June 4 2024

An Audio Birding Experience

We loved hosting Craig and Christine Windows of Our Birding Family on a recent trip. Join them on an Audio Birding Experience at Ichingo Chobe River Lodge.

Images and blog created by Our Birding Family.

Hear the Call of the Wild

The Chobe River acts as the perfect alarm clock as the resident family of Giant Kingfishers loudly announce the start of the day, followed by the deep grunts of the dominant Hippo bull. Striated Herons try including their melodies to the dawn chorus; however, their rather explosive outbursts lack the finesse of their riverine counterparts. Suddenly your senses become aware of the methodical sounds of the water rushing through the rapids beneath your safari tent. As you make your way along the sandy pathways to the jetty, you are greeted by the melodious song of the White-browed Robin-Chat, the true tenors of the undergrowth.

Walking along the jetty you become a part of the life existing on the banks of the Chobe. From the Pied Wagtails and Common Sandpipers scurrying along the water’s edge, to the gentle splash of the delicate Half-collared Kingfisher showing off their diving precision. Stepping onto your boat, the low drum of the motor triggers anticipation of what the day may hold.

Waving Ichingo Chobe River Lodge goodbye, your guide carefully weaves between rocks exposed from the receding water levels, with low-hanging branches along the banks acting as the perfect resting spot for Night Herons. The sky begins to change from deep purple to orange and red, as the sun peers through the remaining morning clouds.

Meet the riverbank musicians

As huge flocks of African Openbill and Egrets fly overhead returning from their roosting sites, the emotional rising and falling whistle of the Water Thick-Knee echoes across the rapids. Distant cries intensify as you approach the chaotic and rather raucous nursery of Yellow-billed Storks. By contrast, the diminutive Rock Pratincole dance between exposed rocks within the centre channel, emitting their high piping call as their wings arch in flight like a ballet dancer taking centre stage.

Peace soon returns as the boat explores the smaller secluded backwater channels surrounding Impalila Island. You can’t help but feel a primal sense of adventure, like an early explorer entering uncharted lands. Soon the tall woody Fig tree canopies are replaced with enchanting beds of Papyrus, their heads resembling a charismatic fireworks display. Clambering to a prominent perch within the Papyrus beds, the localised Coppery-tailed Coucal begin their early morning serenade, their bubbling call vibrating in your chest. Skulking Swamp Boubou remain hidden from sight as their duets fill the cool morning air, whilst fidgeting little Chirping Cisticola flit from reed to reed, in search of insects.

A feast for your senses

Soon the waterways give rise to a large central sandbar with patches of waterlilies providing the perfect stage for African Jacana to gracefully move through. The rasping sound of the sand under the boat as you gently dock, brings a sense of nostalgia of childhood days spent playing in the shallows. The sharp Kik-kik-kik of African Skimmers pierces your ears as they fly past, their bills slicing through the water in search of prey. As your mind wanders, you are quickly brought back to reality by the rather harsh and nasal chattering of a group of Hartlaubs Babbler, as they disturb the harmony of the riverbanks.

The call of the Fish Eagle guides you back

As the boat makes its way back through to the main channel you are once again confronted with an auditory overload as masses of Herons, Reed Cormorants and Storks line the trees like decorations on a Christmas tree, each ornament calling across the river.

Given the sheer number of birds, your eyes and ears battle to focus on one aspect, as the river is alive and vibrating on a different frequency. But through it all the iconic and mesmerising call of the African Fish Eagle drowns out everything. This is the Chobe River, an oasis, a birders paradise.

As your boat makes its final turn past the rapids, the Ichingo Chobe River Lodges appears, beautifully secluded within the fringing river’s edge. The joyous welcome provided by Kennedy, the front of house extraordinaire, creates a deep sense of home because for the next few days this is home. A home where you are not only faced with the staggering beauty of the Chobe River and all its gems, but a place where you find a part of yourself that you never knew existed. The Explorer.

This is the birding experience that you never knew you so desperately needed.


Make An Enquiry