BirdLife South Africa Recommended Course Providers

The beauty of birds is that there is always something new to learn! If you are looking for an opportunity to educate yourself on birds, birding and bird conservation, look no further than the BirdLife South Africa Recommended Course Providers.

Our Recommended Tour Operators have been vetted by BirdLife South Africa and are committed to providing accurate and high-quality educational courses. These course providers include some of the most knowledgeable and popular bird experts across South Africa. Their courses range from introductions to birding to bird identification to specialized birding skills training in the field, including photography, sound recording and call identification, and behaviour and ecology.

If you know of a course provider that delivers bird-related courses but is not on our list, please encourage them to fill in our online application form. We are always looking to bolster the ranks of excellent presenters to offer to our members and supporters. See our information brochure to find out more information about the benefits attached to becoming a BirdLife South Africa Recommended Course Provider.

BirdLife South Africa Recommended Course Providers

The African Edu-Eco team of professionals, under the expert leadership of Wayne Johnson (Professional Field Guide, Dangerous Game Specialist, Marine Guide and Cornell Lab Qualified and FGASA National Bird Guide), have formulated a number of exciting and innovative Birding-in-Africa Mentorship Experiences which cater for individuals with enquiring minds and yearning to learn-and-know more about the African Environment and an innate desire to learn more about Africa’s Bird diversity and the African Bush, its constituent members, the various relationships and related form and function of each individual and population within the ecosystem. These awareness experiences are compiled professionally and are comprehensive, experiential, transformational, immersive, fun and exciting.

All Birding-In-Africa Mentorship Experiences are presented in a variety of Regional Birding Hotspots in South and Southern Africa. Destinations and locations within these Regional Birding Hotspots comprise Nature Reserves; National Parks; Conservancies; established Birding Hotspots; Wildlife Hotspots and Private Game Reserves.
Our programs have a 1:6/8 leader to participant ratio emphasising personalised care and attention and the very best guided experience. Our Birding-In-Africa leaders are very highly qualified, knowledgeable, educators and guides who love sharing and facilitating exceptional holistic awareness experiences.
Join us on an IMMERSIVE and TRANSFORMATIONAL Birding-In-Africa Mentorship Experience of a Lifetime now.

Contact Details

Wayne Johnson

Tel : +27 (0)78 983 8873
E-mail : or or


Anton has been presenting bird identification and appreciation courses and talks for more than 20 years and has lectured academically and presented training courses since the 1970s. More than 5,000 people have attended these courses and many have joined BirdLife South Africa and/or affiliated clubs after this. Lectures are traditionally done in lecture hall format throughout the country, but with the pandemic, many of the courses have shifted to Zoom or materials are sent on to participants with WeTransfer.

Anton teaches courses on a range of topics, including:

  • General bird identification
  • Specialist identification of difficult groups
  • An introduction to birding
  • Getting more out of birding
  • Conservation training
  • Children’s workshops

Anton’s ‘Flight for Birders’ and ‘Flying Higher’ courses have been presented for many years, while the new addition of ‘Getting more out of birding’ lecture series is proving very popular, especially with overseas guests who can access these via WeTransfer links. The latter series illustrates birding opportunities at several of South Africa’s top birding destinations such as the Kruger National Park, the Kglagadi Transfrontier Park, the Tankwa Karoo and many more. These pre-recorded talks can be ordered at any point in preparation of visits to these destinations. Details can be viewed at this link.

Members of BirdLife South Africa can enjoy a 10% discount on Anton’s courses (please provide your membership number).

Contact Details

Anton Odendal

Tel : +27(0) 82 550 3347

E-mail :


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.

Contact Details

Stuart Mclean

Address: PO Box 38, HIMEVILLE, Drakensberg, 3256
Tel: +27 (0)33 702 1761
Mobile: +27 (0)82 742 6981

Birds are everywhere and birding is for everyone. In the comfort of your home, I show you how to be a birder. Learn about binoculars, field guides, apps, and techniques. Start with my Begin Birding course, then select from 5 more courses to extend your enjoyment and skills. Customized online events and live birding tours are available.​

Courses on Offer

I offer both online (see and in-person courses. My courses are small, interactive, and relaxed with reference material for review. Using a people-centered approach in a supportive, interactive but challenging environment, Aldo will coach you through difficult early birding. Other courses further develop your skills.

About Aldo Berruti

I began birding in 1965; this childhood passion evolving into a career as a research ornithologist, receiving a Ph.D. in seabird biology as part of a research career. I worked at the Fitzpatrick Institute (Marion Island and Lake St Lucia), Sea Fisheries Research Institute (seabirds of western Cape), and Durban Natural Science Museum. I changed role to that of administrator after acting as Secretary-General for the 22nd International Ornithological Congress in Durban in 1996 and became BirdLife South Africa’s first director in its founding years. I initiated many programmes including avitourism, Birding Fair, Wakkerstroom Centre, Ingula Partnership, and Community Guide Training Programme. I moved to AGRED (gamebird research and conservation) in 2004 before moving to the southern Drakensberg in 2013, where I enjoyed the freedom and joy of being a specialist birding and tour guide on Sani Pass. COVID ended this path, and so I founded the online birding courses of ‘Birding with Aldo’ with Emile van den Heetkamp. This was a return to the life-long practices of introducing people to birds, including a great many talks, summer schools in Cape Town and Durban in the 1980s, and writing South Africa’s first Where-to-watch Birds book with Ian Sinclair in 1984. I love introducing people to birds.

Contact Details

Aldo Berruti

Tel : +27 (0)72 545 1753
E-mail :
Website :

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Operating for more than two decades, EcoTraining is the pioneer and leader in safari guide and wildlife training in Africa. EcoTraining is widely recognised by the safari industry for its credibility and standard of excellence in nature guide training. We offer accredited career courses, gap year and sabbatical programmes, nature programmes, high school and university study abroad programmes, custom courses and on-site professional guide training at safari lodges. All courses are run directly from EcoTraining’s unfenced bush camps in prime wilderness areas across South Africa, Botswana, Kenya and Zimbabwe. To date, EcoTraining has trained over 13 000 people from 33 different countries around the world.

Are you a keen and enthusiastic Birder who wants to expand on our birding knowledge?

If your answer is yes, then EcoTraining’s Birding Enthusiast Online Course is for you.

Join us twice-weekly for live and interactive lectures. We can promise that this course will ruffle your feathers…in a good way!

Course dates: 25 July – 29 August 2022

Click here to book your spot on the upcoming course or email

EcoTraining Contact Details

E-mail :
Website :

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If you are keen on learning more about birds, birding and have always wanted to develop or refine the correct bird watching habits, then this Birding Basics Course is just what you have been looking for. The Birding Basics Course is a beginner course for those new to birding but can also be taken as refresher course for non-beginners.
Over the past 5 years, the birding basics course has primarily been offered to the greater Gauteng bird club community. Over this period, a number of people have been provided with the essential tools (i.e., the 7 key steps) to assist in their journey of bird identification.

Birding Basics Course details

Dates:           5-7, 10 April 2022

Lead by:       Lance Robinson


Start time:    18h45 for 19h00.
Zoom link will be shared before the course

Cost:             R400


About Lance Robinson

Lance Robinson is a well-known bird expert and guide. He has been involved with BirdLife South Africa in the past as a member of the executive committee and as a council member. His passion stems from his enjoyment of bird watching and his involvement with bird clubs. Lance’s interest evolved when he realised that there’s a conservation element to birding, thus leading to his involvement with the citizen science element of birding and participating in bird surveys such as SABAP2. Now, as a course provider, Lance provides courses on general bird identification and specialist identification. In addition to this, Lance has a Bird Sounds Course available and is presently working on an Intermediate Birder Course.

Contact Details

Lance Robinson

Tel : +27 (0)82 927 9785

E-mail :