Namibia has various bird species that can be seen in the different bird habitants and with the excellent birding routes that can be found in the area and proper infrastructure allows easy access to the different birding sites.
The Northern part of Namibia offers a view of the most beautiful tropical birds that one cannot see when they visit Namibia. The different habitats found in the area include the Zambezi and Kavango rivers, the Cunene River and it is also known for the Etosha game reserve where birding fanatics can easily view the birds.
The Western and southern parts are surrounded by the famous Namib Desert which is filled with san sea. Although it is semi Desert area, the escarpment has arid woodland which acts as a habitat for the different bird species that can be viewed using binoculars during a drive through the Namib Desert.
Namibia’s coast should also not be ignored as it has different wonderful bird species that one see and some of these include the cape Gannet, African Black oystercatcher, Terek sandpiper, Chestnut branded plover, cape Cormorant, South African shelduck, the White fronted plover, the pelicans, and Hartlaub’s gull.
It should also be noted that Namibia has one endemic bird species which is known as the Dune Lark and it is a special treat for the birders. Other bird species that are near endemics include the Violet wood hoopoe, hartlaub’s Francolin, White tailed shrike, Bare cheeked babbler, Carp’s Black tit, Rockrunner and the Ruppell’s parrot.
What is the best time to visit Namibia for birding?
Namibia can be visited throughout the year but the best time to visit is between November and April as around this time some migrant birds are around and they join the local bird species giving the birders a variety of bird species to watch.
Things that you might need before you can go for birding.
There are several things that you need when you go for birding and they are important as they will make your trip more than enjoyable. Some of those are listed below:
- Identification book
Identification books help you to identify which type of bird you are seeing at the moment. Many birds have the same features and this book helps you to identify and differentiate them easily. The identification books have pictures showing what a specific bird looks like, their coloring, characteristics and their different habitants.
Binoculars are extremely important as one goes for birding. As we are now very much aware of the fact that birds like to mostly keep away from humans, it is better to carry binoculars as these will help you view the birds from a distance as the binoculars can be adjusted to make it feel like you are viewing them up close. You can get these in the different tour shops around Namibia.
- food and water
The birding destinations in Namibia are located in remote desert areas and these have no shops or food outlets near them. Therefore it is advisable to carry your own water and food that you will eat on the journey to avoid hunger pains as this will lead to less enjoyable moments when birding.
- insect repellant
You can get Insect repellant from the different shops around as it helps to keep away most of the insects from biting you especially mosquitoes. The birding destinations are found mostly in woodlands and swamps and these are good breeding places for mosquitoes. Therefore it is advisable to go with a repellant on such trips.
A camera is another necessary gadget needed when one goes for birding. Although some people say that they are not necessary, it is for those who want to keep memories of how the adventure was and for those who want to compare the birds that are being seen with those that are in the books, a camera is very much needed when you go birding.
Hides can either be clothes or something that creates a camouflage so that you blend in well with the environment as you view the birds. There are several birds that fly away once they realize they are being watched or if one is approaching them and a hide helps in approaching them.
- The clothes
These are also a mandate before you go for birding. And since most of the birding spots are located in the Namib Desert, you will need clothes that will protect you from the sea sand that blows, a head gear to protect you from the harsh weather in the Namib Desert.
Birding sites in Namibia
There are several birding sites that are located in the different parts of Namibia and some of these are listed below with a few species of birds that you can see while visiting those areas.
The Kaudom Park
This is a large park which has not been tampered with by people and to get to it, you need to use very strong four wheel vehicles. It is not fenced and wild animals move freely without worry of being poached.
There are different birds found in Kaudom Park and some of them are indigenous, raptors and there are also some immigrant birds that come during the summer.
The different Bird species found in the area include the lesser spotted Eagle, Red necked Falcon, Martial Eagle, Black faced Babbler, Western banded snake Eagle, Bradfield’s Hornbill, sharp tailed starling, Western Red footed kestrel, steppe Eagle, Dickinson’s kestrel, Bateleur Eagle, cinnamon breasted Tit and the yellow throated sand grouse.
Okonjima plains are located in the Waterberg plateau western Namibia and it is a good spot for birding. Some of the Bird species that can be found in Okonjima plains include the Double banded sand grouse, Rock runner, Montero’s Hornbill, Namaqua, Burchell’s and the white tailed shrike.
Erongo Mountains are located in the central part of Namibia and it is a good place to go for birding. One can see the following Bird species once they visit Erongo Mountains. The Golden tailed and cardinal woodenpeckers, Hartlaub’s Francolin, short toed Rick Thrush, Freckled Nightjar, southern white faced owl ptilopsis granti, and the Rockrunner.
The Walvis Bay wetlands
This is an attraction to the different Bird species due to the presence of a lagoon and it forms an extensive shallow wetland in the southern part of Africa. The different Bird species that one can see when they visit the Walvis Bay wetlands include the Hartlaub’s Gull, South African shelduck, Damara Tern, African Black Oystercatcher, White fronted plover, Grey and Red necked phalarope, cape cormorant, South African shelduck and the cape Gannet.
The spitzkoppe Granite
Known as the Matterhorn of Africa, this is a large granite that rises over 600 meters above the ground and the different Bird species that can be seen include the Dusky sunbird, Rosy faced Lovebird, Ling billed lark, Stark’s Lark, African Black Eagle, Ruppell’s parrot, White tailed shrike, Ludwig’s Bustard, Ruppell’s korhaan, carp’s Black Tit, Bare cheeked Babbler, Augur Bazzard, Monteria’s Hornbill, Herero chat and the Bradfield’s swift.
The Impalila Island
The Impalila Island has different breeding places for birds which include the wetlands, papyrus, chobe and Zambezi River which surround it, flood plains, woodland and the grasslands. The several birds that can be seen when one visits Impala Islands are the chirping Cisticola, coppery sunbird, pel’s Fishing owl, African Finfoot, Brown Fire finch, white backed Night Heron, Red faced Cisticola and the Rock pratincole.
The Hardap dam and Recreational Resort
This has a wide range of bird species and some of these birds include the Fairy flycatcher, Little and dwarf Bittern, The olive, Pin tailed whydah, African fish Eagle, Giant kingfisher, Ludwig’s bustard, pygmy Falcon, Goliath and purple Heron, Ground scraper and short toed Thrush, Namaqua dove, Reed cororant, Darter, scarlet Chested sunbird, cinnamon breasted warbler, white pelican, African black Fuck and the Reed cormorant.
These have red sand dunes that are a major tourist attraction in Namibia but it should be noted that there are also different bird species that one can see during a drive through the desert and some of these include the Cursorius Rufus, Ostrich, Ludwig’s Bustard, Ruppell’s Bustard and the Dune Lark which is known to be Namibia’s endemic bird species.
This is a good birding spot for tourists. here the tourists get to watch the birds peacefully due to the peaceful nature surrounding it and some of the bird species found in Rucana wild include the Ruppell’s parrot, Benguela long billed lark, chestnut weaver, Montero’s Hornbill, Bare cheeked Babbler, Madagascar Bee-eater, Cinderella waxbill, Grey kestrel and the white tailed shrike.
Daan Vilijoen Park
This is located in the Namib escarpment in the Khomas Hochland and it is the best place to view the different bird species of the dry west. The different bird species here include the Barred Wren warbler, Maccoa Duck, Orange River Falcon, Montero’s Hornbill, Rockrunner, Long billed pipit and the carp’s Tit.