Gabon offers some of the most exciting lowland forest birding on the continent, with extensive tracts of intact forest and healthy mammals populations remaining. However, the coastal savannas offer the top birding spectacle, with tens of thousands of African River Martins and Rosy Bee-eaters congregating there to breed; out tour is timed to coincide with this spectacular event.
We have seen Black Guineafowl, Plumed Guineafowl, Latham's Forest Francolin, Congo Serpent Eagle, Long-tailed Hawk, Gabon Helmetshrike, Black-headed Bee-eater, Rosy Bee-eater, Yellow-throated Cuckoo and African River Martin all on a single tour! Have a look at our trip reports for more details.
Our tour offers you the chance to bird in lowlands forests, moist savannas, miombo woodlands, plateau and coastal grasslands, and coastal lakes. While we focus on birds we also have a chance to see some spectacular mammals, including forest elephant, red river hog and forest buffalo, and there are even chances to see western gorilla, chimpanzee and mandrill.
During our tour we focus on four key sites:
(i) Lopè National Park, which offers a forest/savannah mosaic holding specials such as Bates's Nightjar, Bates's Swift, Dja River Warbler, Violet-tailed Sunbird and Lyre-tailed Honeyguide.
(ii) Ipassa Strict Nature Reserve in the Ivindo National Park, which offers superb forest birding. Highlights could include Black Guineafowl, African Piculet, Gabon Batis and Rachel's Malimbe.
(iii) Lèkoni grasslands on the Bateke Plateau, with a wealth of grassland and miombo woodland birds: Black-headed Bee-eater, Congo Moor Chat, Finsch's Francolin and Black-chinned Weaver.
(iv) the exciting Gamba Protected Areas Complex, where coastline meets grassland, forest, rivers and lakes. Specials include Loango Weaver, Rosy Bee-eater, African River Martin and more.
Michael Mills grew up "in the bush" in the Kalahari and Kruger National Parks where his parents were carnivore researchers. His incredible focus, dedication and ability to locate and show people Africa's toughest birds is probably unequalled on the continent.
Michael has led dozens of tours in Southern, East, Central, West and North Africa and his experience in locating birds on just the softest of calls or briefest of views impresses those who have travelled with him.
There is seldom a tour where Michael doesn't make an interesting discovery such as finding a new species for a country or record an undescribed bird call (and he has published these in the scientific literature).
Not only is Michael one of our principal leaders, but he also helps extensively with scouting and planning our most challenging itineraries.
For keen birders and mammal
enthusiasts. Designed to see as many as possible endemic birds
and lemurs, but while on the walks we spend a lot of time looking
for other aspects of wildlife such as the mammals, primates
and interesting plants.
Many participants on our trips are amateur
wildlife photographers. And when we get excellent views of a
bird or mammal, some time is usually spent watching and photographing
it. However, this is not a photographic tour and once the majority
of the people have felt that they have absorbed the animal or
bird to their satisfaction, then we move on in search of the
next encounter. Thus, while the photographic opportunities are
very good, the group will only occasionally wait for somebody
who wants to spend even longer getting better photos.
A moderate level of fitness is required.
The walks are generally in relatively flat areas with occasional
inclines. Primate trekking may involve walking off the pathways
on non-level terrain.
Birding is generally best during
the long dry season in July and August.
June, July, August is the long dry season:
little rain with pleasant temperatures of 22 to 25 °C. Skies
are usually clouded and light is less good for photography.
Fairly comfortable accommodation in
guest houses, lodges and small hotels.
We travel mainly by minibus and four
wheel drive vehicles. Also by train and plane.
Depending on the tour. Please enquire.
Rare lowland forest species, such
as Congo Serpent Eagle and Plumed Guineafowl; Rosy and Black-headed
Bee-eater, African River Martin, Congo Moor Chat, Long-tailed
Hawk and Rufous-sided Broadbill
Your booking can be secured with a booking form and deposit. You will receive confirmation and our tour information pack with practical information on what to expect and how to prepare for the tour. The balance
is due 150 days before the tour. Contact us to enquire about availability.
About Birding Africa
Birding Africa is a specialist birding tour
company customising tours for both world listers and more relaxed
holiday birders. We combine interests in mammals, butterflies, dragonflies,
botany and other natural history aspects and will guide you to Africa's
and Madagascar's most diverse birding destinations. Our guides'
knowledge of African birds and birding areas is our greatest strength
and together we have rediscovered species, shared exciting observations
with the birding community and had a fun time exploring our home
continent. We've even written two acclaimed guide
books on where to find Southern Africa's and Madagascar's best
birds. Birding is more than our passion, it's our lifestyle, and
we are dedicated to making professional, best value trips filled
with endemic species and unique wildlife experiences. Since 1997,
we've run bird watching tours
in South Africa and further into Africa for individual birders,
small birding groups and top international tour companies. We've
run Conservation Tours
in association with the African Bird Club and work with and consult
for a number of other top international tour companies and the BBC
Natural History Unit.