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Finding Flamingos in Southern Africa

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Big Five and other beautiful wildlife aside, witnessing masses of sunrise pink flamingos in Southern Africa, is as much a spectacular African experience as seeing a herd of elephants. 

The striking contrast of bright pink flamingos against the deep blue African sky is a sight that perfectly complements that of the golden savannahs witnessed on safari. These long-legged birds are extremely evolved to survive in extreme environments. If you know where to look, you can witness these incredible birds in their native habitat. Here are our top places to find flamingos in Africa:

1. Lake Manyara, Tanzania

The Lake Manyara in Tanzania is one of the best places for birdwatching in Africa.  The lake is a soda lake surrounded by salt flats. Situated in the small yet beautiful Lake Manyara National Park, there are over 400 bird species as well as an incredible array of wildlife including elephants, giraffes and tree-climbing lions. Included in these bird species are thousands of bright pink flamingos contrasting beautifully against the lake’s grey mineral shore. The best time to witness this fantastic sight is the wet seasons of November/December and April/May.

2. Walvis Bay, Namibia

Namibia’s Walvis Bay is one of the world’s top destinations for witnessing large flocks of flamingos. The large numbers of the birds make for a beautiful mass of fuchsia against the water. There are three spots in the area that are ideal for witnessing the flamingos. The Lagoon, a shallow, sheltered 45000-hectare lagoon, is southwest of Walvis Bay and attracts not only flamingos but a range of water birds. Salt Works, a saltpan southwest of the lagoon, is one of the flamingo’s top feeding grounds. Bird Paradise is a nature sanctuary that is an ideal place for birdwatching with an observation tower and nature walk.

3. Etosha Pan, Namibia

Leaving Walvis Bay and flying overnight to Etosha is common practice amongst the flamingos. After the summer rains, the pan fills with water and marks the arrival of the flamingos coming to breed. Using their beaks to scoop wet clay, the birds create mounds to home their single egg. Once hatched, an incredible occurrence takes place with parent and baby flamingos walking across the drying pan in search of remaining water. The best time to witness the flamingos wading in the shallows of the pan is after the rains, during the summer – November to April.

4. Lake Bogoria, Kenya

Kenya is definitely on our radar for an all-encompassing African experience with its rich cultural heritage, thriving, urban capital, tropical beaches and fantastic safaris. Add to this, Lake Bogoria and you have the perfect African getaway. Lake Bogoria is home to one of the largest populations of lesser flamingos on the planet with approximately 1.3 million flamingos. Unlike the other destinations, these bright pink birds can be observed year-round.

5. Makgadikgadi, Botswana

The Makgadikgadi Pans is the largest salt pan landscape in the world. It hosts Africa’s longest zebra migration, and during the wet season is home to hundreds of zebra, wildebeest, elephants and other mammals. In addition to this, it is also one of the most important breeding sites in Africa for both lesser and greater flamingos. During the wet season, a huge cloud of pink flamingos covers the shimmering water, making a truly beautiful sight, especially if witnessed from above.

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