Caprivi Birding Holiday report

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6 years 11 months ago #37175 by Barry
Barry created the topic: Caprivi Birding Holiday report
Caprivi Birding Holiday report

I spent the two weeks from 15-29 November visiting a varsity mate, Nick Buys, stationed in Katima Mulilo in the Caprivi strip. Nick is also a part-time birdguide for Tutwa Safaris, based in Katima Mulilo. We did a bit of birding at a couple of spots during this time.

Parks we visited included Mudumo, Buffalo, Mahango, Bwabwata, and Chobe. We spent nights in Mudumo (camping right next to the Kwando river), Ngepi (next to Kavango river), Sakazima (island on the Zambesi river) and Namwe 4X4 camp ( again next to Kwando river).

My two favourite places where definitely Ngepi and Sakazima. Ngepi offers guided bird walks with guide Christoff. He's a really great guy and even came to our tent one afternoon to tell us he spotted a white-backed night heron near our campsite (which we failed to find afterwards). Ngepi has beautiful accomodation facilites and is worth visiting just to see their creative ablutions! They have a very lively bar and we had a great night socializing with some overlanders we met there. Have a browse through their website at <!-- w -->[url=http://www.getalifeplanet.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;]www.getalifeplanet.com[/url]<!-- w -->.

One of the definite low points (or highlights depending on how you look at it) came just after dusk on a secluded channel of the Zambesi river. We were spending the night at a stunning island lodge in Zambia called Sakazima. While out tiger-fishing and enjoying sundowners on a boat Nick suddenly motioned for us to keep quiet. We could clearly hear a Pel's calling in a big tree right next to the river! Try as we might, we couldn't see it as it was already almost dark. The owl refused to fly out as well. It was mortifying knowing you're right next to the bird at they very top of your wishlist but unable to see it. Still, Sakazima is an incredible place and I would urge anyone travelling in the Caprivi region to at least spend a night there. They can be found at <!-- w -->[url=http://www.sakazima.co.za" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;]www.sakazima.co.za[/url]<!-- w -->.

Another worthwhile activity that deserves special mention is the half-day we spent with Dan Stephens of Mashi River Safaris on his boat on the Kwando river while camping at Nambwa. While we only really went out for some fishing on this day, we saw specials such as Rufous-bellied Heron, African Pygmy Geese and Slaty Egret (lifer for me) in abundance. Trips can be organised at http://mashiriversafaris.com/ .

A trip to the Caprivi is a must for all birders, if not only for birding but also to experience this amazing region. With a little planning and forethought you should be able to easily pick up a host of specials in a relatively short time.

Lifers for me on this trip where: Brown Firefinch, Collared Palm-thrush, Golden Weaver, Common Swift, Red-billed Spurfowl, Icterine Warbler, Schalow's Turaco, African Skimmer, Greater painted-snipe, Rufous-bellied Heron, White-browed Coucal, Hartlaub's Babbler, Senegal Coucal, Flappet Lark, Meyer's Parrot, Lesser Honeyguide, Coppery-tailed Coucal, Wahlberg's Eagle, Swamp Boubou,Shaft-tailed Whydah, Copper Sunbird, Green-capped Eremomela, Wattled Crane, Long-toed Lapwing, Black Cuckoo, Mosque Swallow, Fawn-coloured Lark, Lesser Jacana, Bradfield's Hornbill, Western Banded Snake-eagle, Rock Pratincole, African Wood-owl, Purple Banded Sunbird, Chirping Cisticola, and Slaty Egret.

This trip brought my total up to 496, agonisingly close to the 500-mark.

So the complete list of birds for the trip reads as follows:

African Crowned Lapwing, Yellow-billed Kite, Red-breasted Swallow, Lil-breasted Roller, African Pied Crow, Maraboe Stork, Brown Firefinch, Collared Palmthrush, Trumpeter Hornbill, Black-eyed bulbul, Purple Heron, African Fish Eagle, African Marsh Harrier, Tropical Boubou, Reed Cormorant, Giant kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Glossy Ibis, Green-backed Night-heron, Laughing Dove, Golden Weaver, Grey Hornbill, Common Swift, Bateleur, Magpie Shrike, Little Bee-eater, Helmeted Guineafowl, Ground Hornbill, Afrivan barred owlet, Comb Duck, White-breasted Cormorant, African Openbilled Stork, Grey-headed Gull, Southern Grey-headed Sparrow, Namaqua Dove, Grey Go-away bird, Burchell's Starling, Swainson's Spurfowl, Common Greenshank, Yellow-bellied Greenbul, White-faced Duck, African paradise Flycather, Blue Waxbill, Red-billed Firefinch, Black Crake, Red-billed Spurfowl, Hadeda Ibis, Puffback, Southern Black Tit, Eastern Nicator, Grey-backed Cameroptera, Crested Francolin, Terrestrial Brownbull, Willow Warbler, Bearded Scrub-robin, Bronze Mannakin, Icterine Warbler, Fork-tailed Drongo, Carmine Bee-eater, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Marico Flycather, Marico Sunbird, Woodland KIingfisher, Common Scimitarbill, Wattled Starling, Neddicky, Emeral-spotted Wood-dove, Brown-headed Kingfisher, Schalow's Turaco, Common Sandpiper, African Skimer, Black-winged Stilt, African Jacana, Hottentot Teal, Dabchick, Yellow-billed Duck, Arrow-marked Babbler, Pied Wagtail, African Palm-swift, African Cuckoo, Greater painted-snipe, Rufous-bellied Heron, Common Moorhen, Wood Sandpiper, White-browed Coucal, Eurasian Hobby, Cape Glossy Starling, Hartlaub's Babbler, Yellow-billed Egret, Collared Sunbird, Crested Barbet, Southern Masked Weaver, Long-billed Crombec, Ashy Flycatcher, Malachite Kingfisher, Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill, Red-eyed Dove, Cape Turtle-Dove, Black-crowned Night-heron, Hamerkop, Great Egret, Red-billed Buffalo-weaver, White-crowned Lapwing, White-browed Robin-chat, Yellow-breasted Apalis, White-bellied Sunbird, Orange-breasted Bush-shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Diderick Cuckoo, Red-backed Shrike, White-fronted Bee-eater, Red-faced Mousebird, Rock Dove, Red-headed Weaver, Red-billed Teal, Red-billed Quelea, Collared Barbet, Red-billed Oxpecker, Steppe Buzzard, Green Wood-hoopoe, African Pipit, Greater Blue-eared Starling, Rattling Cisticola, Senegal Coucal, Wattled Lapwing, Martial Eagle, Zitting Cisticola, Golden-breasted Bunting, Black-bellied Bustard, Flappet Lark, Blue-cheecked Bee-eater, Rufous-naped Lark, Meyer's Parrot, Lesser Honeyguide, Coppery-tailed Coucal, Reitz' Helmet-shrike, African Hoopoe, White-backed Vulture, Wahlberg's Eagle, Black-crowned Tchagra, Osprey, Cattle Egret, Whiskered Tern, Little Egret, White-winged Tern, Collared Pratincole, Banded Martin, Swamp Boubou, Square-tailed Nightjar, Ruff, Violet-backed Starling, Kurrichane Thrush, White-crested Helmet-Shrike, Chinspot Batis, Amethyst Sunbird, Yellow-fronted Canary, Yellow-throated Petronia, Spotted Flycatcher, Striped Kingfisher, Bearded Woodpecker, White-browed Scrub-robin, Violet-eared Waxbill, Shaft-tailed Whydah, Black-faced Waxbill, Copper Sunbird, Green-capped Eremomela, Green-winged Pytilia, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Bronze-winged Courser, Secretary Bird, Meve's Starling, Yellow-billed Stork, African Mourning Dove, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Double-banded Sandgrouse, Brown-crowned Tchagra, White-browed Sparrow-Weaver, Spur-winged Goose, Goliath Heron, Wattled Crane, Long-toed Lapwing, Egyptian Goose, Afircan Spoonbill, Saddle-billed Stork, Black Cuckoo, Mosque Swallow, Chestnut-vented Tit-babbler, Bennets Woodpecker, Three-banded Plover, Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Fawn-coloured Lark, Capped Wheatear, Ostrich, Black-headed Oriole, Water Thick-knee, Lesser Jacana, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Jacobin Cuckoo, Woolly-necked Stork, Cardinal Woodpecker, Red-crested Korhaan, European Bee-eater, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Lesser Kestrel, Bradfield's Hornbill, Brown Snake-eagle, White-rumped Swift, Western Banded Snake-eagle, Half-collared Kingfisher, Rock Pratincole, African Harrier Hawk, Southern Brown-throated Weaver, African Wood-owl, Broad-billed Roller, Lizzard Buzzard, Purple banded Sunbird, Black-throated Canary, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Chirping Cisticola, Pygmy Goose, Slaty Egret, White-winged Widowbird, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Wire-tailed Swallow, African Green Pigeon, Black Heron, Greater Honeyguide.


For anyone wishing to undertake a trip to the Caprivi I would definitely advise contacting one of the local tour operators before-hand. You just cannot adequately explore this incredible piece of Southern Africa without insider info. I had close contact with Katy Sharpe from Tutwa Safaris. Visit her website at <!-- w -->[url=http://www.tutwa.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;]www.tutwa.com[/url]<!-- w -->. Also, if you have any intention of doing some proper birding in this area I would strongly advise contacting Nick Buys at <!-- e --><a href="mailto:tutwasafaris@mweb.com.na]tutwasafaris@mweb.com.na[/url]<!-- e -->

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