Botswana Birding Safari

Botswana Birding Safaris – The Okavango Delta and Greater Chobe River area of Northern Botswana offers some of the best birding in Southern Africa. 8-night luxury Botswana birding safari with an expert local guide brings you an incredible birding diversity of the area which also offers one of the best game viewing experiences in Africa.

Description

Botswana Birding Safaris – The Okavango Delta and Greater Chobe River area of Northern Botswana offers some of the best birding in Southern Africa. Join us for an 8-night luxury birding safari with no more than 8 people and an expert local guide as we look to find the birding specials. Besides the incredible birding diversity of the area, it also offers one of the best game viewing experiences in Africa.

We will divide our time between three luxurious lodges and enjoy the stunning aerial views as we fly between the lodges. We will start off with three nights at Camp Moremi situated in the heart of the Okavango Delta at the northern end of the famous Moremi Game Reserve. From here we north and spend three nights at Chobe Savanna Lodge, situated on the Namibian side of the Chobe River and perfect for exploring the Chobe River and Impalila Island. Our last two nights will be at the luxurious 5 star Chobe Game Lodge, the only lodge situated within Chobe National Park. We will enjoy the birding and game viewing on a combination of open vehicle game drives, boat cruises and guided walks.

Some of the birds we will be looking for include Pel’s Fishing-owl, White-backed Night-heron, African Finfoot, Western Banded Snake-eagle, Rock Pratincole, Hartlaub’s Babbler, Luapula and Chirping Cisticola, Schalow’s Turaco, Brown Firefinch, Coppery-tailed and White-browed Coucals, African Skimmer, Swamp Boubou, Copper Sunbird, Golden and Southern Brown-throated Weaver, Greater Swamp Warbler, Slaty Egret and African Pygmy Geese.

Itinerary

Day 1 – 4 : Camp Moremi

Depending on what time your international flight arrives in Maun, we will board a small aircraft and leave this busy town behind as we make our way into the world-famous Okavango Delta. As our first lodge is situated right in the heart of the Delta we will have spectacular aerial views of this wetland paradise. After settling in we will have a bit of time for general birding around the lodge before departing on an afternoon drive. The thick riverine bush surrounding the lodge is home to Western Banded Snake-eagle, African Hobby, African and Eurasian Golden Oriole, Hartlaub’s and Arrow-marked Babbler, African Yellow White-eye, Terrestrial Brownbul, African Paradise Flycatcher, Swamp Boubou, Yellow-bellied Greenbul, African Emerald, Levailant’s, Black, Klaas’s and Jacobin Cuckoo as well as the beautiful and ever-present White-browed Robin-chat.

Today, day 2,  will be dedicated to exploring the Okavango Delta both on land water. We will start off with a morning boat cruise and as we silently float along the many small channels that make up the delta we expect to find Luapula and Chirping Cisticolas, Black Coucal, Greater and Lesser Swamp Warbler, Great Reed and African Reed Warbler. White-fronted, Southern Carmine, Blue-cheeked and Little Bee-eaters are plentiful while African Fish-eagles are common. The main focus of this boat cruise will be to find Pel’s Fishing-owl at its daytime roost. A sighting of this sought after bird is always a highlight on any birding trip to Northern Botswana.

After returning to our lodge for lunch and a few hours to relax we will depart for an afternoon game drive looking for specials like Wattled Crane, Slaty Egret, White-browed, Senegal and Coppery-tailed Coucals, Southern Ground Hornbill and Bradfield’s Hornbill. Raptors are present in good numbers and sightings of Ovambo and Little Sparrowhawk, African Goshawk, African Harrier-hawk, Shikra and Gabar Goshawk are regular.

We will start day 3 with an early morning game drive in the extensive Mopane Woodlands of Moremi looking for specials like Arnott’s Chat, Tree Pipit, White-breasted Cuckoo Shrike, Retz’s andWhite-crested Helmet-shrike, Bearded, Cardinal, Golden-tailed and Bennett’s Woodpecker, Meyers parrot, Three-banded Courser and Ayer’s Hawk-eagle. This is a great place to look for rare antelope species like Sable and Roan Antelope, Tsessebe, Eland and if we are lucky African Wild Dog. The Mopane Woodland also holds big herds of Buffalo and Elephant.

By late morning we will slowly make our way back to the lodge birding and game viewing along the way. After lunch, we will enjoy a final boat cruise in this part of the Delta. Besides the birds mentioned yesterday we will also visit a big heronry known to produce great sightings of African Spoonbill, Yellow-billed Stork, Great Egret, Yellow-billed Egret, African Openbill, Hamerkop, African Darter and Saddle-billed Stork. Giant, Pied, Malachite and Half-collared Kingfishers patrol the channels. We will keep an eye open for animals like Elephant, Buffalo, Lion, Baboon, Kudu, Impala and Waterbuck that make their way down to the water to drink.

Day 4 – 7 : Chobe Savanna Lodge

We will use the first couple of hours of daylight birding around the lodge before enjoying breakfast and departing for Kasane via a light aircraft. The drive from Kasane Airport to immigration often produces sightings of Northern Grey-headed Sparrow, Bradfield’s Hornbill and Southern ground hornbill. After quickly finishing the paperwork we will depart for our lodge on the Namibian side of the Chobe River. We will enjoy lunch at our lodge and enjoy the brilliant birding around the lodge with specials like Golden Weaver, Brown Firefinch, Swamp and Tropical Boubous, Yellow-bellied Greenbul, Terrestrial Brownbul Marico, Copper and Purple-banded Sunbirds.

We then set off on an afternoon boat cruise in Chobe National Park. Exploring Chobe by boat is famous for producing birding specials like Long-toed and Wattled Lapwings, Rufous-bellied Heron, Goliath Heron and Slaty Egret. Waterbirds are very common and we expect to see good numbers of Black Heron, African Openbill, Yellow-billed, Saddle-billed and Marabou Storks, Spur-winged Geese, African Spoonbill, Glossy and African Sacred Ibis. Common Greenshank, Marsh, Wood, Common and if we are lucky Green Sandpipers patrol the bank. Boat cruises in Chobe regularly produce brilliant sightings of elephants coming to the river to drink and swimming across to the islands, hippos in big numbers, big buffalo herds, lechwe, waterbuck and the predators like lion and wild dog.

Before dinner, we will search the floodplains and lodge garden for Swamp and Fiery-necked Nightjars, African Wood-owl, Barred and Pearl-spotted Owlets and Spotted Eagle-owl.

With an early start on day 5 and a quick stop to look for Black Coucal, we will make our way to one of southern Africa’s birding hotspots, Impalila Island. This small island in Namibia located where the country meets Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. More than 450 bird species have been recorded on this birding paradise. After exploring the channels around the island by boat looking for White-backed Night-heron, Pel’s Fishing-owl and African Finfoot we will depart for a birding walk on the island. The thick riverine bush is known for producing sightings of Schalow’s Turaco, African Crowned and Trumpeter Hornbills, White-backed Night-heron, Retz’s and White-crested Helmet-shrikes, Green-capped and Burnt-necked Eremomela, Black, African and Red-chested Cuckoos, African Golden Oriole, Red-headed Weaver, Bennett’s and Bearded Woodpecker, African Yellow White-eye and Bearded Scrub-robin. As we slowly make our way back to the lodge we will pass Sedudu Island which hosts good numbers of White-faced Duck, Glossy Ibis, African Darter, Yellow-billed Stork, African Sacred Ibis, Water Thick-knee and Saddle-billed Stork. This island is also a favourite hangout for Cape Buffalo, Hippo, Waterbuck, Lechwe, Crocodile and Elephant.

After lunch and relaxing for a few hours we will finish the day with a boat cruise in Chobe. Besides the birds mentioned yesterday we will look for huge flocks of Collared and if we are lucky Black-winged Pratincoles, Southern Carmine and White-fronted Bee-eater colonies, Water Thick-knee, African Marsh-harrier, Pink-backed and Great-white Pelican. The beautiful African Skimmers and African Fish-eagles are always present in good numbers. Between the birding, we will enjoy great game viewing and might be lucky enough to see a baby Elephant holding onto its mother’s tail while crossing the river, a truly unforgettable sight.

With another early start on day 6 we will make our way to the famous Kasai channel where we will spend the morning looking for Slaty Egret, Lesser Moorhen, Lesser Jacana, Allen’s Gallinule, Rufous-belliedHeron, Chirping and Luapula’s Cisticola, African Pygmy-geese, Greater and Lesser Swamp-warbler, African and Great Reed-warblers, Greater Painted Snipe and Southern Brown-throated Weaver while Sand, Brown-throated and Banded Martins, Wire-tailed and Grey-rumped Swallows and African Marsh-harriers patrol the reeds. By mid-morning we will slowly cruise back to lodge birding along the way to enjoy lunch and a bit of time to relax.

By early afternoon we will be in the boat again as we make our way the Kasane Rapids which offers brilliant birding. The overhanging vegetation is favoured by African Finfoot, Half-collared, Malachite, Pied and Giant Kingfishers. The exposed rocks are the best place to look for Rock Pratincole and Yellow-wagtails are present every summer. The trees in the rapids are the nesting spot for a variety of herons and storks that include Yellow-billed Stork, African Openbill, African Spoonbill, Great Egret, Yellow-billed Egret, Grey and Black-headed Heron, African Darter, Reed and White-breasted Cormorant and Purple Herons. On the way back to the lodge we will keep an eye out for hunting Bat Hawk and Eurasian Hobby as well as any predators that patrol the river bank.

Day 7 – 9 : Chobe Game Lodge

After an early breakfast, we will depart for immigration and make our way back into Botswana. We will spend a few hours birding at well-known spots in and around Kasane for specials like Collared Palm-thrush, Brown Firefinch, Shelley’s Marico, Scarlet-chested, Purple-banded and Copper Sunbird, Diderick and Klaas’s Cuckoo, African Pygmy Kingfisher and Eastern Nicator. Acacia Woodland holds Grey Penduline-Tit, Burnt-necked and Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Violet-eared Waxbill, Rattling Cisticola, Southern Black Tit, Arrow-marked Babbler, Long-billed Crombec, Chestnut-vented Tit-babbler, Grey-backed Camaroptera, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Marico and Spotted Flycatcher, Chinspot Batis, Brubru, Orange-breasted Bush-shrike and White-bellied Sunbird.

We will then enjoy a late morning game drive as we make our way to our lodge for the next two nights which is situated in the middle of Chobe National Park. After settling in and enjoying lunch we will be in open 4×4 vehicles for an afternoon game drive in Chobe National Park which is world famous for spectacular game viewing. Luckily for us, this park is also a famous birding destination and we will keep an eye out for Lappet-faced, White-backed, White-headed and Hooded Vultures, Tawny, Lesser Spotted, Martial and Wahlberg’s Eagles, Western-banded, Brown and Black-chested Snake-eagles, Dark Chanting Goshawks, Broad-billed and Purple Rollers. Yellow-billed and Red-billed Oxpeckers, as well as Pearl-breasted, Grey-rumped, Lesser and Greater Strips Swallows, are present in good numbers. On the way back to the lodge we will keep an eye open for Verreaux’s Eagle-owl, Barred Owlet as well as Lion, Leopard, African Wild Dog and Hyena.

With an early start on day 8, we have the advantage of having the park to ourselves since other game drive vehicles will only start making their way into the park. While looking for any nocturnal animals and birds that might still be out and about, we will make our way towards the Teak and BroadleavedWoodland of the Kalwezi Valley and Nantanga cutline. Here we will focus on finding Arnott’s Chat, Broad-tailed and Long-tailed Paradise Whydah, Racket-tailed and Broad-billed Roller, Tree and Wood Pipit, Dusky Lark, Dickenson’s Kestrel, White-breasted Cuckoo-shrike, Bronze-winged Courser, Orange-winged Pytilia, Green-capped Eremomela, African Cuckoo-hawk, Ayer’s Hawk-eagle and Lizzard Buzzard.

We will take a slow game drive back to the lodge for lunch looking for Roan, Sable, Zebra, Buffalo, Kudu, Elephant, Giraffe and if we are lucky Leopard. By mid-afternoon, we will be back in the open game drive vehicles stopping at bird parties which normally contain Chinspot Batis, African Paradise-flycatcher, Cardinal and Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Violet-backed Starling, Yellow-throated Petronia, Southern Black Tit, Red-billed Firefinch, Black and Brown-crowned Tchagra, Green Woodhoopoe, Common Scimitarbill and Black-headed Oriole. Our main target for this afternoon will be to find Rosy-throated Longclaw around Puku Flats. By sunset, we will again find ourselves on the deck of this beautiful lodge overlooking the Chobe River.

Day 9 : transit

On our last morning, we have a choice between a game drive, boat cruise or birding walk around Chobe Game Lodge. The lodge property itself is home to Schalow’s Turaco, Swamp Boubou, Broad-billed Roller, White-browed and Senegal Coucal, Coqui Francolin, African and Eurasian Golden Oriole as well as African Paradise Flycatcher.

From here we will take a final slow game drive making our way out of the park back to Kasane Airport birding along the way. This will be the official end of the birding trip.

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