Adam Riley is the co-founder of Rockjumper Birding Tours. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant and his keen business sense, customer care and attention to detail has been a major factor in making Rockjumper one of the world’s premier bird tour companies. Adam spends much of his time overseeing Rockjumper’s operations, and the remainder of his time guiding or scouting new destinations for future tours.
Alison Wakelin has a passion for conservation, wildlife and the outdoors, spending as much time as she can in the African bush. It is thus no surprise that after a few years spent in the corporate world that she found herself at Rockjumper. Alison is extremely talented in handling the complex logistics of running diverse tours to a mind-boggling number of destinations. A keen eye for detail and her commitment for service excellence; Alison has built a great relationship with our clients over many years. Having won high praise for her handling of the busy pre-tour support and communications role, Alison has now applied her years of experience to assisting Cuan Rush in managing our growing Private Tours department.
Brad Roberts spent most of his career as a graphic designer for advertising agencies and corporates before taking on the role of Corporate Imaging for Rockjumper. Brad has accumulated a wealth of computer knowledge, and in addition to being involved with the visual aspects of Rockjumper’s marketing material, he also plays a key role in managing our IT. Conscientious and with an understated sense of humour, Brad is always willing to help out in any way he can!
Cailin Collier grew up on the scenic KwaZulu-Natal south coast before moving to the provincial capital. Her interest in wildlife began while working at a nearby private game lodge and ultimately lead to a new challenge at Rockjumper. Cailin started working in our Admin department before moving into our ever increasing Private Tours department. Cailin is a qualified reflexologist and also enjoys the odd spot of gardening.
Candice Jack was born in Pietermaritzburg and has lived here most of her life. After completing her studies in Hotel Management, Candice moved to the United Kingdom to further her adventurous travel spirit. Having travelled widely, she returned home and has spent the last 10 years working as a travel consultant. Candice is based at our head office where she runs our travel department.
Clayton Burne is the Operations Manager of Rockjumper Birding Tours. Raised in the city of Durban, he spent 5 years in the African bush working as a field guide before emigrating to the United Kingdom. After spending almost a decade in the private medical sector, Clayton decamped to South America and embarked on a year-long cycling and birding journey across the continent. Having no sooner reached the Caribbean coast, he flew back to South Africa to start work as a tour leader for Rockjumper. Mostly office bound now, the big year lists are a thing of the past for the time being.
Crystal Brook was born and raised in Johannesburg and has long nurtured a passion for nature. Her childhood years were enlightened with countless encounters of the natural world, including close interaction with Lion cubs and shadowing shark researchers on the beaches of KwaZulu-Natal! Crystal will be the first member of our team that you communicate with when booking a tour. You can rest assured that she will handle your booking inquiry in a friendly and efficient manner. When she takes a break from making the tour of your dreams a reality, she can occasionally be found cage diving with Great White Sharks!
Cuan Rush earned a conservation diploma before launching his career in bird related work as curator of birds at Umgeni Bird Park in Durban. He then spent several years developing birding multimedia products and has also worked as a lodge manager and guide in Zambia. Cuan divides his time between heading Rockjumper’s custom tour department and leading tours throughout Africa and Asia.
David Kaplan has been an ardent lover of birds and wildlife as long as he can remember. After studies in the Natural Sciences he ran a string of his own small businesses before joining Rockjumper in 2009. David wears many hats for Rockjumper, managing our website, facebook page, itineraries, photos and trip reports, amongst other tasks.
Keith Valentine is the Managing Director of Rockjumper Birding Tours. Before joining Rockjumper he completed a degree in Financial Management. While Keith still guides a few tours a year, the majority of his time is focused on the office and day to day running of the company.
Kim Swinstead grew up in Pietermaritzburg, teaching at one of South Africa’s most prestigious schools and earning a Masters degree in English. She has great love for travel, literature and just about all things outdoors, which have seen her visiting various corners of the globe. Introduced to the world of birding by tour leader Rich Lindie, Kim now approaches her travels with renewed interest as an avid birder and budding photographer. Kim joined Rockjumper as an invaluable member of our support team, while also taking on an increasing role in editing our trip reports, itineraries and images.
Lorna Symons discovered her love of travel whilst spending a year sailing on a yacht off the South American coastline with her family as a child.The travel bug bit and she has travelled extensively through South and North America as well as Europe and of course Africa! Lorna has over 11 years experience in the travel industry and now works in our Scheduled Tours department assisting in pre-tour support.
Megan Taylor hails from Pietermaritzburg. Having spent a number of years at an accounting firm, Megan plays an important role in our busy financial department while also taking charge of the company’s HR. Introduced to birding by tour leader Clayton Burne, Megan now spends most of her free time chasing down lifers across southern Africa.
Michelle Wells fell in love with the UK after spending her teens in London. Michelle came back to South Africa to obtain her diploma in Travel & Tourism before returning to the UK working in tour operations and travelling extensively. Michelle is now based at our head office where her wealth of experience proves invaluable in her role of running our busy South African tour logistics and operations.
Mick Travers was born and educated in Australia, and has spent most of his life travelling the world to enrich his passion for natural environs. Mick represents Rockjumper and our sister companies in the Australian market, so if you stem from this part of the world, then please feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org with any inquiries or questions about our various tours, and he will enthusiastically assist you.
Noluthando Ndlovu, or Thando as she is affectionately known in the office, grew up in the beautiful KwaZulu-Natal midlands town of Nottingham Road. She is one of our newest Rockjumper recruits, handling a number of our office administrative tasks. Thando is presently studying for a degree in Education, whilst already putting her studies to good use teaching adult literacy when she has time.
Praniel Dhanesar spent all of his informative years in Pietermaritzburg; life’s lessons and marriage resulted in him making a home in the far more scenic Midlands Mender, the heart of KwaZulu-Natal. A qualified Professional Accountant (SA), Praniel joined the Rockjumper team after spending almost 17 years in a professional accounting practice, rolling up his sleeves and getting more involved in the day-to-day financial and administrative affairs in a challenging corporate environment.
Ric Zarwell has been fascinated by birds and wildlife since growing up beside the biologically-rich Mississippi River and hardwood forests in the upper Midwest of the United States. He has an undergraduate degree in wildlife biology and a graduate degree in natural resources from the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point. Ric assists Rockjumper with our marketing and operations in the US with cheerful and client-first professionalism.
Rich Lindie is the CEO of Rockjumper, heading up our Mauritius office. Rich earned a degree in Wildlife Sciences before travelling the world independently. His years of travel, coupled with his vast guiding experience, strong logistical, administrative and interpersonal skills made him the ideal candidate to oversee the day-to-day running of the company. Rich still enjoys guiding and photography when possible, while also keeping abreast of clients’ needs and imparting his knowledge with the office.
Sarah Dell was born and raised in Pietermaritzburg. Before joining Rockjumper, Sarah obtained an Honours Degree in Accounting, completing her articles at Eskom’s Revenue Recovery department. Sarah has always had a passion for nature and the outdoors – be it plants, animals or birds and enjoys gardening, sewing, cooking and reading in her spare time. Sarah’s attention to detail has seen her involved in multiple roles at Rockjumper, including pre and post-tour support, while also planning and executing our large and logistically complex ABA tours.
Sue Anderson was born and educated in Zimbabwe. Her love for travel began in Harare while working as a radio operator for an international airline. Sue crossed the border and moved to South Africa in 1981 where she worked at private game reserve, before settling in for a rewarding career with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and Birdlife South Africa furthering Sue’s love for conservation. Several years at the Oribi Gorge Hutted Camp on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast sparked her interest in birding, and in 2009 she joined Rockjumper. Sue now plays a critical role in our Operations department keeping on top of all our scheduled tour planning and logistics.
Yuraisha Chavan was born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, and holds an Honours degree in Marketing and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Prior to working for Rockjumper, Yuraisha spent the last 8 years working internationally in three different countries, namely the UK, UAE and Denmark, for both the private and public sector. Yuraisha is responsible for Rockjumper’s key marketing initiatives and strategy. In her spare time, she loves travelling, fashion, gardening and playing the piano.