We start out with local birding along Lagos coastal strip with a visit to the Lekki Conservation Centre with its unique walkway through the swamp forest. Among the birds we may expect to see is Black Kite, Lizard Buzzard, Harrier-Hawk and, Blue-spotted Wood-Dove. From here we continue on to the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, whose lush grounds supports over 350 bird species in an area of only 250 acres (100 ha). This is the best place to find the Ibadan Malimbe, endemic to Nigeria. Our next destination is Okomu National Park, one of the prime rainforest sites in West Africa.
All the large hornbills and four species of Spine Tails can be seen from the conveniently located platform high up in the forest canopy. From here we continue on to Agenebode where we will spend two days searching for birds more typical of the Guinea Savanna. The rare Vermiculated Fishing -Owl and the enigmatic Egyptian Plover occur along the Niger River and we will make a special effort to see them. We then ascend to the cool climate of the Jos plateau, a marked contrast to the humidity of the rainforest. We will spend the next three days exploring the plateau where an interesting array of birds can be seen including Fox Kestrel, Stone-Partridge and Adamawan Turtle Dove.
We descend the Jos plateau and drive to Obudu Cattle Ranch, in the heart of Cameroon Mountains EBA. From this comfortable base we will explore the trails of the Becheve Nature Reserve, a huge, well protected forest that is home to such species as Bannerman's Weaver, White Throated Mountain-Babbler, and Yellow-breasted Boubou. We will spend at least one day in the lowland forest looking for Red-faced Picathartes, which in this area can usually be seen with little difficulty. Transfers are in comfortable air-conditioned vehicles while selected accommodation is the best in each location. Experience a unique holiday off the beaten tracks when you book this interesting holiday package of a life time.
Day 1: Arrive early evening in Lagos. Overnight in the Eko Hotel & Suites (5*) overlooking the Gulf of Guinea.
Day 2: After a buffet breakfast, local birding along the coastal strip with a visit to the Lekki Conservation Centre with its unique walkway through the swamp forest. Among the birds we may expect to see are Black Kite, Lizard Buzzard, Harrier -Hawk, Grey Kestrel, Red-eyed Dove, Blue-spotted Wood-Dove, Green Pigeon, Woodland Kingfisher, Allied and Piping Hornbills, Little and Palm Swifts, Mottle-throated Spinetail, Common Bulbul, Little Greenbul, Rufous-chested and Ethiopean Swallows, Plain-backed Pipit, African Thrush, Pied Crow, Olive-bellied, Collared and Carmelite Sunbirds, Grey-headed Sparrow, Village and Chestnut and Black Weavers, Red-vented Malimbe, Bronze Mannikin and Splendid Glosy Starling.
In the afternoon, we will take a boat ride across the harbor where we should see Royal Terns of Tarkwa Bay. Here the diminutive Pearl-spotted Owlet is likely to be seen and there is also the likelihood of Black-crowned Bush-Shrike, Wattle-eye, Mouse-brown Sunbird and Orange Weaver. Overnight again at the Eko Hotel & Suites (5*).
Days 3 & 4: After an early breakfast, we will depart along the coastal road to Epe on route to the lush estate of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Ibadan. Here the rich diversity of habitat types surrounding the large freshwater lake should bring us Night, Black-headed, Purple, Squacco and Green-backed Herons, Great White, Little and Yellow-billed Egrets, White-faced Tree-Duck, Palm-nut Vulture, Black-shouldered Kite, Bushfowl, Lesser Moorhen, Black Crake, Lily Trotter, Senegal Thicknee, White-headed and Spur-winged Plovers, Speckled Pigeon, Laughing Dove, Grey Plantain-eater, Senegal Coucal, White-faced Scops Owl, Guinea Wood-Hoopoe, Grey Hornbill, Mosque Swallow, Yellow-throated Long-claw, African Pied Wagtail, Long-tailed Shrike, Splendid Sunbird, Black and White Mannikin, Red-headed Malimbe, Yellow-mantled Weaver, Chestnut-winged Starling, Black-headed Oriole and Velvet-mantled and Square-tailed Drongos. We will spend two nights at the Institute.
Day 5: There will be time for another look around the grounds of the Institute before setting off for the Okomu National Park. On route we will stop briefly at Oshogbo where the forest has been protected by the presence of the Osun Shrine. Mona Monkeys can be seen commonly here in the trees and along the river if we are lucky, we should see Cassin’s Grey Flycatcher. On arrival at Okomu we will stay at the Okomu Eco-Resort.
Day 6: We will need to be up bright and early to explore the Okomu National Park, the only sizable remaining area of rainforest left in the south-west of the country. Within the forest an area is protected as a Wildlife Sanctuary which harbors an important population of one of Nigeria’s only two endemic primate species, the White-throated Monkey.
The bird life is extremely diverse and we should expect to see Crested Guinea-Fowl, Grey Parrot, Blue Plantain-eater, Emerald Cuckoo, Yellow-bill, Great Coucal, Cassin’s Spinetail, Black Bee-eater, Brown-cheeked, Piping, Black-casqued, and possibly red-billed Dwarf and White-crested Hornbills, Naked-faced Barbet, Speckled Tinker-bird, Spotted and Swamp Greenbuls, Green Hylia, Sooty and Forest Flycatchers, Buff-throated, Blue-throated, Olive and Superb Sunbirds, Grey-headed Negro-Finch, Gray’s Malimbe and White-naped Weaver. In the late afternoon return to our hotel.
Day 7: We set off early again for a look at other parts of the Park. After a late breakfast at the hotel, we take a leisurely ride in dug-out canoes down the Osse River. If we are fortunate, we should see White-throated Blue Swallows on the main river, whilst along the quieter tributaries Shining-blue Kingfisher and Reichenbach’s Sunbird are common. There should also be time for a swim in crystal clear waters before returning back to dry land and thence back to our hotel.
Day 8: After breakfast, we will drive back to Lagos, stopping on route on the banks of the River Osse where we will look for the Egyptian Plover. In Lagos we will stop for lunch at the Sheraton Hotel before going to the local airport to catch the afternoon flight to Jos. Overnight at the Hill-Station Hotel.
Day 9: The cool climate of the Jos Plateau is a marked contrast to the humidity of the rainforest. After breakfast, we will visit an area of relic forest on the outskirts of Jos where an interesting array of birds can be seen including Fox Kestrel, Stone-Partridge, Adamawan Turtle Dove, Speckled Tinker-bird, Fine-spotted and Cardinal Woodpeckers, Sun Lark, Red-tailed Chat, White-crowned Cliff-Chat, Rock-loving and Singing Cisticolas, Crombec, Senegal Puff-back Flycatcher, Paradise and Blue Fairy Flycatchers, Copper, Scarlet-chested and Yellow-bellied Sunbirds, Yellow White-eye, Rock Bunting, Black-bellied Firefinch, Black-winged Red Bishop, Yellow-mantled Widow-bird and Red-winged Starling.
We will also have a quick look at some old flooded mining areas where we will hope to find Forbe’s Banded, Kittlitz’s Sand, Three-banded and Wattled Plovers, African Marsh Owl, Banded Martin and Winding Cisticola. After lunch in Jos, we will head further north to Yankari Game Park where we should arrive in time either for a late afternoon drive around the Park or for a relaxed swim in the idyllic Wikki Warm Springs. Overnight in the Game Park.
Day 10: Yankari Game Park is the premier reserve in Nigeria and has a large elephant population as well as good numbers of hippopotamus, lion, buffalo, roan, western hartebeest, waterbuck, bushbuck, oribi and many other species of mammal. The birdlife is very rich and are confident of seeing during our two days, Hadada, Ruppell’s Griffon, White-backed Vulture, White-headed Vulture, Bateleur, Fish Eagle, Shikra, Guinea-Fowl, Vinaceous Dove, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Violet Turaco, Senegal Parrot, Red-throated Bee-eater, Red-billed Hornbill, Yellow-fronted Tinker-bird, Black-throated Honey-Guide, Brown Babbler, Grey-Tit Flycatcher, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Northern Brubru, Black-headed Gonolek, Black Tit, Beautiful and Pygmy Sunbirds, Village Weaver, Red-winged Pytilia, Senegal Firefinch, Yellow-fronted Canary, Purple Glossy and Long-tailed Glossy Starlings and African Golden Oriole. Overnight in the reserve and another opportunity to have a moonlit swim in the warm springs.
Day 11: After a final drive around the reserve, we set off on the road again for Nguru and the internationally important wetland area that virtually surrounds the town. We will stop at any interesting areas of woodland that we see on the way and should arrive in Nguru just in time to witness the spectacular flights of duck in the early evening for which the area is deservedly famous. Accommodation in Nguru is fairly basic but we are sure that the birds will more than make up for the shortcomings.
Days 12 & 13: The area around Nguru holds vast numbers of Palaearotic Wildfowl and Waders spend the European winter and the bushes are alive with European passerines. African species are well represented also and we expect to see White Pelican, Long-tailed Cormorant, Black Heron, Fulvous Tree-Duck, Spur-winged and Knob-billed Goose, Hooded Vulture, Practincole, Spur-winged Plover, Four-banded Sandgrouse, Long-tailed Nightjar, Pied, Malachite and Grey-headed Kingfishers, White-throated, Carmine and Little Green Bee-eaters, Abyssinian Roller, Vieillot’s Barbet, Grey Woodpecker, Crested Lark, Ant-eater Chat, Rufous Swamp Warbler, Grey-backed Camaroptera, buffalo Weaver, Sudan Golden Sparrow, Bush Petronia, Scaly-fronted Weaver, Yellow-crowned and Red Bishops, Little and Black-headed Weavers, Red-billed Quelea, Indigo-bird, Pin-tailed and Broad-tailed Paradise Whydahs and Blue-eared and Chestnut-bellied Starlings. The numbers of birds to be seen is breathtaking and without a doubt the area is a Mecca for bird-watchers and a fitting finale for our safari. Hotel accommodation in Nguru for two nights.
Day 14: We have a last look around the wetland area before setting off on the last stretch of our journey to Kano where we will board a flight back to Lagos to catch our international flight back to Europe. However we should still have time on the way to make a few brief stops and add a few species to our list.
Note: Airfare included is for domestic flights only. Please note that hotel listed in itinerary is subject to change.
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