Namibia Self-Drive Birding Special

Namibia Birding Special – Self-Drive 17 Days

Prices From £5,593pp
Year round | 16 nights

Namibia Birding Special – Self-Drive 17 Days

This comprehensive itinerary has been specially designed for birding enthusiasts wishing to enjoy an authentic safari experience in one of Africa’s prime birding destinations. With a birding checklist of 676 species including 16 near endemics and more than 40 of Africa’s raptors, Namibia is a rare birdwatcher’s treat. The coastal areas, combined with deserts and plains, provide a superb variety of habitats and species. This fantastic itinerary offers an excellent diversity of landscapes and habitats, from the coastal areas of Walvis Bay and Swakopmund to the arid lands of Sesriem and Etosha.

On this self-drive itinerary, you will visit enchanting areas, birding hotspots and some of Namibia’s finest National Parks on a constant search for the rich birdlife that will astound here. It's not only the birding that will impress, spectacular scenery at every turn and wildlife including elephants, rhino, lions, countless reptile species and much more will surely make this the ultimate Namibian nature experience.

Please see detailed itinerary below for specific species you are likely to see in each destination.

Shown prices are per person in low season, based on 2 people sharing. 4x4 car hire and mid-range accommodation included throughout.


  • Discover a wide variety of diverse areas from coast to desert
  • Special locations specifically chosen for their birdwatching benefits, with included guided birding excursions
  • Witness abundant birdlife across multiple diverse landscapes including Walvis Bay, Damaraland, Sossusvlei and the Zambezi Region
  • Visit enchanting National Parks including Etosha, Namib-Naukluft and Bwabwata
  • Opportunities for game drives, hikes and guided walks
  • Chances to observe a huge array of other wildlife including lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards, zebras, giraffes, wildebeest and much more
  • Spectacular scenery at every turn
  • Mid-range accommodation throughout
  • Travel at your own leisure with included car hire

What's Included

  • Accommodation throughout with board basis as described in the itinerary
  • Arrival transfer from Windhoek airport
  • 16 days 4x4 car hire
  • Full-day Dune Lark and Walvis Lagoon Birding & Eco tour
  • Information pack

Our popularitinerary Suggestions

All our itinerary holidays are fully customisable



Welcome to Namibia, an enchanting country where the landscapes and cultures are as diverse as the wildlife that abounds here. Having arrived independently to Hosea Kutako airport in Windhoek, the charming capital of Namibia, you will be met at arrivals for your private transfer to the Galton Guest House for your overnight stay. Later that afternoon you will receive your rental vehicle (a 4x4 Toyota Hilux or similar).

An afternoon birding tour is included to a nearby park for an introduction to Namibian birding with a local birding expert before enjoying a great night’s sleep in preparation for the adventures that lie ahead.

1-night accommodation in an en-suite room at Galton Guest House. Breakfast Included.

Possible bird sightings include sunbirds (Dusky Sunbird), as well as the African Fish Eagle, Green-winged Pytilia, White-browed Sparrow-Weaver, Mountain Wheatear etc.

Sesriem / Sossusvlei
2 - 3Days

Sesriem / Sossusvlei

After a great night’s sleep and a tasty breakfast, this morning your self-drive Namibian adventure will truly begin as you make an approximately 5-hour drive from Windhoek to the beautiful Hoodia Desert Lodge located close to the Namib-Naukluft National Park. (Driving directions for all routes on the itinerary will be provided.) This welcoming lodge is perfectly located for exploring the incredible National Park and the renowned red dunes of Sossusvlei. Your stay includes dinner, breakfast and a morning Sossusvlei excursion with their local expert guides, including an Out of Africa brunch in the desert. Activity is on a sharing basis and included in your stay.

The nearby Namib-Naukluft Park is one of the least populated areas in all of Namibia, and we recommend taking day 3 as your opportunity to discover this vast wilderness in all its glory. If you are self-driving into this magical area, you could choose to wake early and drive to the Sesriem gate and onwards towards Sossusvlei, around 70km from the Park entrance. Sossusvlei, with its monumental dunes, up to 325m when measured from their base, is one of the most famous destinations in all of Namibia. The entrance opens at sunrise and this is the best time of day to see the dunes. National Park entry fees of N$250 per person are applicable (children under 16 are charged N$100) and N$50 per vehicle per day. The last section of the road into Sossusvlei is 4x4 area only and you can either leave your vehicle at the car park and proceed either on foot or take the shuttle which usually runs between here and Sossusvlei which is 5km away.

Possible bird sightings include raptors such as Martial Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Pale Chanting Goshawk, and Rock Kestrels. There are also a number of impressively large social weavers’ nests visible along the way. 

Walvis Bay - Dune Lark Birding Tour
4 - 5Days

Walvis Bay - Dune Lark Birding Tour

This morning you will leave Sesriem behind and take a 5-hour drive to the beautiful coastal area of Walvis Bay, close to Swakopmund on Namibia’s western coastline. Walvis Bay is home to a famous RAMSAR Heritage Site lagoon and is a wetland of international importance, home to many bird species including the greater and lesser flamingo. The delightful Oyster Box Guesthouse, your accommodation for the next 2 nights, is located right on the lagoon so is the perfect spot from which to enjoy some relaxing aquatic birdwatching. The most notable bird in Walvis is the Dune Lark which is endemic to Namibia. Other larks to be found in the desert include Gray's Lark and Stark's Lark. Numerous pelagic birds can be seen from boat cruises , including a number of sub-Antarctic species. The parks and gardens can also be a good place to spot birds, with species such as Orange River White-eye often present.

Upon arrival here the rest of the day will be at your leisure and you can choose to simply relax on the open deck soaking up the sun and the views, enjoy dinner in one of the 3 nearby restaurants or take the 5 minute drive into town. Should you wish to venture further afield, the fascinating German-inspired town on Swakopmund is less than an hour’s drive away. At the end of the day you can indulge in a customary "sundowner" in the sheltered lounge and bar before retiring to your comfortable air-conditioned en-suite bedroom.

On the morning of day 5 you can enjoy your included full-day Dune Lark / Kuiseb Dunes and Walvis Lagoon Birding & Eco Tour. Accompanied by professional and knowledgeable birding guides this will offer you a first-class interpretive tour of the natural wonders of Namibia, with a focus on the varied species of birds found in this area. You will be collected from the guesthouse at 8am this morning to be transported to the unique lands of the Kuiseb Delta to search for sightings of the only true endemic of the country, the arid adapted Dune Lark. Out of the 16 near endemic birds of Namibia the Dune Lark is the only true endemic, and this little lark is one of the most arid-adapted birds in the world. In the Kuiseb you can find it running rapidly over the bare sand between patches of vegetation and dune grass. It scurries between the dunes searching for seeds and small insects on which it feeds.

On this full day excursion we will spend a short time at the sewerage works near Walvis Bay where large numbers of Common Moorhen, Hottentot Teal, Red-knobbed Coot and other wetland species may be found, before travelling to the Salt Pans near Swakopmund to look for any specials that may be around at the time. We will then travail through the surrounding desert plains to search for Gray’s Lark, Rufous-eared Warbler and Tractrac Chat. If time allows we can spend some time around the vegetated Swakop river and may encounter Orange River White-eye, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Red-faced and White-backed Mousebird, Rufous vented Tit Babbler, Rock Kestrel, Dusky Sunbird, Bokmakierie, Fiscal Shrike, Common Waxbill, Cape Sparrow, Black-Chested Prinia and with luck Peregrine Falcon. The Key species for this trip are the Dune Lark, Gray’s Lark, Orange River White-eye, and the Tractrac Chat. Drinks and a light picnic lunch will be provided during the day and you will be transferred back to the guesthouse around 4pm.

2 nights’ accommodation at Oyster Box Guesthouse in a standard room with breakfast and full-day birding tour included.



This morning you will take an approximately 3.5 hour drive to Ai Aiba Rock Lodge. Birding is one of the main attractions here, with 48 different species having been sighted in the immediate vicinity, including Black Eagle, Rosy Faced Lovebird & Ruppell’s Parrot. Raptor present in the surrounding mountains include Black-chested Snake-Eagle, Booted Eagle, and Verreaux's Eagle. An early morning drive is likely to produce Hartlaub's Francolin and Rockrunner.

1 night’s accommodation at Ai Aiba Rock Lodge Wilderness Lodge with breakfast and guided walks included.

7 - 8Days


After breakfast self-drive to the Damaraland region.  Overnight at Onduli Ridge on fully inclusive basis. Your stay includes all meals, local drinks and camp activities, which include morning drives looking for desert adapted wildlife, guided ebike and guided walking excursions and scenic drives.

Southern Etosha

Southern Etosha

After breakfast self-drive to southern Etosha. Overnight at Ongava Lodge on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis. Afternoon game drives can be arranged on request and paid for locally if you arrive early enough.

The birding list for Etosha is extensive, but some of the specialty birds are Black-faced Babbler, Violet Woodhoopoe, Carp's Tit, and Bare-cheeked Babbler, Monteiro's Hornbill , Rueppell's Parrot, Hartlaub's Francolin, White-tailed Shrike and Rockrunner. We can provide full information on the best areas for birdwatching, including Fisher’s Pan where flamingos and other water birds can be seen, Springtontein where the open flats feature Double-banded Courser and Temminck's Courser, and Andoni Plains which is very good for Blue Crane, Burchell's Sandgrouse, several larks, and other grassland birds. 

Driving through this magnificent park on a constant lookout for wildlife, surrounded by enchanting scenery at every turn…without doubt this will be a day that will live long in the memory

Etosha National Park
10 - 11Days

Etosha National Park

Today you enjoy driving from the southern side of Etosha to the eastern side of Etosha, stopping along the many waterholes in hope of exciting wildlife and birding encounters.  We recommend that you picnic at Halali. You have to exit the park by sunrise and pay a small entrance fee on entry.  Overnight at Onguma Tented Camp, located right at the eastern boundary and entrance of the eastern gate of Etosha. Overnight for 2 nights including dinner and breakfast. There are a variety of activities that you can arrange direct at Onguma, including morning Etosha game drives, afternoon sundowner game drives on the Onguma Game Reserve and guided walks on the Onguma Game Reserve.

Possible bird sightings at Halali include owls, and you can generally find Scops Owls, Pearl Spotted Owls, Barn Owls, White-faced Owls, and Giant Eagle Owls in the trees within the Halali rest camp perimeter, as well as Carp’s Black Tit, Violet Wood Hoopoe and Bare-cheeked Babbler. This is also a good spot to start looking for Birchett Babblers which are generally to be found further to the east. Other species to look out within Etosha for are Pink-billed Larks, Double-banded Courser, Northern Black Korhaan, and Spike Heeled Lark. There is also a good chance of finding Tawny, Martial, and Bataleur (Short-tailed) Eagles, as well as Greater Kestrel, Western Red-footed Kestrel, Lesser Spotted and Booted Eagles, and Yellow-billed Kite.  

Zambezi Region

Zambezi Region

Today you depart for the Zambezi region and self-drive to Rundu as an overnight stop. Situated on the banks of the Okavango River it is a great location for birdwatching enthusiasts as the lodge is surrounded by riverine forest and wetlands, which provide a rich and diverse habitat for birds.

Some of the bird species that you may encounter while birdwatching at Hakusembe Lodge include the African Fish Eagle, Pel's Fishing Owl, African Darter, Goliath Heron, Pied Kingfisher, and many more. We recommend joining a sundowner boat trip for the possibility of spotting Kingfishers in action.

Overnight at Hakusembe Lodge including dinner and breakfast.

Possible bird sightings include riverine birds such as Herons, Bee-eaters and Kingfishers.

Bwabwata National Park
13 - 14Days

Bwabwata National Park

Depart after breakfast and self-drive to Nambwa Island Lodge located in the Bwabwata National Park, which is known for its diverse birdlife, staying overnight on a fully inclusive basis for 2 nights. Birdwatching at Nambwa Island Lodge is a popular activity among guests as they get to explore the island's unique ecosystem and observe a variety of bird species in their natural habitat.

Some of the bird species that you may encounter while birdwatching at Nambwa Island Lodge include the African Fish Eagle, Pel's Fishing Owl, African Skimmer, African Openbill, Saddle-billed Stork, and many more. The lodge also offers guided bird-watching tours led by experienced guides who are knowledgeable about the local birdlife.

Nambwa activities include game drives, bush walks, and boat cruise (2 activities per day).

Wuparo Conservancy & Linyanti
15 - 16Days

Wuparo Conservancy & Linyanti

Self-drive to Nkasa Lupala Lodge on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis. Included in your stay is a Linyanti Combo Experience of a Boat Cruise + Game drive in the National Park.

Nkasa Lupala Lodge is located in the Wuparo Conservancy and is known for its incredible birdwatching opportunities. The lodge is situated on the banks of the Kwando River and is surrounded by mopane woodlands, floodplains, and wetlands, providing a rich and diverse habitat for birds.

Some of the bird species that you may encounter while birdwatching at Nkasa Lupala Lodge include the African Fish Eagle, Slaty Egret, Coppery-tailed Coucal, Bradfield's Hornbill, and many more. The area is also home to several raptor species, such as the African Harrier Hawk, Bateleur Eagle, and African Hawk Eagle.

Katima Mulilo

Katima Mulilo

After breakfast, self-drive to Katima Mulilo at the eastern tip of Namibia's Zambezi region where you drop off your rental vehicle and depart on a scheduled flight back to Windhoek (at additional cost) or alternatively cross the border to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe or extend your trip and continue into Botswana.

A view from Above

Accommodation Options

Ongava Lodge

Perched upon a small hill in the Ongava Game Reserve this beautiful wildlife lodge offers stunning views over the plains and the abundant wildlife which resides in the area.

Situated on the southern boundary of Etosha National Park this wildlife camps consists of 14 luxurious private en-suite chalets built from brick, rock and thatch. Each chalet has been exquisitely decorated and furnished and all have large and comfortable beds, seating areas, air-conditioning and private verandas on which guests can enjoy the impressive views of the surrounding plains and the waterhole below where a host of wildlife species can be found.

Galton House, Windhoek

This beautifully stylish newly-opened boutique hotel is perched on the edge of Windhoek's northernmost affluent suburb of Eros and offers peace and tranquillity just 10 minutes drive from the city centre.

Named after the famous explorer Sir Francis Galton, Galton House has a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere and has been designed with a combination of modern minimalistic design and understated chic to provide a luxurious setting for guests wishing to relax before or after their African safari adventure.

The hotel has 8 beautiful and spacious bedrooms each of which has a luxury en-suite bathroom, air-conditioning, satellite TV and large comfortable beds.

Hakusembe River Lodge, Kavango

This beautiful and tranquil lodge is set along the lush banks of the Kavango River and offers a peaceful and relaxing stay for guests looking for a river oasis retreat on their Namibian adventure.

A bird-watchers paradise, this delightful lodge has been designed to ensure the ultimate in relaxation, but should you wish for a more adventurous experience there are plenty of options including champagne sunset cruises, visits to a local village, cultural dancing, and fishing and bird watching boat trips.

The lodge is located just 15km from Rundu at the gateway to the Caprivi Strip and is therefore an ideal base for exploring this area. It is also perfect as a welcome break on journeys from Windhoek and Etosha to the Zambezi and Victoria Falls.

Hoodia Desert Lodge, Sossusvlei

Hoodia Desert Lodge is a beautiful and tranquil lodge situated on the banks of the Tsauchab River just 20 minutes from the Sesriem gate which is the entrance to the towering red sand dunes of Sossusvlei.

Offering a range of activities including tours around these Sossusvlei dunes this an an excellent base from which to explore this unique area.

Perched at the foot of the towering Namib-Naukluft Mountains this remote lodge offers beautiful accommodation, superb cuisine, warm and welcoming hospitality and a relaxing and enjoyable atmosphere for guests looking to enjoy their wonderful surroundings in exceptional comfort.

Oysterbox Guesthouse, Swakopmund

Located right on the waterfront of the Walvis Bay lagoon and just five minute's drive from the town, this excellent guest house is an ideal base for exploring the Walvis Bay and Swakopmund area. The lagoon itself is one of the most important coastal wetland sites in Southern Africa and attracts thousands of migrating species as well as its many residents, including Flamingos.

Beautifully designed, the guesthouse offers a very high standard of comfort for visitors to this wonderful area. A hearty breakfast will set you up for a day of exploring or you can simply relax on the deck overlooking the beautiful lagoon and soak up the sunshine. In the evening enjoy customary "sundowners" and regale tales of your adventures so far before enjoying a great night's sleep in your elegant private guestroom.

Onguma Tented Camp, Damaraland

The Onguma Tented Camp is situated at a waterhole and consists of 7 Luxury tents, each with spectacular vistas and views onto the waterhole. The main complex, also overlooking the waterhole, includes a reception area, lounge, wine cellar, bar and dining room.

Nkasa Lupala, Caprivi Strip

Nkasa Lupala Tented Lodge on the banks of the Kwando-Linyanti river system hosts a maximum of 22 persons and is located on the northern, unfenced border of Nkasa Rupara National Park. Elephants and buffaloes are very common in the area, as are large predators such as lions, leopards or hyenas and sometimes even Fish Eagles.More than 400 bird species can also be spotted in the area.
Activities at Nkasa Lupala include boat cruises, Game drives and guided walks. Rather than the quantity, you should expect the quality of sightings and the privilege of visiting one of the most remote and exclusive area in the region. Nkasa Lupala is located in a unique wetland area and we do have a great difference of sightings between seasons.

Camp Onduli, Damaraland

Opened in July 2020, this exclusive camp has been constructed amongst granite outcrops on the Damaraland landscape, perfectly positioned for fantastic views of the Brandberg, Namibia’s highest mountain. The layout and structure of the camp has been expertly designed to ensure impeccable views at every turn and to ensure that the camp effortlessly blends into its natural surroundings.

Nambwa Tented Lodge, Bwabwata N.P

Set within the world’s largest conservation area and one of only a handful of lodges to be uniquely located inside the Bwabwata National Park, Nambwa Tented Lodge is perched majestically upon the tree canopies along an ancient elephant migratory route. Wonderful accommodation is provided in 10 luxury tented suites which offer supreme comfort, magnificent views from private viewing decks, ensuite bathrooms with showers and baths, spacious lounges, and 110 square metres of beautifully decorated space. The heart of the lodge is the fantastic viewing deck where tasty meals are served open-air surrounded by the floodplains below where elephants, buffalo and much more roam free. The lodge also features a boma firepit where guests can enjoy a sundowner drink and a chat about the adventures of the day, a welcoming and relaxing Safari Lounge and a library.

Ai Aiba Rock Painting Lodge

Dramatically set amongst imposing granite boulders at the foothills of the Erongo Mountain range, this excellent lodge is stepped in history and blessed with incredible natural surroundings. Famous for its countless rock painting sites, guests here can immerse themselves in the mystical exploration of nature. When not enjoying the breathtaking landscape and exploring the surroundings, guests can enjoy the warm hospitality and high-level comfort that the lodge provides. The lodge offers 20 thatch roofed guest chalets, each of which has been tastefully furnished in a modern African style, and features a shaded verandah, large bathroom with walk-in shower, cosy lounge area and large windows which frame the enchanting views. Family rooms and triple rooms are available. The main areas of the lodge include a swimming pool and a high thatched roof restaurant with beautiful views.

Too much to choose from? This is where we come in

Take advantage of our vast experience, passion and expertise to help you hand craft the perfect Namibia adventure for you.

Michael Gardiner Senior Travel Expert

Mike lives and breathes adventure travel and has a wealth of experience in some of the most exciting and inspirational destinations in the world. His expertise and first-hand experience afford him the skills to help build holidays to remember.

Simon Rowland Senior Travel Expert

With a lifetime of unforgettable nature and adventure based travel under his belt, Simon shares his passion, enthusiasm and hands-on experience to help create the perfect itinerary for every client.

Amy Lucas Travel Specialist

Amy’s abiding love of adventure travel has taken her to some of the most incredible wildlife-rich places on Earth. Her vast experience and genuine desire to share her knowledge makes her an outstanding and invaluable person to help you organise your wildlife adventure trip.

Ready to start planning youronce in a lifetime trip?

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0800 195 3385
Outside the uk
+ 44 1625 5811 43
Call us
+ 44 1625 5811 43
Call us
+ 44 1625 5811 43

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Ready to start planning youronce in a lifetime trip?

Call us - 0800 195 3385
Outside the uk? + 44 1625 5811 43
+ 44 1625 5811 43 Call us - 0800 195 3385

Chat Now

Request a

Fill in our
Enquiry form

Book Consultation

Book a

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