Choosing a birding tour operator to help you with an African birdwatching trip can be a bewildering experience because there are so many of them in the market.
So I've set up a list of the top three birding tour companies which can serve as a handy starting point for your trip to see the huge amount of species available in Africa (about 2250 recorded on the mainland).
There are many more than three good trip operators out there but it's often hard to tell just by visiting their website or exchanging a few e-mails and Africa is a long way to go only to find out that you have booked a vacation with an outfit that is not delivering the goods.
To whittle down your own shortlist into a more manageable size, here are a few factors to take into account when considering operators:
- The size of the group (shouldn't be more than 12)
- The qualifications of the tour leaders (they should have local knowledge of the area you are going to be birding in).
- The length of time the company has been in business.
- Previous traveller experiences (trip reports and testimonials).
- Make sure they detail what is included in the price and what is not.
The top three ranking below is based on my own personal birding tour experience, trip reports, client recommendations, forum opinions, magazine reviews and prevailing wisdom in the travel industry...
Based in the UK but doing extensive birding tours in Africa, this company has been around since 1981 and has masses of satisfied clients.
They visit all the birding hotspots in Africa in not less than seventeen different countries so you will not be disappointed by the variety of tours on offer.
2. Birding Africa
The company that showed the famous (or should that be infamous) Bill Oddie the very first Cape rock-jumpers he had ever seen and acted as consultants for the BBC Natural History Unit.
Based in South Africa and in operation since 1997 and they specialise in tailor-made personalized birding trips with small groups.
Birdwatching destinations include Kenya, Namibia, the Okavango Delta in Botswana, Gambia, Morocco, Uganda, Madagascar, Zambia, Ethiopia and South Africa. Excellent coverage of the whole African continent so you can pick and choose between your favourite destination.
Based in the UK they boast an impressive line up of experts.