Mali offers an unusual combination
of ancient history and productive birding in unique African landscapes.
For those who like to regale their friends back home with stories
of watching birds at the end of the earth, this is your chance.
Although its bird diversity may not rival that of equatorial countries,
Mali has several alluring attributes. While our tour is very much
bird-focussed, we will also be visiting some of the most famous
cultural sites on the African continent.
Besides Timbuktu, you will see the unusual cliff villages built
by the ancient Tellem, but now inhabited by the Dogon, after which
the area is named. Add to this ancient cities along the languid
Niger River, most notably Gao and Djenne with its impressive 13th
century Mosque, the largest mud structure in the world.
From a birding perspective, Mali’s most notable species is
its own endemic Mali Firefinch, which inhabits
rocky areas in the Guinea woodland zone together with Stone
Partridge, Fox Kestrel, Lavender Waxbill, Kemp’s Red-billed
Hornbill, Rose-ringed Parakeet, White-billed Buffalo-Weaver, Yellow-crowned
Gonolek, Senegal Parrot, Western Grey Plantain-Eater, Bearded Barbet
and Mocking Cliff-Chat.
The relative ease with which one can access the Sahel and Sahara
may be Mali’s biggest draw card. Species seen on previous
Birding Africa tours include Cream-coloured Courser,
Desert Eagle Owl, Little Grey Woodpecker
and Desert Lark .
Another focus is the Inner Niger Delta, with its many lakes. These,
during the Boreal winter, attract tens to hundreds of thousands
of wintering waterfowl, including thousands of Ferruginous
For more information on our Mali birding tour itineraries, please
'Special thanks must be credited to Marje Hemp of Birding
Africa who worked tirelessly in answering our many queries and requests
and also to Callan Cohen for all the additional bird-finding help
and advice so freely given; without Birding Africa's input the trip
would surely not have been the smooth-running success which it turned
out to be and we would urge anyone who follows in our footsteps
to do so with the assistance of this first class company.'
'Many thanks for such a comprehensive set of information...
but then I'd expect nothing less after all of your previous hard
work and attention to detail!
Tour Leader: Callan Cohen
Callan has had a life-long dedication to birds and founded Birding Africa when he was still a university student. Since then, he has led over 100 tours and expeditions to 23 African countries, both for Birding Africa and British and American bird tour companies. Callan has acted as a consultant for the BBC Natural History Unit and has even shown Bill Oddie some of the birds around Cape Town!
Callan has spent much of his life traveling to the remotest parts of Africa in search of birds, with his highlights being finding Congo Peafowl after 17 days on foot and canoe in Africa's largest rainforest, Warsangli Linnets in the Daalloo mountains of Somalia, and rediscovering Namuli Apalis in Mozambique, not seen since it was described to science in 1932.
He has co-authored two birding books, including the Southern African Birdfinder, a guide to finding over 1400 species in the southern third of Africa and Madagascar (and was once the youngest person to have seen a landmark 800 species in southern Africa, a few years ago now!). Callan has served on the Birdlife South Africa Council as Chairman of the Cape Bird Club, and chaired the Western Cape Rarities Committee.
Callan is also a research associate of the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of Ornithology at the University of Cape Town, where he completed his doctorate on the evolution of African desert birds in collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley. Some of his scientific publications are listed here. However, he's also a dedicated natural historian and has a passion for all things natural, including flora & trees, dragonflies, butterflies, mammals, frogs, reptiles, etc!
For keen birders and mammal
enthusiasts. Designed to see as many as possible endemic birds,
but while on the walks we spend a lot of time looking for other
aspects of wildlife such as mammals. We can also customise any
itinerary to suit to the keen birder, the wildlife enthusiast
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.
No fitness is required. The few walks are generally in relatively
flat areas with occasional small inclines.
Warm to hot.
Basic to moderate comfort in local small hotes and guest houses.
We travel by minibus or four wheel drive vehicle.
This depends on the specific tour. Please enquire.
Saharan and Sahelian birding; impressive numbers of Palaearctic
migrants; the endemic Mali Firefinch; fascinating culture, including
visits to Timbuktu, Dogon Country and Djenne.
booking can be secured with a booking
form and deposit of Euro 350. 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 3 months before the tour. Email
us 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.