Tour operators are required to meet certain criteria in order to qualify for ‘Birder Friendly’ status:
Being a Birder Friendly tour operator
- 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.
For an annual subscription of R1 345 (South African members) or R2 090 (non-South African members), BirdLife South Africa is committed to offering Tour Operators of the Birder Friendly scheme the following benefits:
- A 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Birder Friendly registered tour operators (listed alphabetically)
Absolute Birding Safaris and Tours – we are a small specialist birding company that puts our clients’ needs first. We cater for twitchers, listers or just the casual birder. We offer standard tours for groups or specialised tours custom crafted to our client’s specific needs. We prefer smaller groups so that we can give our clients individual attention. Check out our comprehensive website for additional info.
“It’s all about the birds!”
We offer a variety of options :
- Birding to anywhere in South Africa.
- Game reserve guided tours.
- Namaqua spring flowers trips.
- Pelagic trips including whale watching.
- Historical trips with emphasis on military history.
- Photographic safaris.
Birding 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.
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 email@example.com 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.
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 4×4 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.
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
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.
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!”
Navigate Africa Safaris purpose is to help intrepid adventurers navigate the rich and varied experiences that sub-Saharan Africa has to offer. To facilitate unforgettable journeys.
We are absolutely passionate about Africa and its unique natural beauty, flora and fauna. Africa’s vast and varied landscapes offer myriad opportunities for those who are explorers at heart. Let Navigate Africa Safaris facilitate your discovery of sub-Saharan Africa’s secrets and idiosyncrasies. Our team will put together tailor-made adventure experiences that allow you to indulge in your favourite pastime in exciting new settings. We understand that the natural ruggedness of an African safari should be offset by impeccable service and, as such, carefully screen our destinations, products, and guides to ensure that they are the best the area has to offer.
Our primary destinations with-in sub-Saharan African countries including South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda. We cater for specialists as well as those looking for a unique and carefully planned itinerary. Our specialities lie in birding tours, fishing tours and wildlife safaris. We run our own tours and work with preferred partners in the industry.
Allow us to present to you some of our favourite packages and tours or assist you in tailor making that trip to suite all your specific requirements for your next birding, fishing or wildlife experience. With our knowledge in the industry and your helping input we will do our best to ensure a seamless African safari.
We strongly support sustainable tourism and strive to have a minimal impact on our environment where possible.
Nature Travel Birding is the dedicated birding part of the Nature Travel Group that consists of several travel companies (including African safaris, conservation safaris, veterinary safaris, active safaris and more) concentrating on unique, personalised wildlife and bucket list experiences all over the world.
Nature Travel Birding specialises in private and small group birding trips in Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganda, Rwanda, Madagascar, India, Thailand, Ecuador, Peru, Spain and the rest of Europe.
We offer both set departure date group safaris as well as private customised birding safaris, with a maximum of 6 clients per trip. We also offer day and short birding trips in Namibia, South Africa, Kenya and Europe. We pride ourselves on the fact that we can offer every client a personalised birding experience.
Nature Travel Birding was founded by Nick Buys from a love of birding and passion of sharing his knowledge with clients. Nick has travelled and led birding and wildlife safaris all over the world.
Our company has a dedicated team where each member was chosen for his/her specific skill and expertise in the travel, birdwatching and general wildlife field. We are passionately driven to ensure our clients get a bespoke travel experience every time.
Our birding tours are generally at a fairly good pace, but with plenty time to still enjoy the landscapes and general wildlife on offer, as is the case with most birding trips. We also offer photographers the chance to get that “perfect shot”, as all our birding guides are avid photographers themselves, and know exactly what is needed for that great picture.
We are also always happy to arrange a custom trip, and can run any of our advertised tours any time by request. Furthermore, we love the challenge of clients sending us a bird “wish list” for a specific area – we will go out of our way to set up the perfect itinerary for you to find those rare and wonderful species on your list!
We pride ourselves on answering queries and questions with the speed of a hummingbird. Our office team will get back to you as soon as possible and keep updating you on various aspects of your birding trip questions and concerns. The team is passionate about the business, about birds, about nature in general, and most importantly about keeping our clients happy and impressed with our exemplary and friendly service.
Outdoor 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:
- 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.
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
Our 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.