Experience the vast wilderness
Embark on an exhilarating early summer birding safari through the stunning landscapes of Botswana. This thrilling adventure promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, allowing you to witness a plethora of magnificent bird species in their natural habitats. With expert guides leading the way, you’ll explore the diverse ecosystems of Botswana, from the lush wetlands of the Okavango Delta to the arid plains of the Kalahari Desert.
Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to spot an array of stunning birds, from the majestic African fish eagle to the elusive Pel’s fishing owl. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of Botswana as you venture off the beaten path and discover some of the country’s most remote and untouched corners.
This is a journey that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
Beaufort West to Kimberley
Leave Beaufort West early and stop along the road for interesting Karoo birds like Karoo Korhaan, Blue Crane, Martial Eagle and Karoo Long-billed Lark. As we enter the Kalahari we look for birds like Sociable Weaver, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Kalahari Scrub-Robin, Amur Falcon, Abdim’s Stork, Black-faced & Violet-eared Waxbill, White-backed Vultures, cuckoos, Orange River Francolin, Quailfinch, and more.
Kimberley to Mafikeng
We proceed through the Kalahari. The Hartswater area normally has good numbers of birds like Abdim’s Storks and the Mafikeng area is host to Coqui Francolin, Short-clawed Lark, Tinkling Cisticola and many more.
Mafikeng to Francistown
Crossing the border into Botswana, it’s a long drive to Francistown, but along the way we expect to see Southern White-crowned Shrike, Purple Roller, Chestnut-backed Sparrow-lark, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater and Shaft-tailed Whydah. Our accommodation is situated on the bank of the Tati river, where you will find Tinkling Cisticola, Woodland Kingfisher, White-browed Scrub-robin, Barred Wren-warbler, Brubru, Burnt-necked Eremomela and Melba Finch.
Francistown to Nata
We head north to Nata, and look for the legendary Boulder Chat on the way. Kori Bustard, Red- and Yellow-billed Oxpeckers, Fawn-coloured Lark, African Cuckoo and Marico Sunbird might appear. Nata is on the edge of the Makgadigadi Pans, and our stay here includes a game-drive to the Nata Sanctuary – weather permitting. A feast of migrants await.
Nata to Kasane
On the way to the eastern parts of Botswana and birds that might turn up include Lesser Spotted Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Ground Hornbill, Tawny Eagle and Black-bellied Bustard. We sleep on the banks of the Chobe River – what can be better?
Victoria Falls daytrip
We hop over the border to visit the famed Victoria Falls. Here we look for Western Banded Snake-eagle, Rock Pratincole, Collared Palm-thrush, Brown Firefinch, Schalow’s Turaco and more.
A boat trip on the Chobe River is a favourite for our guests, and brings us up close and personal with all the birds and animals that call this paradise home. A game drive into the Chobe Game Reserve in the afternoon gives a whole different perspective on the biodiversity of the area. Rufous-bellied Heron, Saddle-billed Stork, Hooded Vulture, Long-toed Lapwing, Red-winged and Rock Pratincole, Broad-billed Roller, Luapula Cisticola, Red-billed Francolin, Comb Duck and more all call this home.
Kasane to Katima Mulilo
The road leads us through the Chobe Game Reserve once again, and we keep our eyes open for Bateleur, Brown Snake Eagle and Tawny Eagle. We then cross the border into Namibia to Katima Mulilo on the banks of the Zambezi River, where we expect to find the Yellow-throated Leaflove breeding in the gardens and Pennant-winged Nightjar and others flitting after moths at night.
Waking up on the banks of the Zambezi River to Black and Slaty Egret, Rufous-bellied Heron, Fulvous Duck, White-backed Duck, Pygmy Goose, Western Banded Snake Eagle, Lesser Gallinule, Lesser Jacana, White-crowned Lapwing, Black Coucal, Coppery-tailed Coucal, and White-browed Coucal.
We pay a visit to the spectacular colony of Southern Carmine Bee-eaters after scouring the pans in the area for all the exciting specials.
Katima Mulilo to Mahangu Lodge
We drive to the banks of the Kavango River. Birds along the road include Arnot’s Chat, Broad-billed Roller and Yellow Wagtail. Around the lodge, Brown Firefinch, Copper Sunbird, Green-backed Honeybird and Bradfield’s Hornbill frequent the gardens.
Mahangu Lodge to Kayova River Lodge
We do a early morning drive through the Mahango Game Reserve where you can find Swamp Boubou, Bradfield’s Hornbill, Wattled Crane, Wood Pipit, Afr Golden Oriole, Lesser Spotted Eagle and Brown-throated Weaver. There after we drive down the Caprivi Strip with regular stops for birds. Good place to see Western Banded Snake Eagle, Dickinson’s Kestrel, Arnot’s Chat, Bateleur and Racket-tailed Roller. Further west we specially look for Rufous-bellied Tit, Hartlaub’s Babbler, Ayres Hawk Eagle and African Golden Oriole.
Kayova River Lodge
Spend the day birding around the area with birds like Rufous-bellied Tit, Grey-headed Parrot, Rufous-bellied Heron, Afr Cuckoo Hawk, Tinkling Cisticola, Souza’s Shrike, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Black-faced Babblers etc.
Kayova River Lodge to Drotsky Cabins
Another day to seek the Souza’s Shrike, Rufous-bellied Tit and Racket-tailed Roller before crossing the border back into Botswana on the way to Drotsky’s. This lodge is famed for its beautiful gardens and abundance of birds. Watch out for Wood Owl, Barred Owl, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Bearded Woodpecker and Yellow-bellied Greenbul.
We have a boat available to our group for the entire day, and we use this opportunity to extensively bird up and down the Okavango River, searching for Pel’s Fishing Owl, Luapula Cisticola, Greater Swamp Warbler, Pygmy Goose, Wattled Crane, Lesser Jacana, Long-toed Lapwing, Slaty Egret, White-backed Night Heron, Blue-cheeked and Little Bee-eater.
Drotsky Cabins to Kang
Driving along the western side of the Panhandle, we may see Tawny Eagle, Gabar Goshawk, Dickonson’s Kestrel, Giant Eagle Owl and Striped Kingfisher. From here we turn west and enter the Kalahari again. Kang is home to the Barred Wren-warbler, Great Sparrow and Southern Pied Babbler.
Kang to Mafikeng
From Kang, we head for the South African border once again. Passing through the Kalahari, we have a chance to pick up any birds we dipped on on the way up.
Mafikeng to Mokala National Park
We believe in ending an adventure on a high note, and Mokala National Park is just the place to acclimatise to being back on South African soil. Here, we find a good number of birds, including Orange River Francolin, Red-backed Shrike and Short-toed Rock-thrush, and a variety of animals in beautiful Kalahari landscape.
Mokala National Park to Beaufort West
The last leg of the trip takes us back through the Karoo, before the trip ends back in Beaufort West.
- 27 November – 14 December 2023
- Per person sharing: R39 900
- Single supplement: R8 500
- Transport in 4×4 vehicles.
- Accommodation mentioned in itinerary.
- Breakfast where it is not included in the accommodation.
- One square meal per day.
- All entry fees, guides and excursions mentioned.
- Guide fee for 18 days.
- Transport to and from Beaufort West – our point of departure.
- Accommodation and dinner the night before departure.
- Alcohol, cold drinks, or any refreshments not mentioned.
- Personal or medical travel insurance.
- Any Visa fees (if applicable).
- Personal expenses like laundry and souvenirs.
- Tips for guides and drivers.
- Any additional tours or activities, services or visits not mentioned.
- Lunch, unless otherwise indicated.
- A single suitcase of max 20kg per person.
- A daypack.
The northern parts of Botswana and the Caprivi is Malaria area and it is vital to take the necessary precautions.