Day 1:  Arrival into Windhoek, then to Sesriam

Upon arrival at Hosea Kutako International Airport in
Windhoek, we will transfer to Sesriem on the border
between the spectacular dunes and Namib mountains to
the south-west. We will begin our journey across the
Central Highlands of Namibia, where roadside birding is
particularly rewarding and we will watch out for Verreauxs’
Eagle, Black-chested Snake Eagle, Pale Chanting
Goshawk, Black-winged Kite, the beautiful Purple Roller,
diminutive Long-billed Crombec, Ant-eating and Karoo
Chats, Marico and Chat Flycatchers, Cape Crow, Pale-
winged Starling, Short-toed Rock Thrush, Great and
Cape Sparrows and Lark-like Bunting. The scenery is
dotted with huge, golden Social Weaver nests and we
may be fortunate in locating the Pygmy Falcons that
utilize these nests as a convenient home. The terrain
becomes increasingly drier and we will make some stops
in the desert to scan for Common Ostrich (these wild,
desert birds represent one of the few genetically pure
populations of this species in southern Africa), the
endemic Rüppell’s Korhaan, Namaqua Sandgrouse and
numerous lark species.

We will be making our way further south through the small
settlement of Solitaire and then to Sesriem, where we set
up our first camp in the Namib-Naukluft National Park.
There are few better places to watch the night sky then in
the Namib Desert! This is also the time when much of the
desert awakens, with a myriad of smaller creatures
leaving their daytime hide-outs to forage in the cool of the
night.

Day 2:  Sossusvlei to Swakopmund

We make a very early start this morning to explore the
wonderfully scenic Sossusvlei area, situated in the oldest
desert in the world! The dunes here are a favourite
subject for photographers and artists alike, and we will
take time to enjoy these marvels of Nature. Wildlife here is
sparse, but it includes the regal Gemsbok and Springbok,
which are best seen during the early morning. With luck
we may find Burchell’s Courser or Dune Lark – two of
Namibia’s most sought-after birds that are usually easier
to find here than elsewhere in their ranges.
As we drive north and then west towards the coast, the
landscape becomes gradually more barren. Here we look
out for the almost white, desert race of Tractrac Chat,
Ludwig’s Bustard and, among the Sabota, Spike-heeled,
Stark’s and Karoo Long-billed Larks, we hope to find our
main target bird on these plains: the endemic and highly
localised Gray’s Lark. This diminutive and inconspicuous
bird forages in small groups over the most inhospitable
terrain, a seemingly incredulous habitat for any life form!
After we hit the coast at Walvis Bay, we then head north
along the coast to the historic town of Swakopmund, a
quaint little seaside village with a decidedly German
atmosphere.

Day 3: Swakopmund and Surrounding Areas

We have a number of options today. The famous
Welwitschia Plains are where we will seek out one of the
world’s most bizarre plants: the strange Welwitschia, a
coniferous tree that despite its immense age (some are
reputed to be over a thousand years old!), grows to just a
few feet tall and has just two leaves. They survive in the
bone dry gravel plains of the Namib and we will also look
for the two species of colourful beetles that only survive
around these plants.

We will also visit the pans at the edge of town. These are
home to other wetland inhabitants such as Black-necked
Grebe, Cape and Red-billed Teals and Cape Shoveler. In
the afternoon we will take a drive up the west coast and
visit the Mile 4 Saltworks. This area is a birding haven,
comprising many similar species to what we would have
encountered in Walvis Bay, although here we have a
much better chance to locate African Oystercatcher, Bank
and Crowned Cormorants and Lesser Flamingo. The
surrounding gravel plains are also home to Gray’s Lark
and Tractrac Chat and will provide us with further
opportunities to locate these uncommon birds should our
previous attempts have failed.

Walvis Bay hosts tens of thousands of Flamingos that
often form a pink line on the edge of the estuary along
with many other waterbird species. Great White Pelican is
prominent throughout the area, while others include the
localised Chestnut-banded Plover, Hartlaub’s Gull and
Damara Tern, the latter being a breeding endemic to
southern Africa. The striking African Oystercatcher may
also be seen along the rocky shores, and waders to be
expected on the lagoon’s extensive mudflats include
White-fronted and Grey Plovers, Ruddy Turnstone, Marsh
Sandpiper, Red Knot, Sanderling, Bar-tailed Godwit and
Pied Avocet. Some of the possible rarities for southern
Africa at this time of year include Eurasian Oystercatcher
and Red-necked Phalarope.

Day 4: Swakopmund to Spitzkoppe

Today we leave for the Spitzkoppe, a series of impressive
granite inselbergs rising out of the desert plains. This is
one of the premier sites in the country for Herero Chat,
Namibia’s most elusive endemic, and we will require both
luck and patience to find this localised bird. Whilst
searching the base of this incredible geological formation,
we may also find Augur Buzzard, the attractive Rosy-
faced Lovebird, the near-endemic Bradfield’s Swift,
Acacia Pied Barbet, Sabota and Karoo Long-billed Larks,
Layard’s Warbler, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Bokmakierie
(a near-endemic bushshrike), White-browed Sparrow-
Weaver, White-throated Canary and Cinnamon-breasted
and Cape Buntings. White-tailed Shrike, arguably Namibia’
s most striking endemic, should also entertain us here.  
The agile Klipspringer and Rock Hyrax may likewise be
seen, whilst brilliantly coloured Namibia Rock Agamas are
common. Other reptiles we may encounter are the
impressive Boulton’s Namib Day Gecko, Bibron’s Gecko,
Bradfield’s Dwarf Gecko and Namaqua Sand Lizard.  The
surrounding gravel plains occasionally produce Ludwig’s
Bustard, while Namaqua Sandgrouse, Stark’s Lark and
Grey-backed Sparrow-Lark are more regular.
We will set up camp and spend the night among the
spectacular boulders around the base of the Spitzkoppe –
a beautiful setting for a night in the middle of absolutely
nowhere!

Day 5: Spitzkoppe to Okaukuejo, Etosha National
Park

After an early morning walk and breakfast, we will head
northwards to the world-famous Etosha National Park. We
will begin our explorations at the main camp of
Okaukuejo. The word “Etosha” means “Great White
Place” in the local Herero language and nowhere else is
the “great whiteness” of the enormous pan more evident
than around Okaukuejo. Etosha is one of Africa’s premier
big game destinations, and medium and large mammals
teem around the huge pan. Waterholes are dotted
around the park and these will often be the focus of our
attention as it is here that streams of many thousands of
mammals come daily to drink.

Day 6: Okaukuejo area, Etosha National Park

On occasion, up to a dozen species of game can be seen
as they mill around the saline water. Commonly
encountered species are Gemsbok, Greater Kudu,
Springbok, Giraffe, Elephant, Warthog, Kongoni
(Hartebeest), Blue Wildebeest, Burchell’s Zebra and
Black-faced Impala. These waterholes don’t only attract
the attention of thirsty grazers (and photographers!), but
also predators. Black-backed Jackal, African Wild Cat,
prides of lazing Lion, Spotted Hyena and even Cheetah
and Leopard are included in the possible suit of
carnivores.

Birds are abundant in and around Okaukuejo camp and
include Grey Go-away-bird, African Hoopoe, Southern
Yellow-billed and Southern Red-billed Hornbills, Cardinal
Woodpecker, Wattled and the ubiquitous Cape Starlings,
Brubru, Marico, White-bellied and Scarlet-chested
Sunbirds, Green-winged Pytilia and Pygmy Falcon.  
We will spend the afternoon searching the open
grasslands and sparse Acacia savanna for birds such as
the huge Martial and Tawny Eagles, the elegant Red-
necked Falcon, Greater Kestrel, the magnificent Kori
Bustard (the world’s heaviest flying bird), Spotted Thick-
knee, Chestnut-backed Sparrow-Lark, Red-capped and
Pink-billed Larks, Capped Wheatear and flocks of angry-
looking Scaly-feathered Weavers. In the evening,
hundreds of Double-banded and Namaqua Sandgrouse
come to drink at the waterhole, and occasionally Barn and
Marsh Owls hunt in the vicinity. Mammals are also
frequent here after dark and we have a good chance of
seeing Black Rhinoceros, African Elephant, Lion and
Black-backed Jackal.

Day 7: Okaukuejo to Namutoni camp, Etosha
National Park

After some early morning birding, we will leave Okaukuejo
and drive eastwards to the rest camp at Namutoni.  En
route we will search an area that holds an isolated
population of the endearing Rufous-eared Warbler.
As we travel eastwards towards Namutoni, the scenery
becomes ever greener and the vegetation taller.  Around
Halali camp, which we will pass on the way, we travel
through Mopane woodland that occasionally harbours
Violet Woodhoopoe and Bare-cheeked Babbler, while
sometimes there are roosting Southern White-faced and
African Scops Owls in the camp. We will also be searching
for a number of species that we may not yet have
encountered, including Red-crested Korhaan, Crowned
Lapwing, Burchell’s Sandgrouse, Namaqua Dove, Red-
faced Mousebird, African Grey Hornbill, Groundscraper
Thrush, White-browed Scrub Robin, Burnt-neck
Eremomela, Chinspot Batis, Red-billed Buffalo Weaver,
Chestnut Weaver, flocks of Red-billed Quelea (sometimes
numbering many thousands) and Blue Waxbill. Vultures
are often numerous in this area and may include Lappet-
faced, White-headed and wheeling flocks of White-
backed.

Day 8: Namutoni to the Waterberg

Today we will spend our last morning in Etosha for a final
bit of birding of the eastern section of this immense
ecosystem. The shallow Fischer’s Pan, an eastern
extension of the main Etosha Pan, is a notable natural
feature of this area and lies to the north of Namutoni
camp. Water levels vary tremendously and the pan is
most often completely dry, but if water ispresent we may
find flamingos, huge Saddle-billed and Yellow-billed
Storks, Red-billed Teal, South African Shelduck and large
numbers of migratory waders. Further to the north of
Namutoni lie extensive grassy plains, home to large herds
of Gemsbok, Springbok and Blue Wildebeest. The unique
Secretarybird and elegant Blue Crane are possible here,
and we may also find both Eastern Clapper Lark and the
diminutive Desert Cisticola.

Mammals are plentiful in the dense woodland south of
camp and include Spotted Hyena, African Elephant,
Giraffe, Black-faced Impala and two antelope species
largely restricted to this part of the park: the huge and
majestic Eland and the diminutive Damara Dik-dik. Here
too we will search for the most elusive of the five babbler
species occurring in Namibia, the Black-faced Babbler.
Around lunch, we will then head south to the fabulous
Waterberg region.

Day 9: Waterberg Area

Today we will explore the Waterberg Plateau Park. This is
scenically beautiful and is situated below the Waterberg
Plateau, a large inselberg that rises above the
surrounding area. The Acacia savanna and woodland
here abounds with birds and is one of the best sights in
the country to see enigmatic endemics such as Ruppell’s
Parrot, Rosy-faced Lovebird and the delightful
Rockrunner. Hartlaub’s Francolin occurs on the boulder-
strewn slopes above the camp and an early start will offer
a reasonable chance at seeing this difficult endemic. The
high cliffs of the plateau will be searched for Cape Vulture
and Bradfield’s Swift, which are usually in evidence.
Bradfield’s Hornbill and Red-billed Francolin are common
around the accommodation area and make for good
entertainment and excellent photo opportunities. Other
exciting endemics that we hope to find during our limited
stay here include Monteiro’s Hornbill, Violet Woodhoopoe
and Carp’s Tit, while many of the more widespread dry
land birds will be found in this avian wonderland.

Day 10: Waterberg to Windhoek and Departures for
Home

An early morning start will allow us to have a shot at
finding any of the specialties that we may be missing
around the Waterberg before heading back to Windhoek
where the tour will conclude.
Detailed Itinerary
10 Days Birding and Enjoying Wildlife in
Namibia
Nambia Birding Essentials
Details
For More Information or to Register for a Trip, call Charles at 888-203-7464
extension 912 or Charles directly at 720-320-1974 or by email at
info@PIBird.com.
More Details on This Trip