Our two Namibia, Okavango and Victoria Falls tours, led by Rainer Summers, Glen Valentine and Jan Pienaar, were both extremely successful. These tours are a perpetual favourite amongst lovers of wide-open spaces, rugged vistas, plentiful game and excellent birding! The combination of the arid Namib and the beautiful Okavango and Zambezi regions provides a wide spectrum of species, ranging from the cryptic Dune Lark to the striking Pel’s Fishing Owl, and ancient Welwitschia plants to astounding Baobab Trees.
Namibia is certainly one of Africa’s avian hotspots and we filled our lists with sightings of Monteiro’s Hornbill, Carp’s Black Tit, Rüppell’s Parrot, Violet Woodhoopoe, Hartlaub’s Spurfowl, Herero Chat, the stunning Rockrunner, Rüppell’s Korhaan and White-tailed Shrike. Additional highlights included nine species of owl (Pearl-spotted, Western Barn, African Barred, African Wood, Marsh, Southern White-faced, African Scops, Verreaux’s Eagle- and Pel’s Fishing), all five possible babblers (Southern Pied, Bare-cheeked, Black-faced, Arrow-marked and Hartlaub’s), Slaty Egret, skulky White-backed Night Heron, Ludwig’s Bustard, scarce Burchell’s Courser, Damara Tern, African Hobby, Dickinson’s Kestrel, African Skimmer, elegant Wattled Crane, breeding Southern Carmine Bee-eaters, Racket-tailed Roller, Cape Penduline Tit and the ever tricky Rufous-bellied Tit.
Etosha National Park boasts some of the best game viewing in Africa, and we were completely blown away by the spectacle of hundreds of animals and birds coming to quench their thirst at the park’s scattered waterholes! Mammalian highlights included impressive numbers of Lion, Burchell’s Zebra, Gemsbok, Springbok, Giraffe, Greater Kudu, both Black and White Rhinoceros, tenacious Honey Badger, Spotted Hyena and Damara Dik-dik. Other top mammals encountered during our tours were the endemic Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra, Kaokoland Slender (Black) Mongoose, Cape Porcupine, Sable and Roan Antelope, endemic Heaviside’s Dolphin, Lechwe, Meerkat and African Buffalo. Our tours were rounded off with a visit to the amazing Victoria Falls, famously “discovered” by David Livingstone and spanning an incredible 1.7km – a most impressive way to end this fantastic tour!