Picture this: Transitioning from a basic fishing camp to a bustling birding haven is like trading a reliable Land Rover for a sleek Land Cruiser. Or even, shifting from a simple mix of Klipdrift and Coke in a tin cup to savouring Cognac as the sun sets gracefully over the Zambezi River.
Text & Photographs Pompie Burger
From the Spring 2023 issue
The essence of this journey is not about what we sip on or the vehicle we arrive in. It is about the mesmerising experience of birdwatching in the Zambezi Region – an experience second only to ultimate enlightenment. Remarkably, over 80% of Namibia’s birds grace this region. So, if you seek authenticity, Kubu beckons. Answer the call and be part of this exhilarating escapade.
Without delving into the wonders of the lodge or the impeccable service, let me get straight to the heart of the matter: birding. Immersed in the beauty that straddles the riverbanks, and endowed with access to a mosaic of bird habitats, it is not far-fetched to say that the Zambezi Region is just a touch away from paradise.
While the mystery remains as to why Johan invited me for a weekend birding gala (with my questionable oratory skills and self-admitted beginner status in bird knowledge), I am thrilled to embark on this journey. Fear not, for Adri Bruwer, a renowned photographer, will fill in the blanks with her expertise. From talks to personal advice, she’s got you covered. And for those keen on sharing their experiences, a discussion stage awaits.
As for me? I am your guide on this captivating journey. Johan envisions a comprehensive exploration of the region: from rivers to floodplains, forests to woodlands. And guess what? The deck of the lodge doubles up as a bird-watching sanctuary – perhaps with a G&T in hand, for the more spirited among us!
But there is more. A tech maestro will guide us through the latest in photography, ensuring you leave with more than just ‘on-off’ knowledge of your camera. And for the eager beavers, there might be some tempting deals on cutting-edge equipment. Additionally, a local bird expert will introduce us to the region’s unique avian wonders, while a passionate environmentalist will capture the essence of the habitat.
Now, here’s a twist: Elzanne, the editor-in-chief of Travel News Namibia, is also gracing the occasion. Though my last trip with her had its “spirited” challenges, this promises to be different.
The birding experience here is transcendental. With diverse habitats, the variety of birds is simply breathtaking. From the elusive Black Coucal to the radiant Orange-breasted Bush Shrike and the iconic African Fish Eagle, the sights are aplenty. And if we are lucky, the rare African Crake might make an appearance.
But if you ever feel the need for an adrenaline rush, the Carmine Bee-eater colony and the African Skimmer breeding grounds promise unforgettable experiences. Just a fair warning: the exhilaration might make it hard to return to the serenity of the lodge.
To sum it up: Meet the gracious Helga (the good), the unpredictable Elzanne (the bad), and, ahem, yours truly, your bird photography speaker for the weekend (the so-called ugly). Buckle up: the Zambezi awaits!