Arid Areas Birding – Part 1, Hermanus to Aus

Nam Kgal 2
Our proposed route in blue.  The red route was in November.

Having completed an extensive trip around eastern and northern SA in November, we decided to try our luck in the arid western portion of the area, including southern and central Namibia.  Our first leg was to drive to Springbok, a long, hot drive with little opportunity to see new species.  We did have a serious attempt at finding a Cinnamon-breasted Warbler or two in the granite koppies around the town, but to no avail.

Next day saw us heading down to Port Nolloth and on to Alexander Bay, where our target was the Barlow’s Lark.  Once again we were disappointed not to find this elusive little bird, but we were astounded by the beautiful day in Port Nolloth.  The sea was like a lake and it was warm and sunny – a perfect beach day with no wind at all.  There were thousands of cormorants on the small islands offshore and we saw some waders, including a Ruff, on the beach.

Crossing the border into Namibia at Alexander Bay was an interesting experience and we made a brief stop in Oranjemund – a place where we spent many years!  It has certainly changed, especially as it is now an open town.  We took the drive along the north bank of the Orange River to Rosh Pinah.  This has recently been tarred and is an excellent and comfortable way to see this section of the Richtersveld.  Birds, however, were few and far between.  From Rosh Pinah to Aus, a section of around 170 kms, we drove through a virtually lifeless desert, and did not see a single living creature over a 150 kms stretch!!

We stayed in the charming Orange House in Aus.  It is close to the jail, so we heard some loud shouting from the inmates until they quietened down as evening fell (Thank Goodness!)  Aus is a quaint little village with a good hotel and gives one access to the wild horses of Namibia, but we only saw two.


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