The Rockjumper Bird Conservation Fund and affiliated conservation organisations
Graduates of the BirdLife bird guide course by D Pritchard
Since its formation, Rockjumper Birding Tours has been supporting the conservation of the birds that bring us many delightful hours of sheer bird-watching pleasure. In order to co-ordinate and effectively implement our conservation efforts, we launched the Rockjumper Bird Conservation Fund (RBCF) in 2006. A minimum of US$50 from each Rockjumper tour sign-up goes directly into the RBCF. This does not increase the cost of our tours as these projects incur no extra administrative expenses; therefore, the sponsoring of the various conservation projects we endeavour to support, does not make our tours more expensive. Ultimately, just by signing up, you are ensured that your contribution goes directly to bird conservation!
Our ultimate goal is to support bird conservation in multi-faceted ways. By means of carefully managing our available funds, we are able to support numerous bird conservation efforts and activities, including the sponsoring of bird monitoring and research work, hands-on bird conservation (which entails efforts such as captive breeding projects for endangered birds), and habitat protection. We are also actively involved in raising the awareness and knowledge of birdlife, by encouraging local communities to value their birds, by promoting the need for increased awareness and also training enthusiastic community members to become bird guides.
We are either solely responsible for a project’s funding or contribute to larger, more ambitious ventures. Our current Rockjumper Bird Conservation Fund projects and contributions are particularly exciting and are spread across the globe, including the following projects:
Creating the Next Generation of Conservationists
Rockjumper Birding Tours is always looking for new ways to support conservation efforts whether this involves working with local communities, donating to preservation-minded organizations, training local guides and giving them binoculars, and most recently, by speaking to students at Lake Travis High School in Texas. David Shackelford recently gave a well received series of presentations outlining the importance of conservation in the Texas Hill Country and how this affects the endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler and other wildlife. This was coordinated with the school’s outdoor fieldtrips to a preserve where the Golden-cheeked Warbler as well as other endangered species are protected, allowing students to observe the importance of conservation first-hand. Rockjumper hopes by sharing our passion for the outdoors, conservation, and birding that we can help teach the importance of preserving the natural world for the future generations.
Rockjumper Trains Six Community Bird Guides on the South Coast
With spring now in full force and bird activity at an all time high we decided that this would be the perfect time to get involved with some community and conservation work in South Africa. During the 29th and 30th September 2009, Glen Valentine led an extremely successful bird guide training course for 6 local guides on the South Coast of KwaZulu Natal. The two day workshop was sponsored and run by Rockjumper Birding Tours through funds created by our conservation fund. Simulated guiding walks, bird identification training along with presentations and lectures on guiding made up the basis of the program. The training was focused around the Umtamvuna Nature Reserve, a lowland forest site on the border of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape that harbors several exciting species of birds and mammals such as endemic Knysna Woodpecker, Knysna Warbler and Chorister Robin-Chat and Blue Duiker. Not only was the workshop very informative and educational for the developing guides but it also amounted in a great deal of fun for all involved. We are happy to have been the force behind this project and through our conservation and development efforts we will continue to support, train and fund inspiring local guides throughout the world.
Under the auspices of the Oriental Bird Club, the RBCF is sponsoring a project that will run awareness campaigns, including birdwatching trips for school children in two districts of west Bengal. An additional outcome of the project will be the publication of a small, local language environmental book. This is truly an ambitious project that we believe will be the beginning of something exciting and a worthy conservation cause.
Rockjumper has been actively involved in the cause of the Middelpunt Wetland Trust by donating a generous amount of money towards their very worthy cause.
Established in 1994, the Middelpunt Wetland Trust has done exceptional and groundbreaking work on the critically endangered White-winged Flufftail. The trust’s main objective entails securing and rehabilitating the Middelpunt Wetland between Dullstroom and Belfast in Mpumalanga, South Africa.
The very mysterious White-winged Flufftail’s highly fragmented habitat is severely threatened by continued destruction and it is therefore of utmost importance that their extremely commendable efforts to conserve these specific areas are well supported.
The Middelpunt Wetland Trust is also actively involved in monitoring, conservation and awareness programs in Ethiopia, the only known breeding area for this enigmatic species. The Trust has also decided to proceed with a captive breeding program, and discussions with the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria are far-advanced. Furthermore, a school has already been built for a community that adjoins one of the breeding sites.
By enabling a wider circle of birders to be aware of the plight of the White-winged Flufftail and generating a greater sense of publicity of this secretive bird’s existence, the Middelpunt Wetlands Trust is playing a major role in its conservation. RBCF is proud to be assist them in this extraordinary cause.
Rockjumper Birding Tours is also associated with the well-respected African Bird Club and through our affiliation with them, we are responsible for the funding of a very promising and interesting project in the forests of the Kikuyu Highlands region in Kenya.
The Kikuyu escarpment forest is listed as an important bird area due to its abundant and rich diversity of birds, the presence of range-restricted species and its population of the globally threatened Abbott’s Starling.
The specific project RBCF has sponsored entails designing and implementing a monitoring system, as well as building local capacity for conservation of this spectacular region through training programs. One of the main project goals is to determine the patterns and intensity of human disturbances in the forests, as well as the overall effect thereof on bird communities.
Under the auspices of the African Bird Club, Rockjumper Bird Conservation Fund is also responsible for funding an extremely interesting, and also important, survey of the spectacular Nahan’s Francolin in Uganda. The survey will mainly be conducted in the Kibale National Park, as well as in the Semliki Valley in western Uganda. Nahan’s Francolin is a locally distributed endemic in the Congo, and west and south central Uganda; the survey will be headed by Eric Sande, of Makerere University in Kampala.
Elsewhere in Asia, the RBCF is contributing to Birds Korea, an organisation which is actively involved in monitoring the impact of the development of a 33km long seawall on the shores of the Yellow Sea.
This highly controversial Saemangeum project will take 15 years to complete and is one of the biggest land reclamation projects in history, covering 400 square km, an area six times the size of Manhattan. The development affects vast tidal mudflats and is a looming potential environmental disaster that may dramatically affect migratory birds. Some of these species, including Spoon-billed Sandpiper and Nordmann’s Greenshank, are already endangered.
By contributing to a diverse range of conservation projects, Rockjumper strives to mitigate the heavy ecological footprint of Man. Our commitment to conservation in the developing world is incredibly strong, and we are proud of the positive impact that we have made in the world of bird conservation. Through birding we can all make a difference!
Rockjumper is supporting Dr Alan Lee on his 3 month bicycle survey. Most Fynbos endemic birds are reported considerably less now compared to previous atlas periods. Surprisingly, we know very little about 4 of the 6 species found only in the Fynbos. This survey is a first step to addressing the shortcomings in our knowledge of some of the birds that make our country so very special. From February to April 2012, Alan Lee will cycle through the Fynbos to study how well our Fynbos endemic birds will adapt to a drier climate. Over 3 months he will survey Fynbos bird communities in relation to various environmental variables. Sleeping in a tent in the wild or in guesthouses along the road, he will travel over 2300 km all around the Fynbos Biome by foot and bike to complete this intensive survey. Using the technique of Distance Sampling, Alan will travel along planned survey lines and stop every 500m. Then, using solar panel computer, GPS, binoculars and rangefinder he will record birds and collect specific information at each point: altitude, vegetation type, topographical situation, plant groups, wind and temperature…. Using this information Alan will be able to evaluate the number of birds of each species. So, in few words, this project aims to learn more in order to protect more! Fynbos is a fantastically rich environment not only for birds but also for plants and mammals. However, it needs to be protected. Follow the survey progress on www.bluehillescape.blogspot.com
“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.” – Gary Snyder
Rockjumper Birding Tours echoes this sentiment. In the depths of nature and in earth’s great bounty is where we find our livelihoods and life’s passion. This has led us to becoming a corporate sponsor of the Mtunzini Conservancy Project found in KZN. This natural beauty, Mtunzini, has always been a popular birding destination boasting a pristine environment and the notable presence of Palmnut Vultures, Mangrove Kingfishers and African Finfoot as well as its easy access to Ngoye Forest which hosts several other special birds. It is now faced with a serious threat from a massive open cast heavy metal sand mine on its southern boundary which will affect the delicate and intricate ecosystems found in Mtunzini.
The mine in question intends on mining titanium bearing ore bodies in the dunes south of Mtunzini for ilmenite, rutile and leucoxene to produce titanium (TiO2) feedstock. The proposed mine will be approximately 100m in proximity to the south boundary of Mtunzini. The mine’s process is to hydraulically shatter the soil, then turn the soil into a slurry (A slurry is semiliquid mixture, typically of fine particles of manure, cement, soil, or coal, and water). This is then passed through a processing plant where the mineral ore is taken out, and the fine waste material goes to a waste storage facility and the coarse tailings material back into the mine void. The effect of which is suspected to result in the south of Mtunzini to be turned into a Mars-like wasteland. The mining process will generate approximately 600 hectares of permanent waste! In a nutshell, the mine will generate substantial waste matter to be housed in a waste facility and rehabilitation, if any, will only take place up to 6 years after the initial mining process.
The Mtunzini Conservancy has engaged in a lengthy process of trying to impede the entire mining operation, failing to do such, they hope to have the operation moved further away from their community. The conservancy has challenged the right of the mine to start with early work construction; sadly, they lost this on a technicality. The process is both lengthy and costly, and funding is crucial to saving this stunning environment. Funds are utilized to solicit the best legal and expert opinions on mining rights and environmental law. The Mtunzini Conservancy says: “We think that this kind of unsustainable open cast mineral sand mining operation should not be allowed on the eastern seaboard of South Africa. We cannot afford to replace sustainable agriculture and tourism for unsustainable short-term gains for the few beneficiaries of the mining operation.”
Indeed, mining, of any magnitude or nature, has an incredibly devastating impact on the environment and communities that surround the mine. Rockjumper Birding Tours stands in solidarity with the Mtunzini Conservancy to protect the natural fauna and flora found in this town.
It goes without saying that Rockjumper Birding Tours is passionate about birds. Part of our journey with birds is to ensure that the correct measures are taken now so that future birders have the same opportunities we do, which is why we are so passionate and dedicated to bird conservation. One such project, quite close to home, is the Kwa-Zulu Natal Crane Foundation. Rockjumper Birding Tours recently became a proud corporate sponsor of the Kwa-Zulu Natal Crane foundation.
The KZNCF aims to conserve Cranes in South Africa, as Cranes are the ambassadors for two of South Africa’s most important ecosystems, that is: the wetlands and the grasslands which make up our water catchment. We are dependent on the careful management of these biodiversity “hotspots” as are our Cranes! The Cranes reliance on these delicate ecosystems is a reflection of our own survival needs.
The KZNCF is a non-profit conservation organisation that engages in numerous activities to conserve the South Africa’s cranes from their inception in 1989 as the Southern African Crane Foundation. The foundation has successfully fostered awareness of, and interest in cranes, wetlands and grasslands in Natal through educational outreach, biological monitoring, research, captive breeding and close liaison with farmers and landowners to adopt crane-friendly farming practices. The aim of the KZNCF is to promote the conservation of southern Africa’s three species and preservation of their wetland and grassland habitats. It also hopes to foster and encourage the awareness of and interest in cranes and their habitat. To become involved or learn more about these amazing birds, please click the link above.
The Dzanga Sangha Reserve is located in the rainforest in the south-western part of the Central African Republic. It comprises a total area of more than 4 000 square kilometres (more than 400 000 hectares). The two central parts of the Reserve, the Dzanga and Ndoki Sectors, constitute the Dzanga Ndoki National Park, covering 495 km2 and 725 km2 respectively. A multitude of large mammals such as Forest Elephants, giant forest hogs, Gorillas and Bangos. At the Dzanga saline (a forest clearing), more than 4000 elephants have been counted and identified over the last years. From a platform at the edge of this saline, visitors frequently get the chance to observe between 30 and 100 elephants feeding on the mineral-rich soil, allowing at the same time observations of their social behaviour.
Rod Cassidy is an experienced Eco-tour leader. He has led tours for nearly 30 years and has travelled many places from the Antarctic to the tropical forests of the Congo. He is committed to conservation in all its forms and gives his all for community conservation areas. After years of travel he has committed himself to living in the wildest places. The CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC remains the least developed Wilderness and he is committed to help maintain this status, and help the local population adapt and thrive through the initiatives he implements at the Sangha Lodge.
Due to the political unrest experienced in the Central African Republic (CAR), Sangha Lodge has been victim to crimes perpetrated by the rebels such as looting and destruction of property. This unrest sadly forced the owners, Rod and Tamar, and staff to flee from their beloved lodge. It was not long before they sought their way back to Sangha after a cruel massacre of elephants. At least 26 elephants were massacred in the Dzangha-Sangha National Park after 17 people armed with Kalashnikov rifles entered this sacred elephant habitat – known affectionately as “The Village of Elephants.” Of the estimated 26 elephants four were calves, it was reported that the locals begun to harvest the flesh from the carcasses.
Sangha Lodge and its staff are constantly hard at work in an effort to protect and conserve the beauty that surrounds it. They have aided a drive against malaria and continue to fight against it. They distribute free medicines where they are able to in cases of malaria and some infections.
Their future remains uncertain, a year without any earnings, have depleted all their reserves and resources and they rely solely on the kindness of and generosity of clients, friends, family and strangers which keep them alive. Ideally the worst may be over and CAR will soon return to normal, however to bridge the gap from now until then Sangha requires urgent funding. Rockjumper is proud to aid these admirable causes and salutes the brave men and women who are ardently involved in the conservation and protection of the life that is found in Sangha. Rockjumper Birding made a generous contribution to this worthy cause and implores you to do the same.
Rockjumper Birding Tours is proud to be one of the sponsors for this year’s World Migratory Bird Day, sponsoring a prize for the 3rd best Photo in the Photo Competition. With the theme “Destination Flyways: Migratory Birds and Tourism”, World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) 2014 will highlight the links between migratory bird conservation, local community development and wildlife watching tourism around the world.
For the 2014 Campaign, WMBD is partnering with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to highlight the Destination Flyways project. Led by UNWTO and implemented together with several partners with sound experience in the field of conservation and tourism, Destination Flyways will develop sustainable tourism in destinations along the world’s major migratory bird routes, also known as flyways.
By channeling tourism revenue back into conservation of the sites, the project aims to safeguard the birds’ habitats, while creating resilient and green job opportunities for local communities.
Rockjumper Birding Tours is a proud sponsor of Born Free USA. Born Free USA is a non-profit wildlife conservation organization. Their mission is to end the suffering of wild animals in captivity, rescue individual animals in need, protect wildlife (including endangered species) in their natural habitats, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. They aim to keep Wild in the Wild where wildlife rightfully belongs. Born Free was initiated in England in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna; the stars of the legendary film Born Free, along with their son Will. In the subsequent decades, Born Free has become an international force in wildlife conservation and animal protection that upholds a dynamic presence in international animal rescues, saving animals from miserable conditions, rehabilitating them, and providing for their lifetime care in a sanctuary or whenever possible, rehoming them to the wild. A companion organization was established in the United States in 2002, Born Free USA, to carry on the work of the organization, involving the American public in our compassionate conservation campaigns.
Glen’s pacing of the tour was particularly good – relaxed whenever possible and upping the pace when necessary. His responsiveness and attention to client requests was admirable, as was his general demeanor throughout. Nice to spend such a long trip with someone so enthusiastic and sociable.
This [Budget Namibia Birding] trip was a wonderful and unique experience for me. I was pleased with everything about it and also was pleased with myself for having met the challenge of camping and hiking and living out of a tent (most of the nights). It’s not something I’ve done for quite some years. I actually felt renewed and revitalized when it was over. Thanks to everyone for an experience of a lifetime for me!
I had the best time imaginable [in Cameroon]. Occasionally I had to pinch myself to make sure it was all really happening. And Markus enhanced the whole experience with his vast knowledge, unflagging enthusiasm and sweet, yet saucy, disposition. I cannot praise him enough and would tour again with him in a heartbeat. He was a joy to travel with. I also want to commend…your Cameroon ground agent. He was a lot of fun and took very good care of us….made sure that things ran smoothly and kept us well fed. Thanks to Rockjumper and all involved for making it a super fun trip….and the birds weren’t bad either :-).
Clayton is a wonderful addition to the Rockjumper family. I look forward to being on tour with him again. He is highly skilled, friendly and aware of the participant’s needs.
We would like to take this opportunity to again thank you and Rockjumper for a well organized and productive tour which offered the bonuses of good accommodations, good food and good company. Even when trials….came our way, workable solutions were quickly found. We would not hesitate to recommend Rockjumper tours to our friends, and you, Cuan, as a first rate leader!
The B&BG Tour was the trip of a lifetime for me. Rockjumper did everything just right. The birds and animals, the accommodations, and especially Wayne were all top notch. Although Wayne is relatively new to Rockjumper, he is definitely a keeper – personable, a keen observer, and a natural leader. He really made the tour more than “just another birding trip”. This is certainly a tour that I would enthusiastically recommend to anyone, although I am seriously considering South Africa next.
Alison was wonderfully helpful, especially for finding a U.S. travel agent who booked affordable and reliable airline tickets for me.
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?
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.
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.
Perhaps the best thing about the experience [Kenya Mega tour] with the guides was their enthusiasm. They have been over the same ground many times, yet were genuinely pleased and excited to see the birds that turned up daily. It was more than just a job for them and I appreciated the freshness that they brought to each day. Of course it didn’t hurt that they occasionally found something totally unexpected. Their enthusiasm was infectious and through their constant encouragement, perhaps I made a little progress towards becoming a better birder.
Certainly I would be happy to recommend RBT, most especially David & Brian, and whomever was responsible for the smooth running of the trip. The drivers were exceptional, combining the most important facilities: skill, patience (with us!) and a sense of humour.
Wayne and Markus are both fantastic guides and the trip was spectacular!! I would definitely travel with Rockjumper again in the future and look forward to the possibility of doing so!
I would recommend Rockjumper to my birding colleagues back in Cape May, New Jersey. Cuan and Rockjumper did an outstanding job in helping us plan our trip.
The trip sounded good in the write-up but far exceeded our expectations. The pelagic trips were outstanding. The number of participants was perfect. Erik knew the birds and their calls/sounds and was very effective in getting everyone to see the birds. He called many pelagic IDs well before other people had even spotted the birds. Erik’s skills in managing the participants showed and his sense of humour added to his effectiveness. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip.
I was really pleasantly surprised about every aspect of the Oman & UAE tour. Forrest Rowland did an outstanding job in every way and he has a great sense of humour. This tour exceeded my expectations. The pace was just right, accommodations and meals were of high quality, and Forrest did a great job of organizing details and making sure everything ran smoothly. He found the species that were sought and had expert knowledge of where the birds were likely to be found and when was the best time to try for them. – JM
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!
A first rate, very satisfying…tour that met all expectations. We missed two species we were especially interested in but our guide made an extra effort to find them and we were very pleased with him. A first rate birder. He is a great addition to the Rockjumer Team.
I participated in the Jan-Feb [private] tour to the Philippines guided by Rich Lindie…. I have to say that Rich’s … indefatigable attempts to make our trip a success was exemplary in every way. His birding skills are definitely well above the norm in birding companies I am familiar with (including some very elite companies.) Rich is also enthusiastic, energetic, fun loving, patient and always in full control of his clients. In short, he is in the elite echelons of the guiding profession and should be considered a valuable asset to your organization. It is my intent to single out trips guided by him for my travel considerations.
Keith was excellent on everything and a wonderful source of information. Keith and Markus are my favorite tour guides ever (over 20 tours with different companies). Keith arranged daily events extremely well and was good at taking the temperature of the group in terms of energy levels and enthusiasm. He is also enormously patient.
I would not have considered going to Malawi as a priority until I’d seen about 7000 life birds (or about 10 years from now) and was very pleasantly surprised by the number of special species, good accommodations, a well thought out itinerary and good arrangements.
All in all a memorable and special experience even for somebody who regularly does bird tours.
Rockjumper’s office staff continue with their excellent high level of client services. Prompt, concise and courteous replies are a trade-mark of the Rockjumper staff.
Where do I begin? Our [private] Tanzanian safari had unbelievable sightings daily – from four lion cubs coming to within 10 feet of our vehicle, to a leopard stalking, catching and climbing a tree with his prey, to witnessing the wildebeest migration. The animal interaction exceeded anything I could have imagined. To our guide Markus – thank you for willingly sharing your knowledge, whether it be about birds, animals or photography. I look forward to traveling with you again.
This tour (Morocco) more than met my expectations, which I must admit were rather lukewarm. I knew there were not a lot of new birds for me but I signed up for the tour because Mark kept telling me how wonderful Morocco was. Well Mark, you were certainly right. The birds were fantastic, the scenery spectacular, the food way too good, and the geology unbelievable. I’m actually taking an online geology course because of this tour. This tour is truly a special one and I will spread the word to all my birding contacts. Thanks again for such a special experience.
Markus gets A+++ marks from me. Not only is he an excellent birder, but he is also a wonderful traveling companion. Our conversations were varied and interesting. He not only knows a lot about nature; he also participated in talks about a wide variety of subjects. We learned a lot about South Africa. His sense of humor is wonderful. His enthusiasm kept us all on a anticipatory high. His leading a tour will be a big plus for me when I am deciding on another trip.
The faster pace of the tour (South Africa Mega) was just what I wanted, and maximized chances for as many endemics as possible without adding more days. Markus was on top of things throughout, his timing and logistics were flawless, and his spotting skills are excellent. His precision served the group well and the group size (6) was ideal. He also was great with the many mammals, positioning the vehicle for the best viewing and photography, and sharing information about life histories. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip and just wish I could do it all over again!
We had an absolutely fabulous safari in Tanzania! The sights we saw were unbelievable – the giraffe standing at the edge of the road, the lion walking up to our vehicle and laying in our shadow, the dik-dik walking down the centre of the road toward us, the many leopards and cheetahs so close and of course, the wildebeest migration. So much more! Just unbelievable! Markus was a marvelous leader. He was so good with our granddaughters and could relate to them so well. He was a big help to me and made sure I saw some birds. It was a good combination of birds and animals. Everyone else enjoyed the birds, also.I could go on and on. Rockjumper has top-notch people. Thanks for all the help.
I look forward to another RBT tour…you can never go on too many RBT tours.
Our questions were always answered with clarity and accuracy. There were no surprises as a result… This trip was a wonderful and unique experience for me. I actually felt renewed and revitalized when it was over. Thanks to everyone for an experience of a lifetime!
Everything was done by all staff to make the trip safe, fun and targets (birds, lemurs, etc) were actively sought out
I just have to write and tell you how much I enjoyed the N. India trip and how superb the leaders are… You know that, you only have world class guides. The last two days made the trip ‘beyond expectations’ with the birds we saw in Saital… Erik and Rich worked so well together and both are so funny, such a great combination. I especially have to thank Rich for taking pictures for me: I can immediately tell which ones he took: they make clear memories that are memorable…. With much gratitude to RBT for bringing birds and mammals into my life.
Thailand was truly a wonderful trip! Markus is unbelievable in getting everyone on the bird! His recognizing and scoping of the birds is superb. Beyond this he is [also] a very kind man with a great personality who keeps things on an even keel, making sure there is lots of laughter. Because of this the group “gelled” very quickly . I plan to do more Rockjumper tours because of the information and encouragement he gave me and I hope he is the leader of at least some of the tours.
Well, we have just returned from 2 wonderful weeks in Ecuador led by the best guide of any other trip we have taken for bird watching. Forrest is a true asset to the Rockjumper organization. On behalf of Kim and I, and I’m sure I can also speak for the rest of our group, please pass along our comments to Forrest. Forrest has taken birdwatching to a much higher level with his energy and knowledge, both of the area and his wealth of knowledge of the natural world. It is people like him that help make Rockjumper a Cadilac in the Birdwatching field.
Our Rockjumper guide was Rich Lindie. The word “excellent” does not begin to cover the outstanding quality of his technical and interpersonal skills. Rich is the personification of enthusiasm for what he does. Extensively knowledgeable about both flora and fauna (in particular of course birds), he was at all times professional and friendly. In addition, Rich has a great sense of humor and we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him and hearing about some of his amazing experiences in international travel, living, teaching and guiding. What an interesting and talented young man. We were very fortunate to have him as our guide.
You have made a very good decision in hiring David Erterius. He is a great young man and will be a very good guide for your company.
Just a quick report that we have returned home safely following a great trip to southern Africa. Everything came off as planned and the experiences were everything that we had hoped for. We really enjoyed the bush camps since they provide a remote experience with lots of animals and few other tourists. The selection of camps provided an excellent balance of habitats and wildlife viewing. Additionally, we would like to thank Athol for his excellent leadership during the Eastern South Africa tour. He is a true gentleman and excellent guide and birder…. All around we were very pleased with the trip. And, thank you and the other staff at Rockjumper for helping to put the trip together.
I just wanted to pass on our thanks for a well organised trip. We had a ball in Cuba! Not only were the birds fantastic but the cigars, rum and country were mind-blowing. Our first RJ trip but I am sure that it won’t be our last. Well done to the team for arranging a hassle-free trip in a country where it can be difficult to organise things.
Suffice it to say we will remember this trip for the rest of our lives. It could not have been better from start to finish. Thank you to everyone there at Rockjumper, including yourself – you are quite a wonderful team!
The office staff are always so friendly in their response to emails, and I always feel that there is a personal relationship. That makes for good customer relationships. I met Rockjumper at an ABA conference years ago, and was impressed by them. I regret that I did not take the tour sooner. I have traveled with most of the major companies on more than 30 tours, and I feel that Rockjumper is superior in many ways, especially in having skilled and enthusiastic leaders.
Sonya and I really appreciate all of your hard work….that truly was one of our trips of a lifetime. And that is saying something since that bar is constantly getting raised by all of our travel. Rockjumper can definitely count us in as repeat guests and I would count it as good fortune if you were our guide again.
David was a terrific guide and traveling companion. He managed everything from birding to people to logistics like a veteran. We’d love to travel with him again any time