Namibia: a land of stark contrasting habitats, breath-taking scenery, unique cultures and remarkable biodiversity. Although home to only one avian endemic [Dune Lark] this south west African country surely ranks as one of southern Africa’s most popular and rewarding birding destinations. Our Namibia, Botswana and Victoria Falls birding tour seeks to cover the country comprehensively whilst briefly crossing international borders into neighbouring Botswana and Zambia to maximize chances at connecting with key avian highlights and witness the world-famous Victoria Falls.
Participants will be treated to a whole range of biodiversity thanks to the tangible passion shown by our expert expedition leaders, all whilst maintaining birding as a top priority throughout the exploration of Namibia’s avian-rich hotspots, whether it be from the fringes of Etosha National Park’s gargantuan salt pan or on a boat ride through the papyrus oh so typical of Botswana’s Okavango Delta.
This expedition generally produces a trip list of over 400 different bird species and the accompanying mammal and reptile counts are equally impressive and some of the highest out of all of our African destinations that we visit.
Day 1 – 2: Arrival + Birding Around Walvis Bay (Namibia)
Our Namibia, Botswana & Victoria Falls birding tour begins on the central east coast of Namibia, in Walvis Bay, where one can expect to be treated to an array of migratory shorebird species from Eurasia alongside (sometimes) thousands of both Lesser and Greater Flamingo, Great White Pelicans and the extremely popular Cape Fur Seal colony. Time spent slightly inland from the coast and amidst the dunes provides one with the opportunity of connecting with Namibia’s only true avian endemic, the seemingly dull-plumaged, dune-dwelling Dune Lark. However, the lark is not the only inhabitant of this protected area; both Peringuey’s Adder and Namaqua Chameleon will be high on our list of local reptilian targets.
Day 3 - 4: Enter the Namib, Erongo
As the expedition begins to make its way inland, we find ourselves staying near the small town of Erongo before moving further north to the base Namibia’s highest peak, Brandberg. It is here where one will be afforded their first real opportunity at getting familiar with some of Namibia’s more unique ‘desert’ species, not least of which includes the obscure-looking Hartlaub’s Spurfowl; a near-endemic to both Namibia and Angola. Competing for the spot of top local highlight will inevitably be the peculiar looking White-tailed Shrike, Monteiro’s Hornbill, Ruppell’s Parrot and Herero Chat to name but a few star celebrities.
Day 5: Desert Elephants in the Shadow of Namibia’s Highest Peak
Situated in the Ugab river valley in a region known as Damaraland, the picturesque White Lady Lodge proves ever popular for its oasis-like resemblance, dwelling in the shadow of the towering Brandberg Mountain and playing host to the likes of Benguela Long-billed Lark, Ruppell’s Korhaan, Damara Red-billed Hornbill and ‘desert’ African Elephants who occasionally make their way through camp.
Day 6 – 8: Wildlife and Birds of Etosha National Park
What must surely be one of the continent’s most famed national parks, Etosha is home to an array of wildlife (both big and small) and is one of the top highlights for those visiting the country. Besides the obvious mammal attractions of Lion, Leopard, Elephant and the infamous Black Rhino, avian highlights see both Burchell’s and Double-banded Coursers, Blue Crane, Kori Bustard, Pygmy Falcon, Burchell’s Sandgrouse, Bare-cheeked Babbler and Southern White-faced Owl all ranking high.
Day 9 – 10: Birding along the Namibian/Angola Border, Kunene Region
We journey from Etosha northwards to the border of Namibia and Angola, visually marked by the area’s main water supply; the Kunene River. It is on the banks of the Kunene where we find ourselves based at the exquisite Kunene River Lodge which is nothing short of a riverine oasis amidst an otherwise arid landscape. The ‘Kunene 4’ is what we’ll be after here: Grey Kestrel, Cinderella Waxbill, Rufous-tailed Palm Thrush and Angolan Cave Chat. A sunset boat cruise will also afford us the opportunity of watching dozens of Rosy-faced Lovebirds coming into roost in the Lala Palms which line the river, whilst the secretive Bat Hawk may also make an appearance.
Day 11 – 13: Birding Tsumeb to Divundu, the Start of Namibia’s Caprivi Strip
Yet another drastic change of scenery on the expedition as we move from the riverine oasis that is Kunene River Lodge and through to the Caprivi strip – a narrow strip of Namibian land wedged between Botswana’s northern and Zambia’s southern borders respectively. The woodlands around and east of Runda are where we’ll target Black-faced Babbler, Racket-tailed Roller, Souza’s Shrike, Rufous-bellied Tit and Sharp-tailed Starling, Tinkling Cisticola and Green-capped Eremomela.
Day 14 – 15: The Panhandle of Botswana’s Okavango Delta
Transit and birding in Botswana – we’ll bird our way down from the western part of the Caprivi stirp into down into neighbouring Botswana and the panhandle of the Okavango Delta. The road south will provide chances of connecting with Rock Pratincole, Western Banded Snake Eagle, Wattled Crane, Long-toed Lapwing and Bradfield’s Hornbill, whilst boat cruises through the panhandle of the Okavango Delta will allow us to search for Lesser Jacana, Greater Swamp Warbler, Chirping and Luapula Cisticola, Swamp Boubou, Slaty Egret, White-backed Night Heron and of course the highly sought-after Pel’s Fishing Owl.
Day 16 – 17: Eastern Caprivi
Making our way back into the Caprivi Strip we’ll now head due East towards the town of Katima Mulilo. The gardens of most lodges in the area are home to some truly magnificent bird life. Hartlaub’s Babbler, Copper Sunbird, Schalow’s Turaco and Brown Firefinch are largely all garden residents whilst the gardens of a nearby lodge are home to a small population of Yellow-throated Leafloves; one of the sub-region’s most recent discoveries (2015). We’ll also be treated to yet another boat cruise, allowing us the opportunity to connect with the likes of Rufous-bellied Heron, Allen’s Gallinule and African Pygmy Goose.
Day 18 – 19: The Smoke that Thunders, Victoria Falls
Mosi-oa-Tunya – the name given to these magnificent falls by locals and which translates to “the smoke that thunders”. The spray from the falls has created the perfect conditions for a type of small-scale rainforest habitat This of course brings with it great birding and more superb opportunities to see Schalow’s Turaco. Time spent away from the falls will be spent looking for Racket-tailed Roller, Northern Grey-headed Sparrow and Southern Ground Hornbill amongst others and enjoying birding around the camp-grounds of the David Livingstone Safari Lodge.
Day 20: Departure, Livingstone (Zambia)
All good things must sadly come to an end – your international flight will depart from Livingstone, Zambia. Your expedition leader will bid his/her farewell to you at the airport.
Please note that the above itinerary cannot be guaranteed and serves as only a rough guide which can accommodate last minute changes (usually slightly) due to varying factors including availability of accommodation, updated information on the state of accommodation, road closures/conditions, recent productivity of birding sites, and the discretion of the guides alongside other factors.
Departures & Prices
Tour Price Includes
- All accommodation
- Two main meals a day
- National Park and Reserve entrance and conservation fees (Including single day entrance into Victoria Falls)
- All transport whilst in Namibia, Botswana and Zambia for the duration of the expedition
- Guided activities (boat rides)
Tour Price Does Not Include
- Flights to and from start/end location
- All beverages
- Travel Insurance
- Items of a personal nature (laundry, souvenirs)
What to Expect
What to Expect
Our Namibia & Botswana birding tour is what some would consider one of the best introductions to birding in Southern Africa, given the easy routes we travel, the friendly people and cultures, breathtaking wildlife encounters, superb accommodation, great photographic opportunities and birding which isn’t at all intense or hard going. In fact, a combination of the scenic sights, smells and sounds of Africa and the incredible biodiversity we will be encountering along the way makes it hard for one not to succumb to a sense of pure, untamed relaxation.
Birding will often commence at first light after the morning’s coffee and tea so as best to maximise the time of day when birds will be most active. Breakfast will either be served back at the lodge, at a local restaurant or as a picnic-type setup by our guide whilst you continue to enjoy the avian spectacle around you. Midday will generally see us finding time for the group to rest during the heat of the day and take a break from what can be moderately high temperatures [+-36 to 38 degrees Celsius] with minimal humidity during November. This is a great opportunity for clients to refresh, download and sort through pictures or prepare their equipment for the afternoon session. Remember, it will be the Southern Hemisphere Summer and being a largely arid desert environment temperatures during the day can get hot whilst the evenings prove to be the opposite and become rather chilly (pack a jumper or jacket to be safe!) Lunch options will be similar to those for breakfast, followed by further time spent in the field. Evenings will be enjoyed relaying stories and highlights from the day over a superb dinner as your guide takes you through the daily bird list and discusses any queries you may have.
Birding in general is easy with the occasional short distances of light walking, whilst transport for the duration of the tour will be conducted in a Toyota Quantum 13 seater vehicle. The vehicle won’t have any sort of open-top, game-viewing conversion, but given the relatively easy birding nature of the country it doesn’t hamper the quality of birding at all. There is minimal to no language barrier if speaking English and the vast majority of both countries use this as their median for conversing with one another.
Even though we cannot guarantee a sighting of the animals below, we feel quite confident that an encounter with the ones listed below is quite likely.
- Blue Crane
- White-tailed Shrike
- Pel’s Fishing-Owl
- Slaty Egret
- Dune Lark
- Herero Chat
- Southern Ground Hornbill
- Ruppell's Parrot
- Carmine Bee-Eater
- Many large herbivores (antelope, zebras, elephants and more) and carnivores (lions, leopards, hyenas)
Past Tour Checklists
Past Tour Checklists
View the list of birds and other wildlife we encountered on our past tours.