After a prolonged Civil War this vast (nearly twice the size of Texas) country is now once again stable, peaceful, and open for tourism. With more than 920 bird species, of which at least 15 are endemic (depending on the taxonomy used) and a further 28 near-endemic, this is a true birder's paradise, and yet one of the least known countries to bird in all of Africa. We'll target most of the endemic and near-endemic birds, from the lush Guinea forests of the north to the spectacular Tundavala Escarpment in the south. We expect a bird list of around 400 species, with some only recently rediscovered and therefore known by relatively few birders to date.
Lurking within its wild borders lies the continent's second largest waterfall, and we'll pay a deserved visit to this natural wonder –- the spectacular Calandula Falls. Winding down the Tundavala Escarpment we will travel through Leba Pass, one of the most scenic passes in all of Africa, providing for some spectacular photographic opportunities while we look for several of the endemic birds which occur there. Angola might be a diamond in the rough, but deep within lies a country of surprising beauty, hosting an array of endemic birds, which on its own should make it one of the "must visit" African destinations.
Angola covers an impressive diversity of habitats, from Congo Basin forests to the Namib Desert, and has an equally remarkable bird list including a host of rarely-seen endemics and specialties. Over the last 15 years, great strides have been made to improve its infrastructure, to the point where it is now a destination suitable for most birders. Difficulties with obtaining visitor visas used to be the greatest obstacle, but this has also improved with the introduction of an eVisa system, and we will provide the supporting documentation needed to all tour participants.
Although most people in Angola do not speak English, they are very friendly, the climate is mostly temperate, and facilities in the main centers are becoming better all the time. Transportation for our safari will be primarily in specially adapted 4X4 Toyota Landcruisers, with radio communication, air conditioning, roof hatches, and a fridge for carrying cold bottled drinking water. We'll generally be out birding for most of the day, with packed lunches in the more remote areas and on several travel days.
SPECIAL NOTE: This is NOT a tour with accommodation like what you may be used to if you have already visited East or South Africa. It is NOT the usual Field Guides tour. It is designed to offer the opportunity to see some of Africa's most little-known and range-restricted birds. Due to the vast size of the country, there are several long travel days to remote locations, where we will stay in simple hotels in towns (all are clean and provide ample buffet-style food). Rest assured, these are the very best places available, and the birding rewards should be great! The quality of your experience in Angola will be greatly enhanced by the fact that this safari is strictly limited to just six participants per vehicle in two vehicles traveling together with Terry Stevenson, Errol de Beer, and their respective drivers. This allows each participant to have a window (no one sits in a middle seat) and both vehicles are air-conditioned. Camping is no longer necessary anywhere on this tour, and we will stay in mostly comfortable lodges and hotels. Food is plentiful (way too much in many places) and often with a Portuguese influence.
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