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Birding Trip Report: Namibia & Botswana
Namib Desert, Spitzkoppe, Brandberg, Hobatere, Etosha, Okavango Panhandle & Waterberg Plateau
22 April - 7 May 2008


This was a 16-day tour in April 2008, with focus on birds.
Areas visited: selected birding destinations in Namibia and the Okavango “pan-handle” in Botswana:
Daan Viljoen Game Reserve, Walvisbay, Swakopmund, Spitzkoppe, Erongo Mountains, Brandberg.
Number of bird species seen: 316 species
Some of the mammal highlights of the trip included close-up sightings of Black Rhino at a floodlit waterhole in Etosha, the localized Striped Tree Squirrel of northern Damaraland, and the restricted and habitat specific Dassie Rat. Other noteworthy mammals seen were Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra, Damara Dik-Dik, Roan Antelope and African Wild Cat.

Detailed report:
most notable species including near-endemics are listed below along with the corresponding sites.

22/04/2008 ­ Windhoek & Daan Viljoen Game Reserve
Verreaux’s Eagle, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Pale-winged Starling, Marsh Warbler, South African Shelduck, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Mountain Wheatear, Cape Penduline-Tit, Great Sparrow, Yellow Canary and Fawn-coloured, Dusky & Sabota (herero sub-species) Larks.

23/04/2008 ­ Bosua Pass & Walvisbay
Common Ostrich, Great Spotted Cuckoo, White-tailed Shrike, Dusky Sunbird, Long-billed Pipit, Sociable Weaver, Short-toed Rock-thrush, Tractrac Chat, Red Crested & Ruppell’s Korhaan, Red Knot, Sanderling, Common Ringed Plover, Caspian Tern, Osprey, Cape Cormorant, Greater Flamingo and Great White Pelican.

24/04/2008 ­ Rooibank, Walvis Bay & Swakopmund
More migratory shorebirds with delayed departure times, including Bar-tailed Godwit, Common Whimbrel, Terek, and Curlew Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, Little Stint (tens of thousands), Greater Sand Plover and Red-necked Phalarope. Other resident shorebirds seen were African Black Oystercatcher, Pied Avocet, Chestnut-banded Plover and White-fronted Plover. Damara Tern, Lesser Flamingo, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Gray’s Lark and Dune Lark were other good species recorded on the day.

25/04/2008 ­ Swakopmund, Spitzkoppe & Erongo Mountains
Orange River White-eye, Monteiro’s Hornbill, Rosy-faced Lovebird, Bradfield’s Swift, Karoo Chat, Layard’s Tit-babbler, Chat Flycatcher, Pririt Batis, Karoo Long-billed & Starks Lark, White-throated Canary and Orange River Francolin.

26/04/2008 ­ Erongo Mountains & Uis
Hartlaub’s Francolin, White-backed Mousebird, Klaas’s Cuckoo, Namaqua Sandgrouse, Benguela Long-billed Lark, Lappet-faced Vulture, Tawny Eagle, Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk and Rockrunner.

27/04/2008 ­ Uis, Brandberg & Hobatere
Red-billed Francolin, Ruppell’s Parrot, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Booted Eagle, Lanner Falcon, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Kalahari Scrub-Robin, Barred Wren-warbler, Damara Hornbill and Shaft-tailed Whydah.

28/04/2008 ­ Hobatere
Common Scimitarbill, Levaillant’s Cuckoo, Brown Snake Eagle, Gabar Goshawk, Southern White-crowned Shrike, African Paradise Flycatcher, Violet-backed Starling, Carp’s Tit, Bare-cheeked Babbler, Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver, Chestnut Weaver, Green-winged Pytilia, Violet-eared and Black-faced Waxbill and Golden-breasted Bunting.

29/04/2008 ­ Etosha National Park (Okaukuejo& surrounds)
Kori Bustard, Northern Black Korhaan, Black-chested Snake-Eagle, Bateleur, Secretarybird, Greater Kestrel, Anteating Chat, Spike-heeled, Pink-billed and Red-capped Lark, Chestnut-backed and Grey-backed Sparrowlark.

30/04/2008 ­ Etosha National Park (Halali & surrounds)
Spotted Eagle-Owl, Blue Crane, Double-banded Courser, Shikra, Violet Wood-Hoopoe, Banded Martin and Desert Cisticola.

01/05/2008 ­ Etosha National Park (Namutoni & surrounds) ­ Lesser Moorhen, Double-banded Sandgrouse, Southern Pochard, African Harrier-Hawk, Red-necked Falcon, Saddle-billed Stork, Kittlitz’s Plover, Chestnut-vented Tit-Babbler and Long-tailed Paradise-Whydah.

02/05/2008 ­ Namutoni & Rundu
Greater Painted-Snipe, Comb Duck, African Purple Swamphen, Squacco Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Mosque Swallow, Sabota Lark (Weibeli), African Quailfinch and Village Indigobird (Okavangoensis).

03/05/2008 ­ Rundu & Okavango Panhandle in Botswana
Hottentot Teal, Senegal Coucal, African Mourning Dove, African Marsh-Harrier, African Openbill, Magpie Shrike, African Golden Oriole, Swamp Boubou, White-crested Helmet-Shrike, Greater Blue-eared, Burchell’s and Meves’s Starling, Brown-throated Martin, Wire-tailed Swallow, Yellow-bellied Greenbul, Hartlaub’s Babbler and Spectacled and Golden Weaver.

04/05/2008 ­ Okavango Panhandle (in Botswana)
Lesser Honeyguide, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Malachite and Giant Kingfisher, Coppery-tailed Coucal, Pel’s Fishing-Owl, Allen’s Gallinule, Lesser Jacana, Long-toed Lapwing, Western Banded Snake-Eagle, Long-crested Eagle, Purple Heron, White-backed Night-Heron, Little Bittern, White-browed Robin-Chat, Luapula and Chirping Cisticola, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Greater Swamp-Warbler, Little Rush-Warbler, Collared Sunbird, Woodland Kingfisher, Southern Brown-throated Weaver, Fan-tailed Widowbird and Brown Firefinch.

05/05/2008 ­ Okavango Panhandle (in Botswana), Popa Falls (Kavango River, Namibia)
Striped Kingfisher, African Green-Pigeon, Meyer’s Parrot, Little Sparrowhawk, Martial Eagle, Ashy Flycatcher, Red-billed Oxpecker, Southern Black Tit, Terrestrial Brownbul and Scarlet-chested Sunbird.

06/05/2008 ­ Popa Falls & Waterberg Plateau National Park
Dark Chanting Goshawk, Brubru, Pale and Southern Black Flycatcher, Red-Headed Weaver and Jameson’s Firefinch.

07/05/2008 ­ Waterberg Plateau National Park to Windhoek
Purple Roller, Red-faced Mousebird, White-backed Vulture and Alpine Swift.

Birding Africa Trip Report by Tour Leader Joe Grosel .

Many of the birding sites on this trip are described in detail in the Southern African Birdfinder which is widely available in South African bookshops and on the internet. (e.g., or However you're always welcome to contact us if you're interested in a guided trip in this area.

Practical tour information:
Namibia & Okavango

Please also visit our tour calendar and other trip reports.

Please click this link for more detailed information about our upcoming tours to Botswana.
Focus For keen birders and mammal enthusiasts. The tour focuses on most of Namibia's endemic birds and wildlife, including unique desert-adapted species. The extension to the Okavango Panhandle offers specials such as Pel's Fishing Owl, Slaty Egret and White-backed Night Heron and involves an Okavango River boat trip. While the tour is designed to see as many endemic birds as possible, we are also able to spend a lot of time looking for other aspects of wildlife such as mammals, chameleons, geckos, butterflies and interesting desert-adapted plants, such as Welwitschia and Hoodia. We can also customise any guided or self-drive itinerary to suit to the keen birder, the wildlife enthusiast or both.
Photography Many participants on our trips are amateur wildlife photographers. And when we get excellent views of a bird or mammal, some time is usually spent watching and photographing it. However, this is not a photographic tour and once the majority of the people have felt that they have absorbed the animal or bird to their satisfaction, then we move on in search of the next encounter. Thus, while the photographic opportunities are very good, the group will only occasionally wait for somebody who wants to spend even longer getting better photos.

Have a look at Wim de Groot's pictures and Utz Klingenböck's pictures taken in 2009 on Birding Africa Namibia & Okavango trips.
Fitness No fitness is required. The few walks are generally in relatively flat areas with occasional small inclines.
Timing Good year round. At Etosha, birding is best in summer, but game viewing is easiest in winter. September to November may be best for birding in the Okavango panhandle region as Afritropical and Palaearctic migrants begin to arrive. However, late summer is equally interesting.
Climate Hot, especially in summer.
Comfort A good standard of accommodation in guest houses, lodges and rest camps.
Transport We travel by minibus or four wheel drive vehicle. The tour starts and ends in Windhoek.
Group Size This depends on the specific tour. Please enquire.
Top birds Namibia: One endemic and almost 20 near-endemics in a spectacular setting; Herero Chat, White-tailed Shrike, Carp's Tit, Monteiro's Hornbill, Rockrunner, Rosy-faced Lovebird, Rueppell's Parrot, Hartlaub's Francolin, Dune Lark, Blue Crane, Secretarybird, Ludwig's Bustard, Southern Ground Hornbill, Burchell's Courser, Rosy-breasted Longclaw.

Okavango Panhandle: Pel's Fishing Owl, White-backed Night Heron, African Skimmer, African Wood Owl, African Pygmy Goose, Slaty Egret, Swamp Boubou, Greater Swamp-Warbler, Luapula Cisticola and Southern Carmine Bee-eater.
Top mammals African Elephant, Black Rhinoceros, Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Springbok, Damara Dik-dik, Klipspringer, Gemsbok (Southern Oryx), Burchell's Zebra, Hartmann's Mountain Zebra, Hartebeest, Black-faced Impala, Meerkat, Dassie Rat. In the Okavango Panhandle, there is a chance of seeing Sitatunga and Hippopotamus.
Booking Please email us if you wish to book. You will receive the booking form and conditions and a tour information pack.

About Birding Africa

Birding Africa is a specialist birding tour company customising tours for both world listers and more relaxed holiday birders.  We combine interests in mammals, butterflies, dragonflies, botany and other natural history aspects and will guide you to Africa's and Madagascar's most diverse birding destinations. Our guides' knowledge of African birds and birding areas is our greatest strength and together we have rediscovered species, shared exciting observations with the birding community and had a fun time exploring our home continent.  We've even written two acclaimed guide books on where to find Southern Africa's and Madagascar's best birds. Birding is more than our passion, it's our lifestyle, and we are dedicated to making professional, best value trips filled with endemic species and unique wildlife experiences. Since 1997, we've run bird watching tours in South Africa and further into Africa for individual birders, small birding groups and top international tour companies. We've run Conservation Tours in association with the African Bird Club and work with and consult for a number of other top international tour companies and the BBC Natural History Unit.

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