Join us on an incredible birding journey through Namibia’s diverse landscapes in one giant loop. Our adventure starts in the vibrant capital, where we drive to the coastal city of Walvis Bay. En route, we pause at the towering dunes of Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert, seeking out Namibia’s endemic the Dune Lark. Continuing north, we explore the stunning Namib Escarpment, home to specialised and near-endemic bird species. Our next stop then takes us to the breath-taking Etosha National Park, Namibia’s most visited. Heading eastward, we immerse ourselves in the lush wetlands of the scenic Caprivi Strip. Finally, we reach the stunning Okonjima Nature Reserve before returning to Windhoek, having experienced Namibia’s best birding locations.
Throughout this tour, we’ll diligently seek out Namibia’s array of unique specials and near-endemics, including the country’s sole endemic species. From desert marvels like Rüppell’s Korhaan and the fascinating Dune and Gray’s Larks to coastal delights such as the Damara Tern and Chestnut-banded Plover, our quest covers diverse habitats and species. Sossusvlei, renowned for its breathtaking Namib Desert landscapes, promises an unforgettable experience as we delve into its heart. Exploring the Namib Escarpment, we’ll meticulously seek out treasures like the Herero Chat, Rockrunner, White-tailed Shrike, Monteiro’s Hornbill, Hartlaub’s Spurfowl, and a host of others, ensuring a thorough exploration of this captivating region.
On arrival at Hosea Kutako International Airport, a Sustainable Birding representative will meet you at arrivals and do a quick meet and greet, before transferring you to your hotel in Nairobi, so you can relax and get some sleep ready for a great adventure ahead.
Where you will be staying: The Elegant Gueshouse
This morning, we’ll be birding around Windhoek to gain some targets before heading off to the rolling dunes of Sossusvlei. There are a several near endemics that can be achieved in the capital, especially near Avis Dam area. Among these sought-after targets are the renowned Rockrunner, esteemed for its rarity, along with the striking Monteiro’s Hornbill and the elegant White-tailed Shrike. Amidst the acacia habitats, expect encounters with characteristic species like the White-backed Mousebird, Common Scimitarbill, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Acacia Pied Barbet, Pririt Batis, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Cape Penduline Tit, Barred Wren-Warbler, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Marico Flycatcher, Kalahari Scrub Robin, Marico Sunbird, and a vibrant array of seedeaters including the Black-faced and Violet-eared Waxbills, Green-winged Pytilia, Shaft-tailed Whydah, and Yellow Canary.
In the afternoon, and with a load of species already under our belt we’ll head to Sossusvlei for our next leg of the trip,
Where you will be staying: The Elegant Desert Lodge
Sossusvlei, nestled in Namibia’s Namib-Naukluft National Park, is an iconic clay pan characterized by towering red sand dunes, some among the highest globally. These dunes, like Dune 45 and Big Daddy, highlight a mesmerising interplay of shadows and light during sunrise and sunset, painting an ever-changing landscape. The area’s stark beauty is accentuated by ancient, petrified trees in the surreal Deadvlei, a white clay pan surrounded by rust-red dunes. Sossusvlei stands as a testament to nature’s sculptural prowess and offers an awe-inspiring encounter with Namibia’s desert marvels.
This remarkable area not only boasts towering dunes but also houses a diverse array of desert-specialist species. With two full days here, we’ll immerse ourselves in this landscape. The open expanses will be scoured for sightings of Rüppell’s Korhaan and Burchell’s Courser, Namaqua Sandgrouse, Common Ostrich, and Greater Kestrel.
The elusive Dune Lark, Namibia’s exclusive endemic bird, inhabits vegetated dunes rather than rocky plains, offering a good chance to see them there. Patches of acacia trees play host to an alternate set of species, including the Brubru, Pririt Batis, White-backed Mousebird, and Dusky Sunbird. While generally rare, our foray here might yield sightings of some of Namibia’s fascinating mammals, potentially including the desert-adapted Gemsbok, the national mammal of Namibia, along with other remarkable wildlife like Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra and the elusive Brown Hyena.
Where you will be staying: The Elegant Desert Lodge
The next morning, we’ll drive takes to Walvis Bay – a gorgeous port town with a lovely bay. We’ll spend the afternoon taking in the mesmerising sites of large congregations of Greater and Lesser Flamingos, along with Great White Pelicans and other shorebirds.
The following day, we’ll be focusing on our target species of this area such as the Damara Tern, Chestnut-banded Plover, Black-necked Grebe. We’ll also be on the lookout for the Gray’s Lark, a strikingly pale near-endemic of the Namib Desert – a highlight of the trip.
Where you will be staying: Protea Hotel Pelican Bay
The next morning, as we travel north, we’ll be driving through the Namib Escarpment – a rugged and awe-inspiring expanse, that presents a dramatic transition from the arid plains to elevated plateaus and steep cliffs, highlighting Namibia’s magnificent diversity of terrain and natural beauty.
It’s remarkable seeing this beautiful escarpment come seemingly from nowhere. We’ll be birding near Spitzkoppe, where we will be on the lookout for specialised lark species such as the Karoo Long-billed Lark, which transitions to the Benguela Long-billed Lark slightly farther north. Herero Chat will be another target, along with vibrant flocks of Rosy-faced Lovebirds, and exclusive hornbill species like the Damara Red-billed and Monteiro’s Hornbills, primarily found in the Namib and adjacent arid regions.
The following day, our birding route along the escarpment will focus on four notable near-endemic species: the Rüppell’s Parrot, Hartlaub’s Spurfowl, White-tailed Shrike, and the Rockrunner, a babbler-like passerine. These captivating and charismatic birds are exclusive to Namibia and a small region in Angola.
The Omaruru Game Lodge, where you’ll be staying also presents exceptional birding opportunities within its grounds, notably around the watering hole.
Where you will be staying: Omaruru Game Lodge
Etosha National Park, Namibia’s most renowned park, is simply spectacular and brimming with wildlife. This vast expanse of nearly 8,600 square miles is dominated by the shimmering white of the expansive Etosha Pan, a vast salt flat that mesmerizes visitors with its otherworldly allure. Surrounding this ethereal pan, grasslands, mopane woodlands, and saline desert plains create a diverse habitat that sustains an incredible array of wildlife. Etosha is celebrated for its iconic waterholes, gathering points for a stunning variety of wildlife, from herds of elephants, zebras, and giraffes to the regal presence of lions, leopards, and cheetahs.
The park is also a delight for bird enthusiasts, hosting over a staggering 340 different bird species. Its diverse ecosystems attract an array of avifauna, from flamingos and pelicans at the saline lakes to ostriches and raptors across the savannah. We’ll spend three days here transecting this gorgeous park.
Species highlights include: Pygmy Falcon, Kori Bustard, Senegal Coucal, Pale Chanting-Goshawk, African Scops Owl, Wattled Crane, Black-winged Pratincole, Double-banded Courser, Temminck’s Courser, Hartlaub’s Francolin, White-tailed Shrike, Rockrunner, Monteiro’s Hornbill, Bloubokkie Draai, Violet Woodhoopoe, Carp’s Tit, Rufous-eared Warbler, Rueppell’s Parrot, Blue Crane, Burchell’s Sandgrouse, Bare-cheeked Babbler, Southern Red-billed Hornbill, Lilac-breasted Roller, White Helmetshrike, Black-faced Babbler, Caspian Plover, Greater Painted-snipe and Social Weaver, to name a few.
On our way to the Caprivi Strip, we’ll be stopping in near Rundu, where our lodge is situated next to the stunning Kavango River, which will serve us well for many sightings.
On the way to the lodge, with many birding stopovers along the way, you’ll see that landscape is now starting to become greener for the first time, where thick forests now start sprouting out of the landscape. In the forests and nearby wetlands, we’ll be looking for species such as Rufous-bellied Tit, Collared Pratincole, Baillon’s Crake, Greater Painted-snipe, Green-capped Eremomela, Sharp-tailed Starling, Souza’s Shrike, Swamp Boubou, Tinkling Cisticola, Rufous-bellied Heron, and many more.
Where you will be staying: Kaiso River Lodge
The next day we will finally have arrived in the exceptional Caprivi Strip – one of Africa’s most renowned birding destinations.
The ‘Strip’ is a narrow protrusion stretching from northern Namibia towards the eastern side of the continent and is a region teeming with biodiversity and lush landscapes. Embraced by the Okavango and Zambezi Rivers, this area stands out for its rich and varied habitats. Lush woodlands, wetlands, and riverine ecosystems characterize the Strip, fostering an incredibly diverse range of wildlife. The contrasting landscapes support an abundance of birdlife, making it a prime spot for birders seeking a large count of species. The water-rich environment of the Caprivi Strip nurtures many species, including the sought-after African Finfoot, Half-collared Kingfisher, and Rock Pratincole. Boat trips along the Zambezi and Kwando Rivers offer exceptional opportunities to spot various waterfowl, waders, and stunning riverine birds. The woodlands and floodplains are alive with the calls of Arnot’s Chat, Racket-tailed Roller, Copper Sunbird, and Grey-headed Bushshrike. This vibrant ecosystem also provides a home to an assortment of raptors, such as the Western Banded Snake Eagle, along with many owl and nightjar species that come alive as dusk settles over the region.
It will certainly be a highlight of the tour, where we’ll be exploring by vehicle, foot and boat.
It’s always bittersweet to bid farewell to such a remarkable area like the Caprivi Strip. As we ‘turn on our heels’ to journey back, we’ll seize the chance to revisit some spots, ensuring we find any species we may have missed on our Day 12.
Where you will be staying: Roy’s Rest Camp
Over the next two days, we’ll be spending time in the outstanding Okonjima Nature Reserve. Nestled in the heart of Namibia, Okonjima is a sanctuary renowned for its conservation efforts and captivating wildlife encounters. Home to the AfriCat Foundation, this vast reserve spans over 200 square kilometres and serves as a refuge for rescued and rehabilitated wildlife. The reserve is an assortment of diverse habitats, with expansive grasslands, dense woodlands, and rugged terrain, creating a perfect environment for an array of bird and mammal species.
Okonjima boasts an impressive birding opportunity, where we’ll be searching for species such as Monteiro’s and Damara Red-billed Hornbills, White-tailed Shrike, Violet Wood Hoopoe, Red-crested Korhaan, Double-banded and Burchell’s Sandgrouse, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Bradfield’s Hornbill, Rosy-faced Lovebird, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, and Southern Pied Babbler to name a few.
Where you will be staying: Okonjima Omboroko Campsites
The following day, we’ll make our way back to the capital, where this incredible birding tour sadly draws to a close. Our expected arrival time is around midday, where a day can be arranged before your evening international flight home.
Easy/Moderate – majority of birding activates are achieved either on-foot or in the safari vehicle, along with many boat rides.
We would need a 25% deposit to secure your place on this tour.
The above cost is based on a group of 6. Please enquire if you require a private tailor-made version.
Best time of year to visit:
The optimal time for birding in Namibia coincides with the rainy season, spanning roughly from November to April. This period welcomes numerous migratory species, along with the many resident species. Abundant food sources during this time see many species adorned in vibrant breeding plumage. Simultaneously, Namibia’s chilly yet bountiful ocean shores allure significant permanent populations of coastal birds, creating a haven for bird enthusiasts year-round.
At Sustainable Birding, our goal is to ensure that every birding holiday we create contributes positively to bird conservation efforts and local communities. Our determination to promote sustainable travel led us to become founding members of Tourism Declares Climate Emergency. As part of this commitment, we have established the world’s pioneering carbon scoring and offsetting framework for tailor-made holidays. Feel free to request us to carbon score your individual trip!
Bird species highlights:
The Sustainable Birding Company is a subsidiary of Far and Wild Travel, a tailor-made tour company based in Cumbria, UK. Far and Wild Travel offer sustainable, luxury, tailor-made tour itineraries throughout Africa and around the world.