“This was a new tour to the Birdquest repertoire with the aim of seeing one of Africa’s ultimate birds, the much-wanted African River Martin. This is a nomadic and unpredictable species that breeds in coastal Gabon but apparently not in exactly the same places every year making seeing it a little bit of a challenge! The tour was timed to hit their arrival when large numbers can gather before dispersing again to form large breeding colonies which may or may not be easily accessible. Our week in the park was spent focusing on searching out these birds in pristine wilderness areas where Forest Elephants and Lowland Gorillas roam!
Fortunately, we succeeded in seeing the first arrivals at a known roost site with tens at first and then hundreds on our last evening when we watched mesmerised by the whirling ‘murmurations’ as the African River Martins joined huge numbers of Rosy Bee-eaters pre-roost as the sun went down. Spectacular indeed! During the week we stayed in two extremely comfortable safari style camps in large walk-in ‘tents’ with ensuite facilities. The food was delicious and the inclusive drinks complemented them beautifully. N’Dola Camp in the savanna region on the coast was quite luxurious but the other (Akaka Camp) was situated deeper into the forest and more exciting with elephants regularly in the camp itself. Here Vermiculated Fishing Owl was (dare we say?) easy to see as were African Finfoot, Hartlaub’s Ducks and lovely Violet-tailed Sunbirds. A super juvenile Long-tailed Hawk seen from the camp itself was a highlight as was a superb Sjöstedt’s Barred Owlet watched hunting during the day. Between forest and savannah, […].”