Birder Friendly tour operators

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Being a Birder Friendly tour operator

Tour operators are required to meet certain criteria in order to qualify for 'Birder Friendly' status:

  • The Operator and its Guides must be fully accredited tour operators/guides.
  • The Operator should be able to provide BirdLife Travel with itineraries for promotional purposes at local and international Trade Shows.
  • The Operator must commit to the use and support of BirdLife South Africa's "Birder-friendly" accommodation suppliers where ever possible.
  • The Operator must commit to the support of Community Bird Guides where possible.
  • The Operator must commit to practicing responsible tourism ethics.
The benefits

For an annual subscription of R1 135 (South African members) or R1 605 (non-South African members), BirdLife South Africa is committed to offering Tour Operators of the Birder Friendly scheme the following benefits:

  • Bot tuineA listing on the BirdLife South Africa website
  • Use of the 'Birder Friendly' logo and branding on marketing materials
  • Marketing at selected local and international trade shows
  • The opportunity to market products through the monthly e-newsletter
  • Listing of special offers on the BirdLife South Africa website and in the monthly e-newsletter
  • Marketing of selected itineraries through the BirdLife South Africa website
  • BirdLife South Africa membership, which includes:
  • Six issues of African BirdLife magazine
  • BirdLife South Africa supporters' card
  • BirdLife South Africa supporters' sticker
  • Invitations to BirdLife South Africa talks and events
Birder Friendly Application Process

Download the application form here
Please complete and return via email: bfe@birdlife.org.za or fax: 086 511 5171.

Other valuable documents:

For more information on how to register as a 'Birder Friendly Tour Operator", please contact Natasja Retief on +27 (0)84 815 5765 (mobile) or bfe@birdlife.org.za

Birder Friendly registered tour operators (listed alphabetically)

African Nature Trails

logo African Nature Trails

Africa Nature Trails operates in Southern Africa - specifically in Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Free State and the Northern Cape provinces. All tours are planned according to our customer's requirements, from a day outing to a month or more. For small family groups, we have two 4x4's for bushveld trips, which are fully kitted out for safaris. If you have your own vehicles, we also cater for tag-a-long guests. When using our vehicles only, we cater to a maximum of 6 guests, so as to be able to give the personal attention required with a qualified guide in each vehicle.

Apart from customised birding tours Malcolm and Sue are experienced in other nature related subjects such as the identification of different grasses, trees, insects, mammals, astronomy, geology and reptile species as they are both CATHSSETA accredited Nature Guides. Malcolm being a FGASA accredited Lead Trails Guide is qualified to guide walking tours in areas with dangerous game and is experienced in tracks and tracking of animals.

NatureTrails can accommodate a couple or family of guests as we have a small self-catering suite attached to our home and do meals on request. We are situated 6 km from OR Tambo airport and can do pickups and drop-offs for those who want to do birding between connecting flights.

Other things that NatureTrails does and is involved in is running bird identification courses for Bird Clubs and organisations involved in guide training as well as corporate organisations. Malcolm has been involved in Guide training for several years and was Principal Trainer (Birds) for one of the Flagship Nature Training providers, whose bird notes are also accredited by BirdLife SA.

Being SASSETA accredited as firearm instructors and range officers, Sue and Malcolm offer firearms training, specializing in Advanced Rifle Handling for guides who need to carry a large calibre rifle whilst on a trail with guests and who need to qualify for this specialist role. We also run basic courses for those who just wish to be more proficient in the use of their firearm (handgun and rifle).

Contact Details

Malcolm Henderson

Address: 16 De Villiers Avenue, Van Riebeeck Park, Kempton Park, Gauteng.
Tel: +27 (0)11 393 3493
Fax: 086 589 8727
Cell: +27 (0)82 410 4037
Email: naturetrails@telkomsa.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/naturetrails1

Birding Africa

logo birding-africaBirding Africa is a bird tour operator specialising in leading professionally guided bird tours for groups and private individuals to countries throughout Africa and Madagascar. We customise tours for both world listers and more relaxed holiday birders. We combine interests in mammals, butterflies, dragonflies, botany and other natural history aspects and will guide you to Africa's and Madagascar's most diverse birding destinations. Our guides' knowledge of African birds and birding areas is our greatest strength and together we have rediscovered species, shared exciting observations with the birding community and had a fun time exploring our home continent. We've even written two acclaimed guide books on where to find Southern Africa's and Madagascar's best birds.

In addition we offer guided tours and self-drive birding holidays in Southern Africa, and guided birding day trips from most of the main city centres. We are based in Cape Town and therefore focus on guided day trips on the Cape Peninusla, Hottentots Holland and West Coast National Park and 2-day loops to the Tanqua Karoo and Overberg.

Birding is more than our passion, it's our lifestyle, and we are dedicated to making professional, best value trips filled with endemic species and unique wildlife experiences. Since 1997, we've run bird watching tours in South Africa and further into Africa for individual birders, small birding groups and top international tour companies. We've run Conservation Tours in association with the African Bird Club and work with and consult for a number of other top international tour companies and the BBC Natural History Unit.

Choose Birding Africa: 2500 bird species, 20 endemic bird families, the world record for bird species seen in a day and the most exhilarating primate and mammal watching on earth. We are bird guide authors and conservationists living in Africa, drawn together by a common passion: sharing our enthusiasm for Africa's birds with the world.

Contact DetailsGHANA PicathartesCCohen

Marje Hemp
Operations Manager: Southern Africa

Callan Cohen
Managing Director

Address: 4 Crassula Way, Pinelands 7405
Tel: +27 (0)21 531 9148 or +27 (0)21 531 6405.
Fax: +27 (0)86 734 5761
Mobile: +27 (0)83 256 0491
E-mail: info@birdingafrica.com
Web: www.birdingafrica.com
Web: www.capetownpelagics.com
Read our Blog at: http://birdingafricacapetownpelagics.wordpress.com/

Birding Ecotours

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Birding Ecotours specializes in Small Group birding adventures world-wide. Typically, our maximum group size is 6 people in countries with primarily forest birding, or 8 people in more open countries where the birds are easier to see.

We like to do things differently. Our team is constantly innovating. For example, we offer some unique tours, including Bird Sound Recording tours, Owls of the World® Tours, tough mammal tours and more. We lead the way in the birding tour industry.

What is one of our typical birding tours like? Our main focus is of course on finding the important birds (especially the endemics and specials). Our trip lists are top-notch (we do encourage you to look at our trip lists and compare them with those of other companies). However, we understand that birding tours can be tiring, so we prefer to add a day or two, rather than to knock ourselves completely out by rushing all the way through. This gives us back-up-time in case some birds don't cooperate as expected, and also gives time to stop for mammals and other interesting things along the way.

We also run a lot of Birding Photo Tours, which need a different approach to a typical birding tour – more space in the vehicles for camera gear, the correct pace to get photos (not just visuals), angling the vehicle correctly (when not on foot) and loads of other considerations are important here.

We have three offices, one in the USA (headed up by Mike Nelson), another in Peru (led by Eduardo Ormaeche), and the final one in South Africa (with Chris Lotz and several others based there). Our Peru office is a real asset, with Eduardo and team being able to offer very high quality birding tours at competitive prices throughout the neo-tropical region, including Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Guyana, Central America and the Caribbean. Our US office is weakened by the fact that Mike spends a lot of his time in Africa and Asia! Overall, we have an extremely strong presence in Australia, Africa, South America, North America, Europe and Asia, and we sometimes arrange cruises to Antarctica and the Arctic.

We're always happy to arrange a custom trip, in addition to our wide array of Small Group set-departure trips. We can run any of our advertised tours any time by request. And, if you send us a wish-list, we'll revert to you with a custom itinerary fast – our team loves the challenge of finding difficult birds including flufftails, owls and other elusive species.

If you contact us, you'll find that we're spectacularly enthusiastic, and highly efficient at e-mailing detailed information to you. It's our contagious enthusiasm for birding, and the natural world as a whole, that spurs us on to give the outstanding service that might be surprising to you. Ask us a question and we'll answer you with gusto.

Please e-mail info@birdingecotours.co.za if you want to be added to our mailing list or if you have any questions about birding or of course about specific tours. And peruse our website, www.birdingecotours.co.za.

Contact Details

Nadia Brooks

Mobile: +27 (0)72 211 9863
Fax: +27 (0)21 592 7438
E-mail: info@birdingecotours.co.za
Web: http://www.birdingecotours.co.za

Birds & Beyond

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Join Stuart McLean on a birding trip up the majestic Sani Pass, the only road to Lesotho from KwaZulu-Natal or visit the mistbelt grasslands and forests. Stuart is a Nature Conservator and spent time working in the Zululand game reserves. During this time he completed a bird ringing course ans was involved with the Caspian Tern and Grey Headed Gull studies at Lake St. Lucia. After farming for 12 years, Stuart qualified as a tour guide and has been guiding for the last 10 years. During this time he completed a rock art course, adding a new dimension to his tours.

Stuart is a passionate naturalist and offers natural history tours in the Southern Drakensberg area.

  • Birding up Sani Pass: All day trip up the Sani Pass in a 4x4 looking for Drakensberg Rockjumper, Sentinel Rockthrush, Drakensberg Siskin, Bush Blackcap and Mountain Pipit.
  • Mistbelt Tour: A half day to Bulwer - Hella Hella to spot Cape Parrots and the Blue Swallows.
  • Bushman Painting Hikes: A 5-6 hour hike into the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park to view the bushman paintings.
  • Game Drives: 1-2 hour drive on a private game farm to enjoy eland, zebra, red hartebeest and reedbuck in a beautiful setting.

Contact Details

Stuart Mclean

Address: PO Box 38, HIMEVILLE, Drakensberg, 3256
Tel: +27 (0)33 702 1761
Mobile: +27 (0)82 742 6981
E-mail: info@birdsandbeyond.co.za
Web: http://www.birdsandbeyond.co.za/

Cape Eco-Tours

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Cape Eco-Tours is a small, but dynamic tour operator based in Cape Town. We offer private and personalized tours designed specifically to suit the needs and interests of each individual client. We guarantee value for money tours with personal attention on all trips.

Trips to any destination in South Africa will be customized to include any one or more of the following:

  • Bird watching (whether you are a relaxed birder or a 'twitcher')
  • Botanical rambles (Fynbos, spring flowers etc)
  • Ecological walks and drives
  • Scenic country drives
  • Wine tours and tasting
  • Whale watching
  • Tours customised for keen to serious photographers

For Birding and Botanising in the Northern, Eastern and Western Cape, Mpumalanga, Free State, KZN & Gauteng

Contact Details

Mariana Delport

Tel: +27 (0)21 919 2282
Fax: +27 (0)86 698 8390
Mobile: +27 (0)82 460 4847
E-mail: info@cape-ecotours.co.za
Web: http://www.cape-ecotours.co.za/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Cape.Eco.Tours
Twitter: http://twitter.com/CapeEcoTours

Cape Town Pelagics

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See up to 10000 seabirds of 25 species on Cape Town Pelagics' seabird trips from Cape Town and Durban. Cape Town Pelagics is run on a non-profit basis and over the last 8 years, we've donated over R 60,000.00 to Albatross research and conservation. One of the projects we've supported recently has been Birdlife International's Save the Albatross Campaign, of which the Albatross Task force is a part.

We're glad that through our pelagic trips we've been able to play our small role in helping to save Albatrosses, not only by direct donations, but also by raising awareness (for example for the Leap School Bird Club) and providing an opportunity for people to see Albatrosses and becoming inspired for conservation. We also take out Albatross researchers for free on research trips. See trip schedules and reports on our website and blog.

Through our sister company, Birding Africa, we can also organise any of your land-based birding needs, such as accommodation, transport and expert guides.

Contact DetailsCTP Trawler12Feb2012 JonH

Callan Cohen
Managing Director

Address: 4 Crassula Way, Pinelands 7405
Tel: +27 (0)21 531 9148 or +27 (0)21 531 6405.
Fax: +27 (0)86 734 5761
Mobile: +27 (0)83 256 0491
E-mail: info@birdingafrica.com
Web: www.birdingafrica.com
Web: www.capetownpelagics.com

Read our Blog at: http://birdingafricacapetownpelagics.wordpress.com/

Lawson's Birding, Wildlife and Custom Safaris

Lawsons Logo - final res

Lawson's Birding, Wildlife and Custom Safaris started out in 1990 with some of the first dedicated birding safaris to South Africa, in the process pioneering some of the now popular routes and stakeouts. Since then we've grown into a specialised birding and wildlife safari company, offering first-class birding and wildlife trips to a range of countries in Southern and Eastern Africa. Our range of set-departures caters to both the casual birder and the more enthusiastic 'lister', as well as the general natural history enthusiast. For those who prefer not to join groups, or who have specific travel requirements, we are also the custom-safari specialists. Either way, we'll use our extensive knowledge and experience to create a fun, rewarding and memorable African experience for you.

Lawson's safaris comprise:

  • small groups of up to 12 participants (safaris for larger groups or private tours are available on request)
  • knowledgeable and experienced professional leaders
  • excellent accommodation with birds and wildlife on the doorstep
  • incredible wildlife destinations
  • comprehensive itineraries and species checklists

Take a look at our set-departure safaris or contact us to put together a custom-made itinerary to suit your needs, interests and budget.

We look forward to setting up the trip of a lifetime for you and to meeting you here on African soil!

"You'll want to return to Africa with us time and time again!"

Contact Details

Mavourneen Pearce

Address: PO Box 16849, West Acres, Nelspruit, 1211, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0)13 741 2458
Fax: +27 (0)13 741 3689
E-mail: info@lawsons-africa.co.za
Web: http://lawsons-africa.co.za/

Nelson's Safaris

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Rock Pratincole

Our focus is on safaris for small groups and families offering a personalised experience at affordable prices. Part of this experience is some involvement in setting up camp and some assistance around the campfire.

Up to three guests are accommodated in each of our two vehicles. These vehicles are fully equipped with all the gear required for catered trips to the destinations on offer.

Accommodation is provided in dome tents on comfortable air mattresses. All you need to bring is a sleeping bag, a pillow and your personal effects. All other equipment required for a camping safari will be provided. Other accommodation alternatives can be used where available.

All our tours/safaris are guided by company owners and registered guides Craig and Karin Nelson.

Although all of the standard tours and itineraries listed on www.nelsonsafaris.co.za come highly recommended we SPECIALISE IN PUTTING TOGETHER OVERLAND TRIPS TO SUIT YOUR NEEDS AND BUDGET.

 

 Some of the countries we regularly visit are:Kubu

  • South Africa
  • Botswana
  • Zambia
  • Mozambique
  • Zimbabwe

If any of these trips interest you contact us to discuss an itinerary and rates. If you have another trip in mind then let us know and see what we can work out.

WE ARE CERTAIN WE CAN PROVIDE YOU WITH AN EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME WITHIN YOUR BUDGET.

Contact Details:

Mobile: +27 (0) 82 900 0107
E-mail: nelsonsafaris@tiscali.co.za

Outdoor Heartbeat

LOGO Outdoor HeartbeatOutdoor Heartbeat (Pty) Ltd is a South African based tour operator. Our passion for birding was fundamental in the establishment of this organisation. We believe in excellence of service and our vision includes individual professionalism and the benefit of our community based partners, particularly in rural areas where we strive to improve life at all levels and restore dignity.

We offer unique and specialised tours in the following tourism categories in Southern Africa:

  • Birding
  • Nature and Wildlife
  • Culture and History
  • Fly-Fishing, Catch & Release
  • Various Adventure Related Expeditions
  • Customised Tours for your Specific Interests

Our tours are designed by the top qualified, experienced and active guides in their specific fields of expertise. Outdoor Heartbeat also partners with area- and subject specialists to ensure maximum customer satisfaction.
We offer anything from fun filled one day tours, to extended breathtaking adventure tours, of up to three weeks and more, if you request it. Our tours are filled with highlights, adventure and memories, so book your unforgettable tour with us.

Our tours are primarily conducted in South Africa, but we also visit other countries like Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho.
We use prime birder friendly venues, all with excellent reputations and affordable rates. Our tour leaders are well qualified, government registered guides, who have completed regular first aid training. They all hold government issued professional driving permits (PDP).

We can also create a fully customised tour for almost any specific adventure that you have in mind. Please talk to us about this service as it sets us apart from other tour operators.

We normally limit our group sizes to eight people to ensure that we cater for individual attention on matters of interest to you, which is not always possible in larger groups. We make sure that matters of interest to you are conveyed in such a way that they are of interest to all in the group.

International Contact Details:
Website www.outdoorheartbeat.com
Email tours@outdoorheartbeat.com
Office +27 (0) 12 547 6893
Mobile +27 (0) 82 555 8122
Postal PO Box 81412, Doornpoort, 0017, RSA

Local Contact Details:
Website www.outdoorheartbeat.com
Email tours@outdoorheartbeat.com
Office 012 547 6893
Mobile 082 555 8122
Postal PO Box 81412, Doornpoort, 0017, RSA

Rockjumper Worldwide Birding Adventures

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Rockjumper's passion for nature, strong commitment to conservation and belief in service excellence, continue to keep them blossoming. They genuinely look forward to welcoming you on one of their upcoming birding and wildlife adventures and assure you a professionally guided yet fun and educational experience, expertly planned itineraries and exceptional value for money. Their growing list of regular and repeat guests is testimony to our dedication to delivering the ultimate birding experience.

Our portfolio of over 100 different tours encompasses more than 60 destinations, including some of the most breathtaking and biologically diverse places on our planet. Over the past decade and a half we have introduced thousands of birders, wildlife enthusiasts and photographers to the world's most productive wildlife destinations. In the process, we have shared countless thrilling sightings, including many a life-changing experience and fantastic memories that will remain with our participants for the rest of their lives.

rockjumperOur tour leaders are all passionate birders and accomplished tour coordinators who derive great pleasure from sharing their birding experiences with others. Most of our tours are guided by full time Rockjumper leaders, often with the backup of the most experienced local birders across the globe. Whilst we guarantee that our leaders have superb birding skills, we also appreciate that they need to be personable, professional, friendly, attentive and dedicated to delivering a rewarding, educational, safe and enjoyable birding experience!

Our office team is based in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, and is highly skilled at orchestrating the complex arrangements that efficient and organized traveling requires. Questions are gladly answered in a friendly and comprehensive manner, and you will find that booking with us is nothing but a pleasure. We do our utmost to ensure that all your requests and requirements are met; whether before, during or after your tour with us.

Our leader to guest ratio is one of the best in the birding tour industry and most of our tours have a maximum of eight participants, giving our guests a very personalized tour experience. For some destinations we provide two leaders with an absolute maximum of 12 participants. The only exception to this is cruises where larger groups are unavoidable.

Our tour costs and booking conditions represent excellent value for money and are very reasonable. Although we are not always the least expensive in the market, it is important to compare exactly what you are getting when dealing with low cost or local operators. In particular, the services of a professional tour leader can make.

Contact Details

Address: PO Box 13972, Cascades, 3202, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0)33 394 0225 or +27 (0)33 394 0251
Fax: +27 (0)+27 88 (0)33 394 0225
E-mail: info@rockjumperbirding.com
Alternative email: rockjumperbirding@yahoo.com
Web: www.rockjumperbirding.com


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