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Worldwide Birding Tours - Birding Ecotours
Ross's Turaco by Masa Wang - Uganda birding tour






Birding Tour Namibia: Namibia, Okavango, and Victoria Falls 2018



This is a truly marvelous 2.5-week birding adventure, during which we sample three different countries and spectacular, diverse scenery. We start in the coastal Namib Desert with its impressive dune fields (inhabited by desirable, localized endemics) 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 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 endemics of northern Namibia/southern Angola. Heading to the palm-lined Kunene River separating Angola from Namibia (this remote, ruggedly beautiful corner of Namibia is often ignored on birding tours), we look for Angola Cave Chat, Cinderella Waxbill, Rufous-tailed Palm Thrush, Grey Kestrel, and other desirables.

Eventually, we leave the endemic-rich 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 rhino and big cats, along with all the other African megafauna. And it is 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 we 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 the Victoria Falls of Zambia (with a brief optional foray into adjacent Zimbabwe) for yet again a rich assemblage of birds.

This birding tour covers a vast area and 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 Livingstone, Zambia.

This tour can be combined with our Subtropical South Africa 18-day Birding Adventure October 2018 (14 – 31 October 2018) for a 35-day Southern African adventure and even, preceding that, our Western Cape 8-day Birding Adventure October 2018 (7 – 14 October 2018) for an even longer, 42-day Southern African mega tour. Another possibility is to combine it with our Best of Madagascar: 14-day Birding and Wildlife Tour 2018 tour (17 – 31 October 2018), preceding this tour, and/or with our Birding Tour Zimbabwe and Mozambique 2018 (21 November – 5 December 2018), following this tour.

Duration: 18 days

Limit (Group Size): 6 - 9

Spaces Available: 5

Date Start: November 02, 2018

Date End: November 19, 2018

Tour Start: Walvis Bay, Namibia

Tour End: Livingstone, Zambia

There is an optional boat trip at Walvis Bay at the cost of approximately R750.

Important explanation about the default vehicles we use on our southern African tours: Whereas the standard birding-tour vehicle in East Africa is the popup-roof stretch Land Cruiser, in southern Africa these are extremely rare and not usually legal except within some parks. Open safari vehicles, on the other hand, are commonly seen in southern African parks but can’t be used outside the parks, and they are extremely unpleasant to be in when the weather is bad even inside the parks. The only tried-and-tested tour vehicle available in southern Africa that allows us to cover the ground we need so we can find the greatest diversity of birds (and other wildlife), and which is comfortable in all weather, is legal, has proper air conditioning, and does not make the overall tour price exorbitant, is the 13-seater Toyota Quantum when we have 6-8 (rarely 9) tour participants (or similar 7-10-seater vans when we have smaller group sizes). In areas where we are not restricted to the vehicle during the tour (such as in the Cape) we usually use unmodified standard Quantum vans – everyone gets out of the vehicle when we see a good bird or animal. In areas in which we are at times restricted to the vehicle because of the presence of dangerous megafauna including lions, elephants, and more (such as the Kruger National Park) we typically use a Quantum van with modified windows for better viewing of birds and other wildlife. In Kruger (and sometimes in Etosha) National Parks we usually do include a day or two in open safari vehicles as part of the tour price. Optional night drives (at nominal cost) in open safari vehicles are available at most southern African parks (including Kruger) for those who have less of a focused interest in birds (as these are operated by the park’s guides, who usually focus mainly on the “Big 5”). You can speak to the tour leader about joining these night drives, but in our experience some tour participants prefer not to join them, and hence we leave them as an optional extra for those willing to pay a (small/nominal) extra fee.

Even the tried-and-tested Toyota Quantum (or similar) vans we use fall far short of being ideal (small windows that are quite low, etc.), and we truly wish there were something better available without breaking the bank. But we use the best available vehicles, and we ensure that everyone has a fair turn in and near the front of the vehicle – we typically swap seating positions daily, but in the parks we can swap positions four times a day as necessary. The vehicles we use are by far the best vehicles available at a reasonable price. All the birding tour companies use the same vans unless their tours have a narrow focus just around Kruger/nearby or another park. It’s a big problem in South Africa that the East African style safari vehicles are, simply, unavailable, except for a handful of very old, shaky ones (and usually in East Africa they don’t have air conditioning anyway, are extremely slow between sites, and, in short, have a different suite of disadvantages). We use the very best vehicles we can without making our trips much more expensive than anyone else’s, but we also feel we have to be clear about what to expect before the tour, hence this note. If you are worried about the vehicle then please:

  • kindly ask further questions (before booking the tour)
  • consider a private tour which will be a lot more pricey, but since you’re not sharing with other tour participants you can always sit at a large window. If a whole group wishes to upgrade a tour and is willing to pay a large extra price, if given enough notice we are able to rent a very special vehicle – the cost is extremely high so the tour becomes a premium, rather than a standard, tour.

While we generally allow a window seat for every passenger and like to have at least a couple of free seats available for birding gear etc., it’s better to ask us about the specific tour to be sure what is the case. For photography trips the per-person price is higher because we leave more empty seats available as more tour participants have bulky camera gear!

It is our philosophy only to have one vehicle per tour as it invariably gets very frustrating when one vehicle sees a bird or animal and the other vehicle misses it! And our group sizes are small – maximum of eight (rarely nine). The tour prices would be very high and uncompetitive if we had a second vehicle and driver-guide with twice the guide’s accommodation, food, fuel and toll costs, considering the small group sizes on our tours. Again, if you request a private tour, we can take two or even three vehicles or absolutely whatever you request – a private tour is different. (It is illegal for us to have any person without a local driver’s license and professional driving permit to drive passengers who are paying to be on a tour, so we can’t even suggest that a tour participant drives a second vehicle to allow more space and window seats).

 

 

 

 


Price: R85,655 per person sharing

Single Supplement: R13,182

Price includes:

Meals

Accommodation

Park entrance fees

One day’s entrance to Victoria Falls

Boat ride on the Okavango River

Guiding fees

All transport while in southern Africa

Price excludes:

International flights

Personal insurance

Alcoholic beverages

Gratuities

Black Harrier - John Tinkler

West Coast Birding Tour - 1 day

Duration: 1
Price: Please see https://birdingecotours.com/birding-day-trips/.
Details: The West Coast National Park is a 1-hour drive (if traveling directly) from Cape Town, But we certainly will be birding all along the way instead of driving directly!

See full tour detail
Southern Double-collared Sunbird

Photo and Birding Tour South Africa: Western Cape, with extension to Kruger National Park 2019

Duration: 11 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 7
Date Start: September 01, 2019
Date End: September 11, 2019
Price: Main tour: R54,607 per person sharing , Kruger National Park extension R29,040
Details: South Africa’s Western Cape Province is scenically stunningly beautiful and hugely varied – from rocky sea cliffs and impressive mountains rising straight out of the sea to everything from moist t

See full tour detail
Southern Double-collared Sunbird

Photo and Birding Tour South Africa: Western Cape, with extension to Kruger National Park 2018

Duration: 11 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 7
Date Start: September 01, 2018
Date End: September 11, 2018
Price: Main tour: R50,562 , Kruger NP extension R26,889
Details: South Africa’s Western Cape Province is scenically stunningly beautiful and hugely varied – from rocky sea cliffs and impressive mountains rising straight out of the sea to everything from moist t

See full tour detail
Rockrunner - Ian Merrill

Photo and Birding Tour Namibia and Botswana: 13-day Adventure 2019

Duration: 13 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 7
Date Start: March 09, 2019
Date End: March 21, 2019
Price: R96,981 per person sharing, based on 4 – 7 participants in a 14-seater van with some seats removed.
Details: This is a photographic birding tour that gives you time in some of Africa’s greatest (no exaggeration!) wildlife havens. We begin our Photo and Birding Tour Namibia and Botswana in Namibia with thr

See full tour detail
Rockrunner - Ian Merrill

Photo and Birding Tour Namibia and Botswana: 13-day Adventure 2019

Duration: 13 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 7
Date Start: March 09, 2019
Date End: March 21, 2019
Price: R96,981 per person sharing, based on 4 – 7 participants in a 14-seater van with some seats removed.
Details: This is a photographic birding tour that gives you time in some of Africa’s greatest (no exaggeration!) wildlife havens. We begin our Photo and Birding Tour Namibia and Botswana in Namibia with thr

See full tour detail


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What our clients say

Hi Chris, Thank you so much for arranging the tour yesterday. I would just like to say that Jason was amazing, my father and myself were blown away by his knowledge, patience and true passion, a true gentleman and a credit to your operation. I would please like to be added to your newsletter and in the future we will be looking to do a birding tour. Many thanks. Katharine

Katharine, South Africa
05/03/2014



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