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Birding in Namibia
Namibia is a fantastic destination for birders, with over 630 bird species on record. Here, we’ve whittled down our top five places throughout the country to go in search of these nimble creatures of the air…
1. THE CAPRIVI
The mosaic of waterways of the Caprivi make it great for birding, and with over 400 species on record the area is home to around 70% of Namibia’s birdlife. The region’s unique ecosystem – a combination of bush and wetlands – is unlike anywhere else in the country and attracts some rather rare species as a result. Our favourites include the African skimmer, Pel’s fishing owl, rufoustailed palm thrush, African hobby and (in September and October) impressive nesting colonies of carmine bee-eaters.
2. WALVIS BAY
The Walvis Bay wetlands are amongst the most important coastal wetlands in Africa, and are home to an extensive variety of birdlife. The Walvis Bay Lagoon is the most significant birding spot on the bay, and is particularly famous for its large number of flamingos and pelicans. It is also a great place for spotting migratory birds en route from Africa to the Arctic Circle. If you’re in the area be sure to head to Rooibank too, where you’ll find Namibia’s endemic dune lark.
Home to 340 different species of bird, Etosha is a great place for twitchers. The desert-like conditions that the park experiences for much of the year do make the birds slightly harder to find than they are in other places, and the birding is definitely at its peak during the rainy season from November to the end of March, when flamingos flock to the salt pan which becomes a shallow alkaline lake. Other favourites of ours in the area are the violet woodhoopoe, bare-cheeked babbler, Temminck’s courser, social weaver and pygmy falcon.
4. ERONGO MOUNTAINS
The Erongo Mountain Nature Conservancy, which lies deep in the heart of the Erongo Mountains, is one of Namibia’s top birding spots. The 200,000 hectare conservancy was established with the primary aim of protecting some of the area’s endemic and near endemic species, including the white-tailed shrike and Hartlaub’s francolin. Other birds worth looking out for in the Erongo Mountains are the Ruppell’s parrot, rosy-faced lovebird and Monteiro’s hornbill.
5. KUNENE REGION
Although the Kunene Region does not boast a prolific variety of bird species, it is the only place in Southern Africa where the Angolan cave chat can be found. For this reason alone we reckon the region is definitely worth a visit by keen birders. While you’re in the area, other birds you should look out for are the violeteared and Cinderella waxbills and the violet-backed starling.