18 Days Namibia Bird Watching Safari Itinerary

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18 Days Namibia Bird Watching Safari Itinerary is a truly marvelous birding adventure. 18 Days Namibia Bird Watching Safari Itinerary will sample three different countries and spectacular, diverse scenery. We start in the coastal Namib Desert with its impressive dune fields (inhabited by a desirable, localized endemic) and lagoons filled with flamingos, pelicans, shorebirds, and some really localized species such as Damara Tern and Chestnut-banded Plover. The mountains of the beautiful Namib Escarpment are next on our Namibia Bird Watching Safari Itinerary, and here we search for Rosy-faced Lovebird, Herero Chat, Rockrunner, Monteiro’s Hornbill, Damara Red-billed Hornbill, the incomparable, batis-like (although largely terrestrial) White-tailed Shrike, and other charismatic species of northern Namibia.

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    All about the 18 Days Namibia Bird Watching Safari Itinerary.

    18 Days Namibia Bird Watching Safari Itinerary is a truly marvelous birding adventure. 18 Days Namibia Bird Watching Safari Itinerary will sample three different countries and spectacular, diverse scenery. We start in the coastal Namib Desert with its impressive dune fields (inhabited by a desirable, localized endemic) and lagoons filled with flamingos, pelicans, shorebirds, and some really localized species such as Damara Tern and Chestnut-banded Plover. The mountains of the beautiful Namib Escarpment are next on our 18 Days Namibia Bird Watching Safari Itinerary, and here we search for Rosy-faced Lovebird, Herero Chat, Rockrunner, Monteiro’s Hornbill, Damara Red-billed Hornbill, the incomparable, batis-like (although largely terrestrial) White-tailed Shrike, and other charismatic species of northern Namibia.

    The 18 Days Namibia Bird Watching Safari Itinerary will eventually leave the desert and enter the grassland, savanna, and woodland of one of Africa’s greatest game parks, Etosha National Park. This must surely be one of the world’s best places for seeing Black Rhinoceros and big cats, along with all the other African megafauna. It is also excellent for a good range of very special birds, such as Namibia’s dazzling national bird, Crimson-breasted Shrike, the world’s heaviest flying bird, Kori Bustard, the diminutive Pygmy Falcon, and stacks more.

    After Etosha 18 Days Namibia Bird Watching Safari Itinerary will head into an incredibly bird-diverse tropical corner of Namibia, the Caprivi Strip, and the adjacent panhandle of the Okavango Delta, which falls just within the borders of Botswana. The magnificent wetlands and woodlands in these parts support Pel’s Fishing Owl (this is the world’s most reliable place for this monster), White-backed Night Heron, Slaty Egret, Southern Carmine Bee-eater, and literally hundreds of other species, a rather large proportion of them spectacular. Finally, we bird around Livingstone in Zambia (with a brief foray to view Victoria Falls from the Zimbabwean side) for yet another rich assemblage of birds.

    This 18 Days Namibia Bird Watching Safari Itinerary tour covers a vast area and a huge range of habitats, from the coastal deserts to the land of big rivers. While Namibian distances are large, we minimize driving time and maximize birding time by starting in Walvis Bay, Namibia, and ending in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Take in the diversity of life in southern Africa on this 18 Days Namibia Bird Watching Safari Itinerary journey.  Traverse the terrain of Namibia and Botswana, surrounded by a variety of landscapes and animal life. There are more than 500 recorded species of birds in the Okavango Delta alone, so don’t forget to look up.

    The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
    What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
    • All accommodation
    • Meals (from lunch on day 1 until breakfast on day 18)
    • Unlimited bottled water
    • Expert tour leader
    • All entrance & conservation fees
    • All ground transport, including airport pick-up and drop-off
    • Entrance fees to Victoria Falls
    • Boat ride on the Okavango River
    • Boat trip along the Zambezi River
    • Boat trip from Walvis Bay
    • Game drive in Etosha National Park (open-top safari vehicle)
    What is not included in this tour?Items that are not included in the cost of tour price.
    • International/domestic flights (to Walvis Bay/from Victoria Falls)
    • Visas
    • Items of a personal nature, e.g. gifts, laundry, internet access, phone calls, etc.
    • Any pre- or post-tour accommodation, meals, or birding excursions
    • Soft/alcoholic drinks
    • Personal travel insurance
    • Gratuities (please see our tipping guidelines blog)
    1. Day 1. Arrival in Walvis Bay and coastal desert birding

      Our birding guide fetches you from Walvis Bay airport, and we immediately start birding. The first site we usually visit is the picturesque red sand dune habitat across a (usually) dry riverbed around the village of Rooibank, right in the middle of the Namib Desert. Namibia’s sole endemic, Dune Lark, is the main target here, but we often also find the almost pure-white desert form of Tractrac Chat. Our accommodation for two nights is at a place where one can sometimes literally see thousands of Flamingos (usually about half-half Greater and Lesser), migratory shorebirds from Eurasia, Great White Pelican, and all the rest.

      Overnight: Lagoon Loge, Walvis Bay

      Namibia, Okavango and Victoria Falls birding tours Dune Lark, Namibia’s only endemic bird, should be seen around Walvis Bay.

    2. Day 2. Walvis Bay Lagoon, Swakopmund, and other areas

      Today we take a boat trip on Walvis Bay Lagoon that is focused mainly on marine mammals, such as Cape Fur Seal, Common Bottlenose Dolphin, the localized Heaviside’s Dolphin, and sometimes Southern Right Whale. But one also often sees some good birds from the boat, not the least of which is Damara Tern. But there is also an incredible drive we do later in the day that usually gives us close-up views of all the target birds of the lagoon – these include not only this rare, tiny tern but also Chestnut-banded Plover, Black-necked Grebe (often in large rafts), and hundreds of thousands of migrant waders. Today we also look for Gray’s Lark, a very pale Namib Desert near-endemic.

      Overnight: Lagoon Loge, Walvis Bay

    3. Day 3. The Namib Escarpment via the Spitzkoppe (the “Matterhorn of Namibia”)

      Heading inland and northward we start encountering some spectacular mountains. The Spitzkoppe in particular is a huge inselberg that rises abruptly from the desert plain. The flat surrounding areas are good for Burchell’s Courser, Rüppell’s Korhaan, Ludwig’s Bustard, a number of localized lark species such as Karoo Long-billed Lark (replaced by Benguela Long-billed Lark slightly farther north), etc. The mountains themselves are where we search for the enigmatic, bizarre Herero Chat, noisy little flocks of Rosy-faced Lovebirds, a couple of hornbill species basically restricted to the Namib and adjacent arid habitats, Bradfield’s Swift, and many others.

      Namibia, Okavango and Victoria Falls birding tours Another Namib Desert special we’ll search for on this tour, Rüppell’s Korhaan. The rocky areas near Omaruru offer some great habitat for watching hunting raptors, including Verreaux’s Eagle and African Hawk-Eagle as well as Augur Buzzard. A diminutive antelope, Kirk’s Dik-dik, is often encountered in the area.

      Overnight: Ai-Aiba – The Rock Painting Lodge, Omaruru

    4. Day 4. Birding the Namib Escarpment

      Today we have the full day to continue birding the mountains of central Namibia. White-tailed Shrike, Hartlaub’s Spurfowl, Rüppell’s Parrot, and Rockrunner are four of the superstars of the show – all of them are very localized (occurring only in Namibia and a small part of Angola) and full of personality, not to mention striking-looking. Quite a number of brightly-colored seedeaters also vie for attention around the lodge. We will also head slightly farther west, targeting another Namibian near-endemic, Benguela Long-billed Lark, and may also have another shot at Herero Chat, if need be. We might, if we’re lucky, see Kaokoveld Slender Mongoose, Greater Kudu, Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra, or another mammal or two.

      Overnight: Ai-Aiba – The Rock Painting Lodge, Omaruru

      Namibia, Okavango and Victoria Falls birding toursThe stunning Rosy-faced Lovebird usually provide excellent views in the Namib Escarpment.

    5. Day 5. Etosha National Park: birds and mammals

      Etosha justifiably is rated as one of the best game parks in Africa. The floodlit waterholes at the lodges (“camps”) within the park must provide one of the greatest wildlife shows on earth. This is big (and small) mammal country, where African Elephant, Black Rhinoceros, large herds of Springbok, Gemsbok, Plains Zebra, Blue Wildebeest, and many other herbivores lurk, meaning (excitingly) that there are also relatively high densities of predators and scavengers, such as Cheetah, Lion, Leopard, African Wildcat, Spotted Hyena, Black-backed Jackal, etc.

      Although we stop to look at all the mammal species, birding is still the main focus. An isolated population of South Africa’s national bird, the beautiful Blue Crane, inhabits Etosha. Kori Bustard and its smaller relative, Northern Black Korhaan, are both common. Secretarybird and an absolute stack of raptors and vultures are always much in evidence. This is one of the best places in southern Africa for owls, and we often find the tiny African Scops Owl, the giant Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, and then also others such as the beautiful Southern White-faced Owl at their daytime roosts (usually in Halali Camp, where we sometimes stop for lunch on one of the days). Etosha must be one of the few sites where one has to kick Double-banded Courser from one’s feet. The unbelievably huge nests of Sociable Weaver are features of some areas, sometimes with Pygmy Falcon taking up residence in the same nests.

      Overnight: Okaukuejo Camp, central Etosha

      Namibia, Okavango and Victoria Falls birding toursWe’ll search for the scarce Burchell’s Courser in Etosha National Park.

    6. Day 6. Bird and wildlife viewing in Etosha National Park

      We will have the full day in this impressive park birding the open plains and various waterholes from an open-top game-viewing vehicle. We hope to find a multitude of Lark species, including Eastern Clapper, Stark’s, Sabota, Pink-billed, Fawn-colored, and Rufous-naped, as well as larger and more brightly colored species such as Crimson-breasted Shrike, Gabar Goshawk, Greater Kestrel, Lappet-faced Vulture, and Namaqua Sandgrouse.

      Overnight: Okaukuejo Camp, central Etosha

    7. Day 7. Central to eastern Etosha National Park

      Today we make our way from the central section of the park to the eastern edge. As we head farther east the bird species change gradually, and we hope to find Blue Crane, Secretarybird, Red-necked Falcon, Burchell’s Courser, and Caspian Plover among the usual suspects. Around Mokuti Lodge we should see Black-faced Babbler, Crimson-breasted Shrike, White-browed Scrub Robin, Black-faced Waxbill, Bearded Woodpecker, Pearl-spotted Owlet, and other woodland species.

      Overnight: Mokuti Etosha Lodge, eastern Etosha

      Namibia, Okavango and Victoria Falls birding toursEtosha National Park is one of Africa’s great game parks, and is a major highlight on the tour!

    8. Day 8. Full day in eastern Etosha National Park

      We will have the full day to enjoy the birds and wildlife of eastern Etosha today. We will likely head up to the grasslands of Andoni Plains to look for Blue Crane, Pink-billed Lark, Eastern Clapper Lark, and Burchell’s Courser, while also having some time to bird the woodlands around our lodge for Black-faced Babbler and many others.

      Overnight: Mokuti Etosha Lodge, eastern Etosha

    9. Day 9. Transfer to and birding around Rundu

      As we continue eastward the landscape becomes less arid, and today we start seeing some well-developed woodlands for the first time during our tour. The tall woodlands east of Rundu are home to some tricky birds, such as Rufous-bellied Tit (which can be very thin on the ground and tough to find). Sharp-tailed Starling (along with the more common but also more spectacularly plumaged Greater Blue-eared Starling) and Souza’s Shrike are two tough birds of human-modified woodland sometimes in poor condition. There is a plethora of other great birds to be found here, both woodland birds and waterbirds, such as cuckooshrikes, orioles, Green-capped Eremomela, Tinkling Cisticola, Swamp Boubou, Dwarf Bittern, Rufous-bellied Heron, and a rich assemblage of others.

      We will also bird the wetlands around Rundu for Collared Pratincole, White-backed Duck, Baillon’s Crake, Greater Painted-snipe, and perhaps even Lesser Moorhen and Lesser Jacana.

      Overnight: Hakusembe River Lodge, Rundu

      Namibia, Okavango and Victoria Falls birding tours The relatively large Rufous-bellied Tit is one of the prized denizens found in the tall woodlands of the Caprivi Strip.

    10. Day 10. Into the Caprivi Strip

      After some early-morning birding we will make the relatively short transfer to the Mahango area, which is incredibly biodiverse. We will have another shot at Souza’s Shrike, Sharp-tailed Starling, and Rufous-bellied Tit as we head east through the tall woodlands. We stay at a lodge near the tiny but impressively diverse Mahango Game Reserve, a protected area within Bwabwata National Park. Species to look for around the lodge include Meyer’s Parrot, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, African Golden Oriole, White-browed Robin-Chat, Brown Firefinch, and many others.

      Overnight: Mahangu Safari Lodge or Ndhovu Safari Lodge, Divundu

    11. Day 11. Mahango birding

      We spend the day in the Mahango Game Reserve, enjoying birds such as Rock Pratincole and any of the birds mentioned for the previous day that we may have missed. Here we also add a great many new birds to our list, along with new mammals. African Buffalo occurs here but not in Etosha, and this is also one of the best places in the world to find the rare Roan Antelope and Sable Antelope. Wattled Crane, Slaty Egret, Western Banded Snake Eagle, Tinkling Cisticola, the oversized Coppery-tailed Coucal, several spectacular weavers with their bright yellow plumage and amazing nests, Greater Painted-snipe, and Grey-rumped Swallow are just a few of the many birds we’re likely to encounter at Mahango.

      Overnight: Mahangu Safari Lodge or Ndhovu Safari Lodge, Divundu

      Namibia, Okavango and Victoria Falls birding toursAfrican Skimmer is regular around the Okavango Panhandle.

    12. Day 12. Into Botswana: The Okavango Panhandle

      The Botswana border is only a short drive away. After crossing it one immediately enters a more open, overgrazed habitat, which is, interestingly, the best place to see the localized Bradfield’s Hornbill. At Drotsky’s Cabins the loud grunts of Hippopotamus startle you as you fall asleep in your cabins; while in the water during the day, they do lurk around the lodge grounds at night eating grass – it’s not advisable to walk around after dark, as this is Africa’s most dangerous animal. The lodge grounds are a haven for birdlife, and we can expect to find Hartlaub’s Babbler, White-browed Coucal, and Meves’s Starling, with African Barred Owlet in the nearby woodlands. Brown Firefinch and its more common cousins, Red-billed Firefinch and Blue Waxbill, often feed on the lawns. The liquid calls of Swamp Boubou and coucals add greatly to the atmosphere.

      Overnight: Drotsky’s Cabins, Shakawe, Botswana

    13. Day 13. A full day in Botswana

      We spend a lot of time birding by boat today as we slowly cruise the upper panhandle of the Okavango Delta. This day is usually excellent for photography, as we are able to approach many birds and animals really close from the boat, and highlights include Pel’s Fishing Owl, Slaty Egret, White-backed Night Heron, African Skimmer, African Pygmy Goose, Long-toed Lapwing, Coppery-tailed Coucal, and Southern Carmine Bee-eater. We may also be lucky enough to encounter the rare, swamp-dwelling Sitatunga antelope.

      In the nearby woodlands we hope to find African Barred Owlet, Narina Trogon, Retz’s Helmetshrike, Grey-headed Kingfisher, African Golden Oriole, and Crested Francolin, among others.

      Overnight: Drotsky’s Cabins, Shakawe, Botswana

      Namibia, Okavango and Victoria Falls birding toursThe Okavango Delta is surely the best place in the world to find Pel’s Fishing Owl – we stand a good chance of finding one on this tour!

    14. Day 14. Back into Namibia and continuing east through the Caprivi Strip

      We continue birding the wetlands and woodlands of this bird-rich corner of Namibia. We spend two nights on the banks of the Zambezi River, from where we can do boat trips and birding/game drives. A late-afternoon boat trip along the Zambezi is extremely productive and usually produces great sightings of African Finfoot, White-backed Night Heron, Half-collared Kingfisher, White-crowned Lapwing, African Skimmer, and Rock Pratincole. We often head out this evening to look for night birds such as African Wood and Western Barn Owls and a host of Nightjars including Fiery-necked, Square-tailed, and the spectacular Pennant-winged!

      Overnight: Caprivi Houseboat Safari Lodge or similar, Katima Mulilo

    15. Day 15. Birding around Katima Mulilo

      Today we have the full day to explore the productive woodlands in the far-eastern Caprivi. Yellow-throated Leaflove was discovered as a breeding bird on the Namibia/Zambia border (the Namibian side) in 2015, hundreds of kilometers south of its previously known range, and is one of today’s targets. Olive Woodpecker, Schalow’s Turaco, and Western Banded Snake Eagle all occur in the riparian vegetation along the banks of the Zambezi River.

      In the surrounding woodlands we search for Racket-tailed Roller, Arnot’s Chat, Copper Sunbird, Striped Kingfisher, Grey-headed Bushshrike, Grey Penduline Tit, Wood Pipit, and Lizard Buzzard.

      Seasonal pans in the area are explored for Hottentot Teal, Rosy-throated Longclaw, White-backed Duck, Lesser Jacana, Rufous-bellied Heron, Luapula Cisticola, and perhaps even Black Coucal.

      Overnight: Caprivi Houseboat Safari Lodge or similar, Katima Mulilo

      Namibia, Okavango and Victoria Falls birding toursThe spectacular Pennant-winged Nightjar can be seen breeding around Katima Mulilo.

    16. Days 16 – 17. Into Zambia and birding Victoria Falls

      After some early morning birding around Katima Mulilo we will make our way through the border into Zambia. As we head further east we will pass through more broad-leafed woodland, where we may see Southern Ground Hornbills as they move around in small family groups. We eventually reach the busy little town of Livingstone, where we will be based for the next two nights on the banks of the Zambezi River. The woodlands outside of Livingstone hold good numbers of Racket-tailed Roller along with Miombo Pied Barbet (here at its southern extent), Miombo Rock Thrush, Stierling’s Wren-Warbler, Green-capped Eremomela, Cut-throat Finch, Lizard Buzzard, and Pale Flycatcher.

      We spend some time admiring Victoria Falls, ‘the smoke that thunders’, from the Zimbabwean side, but it’s important to note that the whole area has spectacularly rich birdlife, so we’ll add a lot of good new birds to our list near the end of the tour. Birding around camp is extremely productive with regular sightings of Collared Palm Thrush, Natal Spurfowl, Bearded Scrub Robin, Schalow’s Turaco, Western Banded Snake Eagle, Trumpeter Hornbill, Olive Woodpecker, Broad-billed Roller, and other species along the Zambezi River.

      We usually find about 400 bird species on this tour of varied habitats – and we also get one of the highest mammal lists of any of our tours on this transect.

      Overnight: Camp Nkwazi, Livingstone, Zambia

      Namibia, Okavango and Victoria Falls birding tours Racket-tailed Roller can be seen in the broad-leaved woodlands around Livingstone.

    17. Day 18. Departure

      Your flight can leave Livingstone any time today.

    Hotels, Tea Houses and Camps

    Lagoon Loge

    Lagoon Loge aims to make your visit as relaxing and enjoyable as possible, which is why so many guests continue to come back year after year. Guest rooms offer a refrigerator and a minibar, and Lagoon Loge makes getting online easy as free wifi is available. In addition, guests can enjoy a pool and free breakfast during their visit. As an added convenience, there is free parking available to guests. When you’re feeling hungry, be sure to check out Hickory Creek Spur Steak Ranch, which is a barbeque restaurant that is popular with locals and out-of-towners alike.

    The Rock Painting Lodge

    Situated between Usakos and Omaruru amidst massive granite boulders overlooking the magnificent Erongo Mountain Range is AiAiba Lodge. The Erongo Region is one of the most environmentally diverse areas in Namibia, hosting an array of endemic and near-endemic plant, reptile, mammal and bird species, as well as a wealth of cultural artefacts. Twenty thatched-roof twin bedrooms, tastefully appointed en-suite shower, offer the visitor a unique, luxurious African experience. The restaurant with its panoramic view, bar and crystal-clear pool nestling amount the rocks add to the natural tranquillity of the surroundings.

    Okaukuejo Camp

    Famous for its floodlit waterhole Okaukuejo Rest Camp is also the administrative centre of Etosha. Most visitors travel though this camp with its characteristic stone tower and Etosha Ecological Institute is also situated within the camp. After sunset floodlights illuminate the waterhole. This is the best time and place to see the endangered black rhino. This archaic mammal can often be seen drinking alongside lion and elephant. The number and interaction of the animals is the major drawcard of Okaukuejo Rest Camp in Namibia.

    Mokuti Etosha Lodge

    Mokuti Etosha Lodge is the closest lodge to the Etosha National Park. Just 50 meters outside the gates of Etosha National Park. Mokuti is the gateway to a unique safari experience as well as the perfect destination for incentives, weddings and honeymoons. Experience magical moments in Etosha National Park in our Game viewing vehicles or venture on your own, Experience sundowners and night drives on our property to compliment your experience that feeds your imagination, leaving you with tales to tell for many days and years to come.

    Hakusembe River Lodge

    A lucky find along the Okavango River. Nestled in the vegetation close to the riverbank, the Hakusembe River Campsite offers four private oases from which to enjoy the abundance of the river. Each of the sites has its own bathroom facilities and can host eight people. Explore this lush water world with family and friends. It’s a short stroll to the lodge to sit on the wide wooden deck, sip on a drink and take a sunset cruise on the Hakusembe River Queen. Unwind to the rhythm of the river and cherish the unspoiled Kavango character from around the crackling camp fire.

    Mahangu Safari Lodge

    The comfortable Mahangu Safari Lodge is a popular lodge in the Kavango region of Namibia. The Lodge is located next to the Mahango National Park and comprises of 10 Bungalows and 6 Safari Tents, a bar and swimming pool as well as two wooden decks with view onto the Okavango river. Activities include bird and game viewing by boat, fishing and game drives into the Mahangu- and Buffalo Game Park. The Lodge offers campsites directly located at the Okavango river.

    Caprivi Houseboat Safari Lodge

    Caprivi Houseboat Safaris’ Lodge is an exclusive lodge nestled amid a lush green garden on the banks of the Zambezi River, a few kilometers east of Katima Mulilo in the Caprivi region of Namibia, offering genuine hospitality in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. The lodge offers five rustic, en-suite chalets, that open onto the riverbank; 3 campsites with a power-point, light, running water and central ablutions, and a rose-wood deck with lounge bar.

    The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance.
    Lagoon LogeLagoon Loge
    Lagoon Loge
    Lagoon Loge
    The Rock Painting LodgeThe Rock Painting Lodge
    Okaukuejo Camp
    Okaukuejo Camp
    Mokuti Etosha Lodge
    Mokuti Etosha Lodge
    The Rock Painting Lodge
    The Rock Painting Lodge

    African Safari Frequently Asked Questions

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