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Top Trip Memories
  • Watching the magical and extensive bird migration in Cape May
  • Marveling at the brilliantly colored lilac breasted rollers and hundreds of other species in Kruger National Park
  • Listening to the trill and zings of Hummingbirds in Pichincha
  • Visiting Voto Donana National Park and excitedly adding rare species of birds to my life list
  • Staying in an eco-lodge in Costa Rica and waking up to the sound of myriads of tropical birds
  • Patiently searching for -- and at long last, finding! -- the elusive bee hummingbird in Cuba
  • Learning about bird-banding and mist-netting techniques in Point Reyes National Seashore visitor center
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Tour Tips
  • Choose a tour that schedules more than one day at each birding site; this gives more chance to see elusive birds but also allows for second -- or third! -- sightings of particular birds, to cement their identity and behavior in your memory.
  • Learn the basics of birding etiquette; for example, if your tour guides use playback remember to remain absolutely silent throughout; take only a quick look through the communal scope before allowing others a turn.
  • Determine what level of birder you are, and choose a trip that fits your style (i.e. do you want to bird from 5am to 8pm without a break? Or do you prefer sleeping in a little longer, or stopping for local fare at lunchtime?).
  • Choose the size of group you'd like to travel with, as larger groups mean more eyes to help spot birds and more folks with whom to bond, but result in more chaos and less personalized attention from the tour leader.
  • Be aware of local customs. Is it polite to bring a small gift to village elders? Is it important to modestly cover ones arms or legs? Can you say "hello" and "thank you" in the local language?
  • Plan to wear (or carry in a small pack) multiple layers of clothing for varying weather, and learn about the ecosystems you'll be visiting (eg., what kinds of insect repellent may be useful?).
  • Don't wear bright colors or noisy clothing, such as nylon jackets or velcro. Make sure you can quietly access your camera without a lot of rustling.
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Birding Travel Reviews & Ratings
4.7 out of 5

92%

recommend

24 Reviews

Excellent 20 Great 3 Average 0 Disappointing 0 Terrible 1

Rating Details

Value
4.6 Guide
4.7 Activities
4.7 Lodging
4.7 Transportation
4.7 Meals
4.7
Tour Reviews

Truly fake. Similar to visiting ‘Paris’ in Vegas.

Costa Rica – The Sea Turtle Initiative

1.0 May 2017 Discover Corps Recommend: No Truly fake. Similar to visiting ‘Paris’ in Vegas.

It is advertised as volunteering, family friendly and building international network to help undeveloped countries and nature where scientists are involved. The reality is that it is a typical student back-pack trip. There are no activities for children under 12 to participate too either fun or educational. Young, good natured girls are not scientific personnel and the local people disliked anything American. It felt like a prison and a ‘ghetto’ where you devise a cause, do something without the community’s support that deeply affects their lives (ex-poachers) and be high-minded that you are actually helping. Social division, looking down on people and experiencing poverty is not what I wanted to participate in. I am very upset that this has happened and that no one was interested afterwards.
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The trip of a lifetime!

Wildlife Safari & Culture Experience

5.0 January 2017 Alaitol Safaris Recommend: Yes We spent 11 nights on a Northern circuit safari in Tanzania and it was just incredible!
Our guide was excellent.....he always seemed to be in just the right place at just the right time for spotting wildlife! He was knowledgeable, friendly and efficient....THE perfect guide!
The standard of accommodation was excellent, we especially loved Maramboi Tented Camp and Serena Lodges was sheer luxury!
The vehicles are very spacious, but do show signs of wear and tear....hardly surprising when you see the state of the roads/tracks in the parks especially the dust and rocks in the Serengeti! The vehicles are also equipped with refrigerators and charging points....great when your camera battery is about to die!
I wouldn't hesitate in recommending Alaitol Safaris....if (when!) we return to Africa they would be our first choice!
Asante sana, Alaitol Safaris.
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Friend recommended, we couldn't agree more!

Spectacular Serengeti Safari

5.0 December 2016 Alaitol Safaris Recommend: No A friend recommended Alaitol Safaris for their high level of service, ease of communication when making plans, quality of guides, accommodations and value. We couldn't agree more!
Abel customized our itinerary around our daughter's schedule as a volunteer in Arusha and our wish list for safari. The amount of time we spent intimately observing wild animals exceeded our expectations and the thousands of photos we took bring back the emotions, sights, sounds and smells (the rain in the Serengeti smells so wonderful!) of this amazing family vacation. Our guide Ramoth's experience and passion put us in the right place at the right time!
Highlights include: Finding a leopard resting in a tree who spotted prey and then witnessing the kill - the circle of life. Listening to hyena laugh and lion roar from the comfort of our standard tent camp, then observing the picked clean remains of their nighttime revelry when we left camp in the morning. Having a herd of elephants walk behind our parked truck and coming upon a journey of more than 50 giraffe, way too many to count. Not to mention the endless stream of migration from sun up to sundown! To decompress from our travels. A perfect ending!
We are grateful we seized the opportunity to use Alaitol Safaris when we joined our daughter in Tanzania.
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Great care and service from Agama Tours and Safaris

The Big 5

5.0 November 2016 Agama Tours Recommend: Yes Great care and service from Agama Tours and Safaris. From first mail communication was fast and helpful. Kabalo and Lara helped customized our perfect private safari in Tanzania. 8 days including Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Serengeti and Ngorongoro. The lodges, tent camps, and transportation were all excellent. We are still in disbelief to how amazing our guide was, Emanuel. A professional animal finder, knowledgable, passionate and above all, wonderful friend we have made. I would recommend to anyone traveling to Tanzania! Read more

Unique & exciting trip!

Kilimanjaro Trek & Wildlife Safari

5.0 October 2016 Alaitol Safaris Recommend: Yes While spending two months in TZ volunteering I went on multiple trips with Alaitol Safaris LTD. The first was a 4-day safari. Our driver and guide, Ramos, was amazing. He seemed to know everyone there and was able to us to see everything possible. He was also an excellent a driver, one of the best I've seen. I don't know how he was able to fly down a winding 2-track road at 60mph, but he did, and it was a thrill. We also met some of he best people we've known in Arusha through Alaitol and the safari. Chatting with new friends and bonding with the staff at the campfires will forever be a great memory here in Tanzania.
Then, during our last week here we climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. After a lot of discussion about pros and cons of each route we chose Rongai, the wilderness route, definitely the right decision. Our guides were friendly, knowledgeable, and most of all assured our summit. They did everything right. From making sure we walked pole pole to acclimatize, medicating us appropriately, and treating us as friends along the way. Our lead guide, Husein, took me on a solo climb up an additional peak at Mawenzi, one of the most memorable experiences I'll have. From scaling up a rock face to scrabbling down the steep sandy slopes basically skiing, the experience was one of a kind.
The entire Alaitol team is truly spectacular. Every step of the way they've shown us a great time and have been a valuable resource for any questions that we had.
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Birding Trips & Tour Advice

Birders are among the most flexible travelers around, always ready to pick up at a moment's notice and fly off somewhere to spot a rare species. They also love to take birding tours to places like Costa Rica, Panama, the Galapagos, Trinidad, Alaska, and Colombia, where they can take it slow and add to their life lists. Whether you're a dedicated birder or more of a devoted backyard birdwatcher who wants to learn more, you can be sure you'll find a birding tour that's just your speed.

To a dedicated birder, nothing is so thrilling as to search for -- and find! -- a new life bird. The search will bear any kind of difficulty, from getting up at 3 am to hiking through remote mountain jungles, just for the excitement and exhilaration … along with the sense of accomplishment. Novice birders can experience this same delight, reveling in the exquisite beauty of birds seen through binoculars and beginning to learn the basics of “field marks” and the overall gestalt of a bird (casually referred to as “jizz”).

A Worldwide Activity

One of the true benefits to birdwatching – and one reason why birding is one of the fastest growing sports today – is that birds can be seen anywhere. Hence, birdwatching can be combined with all other elements of exciting travel. Join a birding tour to Bhutan and celebrate the Black Crane festival with the King! Revel in the sight of magnificent Albatrosses soaring over peaks in Kauai; or wade through African swamps in Uganda to find the prehistoric-looking Shoebill. You can watch birds at the Parthenon, and then travel with your guide to the smaller Greek islands to immerse yourself – literally alone! – in the beauty of ancient ruins, watching whimsical Hoopoes. Birding in India includes a visit to the Taj Mahal, followed by immersion in deeply mystical forests; Svalbard and the great northern forests are fantastic places to spot birds.

Photography

Bird photography can be especially difficult; birding tour guides (and other guests) can provide beneficial assistance and give pointers for managing to photograph birds hiding in elusive dark forests or winging through the skies. In general, having a telephoto lens will be extremely helpful to see farther away finds. If you're lucky enough to get up close, a macro lens will capture beatuiful colors and detail! Because you will be outdoors, using a Neutral Density filter or Polarizing filter can help with glare, and make sure your subject doesn't become washed out. There are techniques for particular local conditions which can be gleaned from guides but may be more difficult to figure out for yourself.

Benefits of Using a Guide

When arriving in a new area, it can be extremely difficult (and disappointing) to try to figure out the likely locale and typical timing of local birds unless you are familiar with the ecosystem. These details can make or break a birding experience, and are very hard to glean from reading travel or birding books. It’s hard to know which birds will respond to a playback; which birds are likely to be low in the understory or perched on tops of trees; even something as particular as which side of the road they like to frequent! A local guide knows where to look, when to look, and how to look for each bird … and if he or she suddenly hears birdsong, will know which bird has vocalized (and can quickly find the proper playback for assistance).

Benefits of a Planned Tour

Although local bird guides for most areas can be found from an internet search, there are significant advantages to signing up for a tour package, both for experienced and novice birders. The tour will provide you with a guide who speaks your language, which is instrumental in finding birds. Imagine trying to understand “it’s hidden behind a small branch on the left side of the ebony tree” in a foreign language. Even “see where my laser is pointing?” is difficult sometimes! This leader will also arrange for additional local guides, to serve as an extra repository of knowledge and the latest details for rare or unusual birds sighted locally – and your leader will be able to communicate with them in their language in case you can’t!

The advantage of having hotels, meals, and travel logistics arranged cannot be over emphasized … leaving you free to enjoy the birds! This is exceptionally important if you want to travel around a destination to different birding ecosystems. It is a joy to have the arrangements made for you!

Another benefit from signing up for a birding tour is the other people on the tour itself. There is great pleasure in sharing the adventure; making new friends who have a common interest and expanding your network of connections. Each night after a day of birdwatching, the group will gather and discuss the day’s sightings, cementing your memory of each bird. Photos will be shared; anecdotes related. Even a novice’s foibles will be fondly reminisced – the camaraderie of a group of like-minded individuals can be extraordinary!

 

Related Guides

Popular Continents:

AfricaAustralia & PacificSouth AmericaCaribbean & Central Amercia & North America

Popular Countries:

PeruEcuadorBrazilCosta RicaTanzaniaKenyaNew ZealandPapua New Guinea & United States

Popular Birdwatching Spots:                                                           

Manu National Park, Peru; Cape May, U.S.; Kruger National Park, South Africa; Borneo, Malaysia; Panama Canal, Panama; Royal Manas National Park, Bhutan; Veracruz & Yucatan Peninsula; Mexico, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia; and Many More

Popular Amongst: 

Nature Lovers50+ 

 

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