To support our community bird guides during the current national lockdown, please visit www.birdlife.org.za/birdlife-guide-relief-fund/.

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 Andrew de Blocq, Avitourism Project Manager, on andrew.deblocq@birdlife.org.za.

Contact details for Community Bird Guides

Kruger to Canyons

Operating Area: Abednego “Bedneck” Maibela operates within the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve.
Cell: +27 (0)72 382 1846

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

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

Limpopo

Admire is based in Phalaborwa and services the general area.

Cell: +27(0)78 999 1111

Email: Ndamaneadmire8@gmail.com

Christopher 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 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.

He 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

Eddy works out of Kapama Nature Reserve. 
Cell: +27 (0)78 761 8383
Email: eddykhosav@gmail.com

Edith operates out of Phalaborwa.
Cell: +27 (0)71 778 3067
Email: Edithnomasonto@gmail.com

Khotso operates in the Kruger National Park and surrounding areas.
Cell: +27 (0)78 365 8102
Email: Snymesk@gmail.com

Lucas guides in the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve, which includes Nylsvley Nature Reserve, the Nyl floodplain, Marakele Nature Reserve, Masebe Nature Reserve, and surrounds.
Cell: +27 (0)78 566 2829
Email: thotswane@yahoo.com

Lungile operates in the Kruger National Park and surrounding areas.
Cell: +27 (0)76 376 0435
Email: mthiyanel87@gmail.com

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

Prisca operates in greater Limpopo.

Cell: +27(0)60 492 2400

Email: Goitsimashamaite3@gmail.com

Samson 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.

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

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

Norman operates in the Wakkerstroom area.
Contact no: 082 584 1542

WhatsApp no: 066 154 9283

Email address: mncubens@gmail.com

Sifiso operates in the Wakkerstroom area.
Cell: +27 (0)72 278 2822

Southern Kwazulu-Natal

Operating Area: Richard’s Bay to St Lucia.
Cell: +27 (0)76 908 2657 or +27(0)72 99 69 741
Email: bongiwenxumalo136@gmail.com

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

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

Zululand

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

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

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

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

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

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

Operating Areas: Amatigulu, Mlalazi Ongoye, Eshowe, Dlinza, iSimangaliso, Richard’s Bay, Stanger, and greater Durban.
Cell: +27 (0)82 667 3704

Operating Area: Dlinza forest, Eshowe, Mtunzini, Ntumeni, Mlalazi, Matigulu, Stanger, Dreadnought Farm, Phobane Dam and Ongoye forest
Cell: +27 (0)76 972 3506

Email: manantulikambhele@gmail.com

Operating Area: Eshowe, Dlinza, Ntumeni, Nkandla, Mthunzini and Ongoye .

Email: nomusasphiwe05@gmail.com
Cell: +27 (0)78 100 1280

Operating area: Ndlinza Forest, Umlalazi Nature Reserve and Amatigulu Nature Reserve. Lethukuthula qualified as a FGASA level 1 guide in 2017.
Cell: 071 160 0206
Email: lethunxele123@gmail.com.

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

Operating Area: St Lucia/Isimangaliso Wetland Park, Hluhluwe/False bay, Nibela flood plain and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park.
Cell: +27(0)72 356 5906/(0)65 708 4417
Email: phindylungile@gmail.com

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

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

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

Operating area: St. Lucia/iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, Nibela peninsula, False Bay, Mkuze, Ndumo and Tembe Elephant Park.

Email: thembabirdingtour@gmail.com

Email 2: stluciabirdsnbirding@gmail.com 

Website: www.zulubirding.jimdo.com

Website 2: www.stluciabirding.com

Cell: +27 (0)71 413 3243

Operating Area: Hluhluwe Mfolozi, St Lucia, Wakkerstroom and Kruger National Park.
Cell: +27 (0)79 868 9229, (0)73 929 0702, (0)73 596 7802
Email: wilfredmchunu@gmail.com