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Namibian Birding Overlander



Namibia is a harsh land of contrasts, it has romantic vista and a huge diversity of landscapes. Originally a German colony known as South West Africa until First World War, then a protectorate of South Africa until independence. It gets its name from the Namib desert that is to be found along is coast line. Namibia has a relatively low population due to lack of water resources and suitable farmland. The capital city is Windhoek, meaning 'windy corner'. Namibia boasts one of the greatest game reserves namely 'Etosha' in the north of the country and it is the country with the greatest number of free ranging cheetah.

 

Day 1 Cape Town - Gifberg

Your journey of adventure starts in Cape Town. We will collect you from your hotel/guest house and immediately head north to Gifberg Guest Farm which is a rustic and tranquil resort. Various bushman painting sites can be visited on the hiking trails that puts you in touch with the wonders of the Namaqualand nature such as wild flowers, natural pools in which you can swim, a watercourse that is similar to a smaller scale Fish River Canyon, spectacular rock formations and the diverse vegetation that is unique to the Western Cape.

  • Accommodation - Bungalow 
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • Distance – 303 km
  • Duration – 4 hrs
  • Conditions – Tar via N7
  • Specials along the way – Jackal Buzzard, Familiar Chat, Acacia Pied Barbet

Day 2 Gifberg - Springbok

From Gifberg we will continue our northward trek to Springbok which is the largest town is Namaqualand. It only has a population of around 10,000 and is 1000m above sea level. The town itself lies in a narrow valley between high granite domes. The area is famed for the tremendous transformation that takes place every spring time when the dry near lifeless scrub landscape explodes into a blaze of colour when rains cause the seeds of millions of flowering plants to germinate.

  • Accommodation - Bungalow
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Distance – 262km
  • Duration – 3,5 hrs
  • Conditions – Tar via N7
  • Specials along the way – Hammerkop, Black-Chested Snake Eagle, Three-Banded Plover

Day 3-4 Springbok - Ai-Ais

This morning we cross the border into Namibia so be sure to have your passports and papers in order. Our destination is the hot springs at Ai-Ais which in the Nama language means burning water. This natural hot spring is an oasis found at the base of the mountains in the southern end of the legendary Fish River Canyon. It falls in the Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park which was created by international treaty in 2003. Now for Namibia’s 700 species of birds !

  • Accommodation - Bungalow
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Distance – 241km
  • Duration – 3 hrs
  • Conditions – Tar via N7 and B1
  • Specials along the way – Rockrunner, White Tailed Shrike, Bare Cheeked Babbler

Day 5 Ai Ais - Keetmanshoop 

This morning we travel north to Keetmanshoop, a town named after its German industrialist benefactor, one Johann Keetman. The area is not considered desert but semi-arid. In 1895 the Rhenish Missionary Society established a church and mission here which now also serves as a museum. In 1978 the building was declared a national monument and because of its Gothic architecture cast from natural stone has become a well-known landmark and popular tourist destination.

  • Accommodation - Bungalow
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Distance – 217 km
  • Duration – 3,5 hrs
  • Conditions – Tar and gravel via C37 and C12
  • Specials along the way – Carp’s Tit, Herero Chat, Gray’s Lark

Day 6-7 Keetmanshoop - Aus

Aus is our next destination and is on our route as it is the home to a herd of between 150-200 wild horses that have adapted to the harsh desert environment. Their origin is uncertain but it has been surmised that they were either war horses or escaped farm horses. The horses tend to urinate less and can go without water for up to five days. The village of Aus was the site of a South African prison-of war camp for German prisoners from the First World War. The inmates initially lived in tents before brick houses were built.

  • Accommodation - Bungalow
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Distance – 213 km
  • Duration – 3 hrs
  • Conditions – Tar via B4
  • Specials along the way - wild horses, Benguela Lark, Dune Lark, Damara Hornbill

Day 8-9 Aus - Sossusvlei

Sossusvlei is one of the great tourist destinations in Namibia. The vlei itself, a salt and clay pan, is surrounded by high red sand dunes. These dunes are synonymous with the Namib desert which falls within the boundaries of the Namib/Naukluft National Park in central Nambia. The name Sossusvlei has a mixed origin but roughly translated means : dead-end marsh. 

  • Accommodation - Bungalow
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Distance – 304 km
  • Duration – 5 hrs
  • Conditions – Tar and gravel via C13, C27 and D831
  • Specials along the way – Monteiros Hornbill, Ruppells Parrot, Rosy-Faced Lovebird

Day 9-10 Sossusvlei - Walvisbaai

Today we finally head for the coast and Walvis Bay which is the largest commercial port in Namibia. Walvis Bay many tourist attractions such as the Dune 7 sand dune, a museum and the artificial Bird Island which is renowned for its guano collection industry. The Atlantic ocean is rich in plankton, marine and bird life thanks to the cold Benguela current. 

  • Accommodation - Bungalow
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Distance – 376 km
  • Duration – 6 hrs
  • Conditions – Tar and gravel via C14
  • Specials along the way – Great Pelican, Greater Flamingo, Common Tern

Day 11 Walvisbaai - Otjiwarongo  

Otjiwarongo is one of Namibias fastest growing towns with excellent facilities. German influence is evident in its architecture and German is largely spoken. It is closely situated to the Waterberg Plateau Park and the area is renowned for its private game farms. The town is also home to the internationally recognised 'Cheetah Conservation Fund. The town's name loosely translated from the Herero language means the 'place where fat cattle graze'. German colonists first settled here is 1900.

  •   Accommodation - Bungalow
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Distance – 413 km
  • Duration – 6,5 hrs
  • Conditions – Tar and gravel via B2 and C33
  • Specials along the way – Ruppells Bustard, Hartlaubs Francolin, Barlows Lark

Day 12-17 Otjiwarongo - Etosha

Today we head for the crown jewel  of Namibian game reserves, Etosha National Park. It was proclaimed a game reserve in 1907 by Dr. Friedrich von Lindequist. The park covers a massive 22,000 square kilometres and its name is derived the Etosha Pan which falls almost entirely within its borders. The park is home to hundreds of species of mammals, reptiles and birds including many that are both threatened and endangered. We will spend a few days here to absorb the magnificence of the area.

  • Accommodation - Lodge
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Distance – 190 km
  • Duration – 3 hrs
  • Conditions – Tar via C38
  • Specials along the way – Southern Yellow-Billed Hornbills, Martial eagle, Lilac Breasted Roller

Day 18 Etosha - Windhoek

All good things must come to an end and today we take a slow drive to Windhoek which is not only the capital city and situated in the Khomas highlands at about 1700 meters about sea level. The town developed around a perennial spring known to the local pastoral tribes. Due to multiple wars between the local tribes and the German settlers the original town fell into disrepair and only in 1890 did German Army Major Curt Von Francois re-establish the settlement. We will drop you off either at a hotel/ guest house of your choosing or take you to the international airport.

  • Accommodation - Lodge
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Distance – 190 km
  • Duration – 3 hrs
  • Conditions – Tar via B1
  • Specials along the way – African Hobby, Augur Buzzard, Barred Owl

Cost - 18 day Tour : €3,870/$4,305/£2,815 per person sharing (minimum two guests/maximum of eight guests)

Greater Striped Swallow  Cecropis cucullata 

Notes

Please note that flights and accommodation in Cape Town and Windhoek are not included in the price.