David Hoddinott

What our clients say about David

  • Our Madagascar experience surpassed our wildest dreams. We didn’t even realise it was a ‘birding trip’ but David ensured that we saw much much more. The birds were great anyway, especially the pursuit of the magical Helmet Vanga! An unforgettable experience!

    HH, Madagascar
  • From your looking at my list two years ago and your comments on where best to get the birds, I was able to work out which trips would be most productive…. You were always drawing my attention to what were new, or possible splits, and checking what I still needed! And then not only did you make space in your busy programme to fit in our [Tanzania] Mega before my deadline, but putting in all the hours to find those tricky ones and patiently re-trying over and over again when I dipped or didn’t get good views! I am most grateful & know I could not have done it without you!

    IR, Tanzania Mega
  • This tour more than met all our expectations: in terms of sightings, accommodations, leadership, and magnificence of the country. Of course, we knew David Hoddinott, and knew he would be superb. We’d highly recommend Rockjumper’s Uganda tour, we loved it and appreciate David’s expertise and leadership.

    PM & SM, Uganda
  • Thank you for a wonderful tour. We enjoyed your good company and we appreciate your expertise, effort and enthusiasm. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in South Africa and we hope to travel with you again sometime.
    P.S It was a cracker

    South Africa
  • I would like to add my thanks to you, Crystal, and all the other people associated with Rockjumper for making this the best birding tour in which I have participated.  David’s leadership was superb as our trip bird count shows.  I would be happy to go with Rockjumper on future trips.  Thanks again for your assistance during the Mega South Africa trip.

    G, South Africa Mega
  • David Hoddinott is the best!! He is tenacious about getting all participants on all birds!

    D, Madagascar Comprehensive
  • Heard all about the trip from the guys and they all reckoned it to be their best ever to West Africa. All the pax only had praise for you… Thanks a million for the few days we had in the field together and overly impressed by your bird finding and leading skills. Way better than I ever was at your age and you have so much patience and never stop smiling … what is your secret?

    Ian Sinclair, Ghana
  • David, I need to thank you again for the birding experience in Uganda. The mammals were spectacular, not to be missed, but it was really the birding that blew my mind. It is with a mixture of gratitude, wonder and definitely humbleness having been shown these birds by someone so ‘awesome’ that I say thank you again. It was so much fun for me.  I was elated and still am when I think Uganda. As they say, it was priceless.

    MN, Uganda
  • Hi David. Just to say that we couldn’t have had a better trip. The more I think about it, the more remarkable it was. We couldn’t have asked for better encounters with our target birds and the mammal experiences were memorable. Thanks!!!
    The entire entourage was impressed by your skills and leadership. I’m glad we could make this happen. Looking forward to future trips.

    DD, Private Uganda
  • My wife and I were part of a six person tour of South Africa that was led by David Hoddinott. Our trip was excellent and seamless. David was the perfect guide for our group and, as I’m sure you’re aware, is an extraordinary birder and bird finder…. Thank you to Rockjumper, and David especially, for taking the time to create such a wonderful trip for our group.

    As always, I’m sure that it’s a challenge to accommodate numerous personalities within a group and David was great at it. We all liked him from day one and he was always positive and up for anything. He was an absolute joy to be with.

    We’d previously been to Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Botswana and South Africa was a totally different experience. We really enjoyed the people that we got to meet and the sheer beauty of the country is breathtaking. David’s enthusiasm and pride of his homeland was inspiring and infectious. We can’t thank him enough for making it come alive for us.

    And thanks to all who had a part in setting it all up. We’d happily recommend Rockjumper to anyone thinking about a trip led by you.

    EB, South Africa 2014
  • Morocco was a fun and thoroughly enjoyable tour. How could it not be with David Hoddinott and Mark Beevers as leaders!!! They just make me want to go on more Rockjumper tours to see as many birds as I can. You have no idea how appreciative I am of them. They are great and generous and fun and so focused. I love that. They have an intensity that makes birding fun.

    MN, Morocco
  • David Hoddinott was an excellent leader. It was obvious he had devoted a lot of preparation time studying the birds and learning their vocalizations. I was very impressed with his knowledge. I’d love to go on another tour with him some day.

    JM, South West Pacific Islands 2015
  • David was a fantastic guide whose love for his homeland, and passion for its wildlife, shone brightly.  I couldn’t have wished for a better guide to show me the wonders of South Africa.

    MW, South African Mega 2015
Thailand - Northern & Central: Asian Birding at its Best I 2018
5 Feb 2018 - 22 Feb 2018 (18 days)
Tour Leader: David Hoddinott
Can be linked with: Thailand - Southern Extension: Rainforest Birding I 2018
Tour Price (Per Person): USD5,700
No Spaces Available on this guaranteed departure
Morocco - Atlas to Sahara in Spring 2018
1 May 2018 - 13 May 2018 (13 days)
Tour Leaders: David Hoddinott, Mark Beevers
Can be linked with: Canary Islands - Macaronesian Endemics 2018
Tour Price (Per Person): EUR2,750
Spaces Available
China - Qinghai & the Tibetan Plateau 2018
28 May 2018 - 12 Jun 2018 (16 days)
Tour Leader: David Hoddinott
Can be linked with: China - Lhasa Birding & Cultural Extension 2018
Tour Price (Per Person): USD5,750
Spaces Available
China - Lhasa Birding & Cultural Extension 2018
12 Jun 2018 - 17 Jun 2018 (6 days)
Tour Leader: David Hoddinott
Can be linked with: China - Qinghai & the Tibetan Plateau 2018
Tour Price (Per Person): USD2,350
Spaces Available
Gabon - São Tomé & Príncipe Endemics Extension 2018
29 Jul 2018 - 5 Aug 2018 (8 days)
Tour Leaders: André Bernon, David Hoddinott
Can be linked with: Gabon - Rainforest Birds & Mammals 2018
Tour Price (Per Person): EUR2,975
Spaces Available
Gabon - Rainforest Birds & Mammals 2018
5 Aug 2018 - 19 Aug 2018 (15 days)
Tour Leaders: André Bernon, David Hoddinott
Can be linked with: Gabon - São Tomé & Príncipe Endemics Extension 2018
Tour Price (Per Person): EUR5,500
Spaces Available
Gabon - Loango National Park Extension 2018
19 Aug 2018 - 23 Aug 2018 (5 days)
Tour Leaders: André Bernon, David Hoddinott
Can be linked with: Gabon - Rainforest Birds & Mammals 2018
Tour Price (Per Person): EUR3,350
Spaces Available
Djibouti - Extension II 2018
14 Sep 2018 - 18 Sep 2018 (5 days)
Tour Leaders: David Hoddinott, Nigel Redman
Can be linked with: Somaliland - Horn of Africa Endemics 2018
Tour Price (Per Person): USD2,400
Spaces Available
Somaliland - Horn of Africa Endemics 2018
18 Sep 2018 - 1 Oct 2018 (14 days)
Tour Leaders: David Hoddinott, Nigel Redman
Can be linked with: Djibouti - Extension II 2018
Price to be announced
Spaces Available
India - Andaman Islands Endemics II 2018
4 Nov 2018 - 10 Nov 2018 (7 days)
Tour Leader: David Hoddinott
Can be linked with: India - Southern: Birding & Wildlife of the Western Ghats II 2018
Tour Price (Per Person): USD2,650
Spaces Available
India - Southern: Birding & Wildlife of the Western Ghats II 2018
11 Nov 2018 - 22 Nov 2018 (12 days)
Tour Leaders: David Hoddinott, Holly Faithfull
Can be linked with: Sri Lanka - Endemic Birds & Big Game II 2018
Tour Price (Per Person): USD4,075
Spaces Available
Sri Lanka - Endemic Birds & Big Game II 2018
22 Nov 2018 - 2 Dec 2018 (11 days)
Tour Leaders: David Hoddinott, Holly Faithfull
Can be linked with: India - Northern: Birds & Tigers II 2018
Tour Price (Per Person): USD2,650
Spaces Available
India - Northern: Birds & Tigers II 2018
3 Dec 2018 - 20 Dec 2018 (18 days)
Tour Leaders: David Hoddinott, Holly Faithfull
Can be linked with: Sri Lanka - Endemic Birds & Big Game II 2018
Tour Price (Per Person): USD5,950
Spaces Available

David Hoddinott has extensive experience leading birding tours throughout Africa, Asia and Madagascar. He is well known in birding circles for his endless energy and legendary bird spotting skills. His zeal for bird guiding has earned him the position as the senior leader at Rockjumper and a reputation as one of the world’s most talented birders.

David Hoddinott is a member of his local branch of BirdLife and sits on the KwaZulu-Natal and South African rarities panels. He has worked as the resident ornithologist at birding lodges in South Africa, Botswana and Ecuador, including an 18-month stint at the world-famous Sacha Lodge, and is now a full-time guide for Rockjumper Birding Tours. In February 2010 David reached 2,000 birds in Africa, which emphasizes his experience, passion and skill in this great continent! He continues to lead tours to all the major birding destinations in Africa including Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, South Africa, Cameroon, Ghana, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Morocco and Tunisia, and seldom visited areas such as Angola, Sierra Leone, Djibouti & Socotra. He aspires to travel to extraordinary places and invites all those intrepid travelers with a sense of adventure to join him on his exciting adventures!

More about David:

How did you get into birding?
At the age of 7, a friend of my folks set up his hide and photographed some Southern Black Tits that were nesting in our garden at the time. I was totally fascinated by this and have been hooked ever since! Then I met my great friend Adam Riley in 1993, and we did our first trip together to Kalahari Gemsbok NP. I have been travelling the world since that time, having started leading tours for Rockjumper in 2001.

What led you to choose a career in tourism?
I love the outdoors and am a naturalist and conservationist at heart.

What are your other hobbies and interests?
Sport (Rugby, Cricket, Athletics, Tennis and loads more), Running, Cycling, Stamp collecting, Fishing.

What do you enjoy most about being on tour?
Sharing amazing experiences and the wonderful world of birds with enthusiastic people; the sheer adventure of visiting often remote places that I would never otherwise explore; being in the outdoors!

What are your strengths as a tour leader?
Keen eyesight and hearing for starters; my vast experience and knowledge of a great deal of countries and their respective birds and other wildlife; good leadership skills, including patience and persistence (essential for any successful tour leader!).

Are you a keen bird photographer?
Yes

Are you a lister and if so, which lists are your main focus?
Yes, Africa!

Any interesting stories or anecdotes from recent tours?
Adam told me way back in 2002 that we needed to do a “recce” (reconnaissance) trip to Ghana, as he had been requested by clients to set up a tour there in order for us to run it for them the following year. This group had toured several countries with Adam and Ghana was apparently their next and most sought-after destination. Adam and I therefore searched for information regarding birding trips to the country. As it was, no-one was offering any at the time and we could only find one very old trip report to Ghana from 1977. So, Adam then asked them again if they were sure that Ghana was where they really wanted to go, as we couldn’t find much information about birding there. They replied with a firm, YES and hence we did our research as best we could, planned an itinerary that included the major national parks, and did the reconnaissance trip, which turned out to be very successful. After returning home, we then set up the itinerary and ensured that all the necessary logistics were in place, after which Adam duly contacted them. They responded by saying: “You won’t believe it, but we actually meant to say The Gambia!” Well, we all just rolled with laughter at that! Fortunately, they then told us that since they knew we had been to a great deal of effort and expense on their behalf, they were quite happy to go to Ghana instead. This is what we subsequently did, and as it turned out it was a fabulous tour, and we have been running successful tours there ever since!

What are your future goals as a birding tour leader?
I am striving to see as many bird species in Africa as possible and to become the most experienced guide on the continent. I particularly enjoy birding in Africa and exploring new destinations; Rockjumper was the first birding tour operator to lead bird watching tours to Ghana, Angola and Sierra Leone, and I would like to continue this trend. I would also like to photograph as many of Africa’s birds as possible.

What is your favourite place/country to guide?
I think if you pushed me, I’d have to say Uganda. I have lead 11 tours to this fantastic birding nation and could easily do another 11! Yet having said that, it’s very difficult to choose only one destination as each country is so different in terms of birds, wildlife, habitats etc.

What is your advice to people who want to go to any specific destination?
Study your field guide before you go! This will give you a huge advantage in being able to find and see the birds much quicker than you would otherwise be able to do, therefore making the trip less frustrating and more enjoyable for you. If travelling with a birding tour operator, have a list of the species you’d really like to see and give this to your guide before the tour. And if travelling with us, then read our excellent pre-departure packs!