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Nestled between the Auas mountains to the south, the Eros mountains to the north and the rolling hills of the Khomas Hochland, Windhoek (1650 m a.s.l) is a worthwhile en-route stop-over to "bag" a suite of Namibia's musts. A two to three day visit is recommended. Despite being hot, it is best to visit between December and February when most birds are breeding and the intra-african and palearctic migrants are present.

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Specials

Monteiro's Hornbill, Rockrunner, Carp's Tit, White-tailed Shrike, Short-toed Rock-Thrush Bradfield's Swift, Pririt Batis, Rosy-faced Lovebird, Orange River Francolin, Chestnut Weaver.

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Habitats

Predominantly highveld vegetation covering the Khomas Hochland hills. Interspersed grassland and highveld acacia savanna on scattered hills and open outcrops, with denser riverine woodland along ephemeral river courses. The urban environment holds sewerage works and several dams (Avis, Goreangab, etc.).

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Facilities

Windhoek has everything from 5 star hotels to budget B&B's, backpacker accommodation and camping. All amenities described are contained in the a 20km radius of the CBD on a tarred road network. An ample range of car hiring operators offering anything from a sedan to fully kitted 4x4's are available at a cost of ± 100 US$ a day. More adventurous birdwatchers willing to bird the Namib, its escarpment and hinterlands are well advised to kit themselves with jerry cans and water containers. Paying a visit to the National Parks reservations office in Independence Avenue is certainly a worthwhile time investment before venturing any further.

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Birding

1. Daan Viljoen Game Reserve The Choub river bed below the visitors centre at Daan Viljoen Game Reserve is worth birding (especially during the early hours of the day). Specials include Monteiro's Hornbill, Rockrunner, Carp's Tit, Rosy-faced Lovebird, Great Spotted Cuckoo, African Cuckoo, Icterine Warbler, Chestnut Weaver, Barred Wren-Warbler and the attractive white-capped morph of the Mountain Wheatear. Keen birders are well advised to take notice of the thickbilled form of the Sabota Lark, considered a separate species by some authorities.

The steep cliffs, gorges and precipices below Daan Viljoen Game Reserve's dam offer a good vantage point to locate calling Rockrunner, Rosy-faced Lovebird, Short-toed Rock-Thrush, Pale-winged Starling and the occasional Orange River Francolin. The campsite area at Daan Viljoen Game Reserve provides close-range sightings of both Red-billed Spurfowl and the attractive damara morph of Helmeted Guineafowl, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Great Sparrow, Burnt-necked Eremomela, Violet-eared Waxbill, Black-faced Waxbill, Barred Wren-Warbler, Scaly-feathered Finch, Kalahari Scrub-Robin, Ashy Tit, Cape Penduline-Tit. Eager birders might be interested in viewing the Damara Hornbill, recently split from the more familiar Red-billed Hornbill. Several interesting palaearctic warblers have been seen in the reedbeds and marginal vegetation surrounding the dam.

2. The Hofmeyr Walk. The Hoffmeyr walk along the ridge that separates Windhoek's city centre and Klein Windhoek is a well-renowned spot to pick up good sightings of White-tailed Shrike. The walk runs along the ridge, behind the city's water storage tanks, next to Windhoek's mysterious "ice cream cone-on the hill" structure (impossible to miss!!). To reach the spot drive along Anderson road and park your car near the obvious water storage containers.

3. Avis Dam Avis Dam is a popular recreational spot for Windhoek's populace, so try avoiding the afternoons. Mornings are well invested exploring the grassy slopes behind the dam, an excellent area to watch Orange River Francolin, Rockrunner and Monteiro's Hornbill. Below, the open grassy plains attract Capped Wheatear and considerable numbers of Ant-eating Chat, Violet-eared Waxbill, Black-faced Waxbill and Scaly-feathered Finch. When water is present Avis dam attracts a wide range of interesting species such as Maccoa Duck, Fulvous Duck, Black-necked Grebe and Dwarf Bittern among others.

4. Windhoek Sewage Works The local bird club regularly visits Windhoek's sewage works. To get there drive out of Windhoek towards Daan Viljoen, drive past the western by-pass and further a few kilometers until you reach a right turn-off (tarred) leading towards Khomasdal. Follow this road until you see the board sign of the Gammams water Treatment Plant, take a left turn and follow the road to the sewerage works. This site offers typical wetland birding including, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Squacco Heron, African Purple Swamphen, Black Crake and good numbers of Baillon's Crake in summer amongst many others.

5. There is no better place than Windhoek's city centre to obtain excellent views of Bradfield's Swift.

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General

Accommodation is available in the area.

Keith Barnes and Christian Boix 1998.



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