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Southern Africa is blessed with someof the continent's finest nationalparks and landscapes. From theharsh Namib Desert to the lush greenwetlands of the Okavango Delta and thenatural wonder of the Victoria Falls, thisspectacular region is home to a fabulousdiversity of wildlife, and some of the mostbreathtaking scenery in the world. Bycombining Namibia, Botswana andZambia in this holiday, we offer not onlythe opportunity to visit three countriesduring one tour, but also the chance toenjoy a diversity of birds and other wildlifeover a range of over 1,000 kilometres;species as special and diverse as the BlueCrane of Namibia, the Pel's Fishing Owl ofBotswana and the beautiful Schalow'sLourie of Zambia. Further, by running thisholiday during the green season, we willbenefit both from the influx of winteringbirds that move south for the southernAfrican summer, as well as from the manynesting species resplendent in theirbreeding dress at this season. Flying into Windhoek, Namibia's capital,and meeting our leader, our first port ofcall is the Waterberg Plateau Park. Risingover 200 metres from the surroundingbush, this plateau is home to over 200 birdspecies, amongst them such Namibianendemics as Hartlaub's Francolin,Rüppell's Parrot, Violet Wood-hoopoe andRockrunner. Continuing our journey north,we will spend the next four days exploringthe Etosha National Park, the finest wildlifereserve in Namibia and one of the best inall of Africa. Covering over 22,000 squarekilometres, the park encircles the greatEtosha Salt Pan, the dried up bed of ahuge ancient lake over 100 kilometresacross. Dry and dusty at the end of thedry season, Etosha is by now transformedby the rains into a lush oasis of greengrassy plains - on which herds ofBurchell's Zebra, Springbok andGemsbok feast - and acacia woodlandamongst which lie rain-fed pools andlarger permanent waterholes. Elephants,Greater Kudu and Giraffe are alsocommon here and we may also encountera Black Rhino, Leopard, Cheetah or Lion iffortunate, although some of thesemammals do become a little more elusiveduring the green season. Etosha's birdlifeis also incredibly diverse and includes theaforementioned Blue Cranes, plus suchother special species as Bateleur, Lappet-faced Vulture, Martial Eagle, AfricanScops Owl, Bare-cheeked Babbler, Carp's Tit and Rufous-eared Warbler toname but a few. Next, we will drive north-east to spend fivedays exploring the wetlands of the CapriviStrip and Okavango Panhandle. The lush,papyrus-fringed wetlands and open plainsthat border the Okavango and KwandoRivers are some of the richest areas forwildlife in southern Africa, though less wellknown than the Okavango Delta thatopens out to the south. We willconcentrate our time here exploring theCaprivi National Park and Mahango GamePark, but spend one night on the edge ofthe Okavango Panhandle in Botswana insearch of the elusive Pel's Fishing Owl.Other wildlife to look out for includesmammals such as Elephant, Hippo, RedLechwe, Reedbuck, Bushbuck and Giraffeand birds such as Dwarf Bittern, GoliathHeron, Slaty Egret (Botswana's onlyendemic), Marsh Owl, Kurrichane Thrush,Lesser Jacana, African Fish Eagle and avariety of colourful weavers, widows andwhydahs. If luck is really on our side wemay be fortunate enough to find a pack ofAfrican Wild Dogs, a rare but more regulartreat in this area.Botswana's Chobe National Park is nexton our agenda, another of Africa's greatwildlife reserves and home to a hugerange of birds and mammals. We willconcentrate our efforts on the Chobe Riverfor the next couple of days, enjoying theherds of Puku, Impala, Waterbuck andElephant that dot the adjacent floodplains.This is a great place for Lions, as well assuch attentive scavengers as SpottedHyena and vultures, while Leopards areoccasionally seen. The birdlife here isagain incredibly diverse, especially thebirds of prey which often fill the sky on hotsunny days and include such species asTawny, Steppe, Lesser Spotted andWahlberg's Eagles, African Hawk-eagle,Black-breasted Snake Eagle, LizardBuzzard and many more. We conclude our holiday in Zambia,spending two nights at the Victoria Falls,one of the seven natural wonders of theworld. Here the mighty Zambezi Riverplunges over 100 metres into aspectacular narrow gorge, a drop twice ashigh as Niagara. When the Zambezi is infull flood the Falls are often obscured byspray and mist, but in March its water levelis still quite low and the whole vista of theFalls and canyon can be appreciated andenjoyed . as well as such birds as thebeautiful Schalow's Lourie, RockPratincole, African Finfoot and TrumpeterHornbill. After a relaxing couple of daysenjoying this great natural spectacle wemust sadly say our farewells to the exoticwildlife of southern Africa and return to themore familiar fauna and flora of home.Namibia, Botswana &Zambia - Etosha to the Victoria Falls!A 17-day birdwatching and mammal-viewing safari through Namibia, Botswana and Zambia, visiting the Etosha National Park, Caprivi Strip, Okavango Panhandle, Chobe National Park and the Victoria Falls. Friday 1st March - Sunday 17th March Cost: £4,995Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationMOZAMBIQUEZIMBABWESOUTH AFRICAANGOLAMALAWITANZANIAZAMBIAVICTORIAFALLSLIVINGSTONEETOSHANATIONAL PARKWATERBERGPLATEAUWINDHOEKNAMIBIACAPRIVI STRIPOKAVANGOCHOBENATIONAL PARKBOTSWANAOutline itineraryDay 1Depart London.Day 2Arrive Windhoek,Namibia; transferWaterberg Plateau.Day 3/6Etosha National Park,Namibia.Day 7/9Caprivi Strip, Namibia. Day 10Okavango Panhandle,Botswana. Day 11Caprivi Strip, Namibia.Day 12/13Chobe National Park,Botswana.Day 14/15Victoria Falls, Zambia.Day 16Depart Livingstone,Zambia.Day 17Arrive London. AccommodationComfortable permanent tentedcamps and lodges; all rooms/tentswith private facilities.FoodAll included in the price except forlunches and dinners at Victoria Falls.Allow £50.GradingGrade A. A traditional safari-styleholiday with wildlife-viewing byvehicle, boat and on foot. FocusBirds and mammals.LeaderNeil Macleod.Single room supplement£595.ExtensionsA variety of exciting Zambian optionsare available on request.Web quick search: NAM01165Blue CranePel's Fishing OwlAfrican Elephant

Situated along Africa's mostinhospitable coastline, Namibia is awild and spectacular country of desertlandscapes and deep blue skies. The nameNamib is a Hottentot word meaning 'greatplains', epitomised by the magnificentEtosha Pan, whose amazing wildlifespectacles we have all seen so many timeson television. To the east of Etosha lies thegreat Kalahari Desert, whilst to the west isthe beautiful Namib Desert which stretchesalong the full length of the country'scoastline. Namibia is truly vast: three timesthe size of its colonist, Germany, yet with apopulation of less than two million! Notsurprisingly its wildlife has suffered less atthe hands of man than in most other African countries, and such endangeredspecies as the Black Rhinoceros still retain a viable toehold.Namibia's scenery is varied and full of contrasts. It is a land of towering brick-red sand dunes-the tallest on earth-of deep canyons, shimmering plains, highmountains and plateaux, and endlessbushland. Along the appropriately namedSkeleton Coast-the grave of so manyships -the cold Benguela Current sweepsnorthward, transporting plankton-richAntarctic waters into warm subtropicalregions. It is this current that has createdthe Namib Desert, since the Benguela's lowtemperature prevents evaporation andassures an incredibly low rainfall in theregion. Yet, if the Benguela limits theland-based flora and fauna, itsnutrient-packed waters are a haven for fish,seals and seabirds.Although Namibia was colonised byGermany from 1894, and presents a German flavour and architecture in its townseven today, modern Namibia still boasts therich indigenous cultures of its tribes-theBushmen, Himbas, Hereros, Ovambos andDamara. Thus it makes a most interestingcountry through which to travel, and inwhich to enjoy unique habitats and afabulous range of mammal and birdspecies, many of which are endemic.Our holiday begins in Windhoek, Namibia'scapital, from where we will drive to theNamib Naukluft National Park for a stay oftwo nights. Here the Naukluft Mountainsand the world's highest sand dunesconspire to offer some of the finest sceneryin Africa. Amongst them we will find somewonderful walking, such drought-tolerantmammals as Hartmann's Mountain Zebra,Gemsbok and Springbok, and an excellentrange of desert birds, including BlackEagle, Ludwig's Bustard, Rosy-facedLovebird, Bokmakierie and Dune Lark.The long drive to Walvis Bay, at thesouthern end of the Skeleton Coast, is unique in its utter desolation. We will crossthe dry Kuiseb Canyon, the remarkableMoonland, and arid plains where greatflocks of Ostrich and herds of Hartmann'sMountain Zebra roam. We will spend threenights in Walvis Bay in order to fully explorethe surrounding mudflats, marshes anddeserts. The bay holds one of the highestconcentrations of waders in southern Africa,and is also home to thousands of Greaterand Lesser Flamingoes, White Pelicans,grebes, ducks, gulls, terns and, quite often,vagrant American species into the bargain!If the weather permits, we will also set out tosea for a morning to look for the excitingpelagic species that feed offshore. We willalso venture inland in search of the peculiarWelwitschia mirabilis,a remarkable desertplant that lives for as long as 2,000 years!En route to the spectacular wilderness ofDamaraland, we will stop on the SkeletonCoast to look at the Cape Cross seal colonyand in the beautiful valley of Twyfelfontein toenjoy its wealth of rock art. Damaraland is anunpeopled wilderness of rolling, bush-covered hills and plateaux. Here we will stayin a comfortable tented camp and explorethis unique environment, hoping for a chanceencounter with the region's Black Rhino, Lionor 'desert' Elephant, and some outstandingbirding. At night we will have an opportunityto go spotlighting in search of some of theregion's nocturnal mammals such asAardwolf, Bat-eared Fox and Honey Badger. Covering 22,000 square kilometres, Etoshais one of the finest parks in Africa, and oneof the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth.At its heart is the Etosha saltpan, anenormous shallow depression-over 100kilometres across-with numerousperennial springs around its edges, whichattract large concentrations of birds andmammals.This is one of the last places inthe world where Elephant and Black Rhinomay both be seen, plus predators such asLion, Cheetah and Leopard, and antelopesranging in size from the giant Eland to thediminutive Damara Dik-dik. We will nowspend four full days enjoying the best of thepark's wildlife.We will break our drive back to Windhoekwith a night at the Waterberg Plateau Park.Rising almost 200 metres above thesurrounding bush, the Waterberg Plateau ishome to a tremendous variety of birds. Over200 species have been recorded and theseinclude Hartlaub's Francolin (a Namibianendemic), Black Eagle, Bradfield's Hornbill,Rüppell's Parrot, Rock Runner, Grey-backedBleating Warbler and the beautiful AfricanParadise Flycatcher.Namibia's Etosha Pan & Skeleton CoastA 17-day wildlife safari in search of the birds and mammals of Namibia's desert habitats including the Etosha Pan, the Namib Desert, the Waterberg Mountains, Damaraland and the Skeleton Coast. Friday 2nd November - Sunday 18th November 2012 Cost: £5,495Friday 1st November - Sunday 17th November 2013 Cost: £5,495Outline itineraryDay 1 Depart London. Day 2 Arrive Windhoek andtransfer to NamibDesert. Day 3/4 Sossusvlei and Sesriem,Namib Naukluft NationalPark. Day 5/7 Walvis Bay. Day 8/9 Damaraland. Day 10 Andersson's Camp. Day 11/14Etosha National Park. Day 15 Waterberg Plateau.Day 16Depart Windhoek. Day 17Arrive London.AccommodationComfortable chalets, lodges andpermanent tented camps, most withprivate facilities.FoodAll included in the price.GradingGrade A. A mix of gentle bird andgame-viewing walks and drives. FocusBirds and mammals. LeaderRob Mileto or Rob Murray, pluslocal guide(s). Single room supplement£750.Web quick search: NAM02166Call now or visit www.naturetrek.co.ukfor your free Trip ItineraryANGOLABOTSWANAKAOKOLANDETOSHANATIONAL PARKNAMUTONITSUMEBWATERBERGDAMARALANDPLATEAUSKELETON COAST PARKOKAUKUEJOANDERSSON'SCAMPWINDHOEKNAUKLUFTSESRIEMSOSSUSVLEINAMIB-NAUKLUFTNATIONAL PARKWALVIS BAYSWAKOPMUNDCAPE CROSSATLANTIC OCEANNAMIBIADunes of the Namib Naukluft National Park'Desert' ElephantsNorthern Black Korhaan