and African Sacred Ibis. Common Greenshank, Marsh, Wood, Common and if we are lucky Green Sandpipers patrol the bank. Boat cruises in Chobe regularly produce brilliant sightings of African Elephants coming to the river to drink and swimming across to the islands, Hippopotamus in big numbers, big African Buffalo herds, Southern Lechwe, Waterbuck and the predators like Lion and African Wild Dog.
Before dinner we will search the floodplains and lodge garden for Swamp and Fiery-necked Nightjars, African Wood Owl, African Barred and Pearl-spotted Owlets and Spotted Eagle-Owl.
With an early start and a quick stop to look for Black Coucal we will make our way to one of Southern Africa’s birding hotspots, Impalila Island. This small island in Namibia is located where the country meets Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. More than 450 bird species have been recorded on this birding paradise.
After exploring the channels around the island by boat looking for White-backed Night Heron, Pel’s Fishing Owl and African Finfoot we will depart for a birding walk on the island. The thick riverine bush is known for producing sightings of Schalow’s Turaco, Crowned and Trumpeter Hornbills, White-backed Night Heron, Retz’s and White-crested Helmetshrikes, Green-capped and Burnt-necked Eremomela, Black, African and Red-chested Cuckoos, African Golden Oriole, Red-headed Weaver, Bennett’s and Bearded Woodpecker, Southern Yellow White-eye and Bearded Scrub Robin. As we slowly make our way back to the lodge we will pass Sedudu Island which hosts good numbers of White-faced Whistling Duck, Glossy Ibis, African Darter, Yellow-billed Stork, African Sacred Ibis, Water Thick-knee and Saddle-billed Stork. This island is also a favourite hangout for African Buffalo, Hippopotamus, Waterbuck, Southern Lechwe, Nile Crocodile and African Elephant.
After lunch and relaxing for a few hours we will finish the day with a boat cruise in Chobe. Besides the birds mentioned yesterday we will look for huge flocks of Collared and if we are lucky Black-winged Pratincoles, Southern Carmine and White-fronted Bee-eater colonies, Water Thick-knee, African Marsh Harrier, Pink-backed and Great White Pelican. The beautiful African Skimmers and African Fish Eagles are always present in good numbers. Between the birding we will enjoy great game viewing and seeing a baby elephant holding onto its mother’s tail while crossing the river is an unforgettable sight. We will return to our lodge for dinner.
Kasai Channel and Kasane Rapids
With another early start we will make our way to the famous Kasai channel where we will spend the morning looking for Slaty Egret, Lesser Moorhen, Lesser Jacana, Allen’s Gallinule, Rufous-bellied Heron, Chirping and Luapula Cisticola, African Pygmy Goose, Greater and Lesser Swamp Warbler, African and Great Reed Warbler, Greater Painted Snipe and Southern Brown-throated Weaver while Sand, Brown-throated and Banded Martins, Wire-tailed and Grey-rumped Swallows and African Marsh Harriers patrol the reeds. By mid-morning we will slowly cruise back to the lodge birding along the way to enjoy lunch and a bit of time to relax.
By early afternoon we will be in the boat again as we make our way the Kasane Rapids which offers brilliant birding. The overhanging vegetation is favoured by African Finfoot, Half-collared, Malachite, Pied and Giant Kingfishers. The exposed rocks are the best place to look for Rock Pratincole and Western Yellow Wagtails are present every summer. The trees in the rapids are the nesting spot for a variety of herons and storks that include Yellow-billed Stork, African Openbill, African Spoonbill, Great Egret and Yellow-billed Egret, Grey and Black-headed Heron, African Darter, Reed and White-breasted Cormorant and Purple Herons. On the way back to the lodge we will keep an eye out for hunting Bat Hawk and Eurasian Hobby as well as any predators that patrol the river bank. We will return to our lodge for dinner.
Kasane and Chobe National Park
After an early breakfast we will depart for immigration and make our way back into Botswana. We will spend a few hours birding at well-known spots in and around Kasane for specials like Collared Palm Thrush, Brown Firefinch, Shelley’s, Marico, Scarlet-chested, Purple-banded and Copper Sunbird, Diederik and Klaas’s Cuckoo, African Pygmy Kingfisher and Eastern Nicator. Acacia woodland holds Grey Penduline Tit, Burnt-necked and Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Violet-eared Waxbill, Rattling Cisticola, Southern Black Tit, Arrow-marked Babbler, Long-billed Crombec, Chestnut-vented Warbler, Grey-backed Cameroptera, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Marico and Spotted Flycatcher, Chinspot Batis, Brubru, Orange-breasted Bushshrike and White bellied Sunbird.
We will then enjoy a late morning game drive as we make our way to our lodge for the next two nights which is situated in the middle of Chobe National Park. After settling in and enjoying lunch we will be in open 4×4 vehicles for an afternoon game drive in Chobe National Park which is world famous for spectacular game viewing.
Home to the largest concentration of elephants in Africa (between 60,000 and 70,000), the Chobe National Park is one of Africa’s leading wildlife destinations. The famous Chobe River, which forms the Park’s northern boundary, provides a permanent source of water for the region’s large animal populations – the focal point for safari enthusiasts from around the world.
The diverse ecosystems in the park play a vital role in hosting a wide variety of animals. Large herds of African Buffalo and Plains Zebra, prides of Lion, the elusive Leopard, along with Giraffe, Greater Kudu and the endangered African Wild Dog are just a few of the species that can be seen while on safari in Chobe.
The combination of the ever-present Chobe River and the diverse vegetation make the park home to more than 450 species of birds, and we will keep an eye out for Lappet-faced, White-backed, White-headed and Hooded Vultures, Tawny, Lesser Spotted, Martial and Wahlberg’s Eagles, Western-banded, Brown and Black-chested Snake Eagles, Dark Chanting Goshawks, and Broad-billed and Purple Rollers. Yellow-billed and Red-billed Oxpeckers as well as Pearl-breasted, Grey-rumped, Lesser and Greater Striped Swallows are present in good numbers. On the way back to the lodge we will keep an eye open for Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, African Barred Owlet as well as Lion, Leopard, African Wild Dog and Spotted Hyaena. We will return to our lodge for dinner.
Chobe Forest Reserve
With an early start we have the advantage of having the park to ourselves since other game drive vehicles will only start making their way into the park. While looking for any nocturnal animals and birds that might still be out and about, we will make our way towards the Teak and Broadleaved woodland of the Kalwezi Valley and Nantanga cutline. Here we will focus on finding Arnot’s Chat, Broad-tailed and Long-tailed Paradise Whydah, Racket-tailed and Broad-billed Roller, Tree and Wood Pipit, Dusky Lark, Dickinson’s Kestrel, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Bronze-winged Courser, Orange-winged Pytilia, Green-capped Eremomela, African Cuckoo-Hawk, Ayres’s Hawk-Eagle and Lizard Buzzard.
We will take a slow game drive back to the lodge for lunch looking for Roan and Sable Antelope, Plains Zebra, African Buffalo, Greater Kudu, African Elephant, Giraffe and if we are lucky Leopard. By mid-afternoon we will be back in the open game drive vehicles stopping at bird parties which normally contain Chinspot Batis, African Paradise Flycatcher, Cardinal and Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Violet-backed Starling, Yellow-throated Bush Sparrow, Southern Black Tit, Red-billed Firefinch, Black-crowned and Brown-crowned Tchagra, Green Wood Hoopoe, Common Scimitarbill and Black-headed Oriole. Our main target for this afternoon will be to find Rosy-throated Longclaw around Puku Flats. By sunset we will again find ourselves on the deck of this beautiful lodge overlooking the Chobe river.
On our last morning we have a choice between a game drive, boat cruise or birding walk around Chobe Game Lodge. The lodge property itself is home to Schalow’s Turaco, Swamp Boubou, Broad-billed Roller, White-browed and Senegal Coucal, Coqui Francolin, African and Eurasian Golden Oriole as well as African Paradise Flycatcher.
From here we will take a final slow game drive making our way out of the park back to Kasane Airport birding along the way. This will be the official end of the birding trip.
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