Namibia 2018

19 August 2018 – 08 September 2018

Christian Teltscher

Participants: Kim Teltscher Sara Teltscher Zoey Teltscher

Combined Family Holiday and Birding Trip

Visited Sites

General Travelling Information

Namibia is a well established holiday destination for independent travelers. Flights, rental cars, accomodation, money, food is readily available and of western standard. We opted for a combination of camping, bush camps and AirBnB accomodation, which was booked easily on the internet. The itinary was a hybrid of activities to keep the family happy (two daughters 12 and 10 years) and to maximize the number of target species (lifers). Camping is not recommended in Windhuk that time of the year, as the nights were very cold. It was ok in other parts of the country, especially in Etosha. It was warm to hot during the day from Spitzkoppe to Etosha, but generally quite cold at the coast. Security was never an issue.

4WD is recommended: I got stuck twice in sand (beach in Swakopmund and Rooibank). We had a big Ford SUV and I assumed, that it was 4WD, but wasn't !! Keep that in mind and make sure you get one, when you pick up the rental car. Having said that, it is ok without 4WD if you stay away from loose sand, but make sure to have high clearance. A bigger car is also more comfortable on the gravel roads, especially when crossing the Namib-Naukluft NP.

I used my own TomTom for navigation using GPS data extracted from ebird and trip reports.

Recommended Literature

  • Sasol Birds of Southern Africa (Sinclair et al.)
  • Roberts Bird Guide - superior, but purchased AFTER trip
  • Smithers Mammals of Southern Africa - mediocre
  • Snakes and other reptiles of Southern Africa (Bill Branch) - mediocre as field guide - there are better ones, but more expensive
  • Southern African Birdfinder (Cohen et al.)
  • ebird and trip reports (cloudbirder.com) for statistics on sites and target species
  • xeno-canto for downloads of calls/songs onto phone
  • Lonely Planet  Botswana and Namibia
  • HBW to familiarize myself with target species

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank my wife for providing the photos of this report - she is the wildlife photographer on our travels !!

Daan Viljoen Game Reserve

We stayed here the first two nights in Namibia. We stayed in a tent, but due to the very cold nights that time of the year, this is not recommended.

We birded the general area around campsite and restaurant (water hole and playground with water and lots of birds), the dam, the wildlife drive and walking tracks. A map is provided at check-in.

How to get there

-22.537977, 16.943678

Facilities & accommodation

camp site and chalets - quite expensive chalets, that's why we opted for camping - spotless facilities (but we were the only campers) - restaurant highly recommended - too cold to use swimming pools that time of the year

Other wildlife observed

  • Rock Hyrax
  • Chacma Baboon
  • Black-tailed Tree Rat
  • Banded Mongoose
  • Common Warthog
  • Giraffe
  • Red Hartebeest
  • Blue Wildebeest
  • Kalahari Springbok
  • Common Eland
  • Zambezi Kudu
  • Gemsbok
  • Black-faced Impala
  • Namibian Rock Agama
  • Turners Thick-toed Gecko

Tsauchab River Camp

We stayed here for two nights almost by accident, as we needed some accomodation near Sossusvlei and didn't find anything close. Very nice rest camp - scrap metal art works and tame Springboks - birding best along dry riverbed and at the main building with open water

Target species

  • Karoo Scrub-robin Tychaedon coryphoeus

How to get there

long and bumpy trip from Windhuk, but interesting

-24.444060, 16.170336

Facilities & accommodation

tent site with lots of character (toilet and shower built into trees) - very good restaurant (booking essential) -

Other wildlife observed

  • Chacma Baboon
  • Cape Hare
  • South African Groundsquirrel
  • Yellow Mongoose
  • Cape Fox
  • Black-backed Jackal
  • Kalahari Springbok
  • Gemsbok

Sossusvlei

well known tourist spot - visited Deadvlei and Dune 45 - entrance fee

How to get there

entrance to National Park -24.486553, 15.799232

Facilities & accommodation

restaurant at entrance - shuttle service to Deadvlei from last car park (recommended)

Other wildlife observed

  • Kalahari Springbok
  • Gemsbok
  • Striped Skink
  • Anchietas Desert Lizard

Solitaire

stop for lunch and petrol between Tsauchap and coast before transversing the Namib-Naukluft Park - well known tourist spot, worth a stop

How to get there

-23.893864, 16.006681

Facilities & accommodation

restaurant - petrol - toilets

Namib-Naukluft National Park

very long and very impressive drive - no facilities between Solitaire and Walvis Bay

Other wildlife observed

  • South African Ground Squirrel
  • Black-backed Jackal
  • Mountain Zebra
  • Kalahari Springbok
  • Gemsbok

Langstrand

We stayed here for 5 nights in an AirBnB flat. Perfect location between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund - right at the beach

How to get there

-22.815976, 14.543017

Facilities & accommodation

petrol station with decent supermarket - but bigger towns close

Other wildlife observed

  • Afro-australian Fur Seal
  • Bottlenosed Dolphin

Goanikontes Oasis

nice oasis and rest stop from Welwitschia Drive

How to get there

-22.663457, 14.814879

Facilities & accommodation

good restaurant in nice setting

Swakopmund Salt Works

drive along salines

Target species

  • Gray's Lark Ammomanopsis grayi

How to get there

-22.585110, 14.524055

Welwitschia Drive

permit needed from NWR in Swakopmund office

How to get there

start here -22.741130, 14.669218

Facilities & accommodation

Goanikontes Oasis as lunch stop highly recommended

Swakopmund

You need a permit for Welwitschia Drive from Namibia Wildlife Resorts office

Target species

  • Orange River White-eye Zosterops pallidus

    city parks in Swakopmund

  • Tractrac Chat Emarginata tractrac

    Living Desert Tour

How to get there

Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) at -22.678668, 14.523946 to get permit for Welwitschia Drive

Facilities & accommodation

shopping malls - restaurants - Namibia Wildlife Resorts for permits

Local guides

Guided Living Desert Tour http://www.tommys.iway.na/ highly recommended

Other wildlife observed

  • Anchietas Desert Lizard
  • Namaqua Chameleon
  • Web-footed Gecko
  • Fitzsimons Burrowing Skink

Rooibank

classical site for Dune Lark at -23.188107, 14.646934

Target species

  • Dune Lark Calendulauda erythrochlamys

    unsuccessfully

How to get there

drive to -23.177585, 14.650141 - park on main road and walk in - I drove in and got stuck at -23.179472, 14.648194 at the first attempt and wasted almost two hours trying to get out with local help and slowly driving back to Walvis Bay on flat tyres - I parked on main road the next morning and walked in, but without success regarding Dune Lark !!

Cape Cross

huge and smelly Seal Colony - nice drive along Skeleton Coast

How to get there

-21.771637, 13.952549

Facilities & accommodation

good restaurant at close by Cape Cross Lodge

Other wildlife observed

  • Afro-australian Fur Seal
  • Black-backed Jackal

Walvis Bay Dolphin Cruise

Target species

  • Cape Gannet Morus capensis

Local guides

With MolaMola Safaris https://mola-namibia.com/ - recommended

Other wildlife observed

  • Afro-australian Fur Seal
  • Bottlenosed Dolphin
  • Heaviside Dolphin

Walvis Bay Salt Pans

extensive mud flats - easy access by driving along dykes

How to get there

-23.013157, 14.428058

Grosse Spitzkoppe Nature Reserve

we camped here for 1 night - very nice birding around rocks on foot - don't put your tent up in a wind channel between rocks, as it gets very windy at night (at least our tent was flattended and we had to abandon it in the middle of the night)

Target species

  • Ground Batis Lanioturdus torquatus

    common

  • Herero Chat Melaenornis herero

    unsuccessfully

  • White-throated Canary Crithagra albogularis

Facilities & accommodation

good open air restaurant (booking recommended) - basic, but clean facilities

Other wildlife observed

  • Bushveld Elephant Shrew
  • Rock Hyrax
  • Damara Groundsquirrel
  • Namibian Rock Agama

Omandumba Bush Camp

We stayed two nights in this very nice bush camp with lovely safari tents - very nice hosts - breakfast and lunch very good and in a very family-like atmosphere - guided rock art drive - nearby Living San Museum recommended - birding around main house very rewarding as waste water attracts a lot of birds - nearby escarpment for rock specialties

Target species

  • Hartlaub's Francolin Pternistis hartlaubi

    escarpment west of camp

  • Rockrunner Achaetops pycnopygius

    escarpment west of camp

How to get there

-21.542113, 15.544639

Local guides

  • rock art drive
  • Living San Museum

Other wildlife observed

  • Chacma Baboon
  • Dassie Rat
  • Damara Ground Squirrel
  • Sundevalls Round-leaf Bat
  • Kalahari Springbok
  • Angolan Klipspringer
  • Zambezi Kudu
  • Wedge-snouted Skink
  • Namaqua Sand Lizard
  • Boultons Day Gecko
  • Turners Thick-toed Gecko
  • Barking Gecko

Okaukuejo Camp

We stayed 2 nights. Birding around camp, local waterhole, nearby waterholes on self-drive safaris, edge of Etosha pan and especially along road leading north (Lark-sites).

Target species

  • Spike-heeled Lark Chersomanes albofasciata

  • Eastern Clapper Lark Mirafra fasciolata

  • Pink-billed Lark Spizocorys conirostris

  • Rufous-eared Warbler Malcorus pectoralis

Facilities & accommodation

toilets and shower blocks spotless - evening diners have to be pre-booked, good, but expensive - water hole at night excellent - good pool -

Other wildlife observed

  • African Savanna Elephant
  • Bushveld Elephant Shrew
  • South African Ground Squirrel
  • Bushveld Gerbil
  • Black-tailed Tree Rat
  • Cape Serotine
  • Sundevalls Round-leaf Bat
  • Lion
  • Yellow Mongoose
  • Banded Mongoose
  • Spotted Hyena
  • Black-backed Jackal
  • Plains Zebra
  • Black Rhinoceros
  • Common Warthog
  • Giraffe
  • Red Hartebeest
  • Blue Wildebeest
  • Kalahari Springbok
  • Zambezi Kudu
  • Gemsbok
  • Black-faced Impala
  • Kalahari Tree Skink
  • Striped Skink
  • Etosha Agama
  • Turners Thick-toed Gecko

Halali

Stayed two nights camping. Birding in campsite (watered lawns), Signal Hill, local water hole, nearby water holes on self-drive safari.

Target species

  • African Scops-owl Otus senegalensis

    camp well known site for roosts, but could not gain exact information - asked two people working there, who had no idea - parasitizing birding groups might be good strategy !

  • Southern White-faced Owl Ptilopsis granti

    camp well known site for roosts, but could not gain exact information - asked two people working there, who had no idea - parasitizing birding groups might be good strategy !

  • Violet Woodhoopoe Phoeniculus damarensis

  • White-crested Helmetshrike Prionops plumatus

  • Bare-cheeked Babbler Turdoides gymnogenys

Facilities & accommodation

spotless facilities - good restaurant - excellent pool - excellent water hole at night

Other wildlife observed

  • African Savanna Elephant
  • Smiths Bush Squirrel
  • Cape Hare
  • Cape Serotine
  • Common Genet
  • Banded Mongoose
  • Spotted Hyena
  • Black-backed Jackal
  • Bat-eared Fox
  • Plains Zebra
  • Black Rhinoceros
  • Giraffe
  • Blue Wildebeest
  • Kalahari Springbok
  • Steenbok
  • Zambezi Kudu
  • Gemsbok
  • Black-faced Impala
  • Striped Skink
  • Ground Agama
  • Common Marsh Terrapin

Namutoni

Stayed two nights camping - birding at camp site (big open area around fort) - reeds along water hole - self-drive safari, especially Andoni Plains north of camp

Target species

  • Senegal Coucal Centropus senegalensis

  • Blue Crane Anthropoides paradiseus

    Andoni Plains

  • Burchell's Starling Lamprotornis australis

Facilities & accommodation

again excellent facilities - but water hole at night the least productive in Etosha

Other wildlife observed

  • African Savanna Elephant
  • Lion
  • Banded Mongoose
  • Spotted Hyena
  • Black-backed Jackal
  • Honey Badger
  • Plains Zebra
  • Black Rhinoceros
  • Common Warthog
  • Giraffe
  • Blue Wildebeest
  • Kalahari Springbok
  • Damara Dik-dik
  • Steenbok
  • Common Eland
  • Zambezi Kudu
  • Gemsbok
  • Black-faced Impala
  • Peters Thread Snake
  • Striped Skink
  • Etosha Agama
  • Turners Thick-toed Gecko

Species List

Order: systematic | alphabetic | highlights first
Published: 07 April 2019
Last updated: 07 April 2019
Orniverse: Namibia 2018 (19 August 2018 – 08 September 2018)