The Erongo area of central Namibia is my ideal birding spots in Namibia. The landscape is dominated by rugged granite outcrops standing tall over the surrounding arid plains. This area is named after Mount Erongo, a famous and often-photographed landmark. It is only a short distance from Windhoek, where there are excellent accommodation options available.
Numerous endemic, rare, and unique species of animals, birds, plants reptiles and invertebrates, are located here, making this one of Namibia’s most diverse and wildlife-rich areas. For bird lovers like me, it is particularly attractive: this region is one of the 19 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) designated by BirdLife International in Namibia.
Erongo is the top region in the country to search for the very secretive Hartlaub’s Spurfowl, Pternistis hartlaubi. This species is almost entirely confined to the sandstone and granite outcrops enclosed by grassy shrubland found in southern Angola and Northern Namibia. It is the smallest of the Southern African spurfowl but makes up for that with an intricate, high-pitched synchronised call that, because of its ventriloquial character, makes it hard to find. Unless calling, they are almost impossible to find. However, I have sat sipping my morning cup of coffee at a lodge in the Erongo area only for a small family group to casually saunter past, seemingly oblivious to my presence!
Another extraordinary bird found in the Erongo area is the Rockrunner, Achaetops pycnopygius, also known as the Damara rock-jumper. It is a relatively common but localised species, occurring from the north-central and western escarpment regions of Namibia northwards to southern Angola. It happens on rocky outcrops, hillsides, and has the strange habit of running, flying and hopping, from boulder to boulder, as its name suggests. I have accumulated many early hours by clambering over boulders trying to catch up with one of them for a photograph!
Other fantastic birds life that occurs here include Monteiro’s, Damara red-billed hornbills, Carp’s tit, Ruppell’s parrot, Barred wren-warbler, Rosy-faced lovebird, white-tailed shrike and Short-toed rock-thrush.
The Erongo area is not just well-known for its breath-taking birds. I have been fortunate to spot a leopard on a few occasions whilst birding in the area. An early morning bush walk began with following a flying Peregrine falcon through my binoculars when I came across a massive male leopard staring at me from the rocky outcrops. A fabulous bonus and big treat! Erongo really should be on your must-see list when visiting Namibia.