Trip report: Namibia, Botswana, and Victoria Falls custom tour (Sept 2009) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Josh Engel. This was a custom tour that also included Victoria Falls in Zambia.

This trip had a little of everything: adventure, culture, and history; deserts and rivers, mountains and swamps; good food and great people; and lots and lots of birds and mammals. September is a great month in Namibia. It is the end of the dry season and birds and mammals are desperate for water, so they gather in great numbers at Namibia, Botswana, and Victoria Falls (Zambia) waterholes. This is a dream for watchers and photographers, as herds of elephants, prides of lions, and huge flocks of weavers, larks, and sandgrouse gather to drink. But Namibia is about more than that, a country rich in culture and stunning scenery. On this trip, we included kayaking with seals and dolphins in Walvis Bay; a visit to the amazing Twyfelfontein rock engravings, made by the native bushmen thousands of years ago; a day of tracking Damara black rhinos through the Namib Desert; unbelievable mammal-watching in Etosha; sunset boat trips on the Okavango River; and the grand finale, a visit to Victoria Falls.

It was a successful trip by any measure. The photography was superb—there is no doubt that Namibia in September is one of the best wildlife photography destinations in the world. We saw over 330 birds (among them:  Hartlaub’s Francolin, Herero Chat, Dune Lark, Violet Wood-hoopoe, Rockrunner, Burchell’s Courser, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Chirping and Luapula Cisticola, Shelley’s Sunbird) and over 40 mammals. We had some excellent adventures, both planned and unplanned. And a few more people got introduced to the wonders of southwest Africa.

Click this link to view the full report in PDF format