Birds of Namibia. The Journey continues, by Pompie Burger
'Stairway to Heaven' is a chapter from Birds of Namibia: The Journey continues, by bird photographer and author Pompie Burger.
For those who are relaxed, non-competitive, unselfish, honest, trustworthy, sentimental, well-mannered, dilettante (the opposite of pedantic, according to Thesaurus), humble and not jealous, this is the route you need to follow for a breathtaking, fantastic and beautiful trip of bird-watching, photography, eating, drinking and just chilling. The tour needs to start in Windhoek, otherwise you'll never get to the end of this magic-carpet ride. Birding or bird-watching is an activity that has taken off big time, even in Namibia where people tend to be like Kobus, who told me in a moment of weakness that he had enjoyed engaging in birding on his last trip to the Caprivi, now called Zambezi. Ever more people are enjoying the exhilaration offered by bird-watching. Obviously you don't have to crawl through snake-infested ditches (that comes later), or do rockclimbing or skydiving to get to the essence of birding. Most people know at least ten birds. Actually, once you start counting, you'll probably end up with close to 100. For me, the ultimate birding route is the one you are reading about right now. With a few exceptions, there are no birding routes that can match this stairway to heaven, and your list will probably be close to 200 once you've completed it. When you leave Windhoek on the B2 to the north, you're on the first step of the stairway. Birding along the road is a luxury few people appreciate, especially if your speed exceeds 120 km/h. Summer is the best time of year to do your trip, because of the huge numbers of migrants that flock down to Namibia. Steppe Buzzards (Buteo vulpinus) and Yellow-billed Kites (Milvus aegyptius) will feature among your first sightings on the way to Okahandja. From Okahandja to Otjiwarongo the diversity increases with every kilometre. Near the Omatako Mountains you'll invariably see some Southern Pale Chanting Goshawks (Melierax canorus), and the odd vulture near Otjiwa, home to the Rare & Endangered Species Trust (REST), a vulture research and education centre. The nest is situated on the left. The first important stop is at the Waterberg Plateau Park, where a whole bouquet of endemics such as Monteiro's (Tockus monteiri) and Damara (T. damarensis) Hornbills, Rockrunners (Achaetops pycnopygius), Riippell's Parrots (Poicephalus rueppellii) and Carp's Tits (Parus carpi) occur, as well as the only remaining Cape Vultures (Gyps coprotheres) nesting area in Namibia. After you've refuelled at Otjiwarongo, you take the Bl road to Otavi, where you turn right on the B8 in the direction of Grootfontein. From here it is a mere 50 kilometres to Roy's Camp, the perfect stopover on your way to the Zambezi Region. Black-faced Babblers (Turdoides melanops) and a whole lot of other specials await you here. If you missed the Damara Hornbills at Waterberg, this is your last opportunity to see one. The food at Roy's is divine - almost as good as the birding. From Roy's the road to Rundu is not too exciting as far as birding is concerned, but once you've reached the Okavango River, you're set for some major birding experiences. A very interesting observation we've made over the years of travelling this road is that cattle horns become longer, as do the dogs' tails, and for some reason the men, not the number of babies, increase as you go further east. The association is debatable. Along the river there are various campsites and lodges that cater for the birder and even for the odd fisherman. Look out for the Racket-tailed Roller (Coracias spatulatus), Souza's Shrike (Lanius souzae) and Ayres's Hawk-Eagle (Aquila ayresii) along the way. At Shamvura, 90 kilometres west of Rundu, an ever-enthusiastic Mark Paxton will invariably ensure that you see the unexpected. [...]
This is an excerpt from Birds of Namibia. The Journey continues, by Pompie Burger.
Title: Birds of Namibia
Subtitle: The Journey continues
Author: Pompie Burger
Publisher: Venture Publications
Windhoek, Namibia 2015
ISBN 9789994579587 / ISBN 978-99945-79-58-7
Hardcover, 21 x 31 cm, 228 pages, throughout colour photos, Text: English
Burger, Pompie im Namibiana-Buchangebot
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