Meet Gregory de Klerk (Full Time Tour Leader)

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As a young boy who was raised in Durban, Greg found his passion and interest in all aspects of the natural world.  To escape the metropolitan and suburban blur of everyday life, his family would frequently take trips to various national parks in South Africa. Birding only featured after his ninth birthday, starting as a family hobby, and developing into a passion and eventually a career.

  1. Read more on Gregory de Klerk

    On completion of his high school education, Greg followed his passion, studying Game Ranging and Lodge Management. This gave him direct access to the natural environment which had captivated him from a young age. He thrust himself headlong into the tourist industry as a guide, for more than a decade, at a few well-recognised lodges on the western border of the greater Kruger National Park.

    It was here in the Savanna Biome that his passion for birding, fauna, flora and photography flourished. As a member of the Field Guides Association of South Africa (FGASA), Greg challenged himself with their courses, achieving a Level 3 guiding qualification and he is currently completing his Savanna Specialist Qualification. He also had the privilege of working closely with his habitat manager to re-introduce and study the endangered Cheetah and to help in the protection of the currently under threat Rhinoceros. The culmination of his passion for both guiding and birding resulted in Greg becoming a Tour Leader for Rockjumper Birding Tours.

    How did you get into Birding?
    My mother was the catalyst. She religiously feeds the wild birds in our garden. One particular morning the green flush of a Lovebird caught our eye, feeding with the common species. This captivated the family for almost a week and soon afterwards our home started sprouting binoculars and bird guides from all the nooks and crannies. The rest, as they say, is history…

    What led you to a career in Tourism?
    A simple choice and some determination. Should I study and end up working in an office? OR, should I study and work with nature, outdoors? Not a difficult decision.

    I always wanted to work in nature. I chose to study subjects in high school that would align me with a career in a nature-related role. After high school, I chose to study a Diploma in Game Ranging and Lodge Management. Natural progression led me into the heart of the tourism industry, as a guide, on the border of Kruger National Park. My passion for guests, wildlife and guiding have kept me firmly entrenched in the industry ever since.

    Any Hobbies and Interests?
    Wildlife and bird photography have become quite serious (and expensive) hobbies. I get a great amount of satisfaction from getting the shots I really want. I am also an active freshwater aquarium keeper and partake occasionally in both indoor and outdoor cricket matches.

    What are your strengths as a Tour Leader?
    I’m a very patient, calm and collected allowing me to adapt to group dynamics and needs while maintaining a professional standard. I am known to get just as excited as a guest on the occasions I see something new. I’m approachable in any situation, meeting all with a smile and a good sense of humour. My ID of birds on both call and sight is strong, while sharing information in a way that is both informative and easy to remember.

    Are you a keen bird photographer?
    Yes, I am. I have spent many frustrating hours and days trying to achieve the shot I would like. I find birds in flight and skulking, secretive species to be both challenging and rewarding.

    Are you a lister?
    I am a lister. I only started listing when I left high school, so many species I had seen before were ‘unofficial’ sightings. With a few friends keen on listing and competing to get more lifers than the next, the healthy competition spurred me on to record more accurately while having a ball of fun chasing species to grow my lists.

    What are your future goals as a Guide?
    In Southern Africa, there are still a fair number of species to record. My goal is to crack the 900 bird mark and start making an attempt on at least 50% of the international bird species. As a guide, I would also love to bird in Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, the Amazon and India.

    Where are your favourite birding areas?
    I love birding in the forest biome. Forests leave me in awe with their incredible diversity. I am also in favour of both pelagic and fresh water birding. The sheer numbers of waterfowl, gulls and petrels make me very excited.

JM, Namibia 2015

Greg de Klerk was very considerate of individual needs. He is also extremely knowledgeable about ornithology, wildlife, geology, local cultures and languages. A fountain of helpful information. I would certainly travel with Greg again, and would recommend him to others.

JM, Botswana 2015

Greg de Klerk was very considerate of individual needs. He is also extremely knowledgeable about ornithology, wildlife, geology, local cultures and languages. A fountain of helpful information. I would certainly travel with Greg again, and would recommend him to others.

JM, Zambia 2015

Greg de Klerk was very considerate of individual needs. He is also extremely knowledgeable about ornithology, wildlife, geology, local cultures and languages. A fountain of helpful information. I would certainly travel with Greg again, and would recommend him to others.

PF, Best of South Africa: Cape & Kruger I 2016

Our guide, Greg de Klerk, was absolutely fabulous. Not only great birding skills and knowledge throughout our tour, but his enthusiasm and amazing knowledge of Kruger and all its wildlife made for an unforgettable experience (it was my first trip to Africa). He was especially good at helping everyone in our party see each bird or animal which I greatly appreciated. Greg handled all aspects of the tour flawlessly. I would definitely recommend Greg highly for whatever tour he is leading.

JS, Best of South Africa: Cape & Kruger I 2016

Greg de Klerk was one of the best guides I've had – EVER. Excellent with bird ID, calls and habitat. And probably just as important in a group setting, VERY good with people, fun, friendly and left no one out. I have heard good things about Rockjumper Tours for years and now I see why. Keep up the good work.

KB, Best of South Africa: Cape & Kruger I 2016

Since our trip left right after Easter, and the office was supposed to be closed, I REALLY appreciated Lorna responding to my questions in such a timely fashion. She was right there with answers. Accommodations were very very nice, esp Whale View Manor (within walking distance of penguins). The food was fabulous. Greg de Klerk is the best guide I’ve ever travelled with. He is very knowledgeable, kind, and has a great sense of humour. He did his best to make sure everyone saw as many birds as possible, and that we knew what we were seeing. He continually checked in with us, to make sure everyone was having a good time. He made a good trip into a great trip.

KK, Eastern South Africa X 2016

Greg was a fantastic guide, and I hope that I can take another tour/bird with him again in the future. I greatly enjoyed birding and spending time with him, he was very personable and I'm glad that we were able to become friends. Greg knew where to search for the birds and was extremely knowledgeable about birds and other wildlife and natural history. I also greatly appreciated how Greg dealt with issues that arose with other guests, and how quickly he tried to step in and prevent problems from escalating further. Guiding can be a difficult job, and Greg did a terrific job.

MM, Eastern South Africa X 2016

Having been a guide myself in Australia from time to time, I genuinely appreciated the time and effort Greg dedicated to preparing for each day of the tour; where possible, there was an alternative site or activity if ever bird sightings or weather did not go exactly to plan. Greg acted with great professionalism throughout the tour and looked after himself well so he could look after us while on the road and in the bush... For me, the bottom line is: Greg is an excellent birder and a bloody good guide, and, an absolute gem of a bloke. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed my time on the tour.

CB, South Africa 2017

Greg handled all personalities with poise, humor and attentiveness and constantly checked to see if everyone was happy. If someone had a problem, he immediately worked on a solution. It is obvious he loves his job, and he went out of his way to find birds for us, even in the most difficult weather conditions. His knowledge of the area was superior. He took excellent care of us and made us feel very welcome!

RA & MA, Namibia

Greg is an excellent birder and worked hard to find as many species as possible, and also to make sure that everyone saw them. He was very genial company and took great care of everyone.

RA & MA, Botswana

Greg is an excellent birder and worked hard to find as many species as possible, and also to make sure that everyone saw them. He was very genial company and took great care of everyone.

RA & MA, Zambia

Greg is an excellent birder and worked hard to find as many species as possible, and also to make sure that everyone saw them. He was very genial company and took great care of everyone.

MM & EM, Namibia

Greg is an excellent guide with great people skills. We appreciated him very much.

MM & EM, Botswana

Greg is an excellent guide with great people skills. We appreciated him very much.

MM & EM, Zambia

Greg is an excellent guide with great people skills. We appreciated him very much.

WB & BB, South Africa

The lynchpin for our entire experience was the guide - and Greg de Klerk was simply brilliant. He was extremely skilled in knowing where the birds might be, and finding them once we got there. He carefully made sure that we all saw the bird. He was very knowledgeable about bird and mammal behaviour, and shared a lot of information with the tour members. He smoothly handled logistics, is a good driver, and patient with non-nationals who are unfamiliar with South African customs. He has a wonderful sense of humour; and a very warm and outgoing personality, which stimulated good relations between tour members. We would be very excited to go on another Rockjumper trip with him!

DL, South Africa

The tour was great. I got along well with the other participants and I greatly appreciated Greg de Klerk. I quickly realised he knew what he was doing and could relax. He was careful to make sure we all got to see all the birds. I will definitely use Rockjumper again... Can't go wrong!

PW, South Africa

Greg was brilliant (the best guide I've ever had). He found most of the birds we were trying for, and always did his utmost to get us all onto them.

CG, South Africa

Greg de Klerk worked hard to get us the sightings, to ensure everyone got a "good look" and to keep us as safe and as comfortable as possible. I especially appreciated his additional information about field marks, behaviour, the habitat/area, history and culture.

LF, Ethiopia 2018

Greg de Klerk is an excellent leader. What I admired most about Greg was his willingness and patience to take the time and "teach" the group shorebird and wading bird identification. Throughout the tour, he would take the time and repeat the details to anyone who asked, or seemed to be unclear on the details.

SC, Ethiopia 2018

This tour was our first one with Greg de Klerk. I would certainly go with him again. He is an extremely good birder, quick to locate birds and get all of the tour group on them. He worked hard to get those difficult endemics. His sense of humour added greatly to the group experience. What I most appreciated about Greg was his method of helping us to see the necessary field marks to identify a bird and to explain the difference between a bird and one that looked similar. I was therefore sure of the identity of every bird we had.

AW, Ethiopia 2018

The guide, Greg de Klerk, did a good job. He was well informed regarding the participants and tried hard to accommodate everyone's needs. He made a good effort to inform us daily as to what birds we might see, which was very helpful.

HS, India 2018

Greg de Klerk and David Erterius were great - super knowledgeable and really kind. You can tell that they both care about birds and their guests. I hope I can go on a Rockjumper tour with them again.

KB, Bhutan 2018

It was an excellent tour, both in Assam and Bhutan. David Erterius and Greg de Klerk worked well together, and the local support was very satisfactory. It met all my expectations.

PD, Bhutan 2018

I would like to add that our group was small, only 6 guests, which enhanced the birding experiences. The Rockjumper guides, Greg de Klerk and David Erterius, did a great job getting everyone onto most of the species every time. The small group also made for more comfortable travelling.

CS, Bhutan 2018

Another great trip!!! Many thanks to all at Rockjumper. The tour was excellent, both David Erterius and Greg de Klerk did a great job as leaders, both in finding birds, making sure we all saw them and just being fun to be with. We would love to travel with either of them again - they were what we have come to expect from Rockjumper! The field agents were also brilliant and could not have done more for us... All-in-all, a great trip - I will recommend Bhutan to anyone (and, of course, Rockjumper). Already looking forward to our next adventure with you.

KP, Bhutan 2018

Having David Erterius as principal leader and Greg de Klerk as assistant proved useful on the occasions when Greg acted as scout to locate birds from a different viewpoint. David's knowledge and birding skills were excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip. It excelled my expectations as to the number of new birds I would see.

JB, SB & CB, Tanzania 2018

We very much enjoyed our East Africa experience, finding it to be the adventure we dreamed it would be. With Greg de Klerk as our excellent and informative guide and the incredible wildlife, the tour exceeded our expectations. Greg took care of us all throughout the tour and was extremely patient and considerate to make certain that all were able to find the birds we were seeking. We had a group with different levels of birding experience and Greg worked so well with all. Thanks to all who made this wonderful experience happen for us.

JB, SB & CB, Kenya 2018

We very much enjoyed our East Africa experience, finding it to be the adventure we dreamed it would be. With Greg de Klerk as our excellent and informative guide and the incredible wildlife, the tour exceeded our expectations. Greg took care of us all throughout the tour and was extremely patient and considerate to make certain that all were able to find the birds we were seeking. We had a group with different levels of birding experience and Greg worked so well with all. Thanks to all who made this wonderful experience happen for us.

JB, SB & CB, Rwanda 2018

We very much enjoyed our East Africa experience, finding it to be the adventure we dreamed it would be. With Greg de Klerk as our excellent and informative guide and the incredible wildlife, the tour exceeded our expectations. Greg took care of us all throughout the tour and was extremely patient and considerate to make certain that all were able to find the birds we were seeking. We had a group with different levels of birding experience and Greg worked so well with all. Thanks to all who made this wonderful experience happen for us.

PC, Tanzania 2018

Greg de Klerk was very friendly and competent. He worked diligently to ensure we all saw the birds. We were always given sufficient time to look closely and for some to take photos. A most enjoyable tour.

PC, Kenya 2018

Greg de Klerk was very friendly and competent. He worked diligently to ensure we all saw the birds. We were always given sufficient time to look closely and for some to take photos. A most enjoyable tour.

PC, Rwanda 2018

Greg de Klerk was very friendly and competent. He worked diligently to ensure we all saw the birds. We were always given sufficient time to look closely and for some to take photos. A most enjoyable tour.

PT, Ethiopia 2019

Greg de Klerk did a very good job managing the tour, was personable and was highly effective at bird spotting & identification.

EL, Ethiopia 2019

Greg de Klerk was an excellent guide and his lively manner and humour did much to make the trip enjoyable.

NH, South Africa 2019

Greg de Klerk was an excellent guide who made sure I saw as many birds as possible and set a reasonable pace. He was easy to talk to and very informative, I was very impressed with his knowledge.

CS - South Africa 2019

As a guide myself for more than 10 years (starting back in the early 90s), I believe I can give a sincere and realistic review of Greg de Klerk's performance during our nearly 2 weeks in Eastern South Africa. With this in mind, I can say that Greg did an excellent of maintaining and overseeing all aspects of our trip from start to finish. I particularly felt that his capacity for maintaining the various and sometimes complex logistics was impressive and well above average. Whether it was making sure that everyone's accommodations were comfortable, or helping us find a restroom during one challenging afternoon, when the restaurant we were eating in randomly closed their bathrooms down, Greg was always "on top of his game." This is not to mention his excellent abilities in the field as well. As a professional wildlife biologist, I was very impressed with Greg's abilities "beyond " just identifying species, so to speak. ln other words, Greg gave impressive, in-depth natural history descriptions of nearly every species of wildlife we recorded.

KB - Tanzania 2019

I really can’t think of a way this tour could have been improved.... The itinerary was wonderful, the accommodations lovely, and the birds fantastic. Greg de Klerk is one of my all-time favorite guides. He genuinely cares about his guests, and does his best to make sure they have a great experience. This was truly a trip I have dreamed of since I was a kid, and it certainly fulfilled my expectations.

KB - Kenya 2019

I really can’t think of a way this tour could have been improved.... The itinerary was wonderful, the accommodations lovely, and the birds fantastic. Greg de Klerk is one of my all-time favorite guides. He genuinely cares about his guests, and does his best to make sure they have a great experience. This was truly a trip I have dreamed of since I was a kid, and it certainly fulfilled my expectations.

KB - Rwanda 2019

I really can’t think of a way this tour could have been improved.... The itinerary was wonderful, the accommodations lovely, and the birds fantastic. Greg de Klerk is one of my all-time favorite guides. He genuinely cares about his guests, and does his best to make sure they have a great experience. This was truly a trip I have dreamed of since I was a kid, and it certainly fulfilled my expectations.

PL - Namibia 2019

I enjoyed the trip… a nice mix of birds and other animals. Greg de Klerk did a great job. I hope there will be another trip that I can travel with him.

PL - Botswana 2019

I enjoyed the trip… a nice mix of birds and other animals. Greg de Klerk did a great job. I hope there will be another trip that I can travel with him.

PL - Zambia 2019

I enjoyed the trip… a nice mix of birds and other animals. Greg de Klerk did a great job. I hope there will be another trip that I can travel with him.

TH - Namibia 2019

Greg de Klerk could not have done more, he was very good particularly when I lost my luggage and I just couldn’t make a lot of decisions that needed to be made particularly in the limited time available for shopping and he helped me through that.

TH - Botswana 2019

Greg de Klerk could not have done more, he was very good particularly when I lost my luggage and I just couldn’t make a lot of decisions that needed to be made particularly in the limited time available for shopping and he helped me through that.

TH - Zambia 2019

Greg de Klerk could not have done more, he was very good particularly when I lost my luggage and I just couldn’t make a lot of decisions that needed to be made particularly in the limited time available for shopping and he helped me through that.

GB & NB - South Africa 2019

Greg is very knowledgable about everything South Africa and was very good at getting everyone on the birds. He manages the people dynamics very well and kept the mood light and enjoyable.

CS - South Africa

We‘ve had a fantastic time in Cape Town so far, please express our gratitude to Greg again as well for the great time we had with him.

SC - Madagascar

We had been with Greg before on the Ethiopia tour. We selected this tour because Greg was leading it. Not only does he have excellent birding skills, but he also has excellent people skills. He kept the tour running smoothly, handled problems quickly, and was most anxious that every member of the tour got to see the birds if at all possible. We would definitely travel with him again. We got lots of new birds, had lots of laughs, and enjoyed our fellow birders.

SK & TG, South Africa

Greg de Klerk was a truly superb guide, and his supporting guides were a great complement to his leadership. He was knowledgeable beyond our highest expectations, patient, helpful, well-organized, and disciplined. If we have the chance to do further tours with you, chances are very high that I would specifically look for ones that Greg leads, because he personally made the tour special. His expertise and professionalism speak well for the South African guiding profession, your company, and the country as a whole. We felt genuinely fortunate to be introduced to South Africa by Greg. Susan and I have worked with several South Africans over the course of our careers, and they all returned back to their homeland when they stopped working. Greg’s display of the country showed us why they all do this, and he personally could not have been a more clear-headed and knowledgeable spokesperson for the country (including its challenges). We normally dread long drives, but he made them not only tolerable, but educational, fun, and memorable. You have a special resource in your employ, the kind of person who can go beyond creating satisfied customers, and convert us into stark raving fans of your tours. We hope you realize that, because it is not common.

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