Community Bird Guides

Zululand Birding RoutePeter Chadwick 20112 res

An exciting initiative along all the birding routes and in areas adjacent to birding hotspots and IBA’s is the availability of Community Bird Guides. The guides provide improved security and valuable information on where elusive and special bird species may be found, and in some cases can gain you access to otherwise restricted locations. Although we have detailed below suggested rates for the use of these guides, they are self-employed and free to set their own rates but they are affordable and offer very competitive rates within the guiding industry.

BirdLife South Africa recognised the important role that local communities can play in conservation and as a result became involved in bird guide training and skills development. BirdLife South Africa launched the Community Bird Guide Training Program in 2001. The programme has relaunched in 2016 following a short break due to funding and personnel shortages.

The program is designed to provide local community members with an opportunity to participate in the ever-growing avi-tourism sector, as well as to create an awareness of the economic benefits of birds and their habitats to local communities.

 

The program works together with communities in each area to identify potential Community Bird Guides. Funding is then sourced to assist these community members in attending an accredited bird guide training course. An extensive route mentorship and support program is also in place to help guides to continue to grow and develop once training is completed.

Should you want to make use of any of these guides please feel free to contact them directly or through Ian Owtram, Bird Guide Training Project Manager, on ian.owtram@birdlife.org.za

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Recommended Bird Guiding Rates*
Clients 1 hour 2 hours 3-4 hours 5-6 hours 7-8 hours 8+ hours
1-2 pax R200.00 R275.00 R350.00 R450.00 R550.00 R700.00
3-4 pax R250.00 R300.00 R400.00 R550.00 R675.00 R800.00
5-8 pax R275.00 R375.00 R500.00 R650.00 R750.00 R900.00
8+ pax R375.00 R450.00 R600.00 R750.00 R850.00 R1000.00

* rates are per group, not per person

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To book a bird guide in any of the areas, please contact Ian Owtram
Cell: +27 (0) 83 286 8281
E-mail: ian.owtram@birdlife.org.za

Contact details for Community Bird Guides

Eastern Cape

To book a guide, please contact Boniswa Tontsi

Cata Communal Property Association Administrator
Cell: 072 568 7926
Email: reservations@cata.org.za

Kruger to Canyons

Michael Kumako

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Michael Kumako
Operating Area: Michael is based at the Strydom Tunnel on the Abel Erasmus Pass at the site of the extremely rare Taita Falcon.
Cell: +27 (0)79 261 1559

Abednigo Mahbela

k2cbg-abednigo

 

Abednigo Mahbela
Operating Area: Abednigo Mahbela operates within the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve.
Cell: +27 (0)72 382 1846

Morris Ngwenyama

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Morris Ngwenyama
Operating Area: Morris can assist in a variety of bird watching experience in and around Phalaborwa including a visit to the Grietjie Vulture Restaurant and the Sasavona Bird Hide.
Cell: +27 (0)72 499 5823

Idah Lesufi

k2cbg-idah

 

Idah Lesufi
Operating Area: Idah is based at the magnificent Sefapane Lodge and Safaris (a Birder Friendly Establishment) in Phalaborwa.
Cell: +27 (0)72 088 2617

Blondy Mabunda

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Blondy Mabunda
Operating Area: Blondy is based in Lulekani, Ba-Phalaborwa.
Cell: +27 (0)78 246 0004

Vusi Ngubeni

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Vusi Ngubeni
Operating Area: Vusi is based at Toro Yaka Bush Lodge (a Birder Friendly Establishment) in the Balule Private Nature Reserve.
Cell: +27 (0)82 308 5763

He completed his BirdLife South Africa Bird Guide Training Course at Wakkerstroom during August 2007. Vusi is also an experienced nature guide that knows his area of operation exceptionally well and can help you locate the African Barred Owlet at Toro Yaka Bush Lodge.

Shadrack Mashava

k2cbg-shadrack

Shadrack Mashava
Operating Area: Shadrack is currently working for African Ivory Routes and is based at Mbaula north of Letaba Ranch.
Cell: +27 (0)82 954 6249

He completed his BirdLife South Africa Bird Guide Training Course at Wakkerstroom during August 2007. Shadrack has got access to Letaba Ranch which offers spectacular Bushveld birding and includes a large number of raptor species.

Sinhle Mathebula

Sinhle Mathebula
Operating Area: He is currently based in the Hoedspruit and Timbavati area.
Cell: +27 (0)78 748 2325

Sinhle completed his BirdLife South Africa Bird Guide Training Course at Wakkerstroom during August 2007 and has since been involved in the Timbavati Oxpecker Project. He recently also completed a field guide course and is now a registered nature site guide.

Phanny Risimati

Phanny Risimati
Operating Area: Phanny is currently working at the Shingwedzi Rest Camp in the Kruger National Park.
Cell: +27 (0)72 942 8968

Phanny knows birds of the area exceptionally well. He is phenomenal at recognising bird calls and provides an entertaining birding experience. He completed his BirdLife South Africa Bird Guide Training Course at Wakkerstroom during August 2007

Limpopo

Christopher Nethonzhe

Christopher Nethonzhe Lisa Martus 2011 resChristopher is based in Venda and guides birders through the Golwe Vhurivhuri and Gundani areas. Golwe Picnic and Campsite is situated in a secluded valley in Venda off the Masisi Road. The site is rural and tranquil, an ideal place to get-away to with campsites and comfortable safari tents available.

Bird watching is good in and around the campsite with African Broadbill, Pink-throated Twinspot, Narina Trogon, Grey Waxbill, Scaly-throated Honeyguide and Crowned Hornbill being seen often. Chris is the manager of the campsites and is probably the country's expert on locating African Broadbill. He has been monitoring each of the pairs along his stretch of river for several years and knows the location of each nest site.

Marked circular trails lead from the campsite up the valley and to a waterfall and the campsite offers a convenient base from which to visit Mpaphuli Cycad Reserve, Makhuya Park and the Gundani Brachystegia Woodland. Further along in the unexplored hills of northern Venda, the Gundani campsite is a real gem, being situated in one of the only patches of Miombo (Brachystegia) woodland in South Africa with specials like White-breasted Cuckooshrike and Southern Hyliota.

The nearby Sagole Baobab has been recorded as the largest in the world and has been the site of the impressive Mottled Spinetail roosting site. Christopher won an Owl Award in 2012 for his contribution to avian conservation and education through the Mottled Spinetail Conservation and Education Project in Sagole as well as the Birds in Trees Project in the Venda area.

Contact details

Mobile: +27 (0)76 302 9383
Email: chrisneth@vodamail.co.za
Web: www.campsa.co.za/golwe

David Letsoalo

David Letsoalo Lisa Martus 2011 resDavid Letsoalo is based in the birding hotspot of Magoebaskloof, Limpopo near the renowned Woodbush Drive. In 2007, he won BirdLife South Africa Eagle Award for being the best local guide in South Africa.

He runs the Birds in Trees project, which combines greening schools with education programmes highlighting conservation issues and has been involved with Blue Swallow, Cape Parrot and Bat Hawk monitoring.

David is a trustee for the Ben de Boer Trust, which was set up to empower Limpopo based community bird guides and serves on BirdLife South Africa Council, representing South Africa's bird guides.

David has assisted hundreds of birders with specials such as the Cape Parrot, Bat Hawk, Black-fronted Bush-shrike, Narina Trogon, Green Twinspot, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Knysna Turaco, White-starred Robin, Orange Ground Thrush, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Barratt's Warbler, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Olive Woodpecker, Chorister Robin-chat, Buff-spotted Flufftail, Magpie Mannikin, Rufous-chested Sparrowhawk, African Crowned Eagle and many more.

David Letsoalo Peter Chadwick 2012 resHe offers guided walks on Kurisa Moya to the various habitats on the farm as well as longer outings to the local birding hot-spots like Woodbush Forest Drive, Mamabolo Grasslands, Polokwane Game Reserve, the tropical lowveld of Tzaneen and northern Kruger Park. David has been the focus of numerous magazine and newspaper articles in South Africa and overseas and has been interviewed for television and radio many times.

Contact details

Tel: +27 (0)15 276 1131 or +27(0)71 658 6980
Mobile: +27 (0)82 200 4596 or +27 (0)83 568 4678
Email: info@krm.co.za
Web: www.krm.co.za

Frank Mabasa

Frank Mabasa Unknown res

 

Frank is based at the Pafuri picnic site in the Kruger National Park and has earned a reputation for finding the region's specials such as the Pel's Fishing-Owl, Narina Trogon, Black-throated Wattle-eye, African Crowned Eagle, Bohm's and Mottled Spinetail, Broad-billed Rollers, Paradise Flycatcher, Saddle-billed Stork, Lemon-breasted Canary, Tropical Boubou, African Yellow White-eye, Yellow-bellied Sunbird, Meve's Starlings, Eastern Nicator and Gorgeous Bush Shrike.

The Pafuri picnic spot is a small piece of heaven for birders and Frank's favourite places to seek out special birds include the picnic site, the Levuvhu River bridge, Nyala loop and Crooks' Corner. In the book "Best Birding in Kruger" by Brett Hilton-Barber and Lou Arthur, Frank is hailed as the "Pafuri birding expert" and with good reason. Frank has recorded 363 bird species at Pafuri. He is a BirdLife South Africa-accredited guide and is well recognised for his help and advice to birders visiting this renowned birders' paradise.

Contact details

Tel: +27 (0)78 126 5876

Paul Nkhumane

Paul Nkhumane Lisa Martus 2011 res2

 

Based in the Magoebaskloof area of Limpopo Province, Paul Nkhumane has access to the famous Kurisa Moya Nature Lodge and Woodbush Forest Drive, which attracts birders from around the world.

He offers guided birding walks in Kurisa Moya's forest or longer outings down Woodbush Forest Drive to find specials such as Black-fronted Bush-shrike, Narina Trogon, Green Twinspot, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Knysna Turaco, Rufous-chested Sparrowhawk, White-starred Robin, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Barrett's Warbler, Orange Ground Thrush, Chorister Robin-chat and other forest specials.

He can also show birders the Gurney's Sugarbird at Greatheads and the Short-clawed Lark at the Mamabolo Grasslands. If you are still looking for the elusive Black-fronted Bush Shrike or Green Twinspot, Paul is the man to contact.

Paul is involved in the Birds in Trees Project in the Magoebaskloof area and conducts research on the Cape Parrot for the Greater Limpopo Birding routes. Paul is one of the top five guides in Limpopo.

Contact details

Tel: +27 (0)15 276 1131 or +27(0)71 658 6980
Mobile: +27 (0)82 200 4596 or +27 (0) 73 670 5857
Email: info@krm.co.za
Web: www.krm.co.za

Samson Maluadzi

Samson Mulaudzi Peter Chadwick 2012resSamson Mulaudzi trained as a BirdLife South Africa guide in 2005 and won an Owl Award in 2012 for his contribution to avian conservation and education through the Mottled Spinetail Conservation and Education Project in Sagole, Limpopo as well as the Birds in Trees Project in the Soutpansberg.

He is based in the central Soutpansberg area and can guide birders to the Albasini Dam, Muirhead Dam, Roodewal, Entabeni and the Hanglip forests as well as to Venda and northern Kruger Park. Samson is always on the lookout for species as Black-crowned and White-backed Night Heron, African Finfoot and Osprey as well as Buff-spotted Flufftail and rarities such as the Rock Pratincole which have turned up on occasion in his patch.Samson Mulaudzi Lisa Martus 2012res

Hanglip Forest, an easily-accessible Afro-temperate mist-belt forest has resident Scaly-throated Honeyguide, White-starred Robin and Yellow-streaked Greenbul whilst Roodewal Nature Reserve is renowned for its fairly reliable sightings of the elusive African Broadbill. Samson has stake-outs for this enigmatic bird, as well as for the Gorgeous Bush-Shrike, Eastern Nicator and Green Twinspot in this forest. His other hot-spots include the Levubu Post Office where the Grey-headed Parrots come to feed in the large Mobola Plum tree in the summer months and Muirhead Dam, the only reliable place in South Africa to find Blue-spotted Wood Dove. Samson enjoys his interactions with the various birders he has met who in turn have appreciated his passionate love of birds and birding.

Contact details

Mobile: +27 (0)83 662 9960
Email: samson@birdingsoutpansberg-venda.co.za
Web: www.birdingsoutpansberg-venda.co.za

Mpumalanga

Enos Zulu

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Enos Zulu
Operating Area: Enos Zulu does part time work for the Endangered Wildlife Trust and is involved with Blue Swallow and Oribi monitoring at Kaapsehoop.
Cell: +27 (0)72 331 1197

 

Appreciate Chiwanza

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Appreciate Chiwanza
Operating Area: Old Joes Kaia, Schoemanskloof Valley
Cell: +27 (0)13 73

Southern Kwazulu-Natal

Wilfred Mchunu

Wilfred MchunuWilfred Mchunu
Operating Area: Vryheid area, Natal Spa, Ithala Reserve, Nongoma, Ngome Forest, Ulundi, eMakhosini Opathe Heritage Park.
Cell: +27 (0)79 868 9229, (0)73 929 0702, (0)73 596 7802
Email: wilfredmchunu@gmail.com

Bongiwe Nxumalo

Bongiwe NxumaloBongiwe Nxumalo
Operating Area: St Lucia, iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
Cell: +27 (0)76 908 2657
Email: bongiwenxumalo136@gmail.com

Mpendulo Innocent Mzindle

Mpendulo Innocent Mzindle
Operating Area: Umtamvuna NR & Oribi Gorge
Cell: +27 (0)73 893 0241

Richard Jabulani

Richard Jabulani
Operating Area: Umtamvuna NR & Oribi Gorge
Cell: +27 (0)73 043 5692

Hlengiwe Grace Ndebele

Hlengiwe Grace Ndebele
Operating Area: Karkloof Conservation Centre (KCC)
Cell: +27 (0)33 330 2992

Daluxolo Ngcobo

Daluxolo Ngcobo
Operating Area: Ntsikeni NR
Cell: +27 (0)83 512 9734

Simphiwe Dumakude

Simphiwe Dumakude
Operating Area: Marutswa Forest Boardwalk
Cell: +27 (0)73 543 8545

Enoch Shezi

Enoch Shezi
Operating Area: Gqumeni Forest
Cell: +27 (0)72 816 3089

Highover Wildlife Sanctuary

Highover Wildlife Sanctuary
Operating Area: Highover Wildlife Sanctuary
Cell: +27 (0)33 212 3171

Maxwell Mngadi

Maxwell Mngadi
Operating Area: Shongweni Resources Reserve
Cell: +27 (0)76 925 7144

Elton Mnganyi

Elton Mnganyi
Operating Area: Shongweni Resources Reserve
Cell: +27 (0)72 311 0070

Lindelani Zuke

Lindelani Zuke
Operating Area: Umgeni River, Pigeon Valley, Botanic Gardens, Burman Bush
Cell: +27 (0)72 899 0291

Zululand

Aaron Buthelezi

Aaron Buthelezi
Operating Area: Ithala game reserve and Vryheid sanctuary
Cell: +27 (0)73 558 5636

Bheki Jobe

Bheki Jobe
Operating Area: Mkhuze
Cell: +27 (0)72 730 8855
E-mail: bhekimvelo@yahoo.co.uk

Bheki Mbonambi

Bheki Mbonambi
Operating Area: Muzi pan, and lower Mkhuze.
Cell: +27 (0)72 043 4717

Bheki Nyandeni

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Bheki Nyandeni
Operating Area: Lake Sibaya and lower Mkhuzi.
Cell: +27 (0)72 043 4717

Bongani Mdluli

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Bongani Mdluli
Operating Area: Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park and St Lucia.
Cell: +27 (0)79 488 1904

Buyi Zungu

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Buyi Zungu
Operating Area: Richards Bay harbor, Lake Nhlabane, Mtunzini, Enseleni and Ongoye.
Cell: +27 (0)72 112 8782

Dumisani Mbonambi

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Dumisani Mbonambi
Operating Area: Zinkwazi,Harold Johnson, Dlokwane forest and Stanger hide.
Cell: +27 (0)76 038 9919
E-mail: duminic_da_goat@yahoo.com

Jabulani Mbonambi

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Jabulani Mbonambi
Operating Area: Sodwana Bay, Mkhuzi Game Reserve and Muzi Pan
Cell: +27 (0)79 868 1111

Jotham Maduna

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Jotham Maduna
Operating Area: Dlinza,Ntumeni,Ongoye,Amatigulu and Nkandla
Cell: +27 (0)71 225 2704

Junior Gabela

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Junior Gabela
Operating Area: Amatigulu,Mlalazi,Ongoye and Dlinza
Cell: +27 (0)82 667 3704

Mana Ntuli

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Mana Ntuli
Operating Area: Dlinza forest,Ntumeni,Mlalazi and Ongoye forest
Cell: +27 (0)73 910 6033

Mdu Dube

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Mdu Dube
Operating Area: Amatigulu and Stanger hide
Cell: +27 (0)82 675 7965

Nkosinathi Mdletshe

Nkosinathi Mdletshe
Operating Area: Ithala game reserve and Vryheid sanctuary
Cell: +27 (0)35 753 5644

Noxolo Mthembu

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Noxolo Mthembu
Operating Area: Bonamanzi and Muzi Pan.
Cell: +27 (0)72 785 0095

Sakhamuzi Mhlongo

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Sakhamuzi Mhlongo
Operating Area: Dlinza, Richards Bay Habor, Mlalazi, Nkandla and Ongoye.
Cell: +27 (0)83 436 2252
E-mail: sakhamuzimhlongo@yahoo.com

Sfundo Gumbi

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Sfundo Gumbi
Operating Area: Richards Bay harbor, Lake Nhlabane, Mtunzini, Enseleni and Ongoye.
Cell: +27 (0)72 112 8782
E-mail: sfundog@yahoo.com

Simon

Simon
Operating Area: Vryheid, Natal Spar and Pongola
Cell: +27 (0)73 184 4001

Thabile Khuzwayo

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Thabile Khuzwayo
Operating Area: Dlinza, Lake Nhlabane, Mlalazi, Nkandla and Ongoye.
Cell: +27 (0)83 772 6121
E-mail: tkuzwayo@zoology.ac.up

Themba Mthembu

guide-zbr-themba mthembu

Themba Mthembu
Operating Area: Ndumo, Tembe,Tshanini,St Lucia and Mkhuzi.
Cell: +27 (0)71 413 3243
E-mail: themba@zulubirding.com
Website: http://www.zulubirding.com

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