Birdwatching Trips Birding Adventures in Botswana Begin




Botswana does Kingfishers very well indeed - Brown-hooded Kingfisher.



A blast from the past but a destination we would love to return to...We arrived in Botswana at Maun airport, the gateway to adventures in the Okavango Delta, and were promptly whisked away by Dishu from Letaka Safari to our first lodge of the trip, Thamalakane River Lodge just outside the town on the banks of the river that the lodge was named after. Together with Jacqui & Kevin and Helen & Chris, who we were going to be sharing our safari adventures with, we quickly checked into our comfortable cabins and immediately started encountering great birds, right in the grounds of the lodge.

From our terrace, we watched Swamp Boubou preening itself in the tree right in front of our cabin, a tricky bird to see. This shrike-like bird skulked in the thorn bushes but we did manage some great views as it preened.

A pair of Red-headed Weavers was making a penduline nest in the trees just behind our cabin. These are really beautiful weavers living up to their name, the male really does have a scarlet red head. Wonderful to watch these birds actually weaving their amazing nest.

With temperatures in the 30's, quite a shock from December temperatures in North Wales, we loitered in the shade of the terrace and enjoyed the views of the river and the birds.


Arrow-marked Babblers were wonderful to watch from our lodge.



A noisy gang of Arrow-marked Babblers arrived and bickered and squabbled nearby. These family orientated birds move around in noisy groups and are fun to watch, always on the move.

A cautious Red-billed Francolin crept through the grass hoping we hadn't noticed it, a partridge like bird, with you guessed it a red beak.


A smart looking bird despite its name - the Groundscraper Thrush.



A Groundscraper Thrush boldly marched right up to us as bold as any garden Robin back home in the UK! Looking rather like our own Song Thrush this lovely spotted-breasted bird allowed us to enjoy wonderful views.

A stunning pair of African Paradise-Flycatchers chased each other through the canopy. These birds trail ribbon-like tail feathers as they fly through the trees totally jaw-drawing spectacle.

The view up and down and across the Thamalakane River was pretty stunning. We could watch all the wildlife using the river from the comfort of the porch of our very lovely “cottage” what a great way to start our Botswana adventure. We saw our first African Fish Eagles of the trip perched up in the trees, while White-faced and White-backed Ducks and Pygmy Geese crossed the waterway. Collared Pratincoles hawked over the water while Little Swifts flew high overhead. African Jacana pottered amongst the waterlilies as a stately African Openbill looked for its preferred food, large freshwater snails in the damp grass at the water’s edge.

Looking straight across the river, the vegetation opposite the lodge was quite dense and much drier. The trees here provided ideal perches for a real variety of birds, including Red-necked Falcon - our only sighting on this trip, several Woodland Kingfishers, a Levaillant's Cuckoo and more familiar Red-backed Shrikes.

So many great birds and the tour proper hadn't even started yet! After a long day travelling we crashed early to be ready to meet up the next day with Grant Reed, our guide and one of the founding directors of Letaka Safaris. Bring on the birding, we couldn't wait!



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