Their location, being on a unique highpoint overlooking some extensive floodplains on the Okavango River system, affords some excellent birding opportunities. The current list is 412 species, of which 21 are endemic/near-endemic, with 85 ‘Hotties’ or sought-after species. Grey-headed and Meyer’s Parrots are regular sightings overhead flying to favoured feeding trees. The property includes some of the only climax Knobthorn forest remaining on this heavily de-forested river system. This provides excellent lookout or hunting habitat for raptors like Wood Owl, Barred Owlet, White-faced Scops-owl, Western Banded Snake Eagle, African Goshawk, Black Sparrow Hawk, Long-crested Eagle, Ayre’s Hawk-eagle, Cuckoo Hawk Peregrine Falcon, African Hobby and Bat Hawk, amongst others which are therefore attracted to this spot, some in fact breeding here.
They encourage their guests to walk around the extensive property where the avid birder may run into numerous feeding parties of forest-dwelling birds like White-browed Robin Chat, Swamp Boubou, Black-crowned Tchagra, Black-collared Barbet, Bulbuls, Greenbuls, Brownbuls, and various Flycatchers, Woodpeckers and Wood hoopoes. Shelley’s Sunbird is also often seen here.
The surrounding open scrubland/grassland areas offer sightings of the many smaller seedeaters like Brown Firefinch, Orange-breasted Waxbill, and seasonal Warblers, Cisticolas, Larks and Pipits. When seasonal rainwater pans here fill up, they provide good habitat for Rosy-throated Longclaw, Yellow Wagtail, Dwarf Bittern, Snipes, Cuckoo-finch and other nondescript waders
There is a registered bird-ranging station and qualified staff available to bird-watchers. Specialized guided walks can be arranged;
Although they are situated within a rural area the local population is relatively sparse in this area. They are also surrounded by hundreds of hectares of uninhabited floodplains which, during drier months, afford some excellent walking opportunities. Although, as with most rural communities throughout Africa, there are no large game species anymore in the area, there are some interesting plains bird species to be seen only on these drier floodplains as well as smaller mammals, insects, and reptiles that have escaped the attention of the local people. Being on the border with Angola, where almost no knowledge of smaller animal life is available, is a distinct advantage, and we often find animal, insect and reptile species which are unknown from elsewhere in Namibia. They encourage guests to walk freely inside the property, as it is quite safe, or when necessary a guide can be arranged.
Guided walks in the neighbouring woodlands offer a host of exciting rarities like Souza’s Shrike (a breeding resident), Racket-tailed Roller, Sharp-tailed Starling, Green-backed and Brown-backed Honeybirds, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, African and Eurasian Orioles, Long-legged Buzzard, Rufous-bellied Tit, Green-capped Eremomela, Tree and Wood Pipits, Arnott’s Chat, Red-faced Crombec, Orange-winged Pytilia, Retz’s Helmet-shrike, Thick-billed Cuckoo, Black-faced Babbler and Bradfield’s Hornbill;
Boat trips on the river reveal Long-toed Lapwing, Great Snipe, African and Painted Snipe, Kingfishers, Bee-eaters, Coppery-tailed Coucal, Rails, Crakes, Allen’s Gallinule, Lesser Moorhen, Lesser Jacana, Little Bittern various Ducks and Geese, Open-billed Stork, White-backed Night-heron, Rufous-bellied Heron, Slaty Egret, other Herons and Egrets, Rock Pratincole, Fish-eagle, Harriers, Luapula’s and Chirping Cisticolas, Greater Swamp Warbler and many other Waders and Waterbirds.
The extensive floodplains, before and during the rainy season, offer excellent breeding and feeding opportunities for these wetland birds and the many sandbank islands for African Skimmer, Water Thick-knee, and Wattled Plover, among others.
They are a recognized ringing station with qualified and registered ringers, and permanently placed mist-nets in strategic places on the property. For those guests specifically interested, they offer two choices of a daily ringing program to allow the enthusiastic visitor direct involvement with the hands-on capture and ringing procedures. These arrangements require some prior notification. All records will be accurately catalogued and directed to AFRING at the University of Cape Town.
A Novice Ringing Exercise would include a full day long and would involve the procedure of opening the permanently placed mist nets in different habitats within the property, with instructions on why they are placed there and how they function. Then the measuring and recording procedures will be demonstrated and discussed at length. The nets are then regularly monitored for captured birds, which will demand walking from net to net, to minimize the time a captured bird spends in the nets. Once a bird is captured, the guest will have direct involvement with the actual freeing and handling process under instructions, after which the bird will be processed, ringed and released. This activity will be repeated throughout the day while the nets are up and active. Guests are warned that there will be periods of inactivity during the day, mostly midday, when bird movement is minimized because of the hot temperatures. Periods of intense activity are normally early morning and late afternoon.
An Adventurous or Experienced Ringer Exercise only differs from the above, in that nets are freshly placed in completely new areas, possibly involving vehicle or boat travel, and the daily activity is sometimes far from the Camp, when and if, conditions allow. Guests are encouraged to prepare themselves for a full day away and be self-sufficient.
This stretch of the Okavango River still offers some excellent opportunities for big Tigerfish, Barbel (Catfish) and the predatory Bream species like Nembwe, Thin-face and Humpback Largemouth and ‘Three-spot’ which can be caught using light spinning rods and a variety of lures, spinners, live-bait or drift-bait.
The more sedate fishing with worms and bait afford some good opportunities for Red-breasted and Green-headed Bream. They encourage fly-fishing, but the fast-flowing river usually frustrates the less persevering and fanatical fly-fisherman. This technique is therefore usually more successful during the lower water level months, from June to November when the current is also slower. The more active Bream fishing months are the colder periods, particularly May, June and July, and when the water is lower, until September. Tiger fishing is available throughout the year, but the more active times are during the high water months of January to April.
Some really active fishing is available for varying periods as the river level falls and the breeding fish and young are coming out of the floodplains into the mainstream. Alternatively, when the river level is rising and flowing into the adjoining floodplains allowing the breeding fish access into these areas to breed. These highly active times vary from year to year depending on rainfall, locally and in the Angolan catchment area.
Game Park visits:
Two distinctly different Game Parks are within easy reach from our location. These are Mahango Game Park (on the river) and Kaudom Game Reserve (in the interior “Sandveld” area).
Mahango Game Park is an hour’s drive from us on tarred roads for most of the way. Although the riverine routes in the Park are suitable for normal 2×4 vehicles, the majority of the Park is not. Most of the game and birds are, however, within reach of the riverine areas and therefore, accessible to 2×4 vehicles. Being a small reserve with good species diversity the visitor can usually have a satisfying day’s excursion. Guided tours can be arranged, and more information on the Park can be made available on request.
Khaudum Game Reserve is actually closer, but the arduous 4×4 access road makes reaching the Park an experience not for the faint-hearted. The Park has two basic overnight camps, and a trip to this remote, yet worthwhile Park, requires some prior planning and preparation before an extended excursion should be attempted. Being a large, extensive Park with many unmarked routes between water points it is advisable to consider a guide. The authorities also insist that each party is required to have no less than two vehicles for safety reasons. We can make the necessary arrangements and provide a guide and vehicle if necessary.
Swimming pool and recreational deck:
A large, private swimming pool and comfortable tree-top viewing deck is available to resident guests;
Private bar and lounge:
Guests may relax in the main entertainment area with a privatized bar with DSTV in the main lounge;