dgdfgdfgdgdgdg Batis Birding Safaris | Namibia

Tour Options

  • Full Day Brandberg
  • Full Day Spitzkoppe
  • Half Day Swakop River & Eco Tour
  • Half Day Dune Lark, Kuiseb Dune & Walvis Lagoon
  • Half Day Rocky Desert Tour
  • Half Day Eco Dune Tour
  • Half Day Gray’s Lark & Coastal Wetlands
  • Full Day Combo Eco Dune Tour
  • Morning Eco Dune Walk
  • Night Walk
  • Night Walk & Dinner Combo
  • Night Walk Combo

BRANDBERG BIRDING AND ECO TOUR

The Brandberg is the largest mountain in Namibia at 2573m above sea level. It comprises a large massive inselberg of granite and has numerous valleys and gorges which offer not only good reptiles and birding but also larger animals such as Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra, Oryx (Gemsbok), Springbok, Kudu, Klipspringer and Leopard. Desert adapted Elephant also occur in the Ugab River at the foot of the northern section of the mountain. There is a rich diversity of reptiles, scorpions and plant life including Welwitschia plant, the only member in the family Welwitschiaceae and is one of the more bizarre plants on the planet, on the western foot of the mountain. Birds are plentiful and raptors such as the African Black (Verreaux’s) Eagle, Martial Eagle, Booted Eagle, Black-chested Snake Eagle as well as Lanner Falcon, Peregrine Falcon and Rock Kestrel are also fairly common. The near endemic Herero Chat, Benguela Long-billed Lark and Rüppell’s Korhaan can also be encountered at the foot of the mountain, other species such as Mountain Wheatear, Familiar and Karoo Chat, Pale-winged Starling, Rosy-faced Lovebird, Red-faced and White-backed Mousebird, Bokmakierie, Grey-backed Cisticola, Black-chested Prinia and Sabota Lark are common and after good rainfall thousands of Namaqua Sandgrouse can be found drinking at the many seeps and springs that run off the mountain.

The key species which we will focus on while on this tour will be Herero Chat, Benguela Long-billed Lark, Rüppell’s Korhaan, Ludwig’s Bustard, Gray’s Lark and the various birds of prey.

The Brandberg area has a possible 134 species of birds, 35 species of mammals and many species of reptiles, the area also has the largest diversity of scorpions in Africa!

SPITZKOPPE BIRDING & ECO TOUR

The Spitzkoppe often referred to as the ‘Matterhorn of Namibia’, is a huge granite inselberg within the Namib Desert and rises to approximately 1728 meters above sea level. The area lends itself to excellent photographic opportunities and the inselberg massif harbours many interesting fauna and flora. To date we have recorded 139 species of birds, 30 species of mammals and 16 species of reptiles, many of these are unique or endemic to the Namib Desert. The vegetation on the Spitzkoppe is different to the surrounding plains and interesting plants such as the Cyphostemma currori and Hoodia currori can be found. The more low-lying areas consist of stunted Acacia melifera, Acacia reficiens and Acacia tortilis, Sheppard’s trees (Boscia albitrunca), Ringwood (Maerua schinzii) and many other desert adapted forbs and shrubs which grow primarily along the drainage lines, these in turn provide habitat and food for many species of birds, reptiles, insects and small mammals.

The birds that we will be looking for, including the enigmatic Herero Chat, are the near-endemic Monteiro’s Hornbill, Rüppell’s Korhaan, White-tailed Shrike, Karoo Long-billed Lark and Carp’s Tit. Other interesting species, some at the edge of their northern range, are Layard’s Tit Babbler, Bokmakierie, Rosy-faced Lovebird, Dusky Sunbird, Marico Sunbird, Double-banded Sandgrouse, Namaqua Sandgrouse, Ludwig’s Bustard and the larger birds of prey such as Verreaux’s (African Black) Eagle, Booted Eagle, Martial Eagle, Lanner Falcon, Greater and Rock Kestrel and Pale Chanting Goshawks.

SWAKOP RIVER AND ECO TOUR

This tour takes us through the desert plains and rocky areas of the ‘Moon valley’ to the Swakop river valley. The area consists primarily of beautifully folded gneiss and granite, criss-crossed by dolerite dykes and covered partially by Gypsum gravel plains, the Swakop River valley bisecting this amazing area is characterised by the vegetated Swakop River valley where you may encounter Springbok, Savanna Baboon, Klipspringer, Ostrich and an array of different birds. The drainage lines running into the Swakop River from the surrounding desert have short stunted arid adapted plants and grasses, here you may see birds such as Familiar, Tractrac and Mountain Chat (Wheatear), Rock Kestrel, Rüppell’s Korhaan, and with luck Karoo Eremomela (a sub-species only occurring in the central Namib area). Within the main river bed where the vegetation is more dense and the trees bigger there is a much higher density and diversity of species such as Red-faced and White-backed Mousebirds, Grey Go-away birds, Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters, Cape Sparrows, Orange River White-eyes, Pririt Batis, Chestnut-vented Tit Babbler, Bokmakierie, Fiscal Shrike, Augur Buzzard and Black-chested Snake Eagle.

Although this tour is planned around the birding of this unique environment, there are good photographic opportunities, it is also characterised by interesting geological formations. Many arid adapted plants, reptiles and insects may be encountered, and these will be pointed out to you by your knowledgeable Batis guides.

Most of the water birds recorded are only found in restricted areas within the riverbed, these areas may from time to time have open water this in turn may attract species not normally found here It is also worthwhile to note that most of the smaller mammals recorded here may only be seen after dark when the desert becomes cooler, species such as the gerbils and nocturnal geckos will only come out of their hiding places after dark and these can be explored on our unique night walks which are offered.

DUNE LARK AND KUISEB DELTA AND WALVIS LAGOON BIRDING & ECO TOUR

The Kuiseb Delta vegetation comprises of Tamarisk Trees Tamarix usneoides, stunted vegetation and huge ‘Nara’ hummocks Acanthosicyos horrida with a backdrop of the red dune fields. Further upstream towards Rooibank fairly large Camelthorn Trees Acacia erioloba are also found.

It is here that your guide will find 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, fortunately 90% of the population falls within protected areas, both national and private so there is no threat to their survival.

This little lark is one of the most arid-adapted birds in the world. It lives at the base of the huge red dunes of the Namib where it is most active in the morning and late afternoon. Here 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. By mid-afternoon the birds become quiet and take shelter in the shade of grass tufts on the dune edges. At this time of the day where the surface can reach a scoring 55 - 60⁰ C, the shaded areas in which they roost may only be around 33⁰ C. Approximately 20 – 30% of the Dune Lark’s diet is invertebrates, ants, termites, grasshoppers etc. This helps to metabolise enough water to survive as this species does not drink water. Besides this species we may also see the coastal form of Tractrac Chat en route and in the river bed there are several other species such as Bokmakierie, Black-chested Prinia, Ashy Tit, Chestnut-vented Tit Babbler, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Cape Sparrow, Dusky Sunbird, Pale Chanting Goshawk, Rock Kestrel, Lanner Falcon and Black-chested Snake Eagle.

From the Kuiseb we travel to the Walvis Bay Lagoon and salt pans (proclaimed as a RAMSAR site) where depending on the time of the year you may see thousands of wetland species ( over 100,000 birds in summer and less than 50,000 in winter) species such as Curlew Sandpiper, Red Knot, Sanderlings, Little Stint, both Greater and Lesser Flamingos, Great White Pelican, various Gulls and Terns and with luck Terek Sandpiper, Great Sandplover, Red-necked Phalarope, Franklin’s Gull and European Oystercatcher may be seen in huge numbers. However the best time to see most of the abovementioned species is in our summer months from December to mid-April this is when most of the migrants have arrived to feed on the lagoon mudflats.

On a 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, we then travel to the Salt Pans near Swakopmund to look for any specials that may be around at the time before searching the surrounding desert plains to search for Gray’s Lark, Rufous-eared Warbler and Tractrac Chat. If time remains 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 Dune Lark, Gray’s Lark, Orange River White-eye, Tractrac Chat and the only true Namibian endemic the Dune Lark.

Rocky Desert Tour (Moonlandscape and Welwitschias)

This tour takes you from the Dorob National Park into the northern reaches of the Naukluft Park past the Moon Valley, through the Swakop River Valley and the Welwitschia Plains east of Swakopmund.

Millions of years and even more cubic metres of water contributed to the formation of this internationally known tourism attraction, the lunar-like landscape called the Moon Valley. According to geologists, the group of hills was pushed through the earth’s surface about 500 million years ago. On misty mornings when the coastal fog penetrates between the hills, the valley can be described as ghostlike, but once the sun’s rays emerge, the fog disperse and the lunar landscape reveals itself with the most spectacular colours and contours, making this spectacular moonlike topography a photographer’s haven.

From here we travel through the Swakop River Valley into the Swakop River. Huge Acacias and Tamarisks fill the riverbed with bright green Salvadora shrubs on the river banks. This linear oasis with water flows beneath the dry surface sand, provide an oasis for several bird species and desert adapted animals.

Once on the plains the most notable feature of this area is the presence of the highest concentration of Welwitschia mirabilis plants (Welwitschia) in Namibia. Not only is the Welwitschia endemic to the Namib Desert and semi-desert, it is also taxonomically very distinct, being the only representative in its family, and only one of three species in the order Gnetales.

ECO DUNE TOUR (LIVING DESERT)

This half day tour takes place along the eastern part of the major dune belt which lies between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund. Here the ecology of the dunes is concentrated on explaining the evolutionary aspects and the uniqueness of these adaptations. The theory part is dealt with in an informal way and the various desert adapted creatures are then searched for and the various interesting adaptations are pointed out to you. The main animals looked for are the Namib Sand diving Lizard, Web-footed Gecko, Namaqua Chameleon, Peringuey’s Adder(Sidewinder), Namib Sand Snake, Namib thick-tailed Scorpion, the fog basking Tenebrionid Beetle and several other insects only found along the dune belt. A brief description of the minerals found in the dunes is also explained as well as the formation of the dunes and the importance of the coastal fog to all the living organisms and vegetation found along the dunes. The only birds that may be encountered here depending on rainfall are Tractrac Chat, Red-capped Larks, Gray’s Lark, Stark’s Lark, Burchell’s Courser, Ludwig’s Bustard, Rock Kestrel and Rufous-eared Warbler.

GRAY’S LARK AND COASTAL WETLAND BIRDING & ECO-TOUR.

This tour takes you north of Swakopmund to the quartzite gravel plains to search for the arid adapted and cryptic Gray’s Lark. This pale coloured desert Lark can be difficult to locate as it blends in perfectly to the expansive gravel plains which it frequents in the true Namib Desert. Here they scurry around in small family parties uttering a soft contact whistle all the while. It is this call that we will be listening out for when searching for this elusive little bird. The birds call actively during predawn and early evenings this is when they do their courtship display flights, avoiding the scorching heat of the day. Our other target species that we will be looking for are the pale coloured coastal form of Tractrac Chat, Red-capped Lark and Rufous-eared Warbler. Here we may also see Spotted Desert Lizard, Namib Sand Snake and with luck Horned adder.

From the gravel plains we travel to the wetlands near the Swakopmund salt works and depending on the time of the year we may encounter large flocks of both Greater and Lesser flamingos, a variety of waders including White-fronted Plover, African Oystercatcher, Ruddy Turnstones, Common Greenshanks, Curlew Sandpipers, Little Stints and on occasion common Redshank and other unusual species like Greater or Lesser Sandplover, Buff-breasted Sandpiper and Franklin’s Gull. We also scope the guano platform with its thousands of Cape Cormorants for the rarer Bank Cormorant here at its northern most range. Kelp and Hartlaub’s Gulls are common here and in the summer there may also be large numbers of terns including Swift, Damara, Sandwich, Common, and Arctic and with luck Black Tern.

We also visit a small wetland in the Swakop River where Kittlitz’s Plover is fairly common as well as a Chestnut-banded Plover and a few other waders. Occasionally Cape Teal, Egyptian Goose, Rock Kestrel, Black-winged Kite and Peregrine Falcon may be seen. If time permits we have a quick visit to the dunes and look for some of the specially adapted lizards, insects and with luck the desert Namaqua Chameleon and Peringuey’s Adder (Sidewinder).

Combo Eco Dune and Rocky Desert Tour (Moonlandscape and Welwitschias)

This tour starts off with an Eco Dune tour, with a lunch break at Goanikontes (included), followed by the Rocky Desert Tour.

ECO DUNE WALKS

With the Namib Desert practically in our backyard you are very close to being in touch with an extremely rare eco-system. We offer an intimate experience on foot exploring the fauna and flora, most of which are endemic to the dune sea of the Namib Desert. We start the walk on the banks of the Swakop River and take a leisurely stroll through the scenic inter-dune valleys in search of Peringuey’s adder, Fitzsimmon’s Burrowing Skink, Namib Web-footed Gecko, Namaqua Chameleon, Gray’s Lark and a plethora of other small desert adapted species.

NIGHT WALKS AND NIGHT WALK COMBOS

We offer a night walk to the Namib’s gravel plains where you will be shown the desert adapted night life concentrating on the various species of Gecko, Spiders, Gerbils and Scorpions.

During the day the desert looks inhospitable, unfriendly, devoid of any animal life, but once the sun sets, the sand turns into a playground for all kinds of animals. Most of the creatures in the Namib are nocturnal and can be observed only after dark. The Night walk offers a glimpse into the nocturnal theatre of this unique eco-system. After dark the seemingly barren Namib gravel plains come to life and we help you discover these little nocturnal wonders. The walks provide a truly amazing educational experience of the little seen nocturnal creatures.

This walk starts from near the Rossmund Lodge where a short walk across the Swakop River will take you to the desolate gravel plains to the south. It is advisable to have dinner before the walk but this can also be arranged by the Rossmund lodge to have dinner after the walk. We can arrange to pick you up at your accommodations in Swakopmund where you will be returned after the walk at an additional cost of N$100 for the group.

NIGHT WALK COMBOS

You will start off with a 3-course meal at Rossmund Lodge followed by a night walk to the Namib’s gravel plains where you will be shown the desert adapted night life concentrating on the various species of Gecko, Spiders, Gerbils and Scorpions.

During the day the desert looks inhospitable, unfriendly, devoid of any animal life, but once the sun sets, the sand turns into a playground for all kinds of animals. Most of the creatures in the Namib are nocturnal and can be observed only after dark. The Night walk offers a glimpse into the nocturnal theatre of this unique eco-system. After dark the seemingly barren Namib gravel plains come to life and we help you discover these little nocturnal wonders. The walks provide a truly amazing educational experience of the little seen nocturnal creatures.

This walk starts from near the Rossmund Lodge where a short walk across the Swakop River will take you to the desolate gravel plains to the south. It is advisable to have dinner before the walk, and it can be arranged to pick you up at your accommodation in Swakopmund where you will be returned after the walk at an additional cost of N$100 per group.

NIGHT WALK ROCKY DESERT COMBO

This excursion starts with a tour to the Moon Landscape, which is a primarily a magmatic mountain range that has been eroded over the past two hundred and fifty million years, leaving an eerie landscape of rocky, lunar-like peaks. The first diurnal section of this tour takes you through this inhospitable terrain to the “living fossils” of the Namib, the unique Welwitschia mirabilis. En route we will also look at the various species of lichens and other desert adapted flora like the Lithops known commonly as the “living stones” of the Namib. The tour then ends off with sun downers on an eroded dolerite dyke. We then drive down towards the Swakop River where you enjoy a unique desert barbeque/meal under the stars. After dinner we commence with a night walk, where you may encounter various Scorpions, Dancing White Lady Spiders, Common Ground Gecko’s, Giant Ground Gecko’s, Namib Web-footed Gecko and with luck Brush-tailed Gerbils and Small Spotted Genet. After the Night walk we return you to your vehicle at Rossmund Lodge. It can be arranged to pick you up at your accommodation in Swakopmund where you will be returned after the walk at an additional cost of N$100 for the group.

You need to bring warm clothes as the temperatures plunge in the evenings and the coastal South west winds can cause an icy chill factor! A head lamp or small torch can also be brought along, although the guide will have a powerful torch and ultra-violet torch for the locating of scorpions and gecko’s.