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Namibia Holidays Road Trip Self Drive Safari Tours Etosha Namib Desert

Birding Holiday, Namibia: Bird Watching Guide + Tour Dune + Etosha Vacation

Namibia Birding: Namib, Erongo, Etosha, Waterberg
NPE14W
14 NIGHTS
FROM £4,995
Per person sharing
International flights quoted separately
Birding Holiday Namibia Bird Watching Guide Tour Dune Etosha Vacation

This specialist birding holiday to Namibia allows you to explore this stunning country accompanied by an expert bird watching guide. Your tour includes Sossusvlei dune in the Namib Desert, Swakopmund with its marine life, the Spitzkoppe, Erongo Mountains, Etosha National Park & the Waterberg Plateau. English speaking birding guide, all transfers & park fees are included in this vacation, which can be tailor made.

Birding Holiday Namibia Bird Watching Guide Tour Dune Etosha Vacation
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Birding Holiday, Namibia
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Bird Watching Guide
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Namib Desert
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Sossusvlei Sand Dune
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Marine Cruise, Swakopmund
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Spitzkoppe
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Erongo Mountains
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Etosha National Park
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Waterberg Plateau
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Birding Tour & Vacation
• 
Birding Holiday, Namibia
• 
Bird Watching Guide
• 
Namib Desert
• 
Sossusvlei Sand Dune
• 
Marine Cruise, Swakopmund
• 
Spitzkoppe
• 
Erongo Mountains
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Etosha National Park
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Waterberg Plateau
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Birding Tour & Vacation
Day 1
You will be met at Windhoek Airport by your guide and transferred 1-hour to your hotel in this small capital city.
  
Our birding will begin almost immediately, with some common species seen as we leave the airport - such as the Namaqua dove, Rock martin, Little swift, White-rumped swift, Cape wagtail, Grassveld pipit, Fork-tailed drongo and Cape glossy starling.
 
After checking into your hotel in Windhoek, if time permits your guide will take you for more birding on the outskirts of the city.
Day 2
Enjoy an early morning bird walk before we leave Windhoek today.
 
We then travel 6-hours through ever-changing landscapes and dramatically beautiful desert scenery to the great Namib Desert (picnic lunch included). Along the way we will stop numerous times looking at birds - with the Southern pale chanting goshawk, Black-chested snake eagle and Vereaux’s eagle being special targets.
 
The terrain becomes more arid as we travel towards Gondwana Namib Park, Namib Naukluft Park and Sossusvlei, whose great mountains of sand are a monument to the extreme forces of nature. The petrified dunes of the dry riverbed of the Dieprivier are a special attraction, as these are fossilised remnants of an ancient desert that is now overlaid with the sands of the younger Namib. After the unpredictable desert rains (mid November/mid December), colourful desert flowers burst forth here and provide a delightful display.
 
Arriving at our lodge, we will look for the Mountain wheatear, Dusky sunbird, Ruppell’s korhaan, White-throated canary and Cape bunting. After dinner enjoy a short night drive, in search of the Freckled nightjar and Spotted eagle-owl.
Day 3
We set out early this morning on a 4x4 drive into the famous sand dunes at Sossusvlei, as this is the coolest part of the day and the best for photography.
 
This clay pan is surrounded by some of the highest dunes in the world – an endless sea of reddish sand stretching all the way to the distant horizon. These monumental star shaped dunes, some as high as 1,000 ft (325 m), were formed by strong multi-directional winds. The warm tints of sand range in colour from apricot to orange, red and maroon - and contrast vividly with the stark white clay pans at their base. You will be astonished by surreal Deadvlei, surrounded by some of the highest dunes and Sossusvlei, where the mostly dry Tsauchab River abruptly ends.
 
Take the opportunity to climb one of these dunes, which afford endless vistas across the desert landscape and the sea of sand.
 
Also visit the narrow gorge of the impressive Sesriem Canyon, with its rock pools fed by the Tsauchab River during the rainy season. The name is derived from the six “rieme” (leather thongs) that early pioneers used to draw water from these pools. Afterwards return to your lodge, with time in the afternoon to enjoy some more birding with your guide in the grounds of your lodge.
Day 4
Enjoy more early birding with your guide in the Namib Desert today, with included picnic lunch.
 
Alternatively participate in one of the optional activities offered in the region, such as a pre-dawn Hot Air Balloon Ride over the majestic sand dunes.
 
Afterwards relax at your lodge surrounded by spectacular desert landscapes, with amazing star gazing in the evening.
Day 5
After an early breakfast, we drive 15 miles (25 km) to a special spot to locate the Cinnamon-breasted warbler. Along the way we may also see the Namaqua sandgrouse, Mountain wheatear, Ruppell’s korhaan and hopefully Gray’s lark and Stark’s lark. We will also look hard for the very difficult Burchell’s courser. At a reliable spot, we will search for Namibia's only true endemic - the Dune lark.
 
We then drive 6-hours through the starkly beautiful Gaub and Kuiseb Canyons of the Namib Desert to the beach resort of Swakopmund with its old lighthouse (with picnic lunch included).
 
Swakopmund is situated on the Atlantic Coast where the cold Benguela Current sweeps up from Antarctica, releasing no moisture into the prevailingly onshore winds – hence the very low rainfall and desert conditions. Fog is common along the coast in the early mornings and late afternoons and this is what gives life to the desert-adapted flora and fauna of the region. The cold current is also highly oxygenated, causing it to teem with marine life and the birds that feed off them. Check into your hotel and relax on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.
Day 6
This morning we drive 30-minutes to Walvis Bay for a 3-hour Marine Cruise to see a resident school of dolphins and a large colony of Cape fur seals at Pelican Point. You should also see many Cape cormorants and hopefully some more difficult birds such as the Cape gannet, Pomarine skua and African black oyster catcher. You may also see migrating whales in season (September to October).
 
Afterwards enjoy more birding along the shores of Walvis Bay Lagoon (with picnic lunch included). At this RAMSAR site, marine bird life is abundant and includes pelicans, terns and large flocks of greater and lesesser flamingos that live in the shallow waters of the lagoon. The ideal time to visit is from October to April, when the long-distance migrants have arrived from the northern hemisphere in their thousands. Here you can hope to see the Chestnut-banded plover, Pied avocet, Cape teal, Black-necked grebe, Curlew sandpiper, Sanderling, Grey plover, Ruddy turnstone, Little stint, Red knot, Great knot, Palaearctic tern, Common tern, Sandwich tern, Arctic tern and Black tern.
 
Alternatively return to the beach resort of Swakopmund, with its palm lined streets and seaside promenade. Established by German colonists in 1892, the town’s landmarks include the Swakopmund Lighthouse and the Mole, an old sea wall. Next to the lighthouse, the Swakopmund Museum documents Namibian history. In the town you can find the elegant Swakopmund Railway Station (now a hotel), which also dates to the colonial era. An enjoyable local pastime is Kaffee-Kuchen at 16:00 when you can take a mid-afternoon break for a coffee, with a slice of baked cheesecake or Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (German Black Forest Cake).
Day 7
Rise early to beat the heat of the day, and enjoy a morning of birding in the sand dunes of the surrounding Namib Desert.
 
We head off towards the dry river bed and sparsely vegetated sand dunes of Rooibank, which is a prime habitat for our target today - the Dune lark, which is Namibia's only true endemic. This small ground-dweller is one of the most desert-adapted birds in the world. It does not drink water but instead feeds solely on seeds and insects.
 
Your afternoon is at leisure to return to Walvis Bay for more birding around the lagoon, or relax at the beach resort of Swakopmund.
Day 8
Today we drive 3-hours from Swakopmund to our next lodge situated in the foothills of the volcanic Erongo Mountains near the small town of Omaruru.
 
We suggest detouring 1-hour to Cape Cross on the barren Skeleton Coast, which is home to one of the largest colonies of Cape fur seals in the world. The Cape Cross Seal Reserve has a thriving population of over 80,000 seals, as well as a large colony of gannets and other sea birds. There is also a small lichen reserve, where a relatively large variety of these interesting, slow growing organisms are protected.
 
As we pass the fishing village of Hentiesbaai look out for the 'Zeila', one of the more recent shipwrecks that can be viewed along this inhospitable coastline. Also look out for desert specials such as Ruppell’s korhaan, Burchell’s courser and Tractrac chat.
 
Alternatively we can detour to the Spitzkoppe (meaning 'pointed domes' in German), an ancient group of bald granite peaks that are over 120 million years old and rise up dramatically from the surrounding desert plains. Birding is particularly good in this region, with a sighting of the Herero chat being particularly prized. You can also see the ancient Welwitschia Mirabilis plant that survives in these harsh conditions.
 
We continue towards the magnificent Erongo Mountains, flanked by the Namib Desert to the west and woodland savanna to the east, with breathtaking views of its huge granite boulders.Check into our lodge in this beautiful region, known for its Bushman rock art paintings. It is an endemic hotspot for a variety of plants, reptiles and small mammals - including kudu, baboons and agile klipspringers, as well as wonderful bird life.
 
In the late afternoon enjoy more birding in the surrounding area. Birds we can hope to spot here include the Monteiro’s hornbill, Carp’s tit, Rosy-faced lovebird and Ruppell’s parrot, all of which are near endemics so this is a very important stop. At night we may be fortunate enough to see a few owl species, including the Spotted eagle-owl and African scops owl. We will also try to call in the rock dwelling Freckled nightjar.
Day 9
Today enjoy a full day of birding with your guide in and around Omaruru, which is surrounded by dry acacia savanna and offers the best bushveld birding in Namibia. Two major rivers traverse this region - the Omaruru and the Khan - and the riparian woodlands are a magnet for a variety of species not found in the drier parts of the country.
 
The granitic Erongo Mountains to the west of the town are home to a variety of endemics and near-endemics. An early morning on the Paula’s Cave Road south of Omaruru should reward you with sightings of the Rockrunner, Hartlaub's spurfowl and White-tailed shrike. Some of the best birding can also be done along the bed of the Omaruru River in the town itself. Woodpeckers, owls and migrant warblers all favour the big acacia trees along the river banks and bat hawk are regularly seen over the river in the late evenings in summer.
 
You can also hope to see Violet wood hoopoe, Chestnut weaver, Rüppell's parrot, Monteiro's hornbill, Carp's tit, Rosy-faced lovebird, Orange River francolin, Bradfield's swift and numerous raptors.
Day 10
We rise early this morning in search of localised species such as Hartlaub’s francolin, Carp’s black tit, White-tailed shrike, Monteiro’s hornbill and Damara rockrunner. We may also see mammals such as the Chacma baboon and Rock hyrax.
 
We then travel 5-hours through the vast open landscapes of Damaraland to Etosha National Park, one of the largest and greatest game parks in Africa (picnic lunch included). Etosha owes its unique landscape to a vast shallow depression – the Etosha Pan.  During the dry season it becomes an expanse of white cracked mud, shimmering with mirages and spiralling dust devils, with its open pans offering magnificent game viewing. Etosha is home to over a hundred different species of mammals including elephant, rhino, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, lion, cheetah and leopard.
 
Birding is also outstanding, especially raptors. We may see the White-backed vulture, White-headed vulture, Lappet-faced vulture, Bateleur, Brown snake eagle, Tawny eagle, Martial eagle, African hawk-eagle and many more. Other possibilities include the Red-billed spurfowl, Little sparrowhawk, Black cuckoo, Common scimitarbill, Capped wheatear, Black-backed puffback, Brubru, Southern white-crowned shrike, Red-billed buffalo weaver and Chestnut weaver. On arrival we check into our rest camp situated near the southern entrance to the park.
Day 11
Today is devoted to birding and game viewing in the famous Etosha National Park, which surrounds an enormous salt pan that is the size of the Netherlands. Once the summer rains arrive, the vast salt pans are turned into seasonal lakes that attract thousands of migratory and wetland birds.
 
As you will have your own guide, you have the flexibility of discussing preferred routings and travelling times with him each day (with picnic lunch included). However we recommend setting off early each morning as the park gates open (05h30 to 06h00 depending on the season) to take advantage of the best conditions of the day, with all drives taken in his vehicle.
 
Etosha is renowned for its vast arrays of plains game and predators, which are easily seen on these open plains. You can also hope to see springbok, oryx, black-faced impala and the small Damara dik-dik. A series of waterholes throughout the park guarantees rewarding sightings.
 
Etosha is also home to 340 different bird species, about a third of which are migratory. These includes the colourful Lilac-breasted roller, Greater and Lesser flamingos and 35 raptors - ranging from the Bateleur, Tawny eagle, Martial eagle, Goshawk and Lapped-faced, White-backed and Hooded vultures to the tiny Pygmy Falcon. Namibian specials include the Bare-cheeked babbler, Violet wood hoopoe, Carp’s tit, Monterio’s hornbill, Rockrunner and Rüppel’s parrot. You can also see the world’s largest bird, the Ostrich and the heaviest flying bird, the Kori bustard. Eight owl species can be spotted after sunset.
 
Also look out for the Blue crane, Swainson's spurfowl, Red-crested korhaan, Double-banded courser, Spotted thick-knee, Secretarybird, Spotted eagle-owl, Meyer’s parrot, Sabota lark, Spike-heeled lark, Pink-billed lark, Red-capped lark, Clapper lark, Southern White-crowned shrike, Crimson-breasted shrike, Red-backed shrike, Lesser grey shrike, White-crested helmetshrike, Black-faced babbler, Southern pied babbler, Wattled starling, Long-billed pipit, Grassveld pipit, Marico sunbird, Scarlet-chested sunbird, White-bellied sunbird, Melba finch, Scaly-feathered finch, Yellow-bellied eremomela, Burnt-necked eremomela, Chestnut weaver, Blue waxbill, Golden-breasted bunting, Paradise whydah and Shaft-tailed whydah. We may see up to 12 different duck species including the White-backed duck, Hottentot teal and South African shelduck.
 
Note: Vehicles are not allowed to drive off-road in any national park in Namibia.
Day 12
Enjoy another wonderful day of birding and game viewing as we drive from the southern sector of Etosha National Park towards the eastern gate (picnic lunch included).
 
Fisher's Pan near Namutoni is a particularly good spot for birding, with large flocks of flamingos in residence during the wet months (December to April). Egyptian geese, Cape teals, African spoonbills, Great white pelicans and Lesser moorhen can be seen here when there is water in the pan, as well as the honey badger, bat-eared fox, aardwolf and caracal.
 
This area can also produce bird species such as the Crested francolin, Swainson's spurfowl, Kori bustard, Red-crested korhaan, Northern black korhaan, Burchell's sandgrouse, Verreaux's eagle-owl, Lappet-faced vulture, Red-necked falcon, Temminck’s courser, White-browed scrub robin, Burnt-necked eremomela, Yellow-breasted apalis, Black-faced babbler, Secretary bird and the sought after Blue crane.
 
At the end of the day we check into our rest camp situated near the eastern gate.
Day 13
Today we drive 3-hours southwards from Etosha to the beautiful Waterberg Plateau, a vast 156-sq.mile (400-sq km) wildlife reserve that offers sanctuary to some of the rarest animal species found in Namibia.
 
Along the way we stop at water treatment ponds in Otjiwarongo to search out waterfowl such as the Hottentot teal, African jacana, Black-winged stilt and Black-crowned night heron.
 
We then continue to the Waterberg. This massive red sandstone plateau, elevated high over the plains of the Kalahari, was the site of a devatating battle in 1904, when a force of 1,600 German colonial soldiers almost annihilated over 40,000 Herero men, women and children.
 
As it is largely inaccessible from below, today it is used very successfully as a breeding area and to protect endangered species such as black and white rhino, sable antelope and roan antelope. The reserve is also home to more than 20 different types of bats, over 13 frog species and over 200 varieties of birds, including the only breeding colony of rare Cape Vultures.
 
Check into your lodge on this serene plateau that towers over the surrounding plains. Here we try to locate species previously missed, especially endemics such as the Ruppells’ parrot, Violet wood hoopoe, Carp’s tit, Rockrunner and Hartlaub’s francolin. You will also see several different hornbills here including the Yellow-billed, Damara and Grey hornbills.
Day 14
At leisure to relax and enjoy more birding on the magnificent Waterberg Plateau, which was once home to dinosaurs and the ancient San Bushmen people, whose rock paintings can still be seen on the plateau.
 
Whilst the plateau is arid on top, there is a lot of surface water and strong permanent springs at the foot of the mountain, resulting in lush green vegetation.
 
Wildlife on the plateau includes black and white rhino, buffalo, eland, gemsbok, giraffe, kudu, roan antelope, sable antelope, impala, klipspringer, steenbok, black-backed jackal, caracal, cheetah, hyena and leopard. A day visit is also possible to the Cheetah Conservation Fund, who are working to preserve this majestic but highly endangered species (pay entrance fee locally).
Day 15
Transfer 3.5-hours to Windhoek Airport for your flight home.