• pels fishing owl okavango delta birding tours

Birding - 12 Day Okavango, Caprivi, Chobe and Victoria Falls

This "bucket-list" birding tour starts on the Okavango River in pursuit of the sought-after Pel's Fishing Owl and incorparate the Kavango- and Kwando Rivers in the Caprivi's Mahango and Mudumu Game Reserves as well as the Zambezi River, the Zambezi Flood Plains, The Chobe River and the thundering Victoria Falls covering all the regional specials.

Activities included: 12 boat trips and 8 birding drives

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival, Johannesburg to Maun

You will be arriving in Maun airport on your flight from Johannesburg around midday and will be transferred to your accommodation where your guide will meet you for lunch. Have a rest and join the guide at 16:00 for a birding walk in the gardens and surroundings looking for Meve’s Starling, Swamp Boubou, Marico Sunbird and Hartlaub’s Babblers. The walk will be followed by a sunset boat trip on the Thlamakane River which hosts Pygmy Geese, White-backed Duck, Lesser Moorhen and African Jacana. We will return for dinner just after sunset.

Day 2: Okavango River, Shakawe

After breakfast we will have a  4.5 hour drive to Shakawe near the the Namibian border. It is a long drive but we will keep our eyes open for raptors, Red-billed Spurfowl and Sandgrouse. As we arrive on lunch time we will book in after lunch at our accommodation. A boat trip is planned for the afternoon where the main focus will be to find the highly sought-after Pel’s Fishing Owl but also Greater- Reed Warbler, African Fish Eagle, African Open-billed Stork, Western Osprey and Chirping Cisticola.

Day 3 & 4: Kavango River, Mahango Game Reserve

We will have a second boat trip in the morning to catch any species we dipped on the previous day before crossing the border post which is part of the southern border of the Mahango Game Reserve and birding and game viewing will start from here up until we reach our accommodation. The next two days will be a combination of, morning and afternoon, boat and vehicle game viewing opportunities. We will be looking for rare antelope like Sable and Roan and enjoy views of an abundance of bird species both along the Kavango River and in the reserve. Mahango has a wealth of wildlife with good numbers of sable, roan, kudu, red lechwe, reedbuck, waterbuck, tsessebe, Chobe bushbuck, duiker, steenbok and sitatunga. The river teems with hippo and crocodile and sometimes the Cape clawless and spotted-necked otter. A fair number of elephant pass through. Predators include lion, leopard, cheetah and African wild dog. Other species are warthog, baboon and vervet monkey. Mahango National Park is listed, with good reason, by Birdlife International as part of the Caprivi Important Bird Area (IBA). The park is home to around two thirds of Namibia’s bird species. The floodplain is vital to rare species including Slaty Egret, Wattled Crane, Rufous-bellied Heron, Pink-backed Pelican, Saddle-billed Stork, Lesser Jacana and Rosy-throated Longclaw.

Day 5 & 6: Kwando River, Mudumu Game Reserve

We will depart after our morning boat trip for a 3,5 hour drive towards the eastern end of the Caprivi region of Namibia. Our accommodation is set on the banks of the Kwando River in Camp Kwando. From here we will be doing boat trips on the Kwando River as well as game drives in Mudumu National Park with the lodge. The Kwando River breaks up into a maze of channels as it flows towards Lynyanti. The Mundumu National Park section is characterised by a riverine forest and extensive floodplains of Papyrus swamps. East of the river the vegetation is a combination of grassland and dense stands of mixed Teak, Terminalia, Combretun, Burkea, Arcacia and Mopane. Naturally this diverse habitat is ideal for birds and the count stands at over 400 species with specials such as Wattled Crane, Slaty Egret, Swamp Boubou, Great Reed-Warbler, Greater Swamp-Warbler, Chriping and Luapula Cisticola, Hartlaub’s Babbler, Rufous-bellied Heron, Coppery-tailed and Senagal Coucal, Allen’s Gallinule and African Purple Swamphen. There are large herds of buffalo, good numbers of elephant, antelope such as the shy swamp-loving sitatunga and red lechwe, waterbuck, roan, oribi and impala. Other animals include giraffe, zebra, warthog and baboon. Both species of otter, rock and water monitor as well as the predators: lion, leopard, hyaena and African wild dog. Crocodile are fairly abundant and this part of the Caprivi is famous for its hippo population.

Day 7 & 8: Zambezi River, Katimo Malilo

After our morning boat trip and breakfast we head further east to the town of Katimo Malilo. Here we will have a short stop to search for the Schalow’s Turaco before turning south and out of town towards our accommodation on the Zambezi River. Overlooking the river while having lunch we can keep an eye open for any birds coming through the garden. Our time here will be again divided between drives on the flood plains searching for Black Coucal, African Crake, Western-banded Snake eagle, Lesser Moorhen, Lesser Jacana, Rosy-throated Longclaw and boat trips. If your visit here is scheduled between end of August and beginning of December you can experience the spectacle of Carmine Bee-eaters nesting in their hundreds or  sometimes thousands on the river banks.

Day 9 & 10: Chobe River, Kasane

Once having completed our morning boat trip and breakfast we will cross the border back into Botswana and the town of Kasane. As soon as we have dropped off our luggage at our accommodation we’ll have a light lunch and head down to the jetty for a boat trip on the Chobe River. The flood plains host large herds of buffalo, elephant, zebra and red lechwe and can be a spectacular site. African Skimmer, Half-collared Kingfisher, White-backed Night Heron, Rock Pratincole and Long-toed Lapwing can be seen. After a long day we will retire to our accommodation which will be our base from where we will explore the Chobe Game Reserve both on game drives and boat trips.

Day 11 & 12: Zambezi River, Victoria Falls

We will be picked up at 6am and transferred across the border of Zimbabwe to Victoria Falls town. Our morning will commence with a visit to the falls. While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, Victoria Falls is classified as the largest, based on its combined width of 1,708 metres (5,604 ft) and height of 108 metres (354 ft),resulting in the world's largest sheet of falling water. Victoria Falls is roughly twice the height of North America's Niagara Falls and well over twice the width of its Horseshoe Falls. From the falls we will proceed to Victoria Falls Safari Lodge for lunch and the option to view the vulture feeding spectacle at 13:00. A sunset boat trip on the Zambezi River has been booked in the afternoon. On our last day here will be some leisure time to reflect on the trip or spend time at the pool which has great views over the waterhole before the transfer to the airport.