Hartley’s Safaris UK
+44 (0) 1673 861 600
Hartley’s South Africa
+27 (0) 11 467 4704
Bird watching holidays in Africa are unique, with around 2300 bird species found in Africa, you'll be kept busy almost every moment of your birding holiday. The standard of guiding is superb throughout the continent and you can be sure of a great experience. There are scheduled birding safari departures to specific destinations, but private custom bird watching tours are also available.
From Zambia with over 400 species of bird occurring in The Luangwa Valley, this is a stunning destination for any ornithologist. One of the top raptor spotting destinations in Africa is the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, shared between Botswana and South Africa.
Large populations of both Lesser and Greater flamingos breed in some of the Rift Valley Lakes, particularly Lake Nakuru in Kenya. The Rift valley also forms a “flyway’ for many species of migrant moving from southern Africa to Western Asia and eastern Europe.
In central Africa the Albertine Rift Valley of Rwanda and Uganda offers specialist tropical birds with many endemics. Uganda alone has a national checklist of more than 1000 species. “Special sightings” include the Ruwenzori Apalis, Ruwenzori Turaco and the Green-breasted Pitta. Uganda is also a good place to look for the enigmatic Shoebill.
Madagascar is another birding hotspot – of the approximately 290 species recorded on the island just over 100 are endemic – in other words they are found nowhere else on earth.
Further places to explore would be The Bale Mountains in Ethiopia; Mana Pools in Zimbabwe, the Cape Coastal areas, the Kwa Zulu Natal reserves and the Kruger National Park in South Africa, the Okavango Delta in Botswana and Etosha in Namibia to name a few.
When should we go birding?
The best time to see birds in Southern Africa is between November and March. These countries are all excellent destinations with many birding Safaris available: South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Angola, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi.
In East Africa, the best time to go birding is January - March. Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia are all very popular birding destinations during these seasons.
West Africa offers a huge and exciting variety of birds and the best time to visit Cameroon, the Gambia and other destinations is during the European winter from November to March.
How to get a good bird’s eye view:
There are two elements essential to the enjoyment of any African birding safari – plenty of birds, and excellent guiding. When asked by guests, what is needed for birding, a simple answer is a good pair of binoculars, a sun hat and a notebook if required.
More than anything you will need a good pair of bins / binos or for the uninitiated binoculars, as well as a bird field guide specific to your safari area. Every naturalist using binoculars has an opinion on magnification, and there is never a shortage of advice as to what constitutes the best magnification for safari goers and birding. Taken from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology here are 6 steps to choosing the correct binoculars
Review additional features and warranties. Pay attention to field of view and close focus, two measures that affect how much you’ll see. Also pay attention to durability, waterproofing, and warranty—many major optics companies now offer excellent warranties.
Recommended Birding books:
The Londolozi photographic Safari: The Londolozi photographic safari is where ancient wisdom, modern technology and nature converge. Londolozi has long been recognised as a superb location for wildlife photography, specialising in the big cats. Incredible light, diverse scenery and a plethora of African wildlife set the stage for unsurpassed photographic theatre. The Londolozi Photographic Studio is very popular with the guests, who are able to direct and produce their own creative work. With tuition from a qualified ‘Light Room’ instructor, you can spend time between game drives editing and printing your best safari shots.
Rent Photographic Equipment: The Photographic Studio also offers guests the chance to rent a multitude of professional level photographic bodies, lenses and accessories. Gone are the days of lugging heavy camera gear around the world. Now it’s as simple as pre-booking your gear and finding it ready for use upon your arrival at the lodge. First-time photographers can also try out the latest telephoto lens and body setups by requesting the equipment at the lodge. If you want to capture a close-up of a leopard in a tree, a fish eagle in flight or zebras grooming each other, the photographic studio has the right lens to get you the perfect shot.
The Photographic Studio: Londolozi’s guests are warmly invited to visit their onsite Photographic Studio, where they offer one-on-one post-production tuition and the opportunity to print images on wide-format canvas.
Londolozi Photographic Studio at a Glance
The Private Vehicle: A private safari vehicle can be reserved for individuals and families. A dedicated ranger and tracker team will focus on tailoring the safari experience around the guest’s specific needs and interests (e.g. birding, botany, big cats, etc.). This is ideal for experienced safari-goers or those who enjoy a little more privacy. Included:
The Complete Photographic Experience: While most of the rangers have a natural flair for photography, several Londolozi rangers are highly regarded photographers in their own right. For this safari option, we will pair you with one of these ‘photographic rangers’ and also bring in a professional photographic guide to be your private instructor. Your guide will assist you both in the field and in post-processing and editing. Included:
*The photographic safari experience is limited to four guests per vehicle and a minimum of two nights.This safari type should be booked prior to arrival.
The Mathews Forest, dubbed a ‘biological bonanza’ by the BBC, is one of the great stretches of Kenyan forest wildernesses. Scientists call this mountain forest a ‘sky island’, which rises up out of the surrounding sea of arid lowlands, to an altitude of 2200 metres. This ancient mountain forest is a stronghold for a wide range of plant and wildlife species, such as Melanistic leopard, also known as the black panther, lion, forest elephant and antelopes, buffalo, the rare De Brazza monkey, Colobus monkey, greater kudu, waterbuck, giant forest hog as well as Africa’s endangered wild dog.
Over 200 bird species have been counted in the area, together with more than 150 species of butterflies, representing more than twice the amount of butterfly species found in the UK. Stretching for 150km, the mountains are covered in a 300km2 dense indigenous forest interspersed with giant cedars and a rare species of ancient cycad, one of the oldest plant types on the planet, endemic to the Mathews forests.
The real attraction of this remote area is its striking beauty and the opportunity to explore the forest on foot in complete privacy as well as to experience unique social interactions with the local Samburu and Ndorobo people.
To the south of the Mathews Mountains lie the Sarara Plains, approximately 75,000 hectares, home to the Samburu tribe’s people, who are a group of semi-nomadic pastoralists who have for long shown tolerance for the wildlife that co-exists alongside their cattle.
Kitich Camp is a truly remote and private location in a stunning forest glade on the upper slopes of the Mathews Mountains. At night, the atmosphere is magical, and the glade is lit for guests to observe the cautious trail of nocturnal visitors, including Melanistic (black-coated) leopard, elephant, bushbuck, and buffalo – all of which come to drink and hunt by the river.
With just six tents situated under a dense tree canopy, overlooking the stunning Ngeng River, this camp is a low-key classic. At Kitich, the lodge provides old fashioned safari comforts, including soft & fresh linen, comfortable double beds, iced drinks, and gracious dining – all in a wonderfully peaceful setting.
Night Game Viewing: Being a forest camp, and in the style of “Tree Tops”, the cosy lounge overlooks the floodlit open river glade, and at night guests can watch elephant, buffalo, bushbuck and occasionally leopard emerge from the forest at night to drink from the river, or dig for natural salts.
Guided Walks: Taking advantage of the pristine wilderness, Kitich Camp avoids traditional game drives, instead encouraging guests to explore these wild environs on foot, guided by the “masters of the forest”, the Ndorobo Samburu guides.
Swimming in Rock Pools: With crystal clear cool waters, flowing out of a spring in the mountains, enjoy swimming with nature in this magical forest paradise.
Cultural Visits: The people of Kitich and their families within the village of Ngalai are a colourful, traditional, gentle and friendly people whose only interaction with the wider world is with the guests from Kitich.Guests are hosted by the local people when they stay at Kitich, but guests are also welcome to drive down and visit the market and school in the village. (School visits entail a donation).
Guides: The guides at Kitich Camp are Ndorobo / Samburu, a semi-nomadic pastoralist community closely related to the Masai. Originally hunters, and sought after for their tracking and bush skills, some joined the Kenya Wildlife Service as trackers, before returning to Kitich. The guides at Kitich are the masters of the forest, they know the trails intimately, and can almost sense wildlife before any of the most proficient guides are aware of an animal presence. These are a gentle, happy and colourful people, who love their “work” of sharing the secrets of the forests with guests.
Conservation: Kitich Camp is situated in the 800,000 acre Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy established in 1995 by the local communities to promote wildlife conservation and socio-economic development through sustainable utilization of natural resources. The conservancy is facilitated by the Northern Rangeland Trust (NRT), who provide capacity building at grassroots level to empower elected community trustees to effectively manage their own conservancy, increase security for wildlife, protect natural resources, resolve grazing conflicts and establish sustainable enterprises. Kitich is a key tourism partner for Namunyak, employing 80% of its staff from the surrounding communities and paying conservation fees coll ected from guests on a US$40 per person per night basis. 60% of this income is used to fund community development, while 40% is used to fund annual operations costs of Namunyak.
Sustainable tourism: Kitich Camp has been awarded “Gold Level” by the internationally recognised Ecotourism Kenya in recognition of its high level of environmental responsibility. The camp achieves environmental best practice by combining old fashioned safari camp know-how with latest technology, relying entirely on solar power and using only LED lighting. Rubbish is responsibly disposed of or recycled. Glass is separated and sold to the recycling plant ‘Central Glass’ in Nairobi.
“The Mathews Range… rises from the arid brown plains of northern Kenya like a green tropical island” – BBC
Includes - All transport in a good a/c car for 2 - 4 persons with excellent driver. Sightseeing tours with local English speaking guides - Entry tickets to monuments included - Elephant ride in Jaipur. - Daily breakfast & dinners at the hotels where guests stay - Boat ride on Lake Pichola. - Mineral water, during car journeys.
Hotel Accommodation: Twin or double room sharing. International Airfares not included and will be costed according to city of departure.
Validity: 1st April – end September 2017
The above cost is based on room, breakfast & Dinner basis only. Lunches are not included although they are mentioned in the program. Validity: 1st October 2017– end March 2018
The above cost is based on room , breakfast & Dinner basis only. Lunches are not included although they are mentioned in the program.
Delhi:The Surya (5* Deluxe) | Deluxe Room | 01 Night.
Agra:The Jaypee Palace Hotel (5*) | Deluxe room | 02 Nights
Kesroli:The Kesroli Fort (Heritage Hotel) | Heritage Room | 01 Night
Jaipur: The Diggi Palace (Heritage Hotel) | Heritage Room | 02 Nights
Pushkar:The Orchard Resort (Luxury Tents) | 01 Night
Jodhpur:The BAL Samand (Heritage) | Garden View Rooms | 02 Nights
Narlai:The Rawla Narlai( Heritage) | Classic room | 01 Night
Udaipur:The Lalit Laxmi Niwas Palace (5*) | Deluxe room | 02 Nights
Delhi:The Surya (5* Deluxe) | Deluxe Room | 01Night All prices have been costed according to current rate of exchange and are subject to change accordingly and subject to availability at any time and without prior notice.
Desert Dune Safari Itinerary The vast horizons of Namibia are showcased in this Exploration as you drive and fly between locations. Areas of interest are pointed out along the way, giving you a real taste of Namibia as a magnificent and remarkable country.
Days 1 & 2: From Windhoek we drive to Kulala Desert Lodge in the private Kulala Wilderness Reserve. Here we explore the iconic dunes of Sossusvlei and the moon-like landscape of Dead Vlei.
Days 3 & 4: We take a scenic flight to Swakopmund, a picturesque town that blends European and African culture. We’ll explore the Atlantic coast with a private boat cruise from Walvis Bay to Sandwich Harbour (weather permitting) to see diverse pelagic (ocean-going) birdlife, Cape fur seals and rare Heaviside's dolphins up close. We stay at the grand Hansa Hotel.
Day 5: Travel up the legendary Skeleton Coast where you can expect to see the fascinating lichen plains at Wlotskasbaken and remains of shipwrecks along the way. We also take in the ghostly disused diamond mine near Toscanini and overnight at Terrace Bay Lodge in Skeleton Coast National Park.
Days 6 & 7: We continue through the Skeleton Coast National Park to the Möwe Bay Museum and then head inland to other attractions including two oases, an intriguing “roaring” dune and spectacular desert scenery combined with whatever wildlife presents itself. We spend two nights at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp.
Days 8 & 9: Another exciting day is spent on the road to Desert Rhino Camp. The rugged, rocky and mountainous Palmwag Concession brings with it the opportunity of seeing giraffe, gemsbok (oryx) and springbok. We bed down at Desert Rhino Camp and spend two days tracking the rare desert-adapted black rhino which are monitored and protected by the Save the Rhino Trust.
Day 10: We bid farewell to our adventure as we transfer to the Doro Nawas Airstrip to return to Windhoek.
Highlights of this include climbing some of the world’s tallest dunes, rhino tracking, a motorboat lagoon trip at Walvis Bay and viewing shipwreck remains along the dramatic coastline. Endless landscapes and places of interest are seen along the way, with a scenic flight from Sossusvlei to Swakopmund (weather permitting) being a highlight. At the much-revered Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, an isolated wilderness and dry riverbed reveals Namibia’s unique desert-adapted wildlife, from elephant and giraffe to the uncommon "desert lion."
What does it cost? 01 June 2016 to 31 October 2016 - ZAR 65,07201 November 2016 to 20 November 2016 - ZAR 57,333 01 January 2017 to 31 May 2017 - ZAR 68,673 01 June 2017 to 31 October 2017 - ZAR 79,15301 November 2017 to 31 December 2017 - ZAR 68,673
As a set-departure guided journey, the Desert Dune Safari fully inclusive rates comprise the expertise of one knowledgeable and professional guide who leads you from beginning to end, combined with tailor-made services like logistics, sightseeing and accommodation in our camps. Our rates include: Accommodation; All meals (excluding dinner on the second evening in Swakopmund); A reasonable amount of soft drinks, mineral water, fruit juice, house wine and beer, as well as local spirits such as gin and Amarula while at the Wilderness Camps; National Park fees; Laundry (excluded at Hansa Hotel & Terrace Bay Lodge); Scheduled activities; Road transfers; All internal charters on a seat-rate basis as specified in the detailed safari itinerary Our rates exclude: Flights (other than specified in the detailed safari itinerary); Visas; Compulsory comprehensive insurance; All drinks at the Hansa Hotel & Terrace Bay Lodge; Gratuities; All personal purchases (including curios, spirit liquors, telephone calls, etc.); Optional extra activities; All other travel arrangements pre and post the safari; Any new Government taxes, levies, fuel or industry increases which are beyond our control.