Birds are one of the unexpected delights of a safari. They are colourful, spectacularly varied and everywhere. You don’t have to be a “birdwatcher” to enjoy them, but if you are already interested, Africa’s birds will blow your mind!
For sheer brilliance of colour, it’s hard to beat a colony of carmine bee eaters. These bright red birds make their nests like a honeycomb of holes in sandy river banks. You might be pottering down the Zambezi by boat from Chiawa Camp and see a couple of hundred carmines like a great cloud of fluttering colour at the water’s edge. Better still, ask your guide to take you for a walk along the river bank – they’ll emerge to a gentle tapping of your feet for a sight you’ll never forget. On the same walk you could see an outrageously colourful malachite kingfisher hovering and darting into the water for breakfast while a majestic fish eagle watches from a nearby sausage tree.
Water attracts the birds as well as the big game. Rivers like the Zambezi and the Great Rufiji, East Africa’s Rift Valley lakes and Botswana’s Okavango delta are places where you can enjoy literally hundreds of different types of birds. Your guide will amaze you with his ability to find them, and with his seemingly unfathomable depth of knowledge about them. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys collecting, you might want to keep a photo record of the different ones you see – it could easily be 100 or more different birds on a two week safari. Look at Mike Myers tips on safari photography for the best camera equipment.
With their beady eyes, weird designs and strange habits birds can be quirky and great fun to watch. You’ll see a large ungainly saddlebill stork with its red, yellow and black striped beak walking beside an Okavango lagoon, or more bizarrely, 20 hunchbacked white headed vultures jumping around an antelope carcass like something from a Disney movie. Then your guide will point out a “flying banana” – nickname for a yellow billed hoopoe with its enormous curved yellow beak. They are long distance athletes too, as those swallows you see in the Rift Valley could easily be the ones that were in your garden a few months earlier.
We hope that you will enjoy Africa’s beautiful birds as one of many attractions on your next safari.
Contact us to let us know your interests, and we’ll plan your safari to take in the right places at the right time.