Southern Africa - Pre-Trip to Walvis Bay, Namibia
August 7 to 12, 2012
Flew on August 7, 2012, from Houston Intercontinental Airport to Dulles Airport on United Airlines. From there,
we flew via South African Airways to Johannesburg, South Africa arriving at 4 PM on August 8, 2012, with a one hour refueling
stop in Dakar, Senagal. Spent the night of August 8, 2012 at the Southern Sun O.R. Tambo International Hotel.
August 9, 2012
Took a shuttle from our hotel to the O.R. Tambo International airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, for a 11:30 AM South African Airways
flight to Walvis Bay in Namibia and the beginning of our pre-trip. Arrive at Walvis Bay airport at 12:45 PM. After
clearing customs, birded the Kuiseb Delta region, Namib Desert, and marshlands near Swakopmund while on our way to the Hansa Hotel
in Swakopmund. Bruno, our local guide, took us to an area where we saw the endemic Dune Lark. Birded the Hansa Hotel's
courtyard 5:30-6:30 PM. Settled into our room. Bird list at 7:00 PM followed by dinner at 7:30 PM.
The food at the hotel was excellent, and we enjoyed the wild game (Ostrich and Springbok) and fish. Bed at 11:00 PM.
Our room at the Hansa Hotel
August 10, 2012
Up at 6:00 AM. Birded the hotel's courtyard until breakfast at 7:00 AM. Leave for birding at 8:15 AM via land rover with Bruno,
our local guide, and Geoff, our VENT guide. Drove to Walvis Bay and the Walvis Bay Saltworks with birding along the way (Dorob National
Park). Picnic lunch (lasagna, pumpkin bread, and salad prepared by Bruno (one of the best VENT picnic lunches we've experienced) from 12:45-1:20 PM in a
park near the Walvis Bay Lagoon area. After lunch, bird the "saltworks". At around 3:30 PM we headed back to Swakopmund.
Brad and I birded the Hansa Hotel's courtyard from 4:30-5:15 PM (10+ species, all with good looks). Brad and I shopped several local stores from 5:20-6:10 PM.
At 6:30 PM we did the bird list. Dinner from 7:00-9:30 PM. Bed at 11:00 PM.
August 11, 2012
Up at 6:18 AM. Brad and I birded from 6:35 AM (with Geoff) until breakfast at 7:10 AM along Swakopmund's Lighthouse,
and Palm Beach Areas on the Atlantic Coast. Leave for Mile 7 Salt Works and the Namibnaukluft National Park area for
birding. Most of the morning birding was done from the land rover. Drove through a lot of 'moonscaped terrain'. Around
13:20 PM crossed over the main road and headed back towards Swakopmund via the dry Swakop River bed. Parked under some riverine foliage with lunch from 2:30-3:45 PM
(with some birding). Today's picnic lunch, again prepared by Bruno, consisted of a chicken couscous salad and an apple
crumble. Our small group of seven enjoyed the food and the lovely weather with
partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid-70's with a light breeze.
Brad enjoying the lunch in the Swakop River Bed
Left the river bed area at 3:45 PM and headed
to the Rossmund Golf Course for additional birding. Returned to the hotel at 5:30 PM. Bird list at 6:30, and dinner from 7:15-9:30.
Bed at 11:00 PM.
August 12, 2012
Up at 6:30 AM. Breakfast at 7:00 AM. Leave for Swakopmund Airfield at 8:30 AM with a stop at the Atlantic Coast to see
what species the storm coming up the coast may have blown in close to shore.
Joanne & Brad at Swakopmund Airfield
Leave Swakopmund Airfield at 9:45 AM on Desert Air with our pilot, Philip,
Brad and I and two others from our group. The rest of the group flew in another small plane. Arrive at Huab Conservation Area's dirt airfield at 11:15 AM.