Namibia Birding Tours
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia, is a wonderfully unique southern African country. Located along the continent’s south-western coast, Namibia is perhaps best known for the similarly-named large desert that occupies much of this arid country – the Namib Desert. The country’s vast diamond reserves, its increasingly popular (and very tasty) oysters, and its superb wildlife-viewing all feature prominently in this country’s definite ‘must-visit’ appeal. With its sparsely populated interior, friendly people, and ease of traveling Namibia truly epitomizes the saying ‘don’t let appearances deceive you’ (with its mostly arid land deceptively harboring next-to-nothing to the first-time onlooker), and all of these factors and more make it one of the most rewarding and enjoyable destinations to travel throughout Africa and arguably even the world.
Namibia has close ties with neighboring South Africa, so much so that the South African Currency (ZAR – Rand) is legal tender in addition to the Namibian Dollar, and is an excellent ‘value-for-your-money’ destination. Namibia is also bordered by Angola, Zambia, Botswana and the Atlantic Ocean. Although it is the most arid country in sub-Saharan Africa, Namibia boasts a vast collection of nature reserves and protected areas that harbor a wide array of wildlife, including all of southern Africa’s big game mammals. Etosha National Park, truly one of Africa’s great game parks, is one of the country’s most prominent reserves and draws guests from far and wide with its superb game viewing –which you’d be hard-pressed to beat anywhere in the world. Birdwatching in Namibia is equally excellent; despite the country having only one true endemic it has a great many near-endemics shared with either South Africa, Botswana, or Angola. The dry nature of the country makes for very easy birding, and Namibia is a long-time favorite among our clients and guides alike!
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In addition to the incredible Etosha National Park Namibia has a great many other sites that are widely known for excellent bird-watching. These include the likes of the vast mudflats and salt flats of Walvis Bay and the mighty Spitzkoppe that rises out of the arid plains for all to see from an incredible distance. The Brandberg and Erongo Mountains host some of the best ‘desert-birding’ in the country, while the moister Waterberg Plateau hosts a similar suite of exciting species. Large rivers form much of the country’s northern borders, with prime examples being the Kunene, Okavango, and Zambezi Rivers – all of which play a vital role in the life of the many birds and other wildlife that call this country home. The moist tropical-deciduous woodlands of the peculiar Caprivi Strip host an entirely different suite of birds and are an excellent supplement to the fantastic dry-country birding to be had elsewhere in Namibia.
Although a bird-watching tour to Namibia will not see you getting as many species as some of its neighboring countries, like South Africa (although it is not far removed), the many restricted and highly sought-after birds available in Namibia easily make up for this. These range from the desert-loving Rüppell’s Korhaan, Burchell’s Courser, Herero Chat, and both Gray’s and Dune Larks to the dry-woodland-restricted Rüppell’s Parrot, Monteiro’s Hornbill, Carp’s Tit, and Bare-cheeked Babbler. Rocky areas and the many mountainous zones hold the much-desired Hartlaub’s Spurfowl, Rockrunner, and Angolan Cave Chat, while the Kunene River to the north hosts the highly prized Cinderella Waxbill among others. The more tropical Caprivi Strip sees more-widespread species but still offers a number of prized specials such as Racket-tailed Roller, Souza’s Shrike, Sharp-tailed Starling, and a great many others. Ephemeral waterbodies in these areas offer further excellent tropical species, which include Wattled Crane, Dwarf Bittern, Allen’s Gallinule, Lesser Moorhen, and even the almost unknown Striped Crake. A visit to this southern African country is a must for any bird watcher and nature traveler alike.