Birding Tours in Namibia
Home to approximately 592 bird species including the worlds largest bird the Ostrich and heaviest bird the Kori Bustard. Birding Safaris are recommended with an experienced guide who will take you through the country in search of its one endemic the Dune Lark and the 14 near endemic species. Top destinations include Walvis Bay, Etosha National Park, the Kunene River and the Caprivi Strip.
Namibia is a remarkable birding and safari destination, it is home to approximately 592 different species of Birds of which there is only one true endemic and about 14 near endemics. There are 19 IBA’s (Important Birding Area’s) found throughout Namibia.
The contrasting and diverse landscape with its variety of habitats provides for a wide diversity of bird species. Namibia offers a birding safari like no other, on the Western side of the country the terrain consists of dry dessert, dunes that roll off into the sea and coastal wetlands, these environments provide habitats for rare birds that have had to adapted to living in such a harsh environments to live, on the Eastern side there is the Caprivi strip which is a narrow extension eastwards of the country, the strip is bordered by 4 rivers (Okavango, Kwando, Chobe and Zambezi), provides great mix of riverine, woodland and Kalahari habitats with some of the best birding in Africa.
Best birding is generally experienced on a private or group birding safari. There are many different safari options with some safaris focussing primarily on the Western side of the country and others which take you from West to East crossing into some of the neighbouring countries such as Zambia and Botswana to pick a few more specials. Namibia has a very good tourism infrastructure and there roads are in very good conditions making traveling safe.
This area is Namibia’s best spot for waders. Damara Tern breed in the area and during certain times of the year huge numbers of both Greater and Lesser Flamingos are present. In summer huge numbers of migratory waders including a host of possible rarities join the resident species. A little further inland is the best spot to find Dune Lark, Namibia’s only true endemic.
The oldest desert with the highest sand dunes in the world. The whole area from Sossusvlei in the south to Damaraland in the north is included here. Although not home to huge numbers of birds, it still has a number of specials including Dune Lark, Ruppell’s Korhaan, Ludwig’s Bustard, Gray’s Lark, Tractrac Chat, Stark’s Lark, Namaqua Sandgrouse, Ostrich and Burchell’s Courser.
Hartlaub’s Francolin, White-tailed Shrike and Herero Chat are the main specials for this part of the country. This area especially around Omaruru offers some of the best bushveld birding in the country. Besides the three specials mentioned above this area is also brilliant for Monteiro’s Hornbill, Ruppell’s Parrot, Violet Woodhoopoe, Rosy-faced Lovebird and Carp’s Black Tit.
Waterberg Plateau National Park
The beautiful sandstone cliffs form the perfect backdrop for this park. This is the only site in Namibia where Cape Vultures are breeding. Specials for this area include Damara, Bradfield’s, Monteiro’s, African Grey, Southern Yellow-billed and Red-billed Hornbills, Ruppell’s Parrot, Rockrunner, Red-billed Spurfowl and Carp’s Black Tit.
Etosha National Park
Namibia’s most famous park is not only the best game viewing spot in the country, it is also one of the top birding spots. The park consists of open flats, open acacia Savannah, woodlands and wetlands (salt pans). When the Etosha pan fills up with water after a very good rainy season it becomes a water birds paradise. Vast numbers of lesser and Greater Flamingos, Great White Pelicans, Caspian Plovers a number of rarities congregate on and around the pan.
The Kunene River
Although it requires a long drive it is a must for any birder. The main attraction here is the beautiful Cinderella Waxbill which is difficult to find but well worth the effort. The other two big specials that are not found elsewhere in Namibia include Rufous-tailed Palm-thrush and Grey Kestrel. This region has received a lot of birding attention of late with the discovery of the Angola Cave Chat at the Zebra Mountains.
The Caprivi Strip
The Caprivi Strip is a section of land that extends east of the main country body towards the Zambezi River. This is a top birding destination where many of the Okavango specials can be found. With its mature Teak Woodland and Riverine forest the Okavango, Kwando and Zambezi Rivers make this area completely different to the rest of the dry country.
Birding is best done in the rainy season (Nov – April) once the migratory birds have returned, however it often great to bird in the colder drier season as it at this time that you can appreciate and see how those birds that do not migrate have adapted to their surroundings.
Namibia has 3 typical Seasons:
• May – Aug (Dry & Cool)
• Sept – Oct (Very Hot & Dry) – Best Game Viewing Season
• Nov – April (Wet & Green) – Best Birding Season