Namibia, Botswana and Zambia Birding

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Namibia, Botswana & Zambia Birding Tour
To experience the best birding in Southern Africa, let’s take you on our Namibia, Botswana and Zambia Birding Tour.
Your expert guide will take you on a personalised birding tour, focusing on finding the endemics and near-endemic birds in these beautiful countries. The 14-Day tour will visit top attractions like Victoria Falls, Etosha National Park, Okavango Delta, Damaraland and Walvis Bay.
NEXT DEPARTURE DATE:  6 NOVEMBER 2020
ITINERARY – Namibia, Botswana, Zambia Birding Tour
DAY 1:
Start of tour in Livingstone (Zambia), birding around our lodge

Our exciting Namibia, Botswana and Zambia birding tour (“NBZ” for short) starts today in Livingstone in southern Zambia. Get ready for an amazing experience!After meeting you at Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport we will pack our bags into our comfortable vehicle and make our way to our lodge situated on the banks of the Zambezi river, about half an hour away. The town of Livingstone is a major tourism centre for the nearby Victoria Falls and was named after Scottish explorer and missionary David Livingstone, who was the first European to explore the area.Our accommodation for the next two nights is nestled on the banks of the mighty Zambezi, with the river extending the length of the property, offering some breath-taking views over the water. Accommodation is provided in luxury “tented” chalets with en suite facilities. It has won numerous awards, including Winner of the Certificate of Excellence by Tripadvisor for 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018, as well as Winner of the Guest Review Award by Booking.com for 2016, 2017 & 2018.

After settling in and getting acquainted with our surroundings, we will start our birding with a birding walk around the lodge where we will look for Collared Palm Thrush, Red-faced Cisticola, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Orange-breasted Bushshrike, Southern Yellow White-eye, Brown-hooded Kingfisher, Bearded Scrub Robin, Holub’s Golden Weaver, Arrow-marked Babbler, White-browed Coucal, and African Emerald, Jacobin, Red-chested, Levaillant’s, Klaas’s and Diederik Cuckoo.

We will enjoy a sundowner drink and welcome dinner, chatting about where we have all birded before and what everyone’s main targets for the trip are. In the background we will have the sounds of the wildlife that live along the mighty Zambezi. Then we will settle in for a good night’s sleep. Welcome to Africa!

DAY 2:
Victoria Falls and the Zambezi River

We will enjoy a cup of coffee scanning the river hoping to see the resident African Finfoot pair before making our way to Victoria Falls where we will spend the morning enjoying one of the natural wonders of the world and birding in the riverine woodland around the falls.

Victoria Falls – Mosi-oa-Tunya, or “The Smoke that Thunders” is the largest waterfall in the world by volume, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. However, no amount of cold facts can prepare you for the sight of the unfathomably vast and powerful body of water that plunges into the Zambezi gorge. It truly is majestic and unforgettable, and a must-see for adventure and wildlife travellers from all over the globe.

We will spend some time staring in awe at the falls, but we won’t forget about the birding. There are several footpaths in the small national park connected to the falls and here we will search for Schalow’s Turaco, Trumpeter Hornbill, White-browed Robin-chat, Red-winged Starling, Terrestrial Brownbul, Yellow-bellied Greenbul, Rock Martin, Rock Pratincole, Northern Grey-headed Sparrow and a variety of water birds. If time allows we might visit the local water treatment works where species like African Rail, African Swamphen, Orange-breasted and Blue Waxbill and several raptors (including Augur Buzzard and Verreaux’s Eagle) might be seen.

We will have lunch somewhere in town close to the falls after an exhilarating morning.
We will also have another fantastic experience in the afternoon when we do a boat cruise on the Zambezi river. It is sure to be a highlight gliding down this famous river with a drink in one hand and a pair of binoculars in the other! On our cruise we hope to see African Skimmer, Rufous-bellied Heron, White-backed Night Heron, African Finfoot, Western Banded Snake Eagle, Dickinson’s Kestrel, and Half-collared, Malachite, Pied and Giant Kingfisher. We will also see our first animals on the trip, in the form of Nile Crocodile and Hippopotamus.

We will return to the same accommodation as yesterday to update our lists, have dinner and a good night’s rest after an exciting day in Africa’s “adventure capital”.

DAY 3:
Eastern Caprivi

We will start today with a pre-breakfast birding walk in the miombo woodland close to the lodge where we might see Miombo Rock Thrush, Racket-tailed Roller, Miombo Pied Barbet, Retz’s and White-crested Helmetshrike, Striped Kingfisher, Kurrichane Thrush, Lizard Buzzard and a variety of woodland birds before returning for breakfast.

After breakfast we leave Zambia and make our way to the Namibian border where we will cross close to the town of Katima Mulilo with several birding stops along the way. “Katima”, as the locals call it, is the main town in the Caprivi strip (Zambezi region) of northeastern Namibia. The town, on the banks of the Zambezi river, used to be strategically important in the past during the Second World War and the South African Border War.

Depending on the time of the year we could arrange to drive to the Muchile Important Bird Area to look for the localised Black-cheeked Lovebird. Other birds found in the mopane woodland are Arnot’s Chat, Bennett’s Woodpecker, Meves’s Starling and Southern Ground Hornbill.

Our lunch stop in Katima Mulilo might produce Northern Grey-headed Sparrow, and Bronze Mannikin and we will finish off the day at the spectacular Southern Carmine Bee-eater colony close to our lodge.

Our lodge tonight is an intimate owner-run lodge situated on the banks of a large Zambezi backwater, offering comfortable accommodation, tree-filled grounds, a bar, restaurant and a nice swimming pool. Remember to keep an eye out for Common Genet in the grounds after dark, and there could also be Greater Kudu, Impala or even African Elephant nearby.

Also remember to look up at the Milky Way on your way to the room after dinner tonight, it really is spectacular out here in the bush!

DAY 4:
The Zambezi Floodplains and the Okavango River

After an early cup of coffee enjoying the Wire-tailed, Lesser Striped and Grey-rumped Swallows, and Brown-throated and Banded Martins flying over the river we will depart for a pre-breakfast birding excursion between the various lily-covered pans and the Zambezi floodplain.

Our key targets here include Lesser Jacana, African Pygmy Goose, White-backed Duck, Slaty Egret, Rosy-throated Longclaw, Coppery-tailed Coucal, Saddle-billed Stork, Black and Rufous-bellied Heron, White-crowned Lapwing and even Black Coucal if we are very lucky.

After breakfast we will embark on a lengthy drive across the Caprivi Strip to the Botswana border (stopping at a well-known stake-out for Rock Pratincole before crossing) and to our lodge with a beautiful setting on the Okavango River.

The Caprivi strip (about 450 km/280 mi long and 32 km/20 mi wide) was named after German Chancellor Leo von Caprivi, who negotiated the acquisition of the land in an 1890 exchange with the United Kingdom at the infamous Berlin Conference. Caprivi arranged for the strip to be annexed to German South West Africa in order to give Germany access to the Zambezi river and a direct 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 Victoria Falls being in the way!

If time allows we will enjoy the variety of the resident birds in the lodge’s grounds that include Hartlaub’s Babbler, Southern Brown-throated Weaver, Green Wood Hoopoe, Golden-tailed Woodpecker and Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, while African Wood Owl and African Barred Owlet are often seen here as well.

At our accommodation for tonight you will find a warm welcome, personalised attention, local knowledge from owners and staff alike, an excellent restaurant, lush green gardens and a welcoming swimming pool. It is situated in a birding and fishing paradise in the Okavango panhandle.

We will enjoy a sumptuous dinner as we update our growing trip list and fall asleep under the African sky. Before returning to our rooms for a good night’s rest remember to listen for the distinctive who-who, who-who-who are-you call of the African Wood Owl.

DAY 5:
The Okavango

We will start today with a morning walk in the riverine forest where we will try to find Narina Trogon, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Grey-headed Bushshrike, Bradfield’s Hornbill, Swamp Boubou, Brubru, Black-backed Puffback, and Bennett’s, Golden-tailed, Cardinal and Bearded Woodpecker. After breakfast we will depart for an exciting boat cruise on the Okavango river which will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the trip.

Our main targets here will be the elusive Pel’s Fishing Owl, even more elusive White-backed Night Heron, Luapula and Chirping Cisticola, Greater Swamp Warbler, Little Rush Warbler, Little Bittern, Allen’s Gallinule and Purple Heron, with the more common birds being Squacco and Grey Heron, Tawny-flanked Prinia, White-winged Tern, Hamerkop, African Openbill, African Fish Eagle, African Marsh Harrier and Village Weaver.

Our afternoon will be dedicated to exploring Mahango Game Park which offers an incredible number of species for a small park. The 25,000 hectare (60,000 acres) reserve (part of the greater Bwabwata National Park) stretches along the Okavango river floodplain in the western Caprivi and boasts a bird list of over 400 species, including some key Okavango specials. It has been designated an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International. There are 3 distinct and different habitats within the reserve. Habitat along the river is a mix of trees, reedbeds, and grassland. Away from the river the habitat is mainly open woodland and in the south the habitat is dry woodland with some dense patches of big trees.

During our time here 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 Fish Eagle, Western Osprey, Brown-necked Parrot, African Cuckoo-hawk, Ayres’s Hawk-eagle and smaller raptors like Lizard Buzzard, Little and Ovambo Sparrowhawk, and Shikra.

Mahango offers excellent general game viewing as well and we hope to see the rare and beautiful Sable and Roan Antelope, as well as Tsessebe, African Elephant, African Buffalo, Hippopotamus, Red Lechwe, Greater Kudu, Impala and even Lion, Cheetah, African Wild Dog or Leopard if we are very lucky.

We will check in to our lodge situated on the banks of the Okavango river overlooking Bwabwata National Park just before sunset. Our lodge offers comfortable, thatched, airconditioned bungalows and very good typical Namibian cuisine. The sunsets from the decks will make for some incredible photographs and indelible memories.
We will enjoy dinner together and then head off to bed for a good night’s sleep.

DAY 6:
The Caprivi Broadleaf Woodland

We will start our day with a pre-breakfast birding walk around the lodge where we should see Black Cuckoo, Mourning Collared and Red-eyed Dove, African Green Pigeon, Meves’s and Violet-backed Starling, Brown Firefinch, Woodland Kingfisher, Thick-billed Weaver, Swamp Boubou, Meyer’s Parrot, Hartlaub’s Babbler, White-browed Robin-chat and Southern Yellow White-eye.

From here we will spend the morning birding the woodland between the towns of Divundu and Rundu which offers us the chance to see some of the miombo or broadleaf woodland specials normally found further north in Zambia. These include Racket-tailed Roller, Rufous-bellied Tit, Souza’s Shrike, Green-backed Honeybird, African Hobby and if we are extremely lucky, even Sharp-tailed Starling.

Other more common birds found here include Pale and Southern Black Flycatcher, Green-capped Eremomela, Southern Black Tit, Striped Kingfisher, Meyer’s Parrot, Fork-tailed Drongo, Tinkling Cisticola, Neddicky, Coqui Francolin and Dark Chanting Goshawk.

We will spend a final night on the Okavango river at our beautiful and tranquil accommodation, complete with green lawns and large trees. Before dinner it might be a good idea to jump in the big swimming pool. We’ll then have dinner and update our lists, and then it’s off to bed for a good night’s rest.

DAY 7:
Eastern Etosha National Park

After breakfast we will leave the more tropical woodlands of the Caprivi behind and make our way southwest to Etosha National Park where we will spend the next 3 nights. Our drive is only about 4 hours long, but we will see the landscape change dramatically!
We will reach the eastern side of Etosha at about midday, have lunch at our chosen lodge for the next two nights, and then after a short siesta we go into the park proper.

The Etosha National Park covers more than 22,300 km2 (8,620 sq mi) and is synonymous with big game and wide open spaces. The name Etosha actually means “great white place” referring to the huge dry pan in the middle of the park, believed to have been formed over 100 million years ago and visible from space. It is a dry lakebed, covered in salt and minerals (much like the Bonneville salt flats in the USA). The pan is 130km long and up to 50km wide, totally inaccessible to humans, and covers a quarter of the whole park.

Etosha is one of the main reasons visitors from all over the globe come to Namibia, and is home to a staggering amount of wildlife, both common and rare, including several threatened and endangered species. The mammal list is at over 110 species, including four of the famed Big Five. Etosha has no African Buffalo, but excitingly there is currently a conservation program on the go to reintroduce African Wild Dogs.

Etosha also has a bird list of more than 350 species, and has the odd record of having the smallest southern African bird, the Cape Penduline Tit, the world’s largest bird, the Common Ostrich, and the world’s largest flying bird, the Kori Bustard, all in one park! The sight of thousands of bright pink flamingos in the Etosha pan after summer rain is something one never forgets.

The first two nights will be in the eastern section of the park where we hope to find Blue Crane, Black-faced Babbler, Swainson’s Spurfowl, Blue Waxbill, Chestnut Weaver, White-browed Robin-chat, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Cape Starling, Double-banded Courser and Chat Flycatcher along the way. If the Etosha pan is full of water it is transformed into a water bird spectacle with huge numbers of pelicans, Lesser and Greater Flamingo, Caspian and Chestnut-banded Plover, Red-billed and Cape Teal, Pied Avocet, Black-winged Stilt and Black-necked and Great Crested Grebe.

From a mammal point of view this area is perfect for finding the endemic Kirk’s Dik-dik (Namibian subspecies). We could also see African Elephant, Lion, Black Rhinoceros, Giraffe, Cheetah, Spotted Hyaena, Leopard, Black-backed Jackal, Black-faced Impala (another endemic subspecies), Hartebeest (Red subspecies), Gemsbok (Namibia’s national animal), Greater Kudu, Springbok and many other smaller mammals during our stay in the park.

Our accommodation for the next two nights is right on the eastern doorstep of Etosha, situated in the mopane woodland of the region. Classic African safari style thatched buildings are dotted around the vast indigenous gardens, allowing for some good birding from your own room! The localized Black-faced Babbler has been recorded here in the past! The lodge is on its own 4,000 hectare private nature reserve that shares a border with Etosha, so you could even see some interesting mammals.

The staff are very proud of their cuisine here and we will settle in for a good meal tonight. After a week together it might be a good idea to start chatting about future trips we could plan for to another exotic location somewhere around the globe.

After our meal we will retire to our rooms and have a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow we have our first full day in Etosha!

DAY 8:
East-central Etosha National Park

Today will be dedicated to exploring the east-central section of the vast Etosha National Park. We will either have an early breakfast at the lodge or a packed one that we will enjoy at one of the waterholes dotted around the park. Either way, there will definitely be coffee!

We will enter the park after a few minutes’ drive at the eastern gate. We will look for Monotonous and Rufous-naped Lark, Red-billed Buffalo Weaver, Burnt-necked Eremomela and Violet-eared Waxbill. We will also keep an eye out for Etosha’s raptors, which include Martial and Tawny Eagle, Black-chested and Brown Snake Eagle, Lanner, Peregrine and Red-necked Falcon, Bateleur, and Pale Chanting and Gabar Goshawk.

The major attraction and unique feature in Etosha are the permanent waterholes, each with its own characteristics and surroundings. It is sometimes best to sit and wait quietly and patiently for an hour or two at one of these waterholes and wait for the mammals and birds to turn up; a fantastic treat and one you will talk about for a long time!

Depending on what we see this morning, we can either return to our lodge for lunch, have a packed lunch in a nice spot or go to Halali camp for lunch in the restaurant.

Halali camp itself is known for sightings of Violet Wood Hoopoe, Carp’s Tit, Bare-cheeked and Southern Pied Babbler, White-crested Helmetshrike, Damara Red-billed Hornbill, Greater Blue-eared Starling, African Scops Owl and Southern White-faced Owl.

Etosha is also well known for vultures and we might see Lappet-faced, White-backed, White-headed and Hooded Vulture. Every now and again an Egyptian Vulture even turns up!

After a superb first full day in Etosha we will again exit at the eastern gate and return to our lodge for listing, dinner and a good night’s sleep.

DAY 9:
Southern Etosha National Park

After breakfast we will again enter the park and make our way westwards as we continue to explore this great park.
We will stop at waterholes during our drive, as this is where the mammals congregate, especially in the dry months. We will obviously also stop for interesting birds along the way. And keep your cameras at the ready, as Etosha is a photographer’s dream, with the contrasts in light, colour and textures particularly dramatic. Many a guest’s “lifer shots” of African animal and bird species were taken in this park.

We will stop for lunch at Halali camp, and if there is time we will take a short stroll to the famous waterhole that can be seen from inside the camp. All sorts of mammals come to drink here, and every now and again something truly spectacular happens!

The area around Okaukuejo camp (where we are heading) should produce Dusky and Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Acacia Pied Barbet, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Southern White-crowned Shrike, Marico and Chat Flycatcher, Rattling Cisticola, Double-banded and Namaqua Sandgrouse, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Common Ostrich, Kori Bustard, Northern Black and Red-crested Korhaan and Great Sparrow to name a few. We will scan on top of all the huge Sociable Weaver nests for Pygmy Falcon. Also keep an eye out for snakes in the nests or close to them, something else Etosha is famous for.

We will also use the late afternoon (if there is time) to bird the Okondeka plains north of the camp where we will look for Spike-heeled, Pink-billed, Eastern Clapper, Red-capped and Sabota Lark as well as Grey-backed and Chestnut-backed Sparrow-lark, Capped Wheatear, Double-banded Courser, Ant-eating Chat, Desert Cisticola and Rufous-eared Warbler. The waterhole in this area is also famous as being the best place in the park to see Lions.

We will reach our next camp, Okaukuejo, late in the afternoon and check in to our rooms. The camp is located only 17 km (11 mi) from the southern entrance of the Etosha Park, the Andersson gate, and is at the western end of the Etosha pan. It is the oldest tourist camp in Etosha and the administrative centre of the park.

The camp grounds themselves are also very productive, and here we could see Crimson-breasted Shrike, Groundscraper Thrush, Pririt Batis, Chestnut-vented Warbler, Red-headed Finch, Acacia Pied Barbet and South African Ground Squirrel.

We will enjoy dinner in the restaurant and update our lists, and then walk to the famous floodlit waterhole in the camp. We will sit quietly with a drink in hand and we look for Verreaux’s Eagle-owl, Western Barn Owl and Rufous-cheeked Nightjar, and we could even see Black Rhinoceros come for a drink. There might also be African Elephant, Giraffe, Gemsbok, Greater Kudu, Springbok, Common Warthog and many other animals. Sitting here will make you realise why Etosha is such a special place…

DAY 10:
Western Etosha National Park

We will start with an early coffee and a short morning birding and game drive around Okaukuejo (where we could bird the Okondeka plains north of the camp if we didn’t do so yesterday).
After breakfast we will make our way to the far western section of the park, visiting several waterholes along the way, hoping to see Burchell’s Sandgrouse drinking at one of them during the course of the morning. Today is mostly a driving day, but we will still see some fantastic mammals, birds and dramatic scenery.

The birdlife in the far western part of Etosha remains prolific, and the area holds several specials, some of which cannot easily be seen elsewhere in the park. These include Hartlaub’s Spurfowl, Monteiro’s Hornbill, Rüppell’s Parrot, White-tailed Shrike, Rockrunner, Violet Wood Hoopoe and Bare-cheeked Babbler.

We will reach Dolomite camp late in the afternoon after another fantastic day in Etosha. As the name suggests, the camp nestles in the dolomite outcrops of western Etosha and offers an intimate experience in one of the most scenic areas of the park, and was the first lodge to be built in this section of the park. The area is rich in waterholes that attract African Elephant, rhinos, Leopard, Lion, Springbok, Gemsbok and Red Hartebeest. The seasonal flowers of Dolomite Hill are also a highlight for botanists.

We will get together for socialising, updating our lists and dinner before settling in for our final night in wonderful Etosha. Tomorrow a different part of the tour starts!

DAY 11:
Damaraland

We will be up early and once we leave the park we have an option to visit a lodge near Kamanjab. This lodge and the surrounding area is home to several of Namibia’s near endemic birds and other specials that include Bare-cheeked Babbler, Carp’s Tit, Rockrunner, Hartlaub’s Spurfowl, Ruppell’s Parrot, African Scops Owl, Southern Pied Babbler and White-tailed Shrike. Monteiro’s and Damara Red-billed Hornbills are also both common around the lodge.

Then we will make our way south to Damaraland. It is a region in the north-central part of the country, bounded to the west by the Atlantic Ocean, to the east by the Kalahari desert, to the north by Kaokoland, and to the south by the Great Namaqualand. It is a visually dramatic area, with rugged rocks, prehistoric water courses, open plains and grassland, massive granite koppies (hills) and deep gorges. Get your cameras ready!

The rocky outcrops of Twyfelfontein is a top-notch attraction of the area, and one of Namibia’s two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, featuring exceptional Bushmen engravings, which are considered to be some of the best-preserved etchings on the continent.

This beautiful mountainous region is also home to an assortment of scientifically important desert-adapted wildlife such as elephant, rhino, zebra and lion, which somehow survive and thrive in this near-barren landscape. We hope to see some of them; a special treat indeed!
We are heading for the arid plains around the Brandberg Mountain (literally “fire mountain” in Afrikaans), Namibia’s highest mountain (2,573 m/ 8,442 ft), where we will spend the night and search for specific target birds.
We will scan the plains north of the mountain for Rüppell’s Korhaan, Burchell’s Courser, Bokmakierie and Benguela Long-billed Lark. The hills will hopefully produce Herero Chat, arguably the toughest of the endemics to find, and Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Cape Penduline Tit and Grey-backed Cisticola can also be ticked here.

Our tranquil lodge is situated close to the Ugab River where we hope to see Violet Wood Hoopoe and Bare-cheeked Babbler. Rüppell’s Parrot and Augur Buzzard can be found here as well. Sometimes the desert adapted wildlife come right up to the lodge!

We will enjoy a traditional Namibian dinner and then head off to bed. Once again, remember to look at the stars while you are out here – a spectacular sight you will never forget.

DAY 12:
The Erongo Mountains

We will start with an early coffee and breakfast, and then spend the morning birding around the Brandberg, making sure we pick up all the species we still need. The Brandberg is a spiritual site of great significance to the San (Bushman) tribes. The main tourist attraction, apart from the peak, is the White Lady rock painting (one of over 45,000 paintings), located on a rock face with other artwork, under a small rock overhang, in the Tsisab ravine at the foot of the mountain.
We will make our way south to the Erongo mountains after leaving Brandberg. The Erongo mountains and surrounds are a real endemic hotspot and we will focus on finding any of the endemics that we might have missed.

We will have lunch on the way to Erongo and arrive in the afternoon with enough time to enjoy this spectacular area.

The granite hills surrounding the beautiful and luxurious lodge where we will stay tonight are famous for Hartlaub’s Spurfowl and Rockrunner. Besides these two specials we can look for Rüppell’s Parrot, Carp’s Tit, White-tailed Shrike, Monteiro’s and Damara Red-billed Hornbill, Violet Wood Hoopoe, Pale-winged Staring, Red-billed Spurfowl, Augur Buzzard, Peregrine Falcon, African Hawk-eagle, Booted Eagle, vultures, and Cinnamon-breasted, Golden-breasted, Cape and Lark-like Bunting.

Rosy-faced Lovebirds are present in massive numbers and we will also wrap up on the general scrub savannah birds like White-throated, Yellow and Black-throated Canary, Green-winged Pytilia, Short-toed Rock Thrush, Violet-eared, Black-cheeked and Blue Waxbill, Barred Wren-warbler, Rattling Cisticola, Marico Flycatcher, Pririt Batis, Shaft-tailed Whydah, African Red-eyed Bulbul, White-backed Mousebird, Cape Starling and Mountain Wheatear.

Dassie Rat and Common Rock Hyrax are common mammals while the endemic Kaokoveld Slender Mongoose, Leopard and Caracal are seen quite often. Western Barn Owl and Freckled Nightjar are seen on most evenings at the floodlit waterhole as we enjoy our excellent dinner.

DAY 13:
Walvis Bay

We will start the day with an early walk looking for Hartlaub’s Spurfowl if we didn’t see it yesterday. This beautiful near-endemic is difficult to find at the best of times, and the most successful way to locate it is to listen for the ventriloquial call and then try to sneak up on it!

After our morning birding and breakfast we will make our way further southwest to Walvis Bay and the Atlantic coast, stopping to look for Gray’s Lark along the way.

Walvis Bay (literally meaning “Whale Bay” in Afrikaans), with its large bay and sand dunes, is an important centre of tourism activity in Namibia and a favourite spot for internationals and locals alike. Attractions include the artificial Bird Island, the Dune 7 sand dune, the salt works and a museum. It is also Namibia’s most important harbour, and is well suited for the outdoor lifestyle, boasting sports such as sandboarding, kiting, surfing, kitesurfing, swimming, angling, sailing, golf and other indoor and outdoor sport codes. The town is also making a name for its self in the culinary world, with local Namibian and German cuisine at the forefront.

After checking into our lodge for the evening we will spend the afternoon at the famous Walvis Bay lagoon, which has been declared a Ramsar site of global importance for the thousands of waders that are found here. It is regarded as the most important coastal wetland in all of southern Africa.

One of our main targets today will be the Damara Tern. Other birds we hope to find include Great White Pelican, Ruff, Little Stint, Sanderling, Curlew, Terek and Pectoral Sandpiper, Black-necked Grebe, Red-necked Phalarope, Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwit, Common and Spotted Redshank, Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Swift, Common, Sandwich, Black and Caspian Tern, African Oystercatcher, Common Ringed, Chestnut-banded, Grey and Three-banded Plover and Greater and Lesser Flamingo. Cape Cormorants are usually spotted in huge flocks and we will also look for Crowned and White-breasted Cormorant and if we are lucky even Bank Cormorant.

The great thing about this area is that almost anything can turn up so we have the possibilities to see a rarity or two. Pomarine Jaeger and Subantarctic Skua are sometimes seen from the shoreline. Also look out for American and Pacific Golden Plover, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Broad-billed Sandpiper and Franklin’s Gull.

Our brightly coloured lodge is situated a stone’s throw from the Walvis Bay lagoon and is especially famous for their fantastic breakfast and superb personal service. From a birding perspective, Orange River White-eye, Cape Sparrow and Common Waxbill are all present in the lodge gardens.

We will have our farewell dinner somewhere in town at one of the many excellent establishments, and afterwards enjoy our final night of the tour under African skies.

DAY 14:
Dune Lark and departure

Unfortunately our wonderful trip has almost come to an end. However, there is one more very special bird we need for our lists…

On our final morning we will focus on finding Dune Lark, Namibia’s only true endemic and a great bird to end the trip with. We will spend time in the scenic Kuiseb riverbed searching for this special species at the base of some of the impressive dunes that form a beautiful backdrop.

This hard-to-find sandy-coloured lark survives in this harsh environment without any water, instead getting everything it needs to survive from seeds and insects found in the sparsely vegetated areas between the dunes in the desert. In fact there are no known records of it ever drinking even a drop of water!

Other interesting birds we might see here include Bokmakierie, White-backed Mousebird, Cape and Great Sparrow, Chestnut-vented Warbler, Dusky Sunbird, Grey-backed Cisticola, Jackal Buzzard, Pale Chanting Goshawk and the desert form of the Tractrac Chat.

As most flights from Walvis Bay International Airport depart around lunchtime we should have a little extra time to bird the lagoon area for any waders or shorebirds that we might have missed.

We will then transfer you to the Walvis Bay Airport for your onward flight. This will be the official end of our superb two week birding safari in Namibia, Botswana and Zambia.

*Please note that this Birding Trip can easily be combined with a birding extension to Windhoek, from where you can then take your onward flight. Don’t hesitate to ask for our help, we will gladly assist.

To go birding in Namibia, Botswana and Zambia with us, contact our team at info@naturetravelafrica.com

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