It may not boast the animal numbers of East or Southern Africa, but Pendjari, in Benin’s remote northern reaches, nonetheless packs a punch for the safari-goer. Big game is here – buffalo and lion, hippos and cheetahs – but it’s the abundant birdlife that’s most memorable. From the delicate little orange-cheeked waxbill to large waterbirds such as cranes and storks, the 300 species within the park offer a kaleidoscope of colour, noise and action. Kingfisher and sandpipers line riverbanks, egrets standing nearby, while warblers and flycatchers serve up an atmospheric background chorus. And, as the afternoon’s light begins to fail, look out for falcons and kestrels taking flight, wheeling overhead in search of their quarry.