Day 1:  Arrival into Livingstone (in Zambia)

Livingstone is regarded as the gateway to central Africa
and markets itself as the “adventure capital of central
Africa”. Good birding is available in and around the town
and today we will pay a visit to a piece of productive
woodland on its outskirts, followed by some birding at the
Livingstone Sewage Works. While birding the woodland
we will search for Collared Palm Thrush, Bearded Scrub
Robin, Dickinson’s Kestrel, Bronze Mannikin and the
thuggish Grey-headed Bushshrike, before making our
way to the aforementioned “water works”. The reedbeds
here support populations of skulking Red-faced Cisticola,
Little Rush Warbler and Lesser Swamp Warbler, while
other targets include Greater Painted-Snipe, Long-toed
Lapwing, Lesser Moorhen and Lesser Jacana.

Day 2: Livingstone to Katima Mulilo.  

This morning we will visit the world famous Victoria Falls.
These falls have rightly been considered one of the
Seven Natural Wonders of the World and we will spend
some time appreciating the immense spectacle of the
Zambezi River plunging 300ft into the gorge below. The
continual spray from the falls has created a verdant
rainforest and we will undoubtedly find some interesting
birds here. These may include Trumpeter and Crowned
Hornbills, Schalow’s Turaco, Yellow-breasted Apalis,
various sunbirds including Amethyst, Collared and Purple-
banded, Black-backed Puffback, Tropical Boubou and
Red-winged Starling. Livingstone is also one of the
meccas for purchasing traditional African art and crafts
and we will have time to browse through the markets,
which offer a wide range of carvings (in both wood and
stone), kitchen utensils and basket-ware.

Thereafter, we begin our drive westwards to the Namibian
border at Katima Mulilo, from where we will make our way
to our lodge situated east of Katima and overlooking the
mighty Zambezi River.

Day 3: Katima Mulilo area.  

We have a full day for exploring the exciting areas around
our lodge. Wetlands in the vicinity offer further chances
for Lesser Jacana and Greater Painted Snipe, as well as
possibilities for African Pygmy Goose, Rufous-bellied
Heron and Slaty Egret, while adjacent grasslands hold
Rosy-throated Longclaw, Rufous-naped Lark and African
Stonechat. Sandbanks along the Zambezi River are a
preferred haunt of White-headed Lapwing, and if we are
in luck, the first Southern Carmine Bee-eaters of the
season may be seen hawking insects over grassland near
the riverbank. As the day draws to a close we might even
be fortunate enough to spot the rare Bat Hawk as it hunts
bats near the river, while after nightfall we will target
Square-tailed and the localised Swamp Nightjar.

Day 4: Katima Mulilo Birding to Mahango via Caprivi
National Park  

After breakfast, we depart for our accommodations at
Mahango in the western side of the Caprivi Strip. We will
travel through vast areas of broad-leaved Teak
woodland, which dominate large areas of the Caprivi.
Birding in this woodland is akin to that of the Miombo
woodlands of central Africa, where finding mixed bird
parties is key to seeing the avian specials that inhabit the
area. We will stop periodically during the day and walk
into the woodlands to search for specials, including Arnot’
s Chat, Green-capped Eremomela, Tinkling Cisticola,
Rufous-bellied Tit, White-breasted Cuckooshrike and Red-
headed Weaver.  While travelling, we will watch the
roadside for the impressive Southern Ground Hornbill.
Other birds we should see include Pale Flycatcher,
Southern Black Flycatcher, Ashy Flycatcher, Grey Tit-
Flycatcher, Yellow-fronted Canary and Golden-breasted
Bunting. We should arrive at our accommodations, which
are perched on the edge of the Okavango River, in the
late afternoon.

Day 5: Birding around Lodge; Mahango Game
Reserve; Birding to Botswana and Okavango
Panhandle.   

This morning we bird a wetland area behind our lodge
where targets include African Snipe and Luapula
Cisticola, before driving into the nearby Mahango Game
Reserve. Situated along the Okavango River just north of
Botswana, this unique park protects habitats ranging from
attractive papyrus swamps to climax Teak woodland and
is a superb birding locality. Hirundines are usually in
evidence and we will search for Lesser Striped, Wire-
tailed and Grey-rumped Swallows, and the large Banded
Martin. The focus of our time in this reserve is the
Okavango River floodplain, where the open spaces often
produce a good variety of sought-after game and birds.
We will search the open floodplain here for African
Openbill, Yellow-billed and the impressive Saddle-billed
Stork, African Spoonbill, White-faced Whistling and Knob-
billed Ducks, and the regal and endangered Wattled
Crane. It also gives us further opportunities for Slaty
Egret, Rufous-bellied Heron, Long-toed Lapwing and
African Pygmy Goose. Despite the presence of large
mammals, one is allowed to get out of one’s vehicle in
designated areas, and it is this freedom that makes
birding here such a delight. We will nonetheless be
careful whilst doing so since Hippopotamus, Elephant and
Nile Crocodile are all common. Elegant Red Lechwe and
Common Reedbuck graze on the floodplain and, if we are
lucky, we may also see the shy Chobe Bushbuck. Other
special mammals occurring here are the spectacular
Sable and Roan antelopes and rare Tsessebe. We
should see herds of these last three mentioned animals
as they forage and rest amongst the ubiquitous Elephant,
Impala, Greater Kudu and troops of Chacma Baboon that
make the park such a wonderful wildlife adventure.

We then depart Mahango Game Reserve for the
landlocked country of Botswana. From the border we
travel a short distance south of Shakawe (a sleepy fishing
town), en route watching for Greater Blue-eared Starling,
Magpie Shrike and Bradfield’s Hornbill. Our idyllic lodge,
situated on the banks of the Okavango River, is set in
pristine riverine forest overlooking the endless waterways
and papyrus swamps of the Okavango Panhandle, and is
an absolute birder’s paradise.

Day 6: Shakawe area.  

Today will be spent birding the woodland and waterways
that surround our beautiful lodge. We will begin the
morning with a search for African Wood Owl, African
Barred Owlet and the fabulous Pel’s Fishing Owl, while
some of the other specials we will look for in the area
include African Skimmer, White-backed Night Heron,
Swamp Boubou, White-browed Robin-Chat, Crested
Francolin, African Green Pigeon, Emerald-spotted Wood
Dove, Green Wood Hoopoe, Meyer’s Parrot, Striped
Kingfisher, Lesser Honeyguide, Hartlaub’s and Arrow-
marked Babblers, Orange-breasted Bushshrike, Retz’s
Helmetshrike, Violet-backed and Meves’s Starlings,
African Yellow White-eye, Lesser Masked Weaver, the
localised Brown Firefinch, Terrestrial Brownbul and Yellow-
bellied Greenbul.

A wide variety of herons, egrets and kingfishers occur
along the river and the extensive papyrus reedbeds
adjacent to the lodge are home to Coppery-tailed Coucal,
Chirping Cisticola, Greater Swamp Warbler, Southern
Brown-throated Weaver, Holub’s Golden Weaver and Fan-
tailed Widowbird. African Fish Eagle is common and
African Marsh Harrier is often seen quartering over the
reedbeds. The striking Little and elegant White-fronted
Bee-eaters breed in the vicinity, and if we are extremely
lucky we may spot the shy Sitatunga (a swamp-dwelling
antelope).

Day 7: Shakawe to Rundu

After breakfast we leave this paradise and make our way
out of Botswana and into Namibia, continuing west to
Rundu. We have a further opportunity to bird the broad-
leaved woodlands en route to Rundu, before arriving in
the late afternoon. Depending on time, we may visit the
Rundu “waterworks” to search for such gems as Hottentot
Teal, African Swamphen, African Rail, Senegal Coucal,
Southern Red Bishop, Thick-billed Weaver and Orange-
breasted Waxbill. Western Barn Owl and Fiery-necked
Nightjar are both possible here and we may record these
avians this evening.

Day 8: Rundu to Eastern Etosha Area

Leaving Rundu, we journey south-west to our lodge
situated outside the eastern edge of the magnificent
Etosha National Park. The vegetation changes abruptly
from the Teak woodlands we have grown used to over the
past few days, and is replaced by shorter Acacia and
Terminalia scrub as we get closer to Etosha. Targets in
the area include the uncommon Black-faced Babbler,
White-browed Scrub Robin and Damara Red-billed
Hornbill.

Day 9: Eastern Etosha

Today we head into Etosha National Park for a full day’s
exploration of the eastern section of this immense
ecosystem. Etosha is one of Africa’s premier big game
destinations and both 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 thousands of mammals come daily
to drink. On occasion, up to a dozen species of mammal
can be seen at once as they mill around the saline water.
Commonly encountered species are the regal Gemsbok,
Greater Kudu, Springbok, Giraffe, Elephant, Warthog,
Kongoni (Red 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 that of the park’s predators who
know where to come for an easy meal! Visits to
waterholes could produce Black-backed Jackal, African
Wild Cat, prides of lazing Lion, Spotted Hyena and often
even Cheetah and Leopard are included in the possible
suit of carnivores.

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 is present we may find flamingos, Red-billed
Teal and South African Shelduck. We will make a
strategic stop to look for Burchell’s Sandgrouse, which
arrive to drink in mid-morning, before continuing to the
Andoni Plains, an extensive flat and grassy area home to
herds of Gemsbok, Springbok and Blue Wildebeest. The
unique Secretarybird and elegant Blue Crane are
possible here, and we may find Eastern Clapper Lark and
Desert Cisticola.

The Acacia woodlands around Namutoni are very birdy,
and some of the birds we should see include Red-crested
Korhaan, Crowned Lapwing, Namaqua Dove, Red-faced
Mousebird, African Grey Hornbill, Groundscraper Thrush,
Burnt-neck Eremomela, Chinspot Batis, Red-billed Buffalo
Weaver, Chestnut Weaver, flocks of Red-billed Quelea
(sometimes numbering many thousands) and the
beautiful Blue Waxbill. Vultures are often numerous and
may include Lappet-faced, White-headed and wheeling
flocks of White-backed. Mammals are plentiful in the
dense woodland south of camp and include Spotted
Hyena, African Elephant, Giraffe, Black-faced Impala and
two antelope largely restricted to this part of the park: the
huge Eland and the diminutive Damara Dik-dik.

Day 10: Eastern Etosha to Halali

This morning we again enter Etosha and drive towards
Halali Camp. En route we pass a number of waterholes,
and we will stop at a few of these wildlife magnets to enjoy
the comings and goings of the resident birds and game. A
constant procession of animals can be seen at these key
resource points, while drinking seedeaters form large
flocks that in turn attract raptors, and we have a chance
of seeing Gabar Goshawk, Shikra, Lanner and Red-
necked Falcons, and Ovambo Sparrowhawk causing
mayhem amongst them.

Halali Camp is an excellent location for finding roosting
owls and we hope to locate the delightful Southern White-
faced and African Scops Owls. After dark we will also
have our first opportunity to visit a floodlit waterhole. The
evening’s pageant is likely to commence again with
hundreds of Double-banded Sandgrouse flying in to
drink, with later visitors including nightjars, owls and a
plethora of mammalian possibilities. African Elephant,
Black Rhinoceros and Greater Kudu are regular, whilst
Porcupine, African Wild Cat, Leopard and even the
bizarre Aardvark have all been seen drinking here. Honey
Badgers sometimes make a nuisance of themselves in the
camp, rummaging through rubbish bins in search of
scraps, and if we are fortunate we may locate a family of
these curious animals.

Day 11: Halali to Okaukuejo, Etosha National Park

The Halali area is famous amongst birders as a site for
Violet Wood Hoopoe and Bare-cheeked Babbler, both
denizens of the taller Mopane woodland in this central
part of the park. Other species in the area include the
spectacular Bateleur, Shikra, Helmeted Guineafowl, Fawn-
coloured Lark, flocks of quizzical White-crested
Helmetshrike, Southern White-crowned Shrike and Yellow-
throated Petronia. After birding in the Halali area we then
drive westwards to the rest camp at Okaukuejo. En route
we will search an area that holds an isolated population of
the endearing Rufous-eared Warbler, here at the
northern limit of its range. Okaukuejo Waterhole is the
most famous of Etosha’s waterholes, and we will have
time to enjoy the range of animals that come to drink as
the day winds down.

Day 12: Okaukuejo area, Etosha National Park

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. We will spend the morning searching
the open plains and sparse Acacia savanna for birds
such as the huge Martial and Tawny Eagles, Greater
Kestrel, the magnificent Kori Bustard (the world’s heaviest
flying bird), Spotted Thick-knee, Grey-backed and
Chestnut-backed Sparrow-Larks, Red-capped, Spike-
heeled and Pink-billed Larks, Capped Wheatear and
flocks of angry-looking Scaly-feathered Weaver. Birds are
also abundant in and around Okaukuejo camp and we
may see 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.

In the evening, hundreds of sandgrouse come to drink at
the waterhole and occasionally Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl and
Marsh Owl hunt in the vicinity. Mammals are also frequent
at the waterhole after dark and we have a good chance of
seeing Black and possibly White Rhinoceros, African
Elephant, Lion and Black-backed Jackal.

Day 13: Okaukuejo to Erongo Mountains

We depart this wonderful reserve this morning and head
south to the ancient Erongo Mountains, keeping a look
out for Bare-cheeked Babbler as we drive through stands
of Mopane. A stop at a dry riverbed will have us searching
for the sought-after Rüppell’s Parrot, Violet Wood Hoopoe
and Carp’s Black Tit.

Our destination today is a delightful lodge tucked into the
giant granitic boulders of the ancient Erongo Mountains.
This evening we will look for the rock-loving Freckled
Nightjar and, if we are lucky, we might see Cape
Porcupine, Africa’s largest rodent.

Day 14: Erongo Mountains to Walvis Bay via
Spitzkoppe

Today’s first target species, the bizarre Hartlaub’s
Spurfowl, requires an early morning walk from the lodge
when coveys emerge to vocalize atop prominent boulders.
We will also keep a look out for the wing-flicking Familiar
Chat, Monteiro’s Hornbill, White-tailed Shrike (particularly
approachable individuals reside around the lodge),
Barred Wren-Warbler and the beautiful Rockrunner.
During breakfast, we will likely have a lovely selection of
creatures outside the dining area – Green-winged Pytilia,
Great Sparrow, Rosy-faced Lovebird, Pale-winged
Starling and Speckled Pigeon all come and feed on the
seed provided, while the strange Dassie Rat (belonging to
a monotypic family) may also be seen poking its
whiskered nose from a rock crevice and a variety of
interesting reptiles scurry over the rocks.

After our scrumptious breakfast we head 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 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 named after its call), 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 also be seen, whilst
brilliantly coloured Namibia Rock Agamas are common.
Other reptiles we might encounter in this area 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 Rüppell’s
Korhaan and Ludwig’s Bustard, whilst Namaqua
Sandgrouse, Stark’s Lark and Grey-backed Sparrow-Lark
are more regular.

Leaving the Spitzkoppe behind us we will continue
westwards, scanning the open expanses for Burchell’s
Courser en route. Again, luck and patience are needed to
find this species as it is nomadic and hence
unpredictable; however the striking Northern Black
Korhaan, Double-banded Courser and flocks of Spike-
heeled Lark should entertain us while we search. Once in
Walvis Bay, we will look for Orange River White-eye
(recently split from Cape White-eye) in the suburban
gardens near our hotel, and may do some scanning for
waterbirds on the lagoon itself. We will have enough time
to settle in before a delicious seafood dinner at a nearby
restaurant this evening.

Day 15: Walvis Bay Area

Before dawn we will make for the dunefields to the south
of town as they are home to Namibia’s only true endemic
bird – the handsome Dune Lark. Like many of the desert
larks, its plumage colouration perfectly matches that of its
environment: the deep ochre sands of the Namib dune
sea. Other birds that we may encounter whilst searching
for this bird are Chestnut-vented Warbler, Black-chested
Prinia, Dusky Sunbird, and Common Waxbill. Exploring
the tallest and most beautiful sand dunes in the world for
endemic birds is an incredible way to spend a morning!

The marine coast, offshore guano islands, saltpans and
estuaries around Walvis Bay and Swakopmund to the
north teem with waterbirds. At this time of year most of the
migrants have left, but some shorebirds remain in the bay
and we can expect some good wader watching. The large
numbers of Greater and Lesser Flamingos that feed
along the fringes of the bay alone make the trip
worthwhile! Marine cormorants, especially Cape, form
impressive lines as they stream out over the cold ocean in
search of food. We will scan these large flocks in search
of both Crowned and Bank Cormorants, which occur in
much lower numbers. Great White Pelican is prominent
throughout the area and specialities of the pans include
the localised Chestnut-banded Plover, Hartlaub’s Gull and
Damara Tern, the latter being a breeding endemic. The
striking African Oystercatcher may be seen along the
rocky shores and waders to be expected on the extensive
mudflats in the lagoon include White-fronted and Grey
Plovers, Ruddy Turnstone, Marsh Sandpiper, Sanderling
and Pied Avocet.  

In the afternoon we may have time to visit the historic
town of Swakopmund, a quaint seaside village with a
decidedly German atmosphere. Freshwater pans at the
edge of town are home to other wetland inhabitants such
as Black-necked Grebe, Cape and Red-billed Teals and
Cape Shoveler. Thereafter, if time permits, we will explore
the famed Welwitschia Plains where we will seek out one
of the world’s most bizarre plants. The Welwitschia is a
coniferous plant that, despite its immense age, grows to
just a few feet tall and has only two leaves. They survive
in the bone dry gravel plains of the Namib and we will also
look for two species of colourful beetles that only survive
around these unique plants.

Day 16: Walvis Bay to Khomas Hochland

Leaving Walvis Bay, the terrain becomes increasingly
desolate and barren, consisting of seemingly lifeless
gravel plains. Despite the apparent lack of life, we will
keep a look out for Common Ostrich, Rüppell’s Korhaan,
the almost white desert race of Tractrac Chat, Gemsbok
and Bat-eared Fox. However, our main target bird on
these plains is the near-endemic and localised Gray’s
Lark. This diminutive and inconspicuous bird forages in
small groups over the most inhospitable of terrain, a
seemingly incredulous habitat for any life form!

Later in the day we will ascend the lofty Spreetshoogte
Pass – one of the most dramatic passes in all of southern
Africa, and affording us sweeping views of the Namib
Desert below. In the late afternoon we will arrive at our
overnight destination, set in very pleasant surroundings.
After settling in, we will spend time birding the area on
foot, a welcome relief from the confines of the vehicle!
Our major target is Karoo Scrub Robin, here at the
northern limit if its range, and we will stroll in the vicinity of
the farmhouse in search of this species.

Day 17: Khomas Hochland to Windhoek

After breakfast we will begin the journey across the
central highlands of Namibia. Roadside birding is
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, Anteating and Karoo Chats, Marico
and Chat Flycatchers, Cape Crow, Pale-winged Starling,
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 tiny Pygmy
Falcons that utilize these nests as a convenient home.

We should arrive in Windhoek around lunchtime, after
which we will head out to explore the productive dry
Acacia woodland and rocky grassland of Daan Viljoen
National Park. Some of the specials of the area include
Monteiro’s Hornbill, Short-toed Rock Thrush, beautiful
Violet-eared Waxbill and the diminutive Cape Penduline
Tit. Other great birds that we hope for are Swallow-tailed
Bee-eater, Mountain Wheatear, Long-billed Pipit, Red-
headed Finch and Yellow Canary, while Orange River
Francolin is also possible – but we will be lucky to
encounter this scarce species! One of the top mammals
in this reserve is the endangered Hartmann’s Mountain
Zebra, while we may be re-acquainted with the regal
Gemsbok, Giraffe, playful troops of Chacma Baboon and
small herds of Blue Wildebeest.

Day 18: Windhoek

The capital city of Namibia, Windhoek, is situated within a
bowl of mountains that form part of the rugged Khomas
Hochland range and excellent birding may be enjoyed
right on the outskirts of town.

We will visit the nearby Avis Dam and will search for Short-
toed Rock Thrush, the charismatic Rockrunner, Pearl-
spotted Owlet, White-backed Mousebird, Ashy Tit,
Mountain Wheatear, Pririt Batis, the gaudy Crimson-
breasted Shrike, Burnt-neck Eremomela, Black-faced
Waxbill and Black-throated Canary. Thereafter we have
time to freshen up at our hotel before the tour concludes
and we catch our international flights home.
Detailed Itinerary
18 Days Birding and Enjoying Wildlife in
Namibia
Namibia Birding and Wildlife:
Okavango & Victoria Falls
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