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Birdwatching in Namibia
Birdwatching in Namibia
Birdwatching in Namibia
Birdwatching in Namibia
Birdwatching in Namibia
Birdwatching in Namibia
Birdwatching in Namibia

Namibia birdwatching

Our top tips for Namibia birdwatching

The best time for bird watching in Namibia is during the rains - typically between around November and April. Then many migrants visit, adding to the native species found inland; food is plentiful and many species sport colourful breeding plumage. Meanwhile Namibia's rich, cold ocean attracts large permanent populations of coastal birds.

If you're looking for the highlights of birding in Namibia, start with Etosha National Park in the early months of the year, when the vast saltpan there fills with water. Great flocks of blue cranes descend to feed, and flamingos arrive to breed. For Namibia's best birding area, seek out the Caprivi Strip, where dry Kalahari areas stand beside the waterways and swamps of the Okavango and Linyanti Rivers.

Beside Namibia's coast, around Swapokmund and Walvis Bay, birders will find not only Cape cormorants; greater and lesser flamingos and colonies of eastern white pelicans - but also 'specials' like the endangered, ground-nesting damara tern.

The only endemic bird species of Namibia, the dune lark, is highly localised in the Namib Desert - but bird-watchers will find interesting array of birds in many areas.

Ongava Tented Camp

Ongava Tented Camp, on the Ongava Reserve and close to Etosha National Park, is a fantastic place for birdwatching in Namibia. Local specials include Namaqua sandgrouse, short-toed rock thrush, acacia pied barbet and yellow-bellied eremomela.

Pelican Point Lodge

Pelican Point Lodge is a secluded base for part of a Namibia birdwatching holiday. Come for flocks of sea-birds, including damara terns, cormorants and pelicans – and nearby perhaps flamingos in the protected Walvis Bay Wetlands.


Ongava Lodge

Visitors at Ongava Lodge benefit from the prolific birdlife on the Ongava Reserve and neighbouring Etosha National Park. Over 340 species have been recorded, including local specials: Namaqua sandgrouse, double-banded courser and yellow-bellied eremomela.


Serra Cafema

On the banks of the Kunene River, Serra Cafema is one of the most remote camps in Southern Africa. The river’s permanent water and accompanying vegetation provides sanctuary from the surrounding desert, making this a top spot for birdwatching in Namibia.

Ongava Tented Camp

Ongava Tented Camp, on the Ongava Reserve and close to Etosha National Park, is a fantastic place for birdwatching in Namibia. Local specials include Namaqua sandgrouse, short-toed rock thrush, acacia pied barbet and yellow-bellied eremomela.


Serra Cafema

On the banks of the Kunene River, Serra Cafema is one of the most remote camps in Southern Africa. The river’s permanent water and accompanying vegetation provides sanctuary from the surrounding desert, making this a top spot for birdwatching in Namibia.


Okonjima Bush Camp

The guided and self-guided walks around Okonjima can be excellent for birdwatching, and the lodge itself has a variety of watering points, bird-baths, dams and lakes that help to attract in the local birdlife.

Little Ongava

Birding at Ongava Reserve and Etosha make a great addition to a Namibia birdwatching break, with over 300 species of bird, including the violet wood-hoopoe, bare-cheeked babbler, red-necked falcon and Carp's tit.


Ongava Tented Camp

Ongava Tented Camp, on the Ongava Reserve and close to Etosha National Park, is a fantastic place for birdwatching in Namibia. Local specials include Namaqua sandgrouse, short-toed rock thrush, acacia pied barbet and yellow-bellied eremomela.


Ongava Lodge

Visitors at Ongava Lodge benefit from the prolific birdlife on the Ongava Reserve and neighbouring Etosha National Park. Over 340 species have been recorded, including local specials: Namaqua sandgrouse, double-banded courser and yellow-bellied eremomela.

Nxamaseri Lodge

Relatively near the Okavango's main channel, Nxamaseri Lodge makes an excellent choice for a birdwatching holiday in the Okavango Delta, with a deep-water lagoon environment.

Mushara Outpost

Most visitors to Etosha National Park are drawn by the chance to see Namibia's lager wildlife. However, guided 4WD safaris into the park combined with a small hide at the lodge make Mushara Outpost a good pick for a birding trip to Namibia too.

Cornerstone Guesthouse

Although Cornerstone is a town B&B it is a great stop on a self-drive, birdwatching tour of Namibia. Walvis Bay Lagoon with its plentiful waterfowl is just a short drive away while Swakopmund itself is a perfect base for a guided birdwatching tour.

Shametu Lodge

The Mahango Core Area’s varied habitats support the largest variety of avian species in Namibia, making it a perfect place for birdwatching. While Shametu River Lodge isn't the closest camp to Mahango, it is one of our favourites in this area.

Kazile Island Lodge

Deep in Namibia's Bwabwata National Park, Kazile Island Lodge sits on a private island in the Kwando River: a must for birders. Scan the surrounding wetland or the towering mangosteen trees from the comfort of your room, or explore on a guided walk, drive or boat trip.


Ongava Tented Camp

Ongava Tented Camp, on the Ongava Reserve and close to Etosha National Park, is a fantastic place for birdwatching in Namibia. Local specials include Namaqua sandgrouse, short-toed rock thrush, acacia pied barbet and yellow-bellied eremomela.


Mundulea Reserve

Namibia's Mundulea Reserve has excellent guiding and some first-class birding. The environment ranges from kopjes to open plains, with a good variety of birds such as Rueppell's parrot, paradise flycatchers and plenty of raptors.

Ongava Lodge

Visitors at Ongava Lodge benefit from the prolific birdlife on the Ongava Reserve and neighbouring Etosha National Park. Over 340 species have been recorded, including local specials: Namaqua sandgrouse, double-banded courser and yellow-bellied eremomela.


Ongava Lodge

Visitors at Ongava Lodge benefit from the prolific birdlife on the Ongava Reserve and neighbouring Etosha National Park. Over 340 species have been recorded, including local specials: Namaqua sandgrouse, double-banded courser and yellow-bellied eremomela.

Ideas for birdwatching elsewhere in Africa

Ideas for holidays in other countries which are great for watching birds


Birdwatching in Botswana

Botswana

Much of northern Botswana consists of vast tracts of untouched wilderness with plenty of wildlife...

Birdwatching in Kenya

Kenya

Kenya is a prime destination for a birdwatching holiday at any time of year. Tremendous geographical ...

Birdwatching in Malawi

Malawi

Malawi has a number of species which are rare in the rest of Southern Africa, and birdwatching ...

Birdwatching in Mozambique

Mozambique

Mozambique stretches over 2000km from north to south. It is a lush and varied country, and birding ...

Birdwatching in Rwanda

Rwanda

Birdwatching in Rwanda is somewhat overlooked in favour of gorilla-trekking trips. However, birdlife ...

Birdwatching in Seychelles

Seychelles

The Seychelles is a disparate group of islands - some granitic; some coralline - scattered around ...

Birdwatching in South Africa

South Africa

South Africa has the highest number of endemic bird species in mainland Africa. Birding in the ...

Birdwatching in Tanzania

Tanzania

With a range of endemic bird species, Tanzania is a great location for a birdwatching holiday. ...

Birdwatching in Zambia

Zambia

Birdwatching in Zambia will reveal a mix of south, east and even central African birds. Birdlife ...

Birdwatching in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe

Whilst Zimbabwe doesn't have any endemics, it's still great for bird watching. A Zimbabwe holiday ...

Where to find the best wildlife viewing in Africa

Maximise your chances of seeing your favourite African species using our traveller sightings reports from the field.


Cheetah

Cheetah

Acinonyx jubatus

The cheetah is the fastest land animal and the only cat that hunts by pure speed. Found largely in open grasslands, its slim, elegant form is today an increasingly rare sight.

29% SUCCESS

420 sightings from 1,455 observations

Where to see cheetah in Africa

Black Rhino

Black Rhino

Diceros bicornis

The black rhino is the smaller and rarer of Africa’s two rhino species but has the more fearsome reputation. Shy and heavily persecuted, it tends to stick to cover.

29% SUCCESS

262 sightings from 900 observations

Where to see black rhino in Africa

White Rhino

White Rhino

Ceratotherium simum

The white rhino is the largest and most numerous of the world’s five rhinoceros species. They are larger, easier to see and generally more approachable than the black rhino.

43% SUCCESS

219 sightings from 509 observations

Where to see white rhino in Africa

Elephant

Elephant

Loxodonta africana

By far the biggest of the so-called Big Five – indeed, the largest land animal on the planet – the elephant shapes the very landscape it inhabits and is a defining presence on any safari.

91% SUCCESS

1,595 sightings from 1,755 observations

Where to see elephant in Africa

Lion

Lion

Panthera leo

Lions are at the top of the food chain and also most safari wish-lists, but with their numbers falling fast, any encounter with these majestic apex predators always feels like a privilege.

80% SUCCESS

1,318 sightings from 1,651 observations

Where to see lion in Africa

Meerkat

Meerkat

Suricata suricatta

These highly sociable little mammals have an endearing appearance and comical antics. Found in the drier areas of Southern Africa, close encounters are a sought-after experience.

20% SUCCESS

38 sightings from 189 observations

Where to see meerkat in Africa

Buffalo

Buffalo

Syncerus caffer

One of the ‘Big Five’, buffalo earned a fearsome reputation in hunters’ tales. By contrast, big herds of these sociable bovids are placid, but mount formidable defences against predators.

83% SUCCESS

1,116 sightings from 1,339 observations

Where to see buffalo in Africa

Oryx

Oryx

Oryx sp.

Oryx are impressive antelopes, with a powerful physique and elegant markings set off by rapier-like horns. They cut a distinctive dash in some of Africa’s harshest landscapes.

70% SUCCESS

644 sightings from 924 observations

Where to see oryx in Africa

Giraffe

Giraffe

Giraffa camelopardalis

The world’s tallest land mammal, giraffes are herbivores which have evolved many unique adaptations. Their iconic outlines tower above the bush in many of Africa’s wildlife areas.

83% SUCCESS

1,527 sightings from 1,837 observations

Where to see giraffe in Africa

Hippo

Hippo

Hippopotamus amphibius

The territorial calls of the hippo create a signature soundtrack to Africa’s rivers & wetlands. Despite an endearing smile, this aquatic herbivore has a notoriously aggressive disposition.

89% SUCCESS

1,172 sightings from 1,315 observations

Where to see hippo in Africa

Spotted Hyena

Spotted Hyena

Crocuta crocuta

The spotted hyena may be thought of as ‘ugly’ and ‘cowardly’. In fact, this versatile and intelligent carnivore is one of Africa’s most fascinating and warrants attention on any safari.

50% SUCCESS

908 sightings from 1,804 observations

Where to see spotted hyena in Africa

Brown Hyena

Brown Hyena

Parahyaena brunnea

This largely solitary scavenger is one of the more elusive and little-known of Africa’s carnivores. Shaggier than its spotted cousin, it occurs only in the arid southwest of the continent.

16% SUCCESS

112 sightings from 711 observations

Where to see brown hyena in Africa

Leopard

Leopard

Panthera pardus

The most numerous of Africa’s big cats, leopard occur across many habitats, from wild tracts to populated areas. Their grace and their elusive nature make them a unique safari drawcard.

45% SUCCESS

844 sightings from 1,878 observations

Where to see leopard in Africa

Wild dog

Wild dog

Lycaon pictus

African wild dogs are among the continent’s most compelling animals. Much misunderstood, these rare, tie-dyed canids are amazingly efficient hunters with a fascinating social life.

31% SUCCESS

376 sightings from 1,216 observations

Where to see wild dog in Africa

Wildebeest

Wildebeest

Connochaetes sp.

Superficially bovine in appearance, wildebeests are known for their spectacular migrations sometimes in huge numbers. These resilient animals are some of Africa’s most successful herbivores.

63% SUCCESS

1,061 sightings from 1,671 observations

Where to see wildebeest in Africa

Pangolin

Pangolin

Smutsia sp.

Pangolins appear to be more pine cone than animal in their unique armoury of scales. These nocturnal, ant-eating oddities are not only highly elusive but also increasingly rare.

2% SUCCESS

27 sightings from 1,489 observations

Where to see pangolin in Africa

Aardvark

Aardvark

Orycteropus afer

The aardvark is one of Africa’s most bizarre and enigmatic animals. A shy, nocturnal termite-eater, signs of its presence may be scattered about the bush whilst sightings remain elusive.

3% SUCCESS

44 sightings from 1,575 observations

Where to see aardvark in Africa

Eland

Eland

Taurotragus oryx

Africa’s largest antelope, eland are culturally important from prehistoric rock art to modern game farms. Though widespread, they are also shy so sightings are uncommon and often fleeting.

45% SUCCESS

615 sightings from 1,364 observations

Where to see eland in Africa

Zebra

Zebra

Equus sp.

The zebra is a quintessential African animal: the horse in stripy pyjamas at the end of every child’s A–Z. There are three species, of which the plains zebra is much the most common.

84% SUCCESS

1,729 sightings from 2,062 observations

Where to see zebra in Africa

Roan antelope

Roan antelope

Hippotragus equinus

Africa’s second largest antelope and one of its most handsome, with a powerful build and distinctive markings, roan are wary of people, but renowned for their bravery against predators.

24% SUCCESS

228 sightings from 959 observations

Where to see roan antelope in Africa

Sable antelope

Sable antelope

Hippotragus niger

Perhaps Africa’s most beautiful antelope, sable are renowned for their combative nature, even holding off lions. Shy and restricted in range, sightings of sable are always special.

21% SUCCESS

199 sightings from 955 observations

Where to see sable antelope in Africa

Sitatunga

Sitatunga

Tragelaphus spekii

The sitatunga is the most aquatic of Africa’s antelopes and specially adapted to its swampy habitats. Though widespread across Africa, only a handful of places offer reliable sightings.

20% SUCCESS

25 sightings from 122 observations

Where to see sitatunga in Africa

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