Meet André Bernon (Full Time Tour Leader)

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André grew up close to nature in Zululand, a hotspot for biodiversity in South Africa. He always had a keen interest in nature from a very young age and took up birding seriously from the age of 14.  After obtaining a BSc Environmental Sciences degree, a yearning for nature brought him back into the bush as a game ranger and guide.

  1. Read more on André Bernon

    Four years of working closely with guests at prime lodges has earned him a valued working knowledge of how to exceed every guest’s specific needs, as well as develop a very keen eye and great knowledge of all fauna and flora. Having worked as a specialist bird guide at these lodges, André is well positioned to expound his knowledge and enthusiasm to all fellow birders.

    What got you into birding?
    At a very young age I was walking in our garden and heard a knocking noise up in a huge Eucalyptus tree. After some investigation, a very angry Spotted Eagle-Owl swooped down and thumped me on the back of my head.  While somewhat shocked and taken by surprise, I knew I was hooked. I started birding from then on and remember being fascinated by the scarcity of some species and obtained great reward by finding them. I started listing and engaged in serious birding and traveling from that point onwards, the rest they say is history.

    What attracted you to a career in tourism?
    While still at school I was involved in leading a number of outings for the local bird club. I found it very rewarding showing people birds that were special or new to them. I also managed to take a few clients around for Birdlife South Africa whilst at university, and realised a feasible career could be had from doing what I love!

    Do you have any other hobbies?
    I enjoy reptiles and amphibians, also keeping lists for both of them. Working as a guide at lodges has also brought on a passion for mammals.

    Are you a lister?
    Indeed, listing comes naturally if you're a keen birder I think. I keep lists for my local patch, province, country etc as well as yearly lists.

    What are your strengths as a tour leader?
    I have a very keen eyesight and pick up on the smallest of movements, this coupled with great hearing makes for some exciting birding and enables me to pick up on some unobtrusive avian gems.  Patience is another great attribute that I have managed to pick up in my birding career and I have mastered it working within the lodge industry. I enjoy the challenge of giving directions to birds that have not been seen by clients and will persevere until good views have been had by all. All the above done with some humour and laughter in between makes for a great experience and great memories.

André Bernon, B

The game drives were fantastic, André’s knowledge and attention to detail could certainly be used as the benchmark for all lodges. We were often stopping to wipe away the tears of laughter and the times spent on the drives with André will certainly be remembered. Hats off to you André, you really made our trip!!!

K

Andre, our guide, has such an infectious nature, which had a huge positive effect on our stay. His incredible knowledge of birds was indeed humbling. A birder's paradise and a guide passionate about birds and nature - what more could one ask for?

B

André in particular went out of his way to make sure our stay was as wonderful as it could be. Andre is also a great guide, with the ability to spot just about everything that moves, even if the movement is only breathing.

P

André, who escorted us on four drives, is a superb tracker with great knowledge of the reserve and its denizens. He is also an expert on the birdlife of southern Africa and was able to bring the bush to life for us with knowledge of all that we saw.

J

André our game ranger for the third time once again is impeccable! His eyesight is actually too good for words!

M

I am not a twitcher or even a knowledgeable birdwatcher, but I am always keen to see new things. Our ranger André had a huge knowledge of birds. He shared this and more about all the flora and fauna that we came across. He explained about insects and trees as we passed them and didn't fail to answer a question.

A

A massive thanks has to go to André, the ranger, he was exceptional. His knowledge of wildlife was incredible. We were able to learn so much about the animals, plants and he is the 'bird' guru!! We cant thank him enough for his time, going out of his way to show us everything possible, we saw everything.

SC, Namibia

Andre Bernon was a great leader, with great vision and bird finding skills. He also had excellent people skills, both with the participants and the various third parties that we dealt with. He maintained good humour and an even disposition throughout.

SC, Botswana

Andre Bernon was a great leader, with great vision and bird finding skills. He also had excellent people skills, both with the participants and the various third parties that we dealt with. He maintained good humour and an even disposition throughout.

SC, Zambia

Andre Bernon was a great leader, with great vision and bird finding skills. He also had excellent people skills, both with the participants and the various third parties that we dealt with. He maintained good humour and an even disposition throughout.

SS & SC: Namibia

Thank you for a wonderful trip! Thank you, Andre Bernon, for all you did to make it so memorable!

SS & SC: Botswana

Thank you for a wonderful trip! Thank you, Andre Bernon, for all you did to make it so memorable!

SS & SC: Zambia

Thank you for a wonderful trip! Thank you, Andre Bernon, for all you did to make it so memorable!

JT, South Africa 2017

We found our guide, Andre Bernon to be extremely competent at finding and identifying birds. He also had an impressive range of knowledge about other biota, plus extensive knowledge of the local history.

PB, South Africa 2017

Pre-tour the office staff were superb in sorting out my problems and the personal touches added to our email communications really made a big difference to how I felt about the trip. The guide, Andre Bernon, was excellent. He was able to quickly and effectively locate and identify birds and get the group onto them. His knowledge of locations and ability to manage things on the ground showed real expertise and experience. His people skills and ability to ensure group dynamics were as smooth as possible was exceptional.

GL, South Africa 2018

The trip went great. We all had a great time. We really enjoyed Andre Bernon, he is a great birder and a very good guide.

RT, South Africa 2018

As an experienced world traveller and birder, I must say that the Eastern South Africa and Cape Extension III tours went beyond my already high expectations. All in all, we saw nearly 540 bird species, plus many mammals, including the "Big Five". Our guide, Andre Bernon, really made an effort for us all to see each and every species, and was also very knowledgeable about reptiles, mammals, South African history etc. An excellent guide!

OS, South Africa 2018

Our leader, Andre Bernon, was very good and very knowledgeable, he was also good with general South African knowledge, which was a good thing.

EC, Private Zimbabwe 2018

I got exactly what I asked for - delighted with the species we saw. It was a lovely trip; and a great job of leading was done by Andre Bernon.

VW, Tanzania 2018

Thank you for a wonderful experience! The tour exceeded my expectations. Andre Bernon is an extremely talented and knowledgeable guide. His eyes and ears are incredible and he is very thoughtful with his guests.

VW, Kenya 2018

Thank you for a wonderful experience! The tour exceeded my expectations. Andre Bernon is an extremely talented and knowledgeable guide. His eyes and ears are incredible and he is very thoughtful with his guests.

VW, Rwanda 2018

Thank you for a wonderful experience! The tour exceeded my expectations. Andre Bernon is an extremely talented and knowledgeable guide. His eyes and ears are incredible and he is very thoughtful with his guests.

CL & RL, Gabon 2018

Andre Bernon did an excellent job as the second guide. We were impressed with his birding capabilities and knowledge, his friendliness and humour, and his dedication as well. We look forward to being guided by him in Ghana next year if things work out as planned.

LL, Uganda 2018

Amazed at how Andre Bernon was able to keep going, stay focused, and go about his task of finding the species so professionally. We missed very little, and had some great experiences with many of the primates, especially the Gorillas, and so many birds, with Shoebill and African Finfoot being stand out moments.

SC, South Africa 2018

Andre Bernon was excellent at sharing his expertise and assisting even the most novice birder (me). We couldn't have asked for a better professional. And he was so personable, considerate and had a great sense of humor.

JL, South Africa 2018

This was my first experience with Rockjumper - it far exceeded my expectations. In fact, it far exceeded my experiences with other tours. I don't know how anybody could have been better than Andre Bernon. He was always professional, organized, and I felt completely safe with his driving. His knowledge of birds, animal behavior, the country, the history, goes without saying - but really it was his personality that made the trip. I so enjoyed his sense of humor. I know it is an old-fashioned word, but he was a complete gentleman - showing respect and courtesy to everyone but always with a twinkle in his eye and ready to either hand out or be on the receiving end of a joke. We just plain had fun on this trip! When time and money allows, I would happily go on another trip with him.

DH & JH, Thailand 2018

All our expectations for this trip were met and exceeded, beginning with our guide Andre Bernon, who is a delight in and out of the field. Fantastic birding skills and people skills, a great combination for a guide.

CB, Thailand 2018

As for the Tour itself, it was excellent – Andre Bernon is a super leader, not just an excellent birder but very good with all the trip details, dealing with problems, staff etc. nothing was too much trouble. He is a thoroughly good bloke into the bargain. A great asset.

DC, Thailand 2018

Andre Bernon and Uthai formed a great team and complemented one another in finding all the birds and then getting everybody on to them.

PO, South Africa 2018

André Bernon was top notch in finding birds and getting us to see and/or hear them. He drove the car like a pro and had everything in control. Everything went totally smooth all the time and we would go on any trip with him again, in a heartbeat.

MM NBZ 2019

Andre is a very competent guide, good with his clients, patient and lots of fun. He interacted well with the local people.

PJ, Ghana 2019

Andre was excellent ....laid back , loved sharing his knowledge of the country ,encouraged us to try local foods , and his knowledge of the birds in Ghana was amazing . Because of him the trip was a huge success ...

RL, Ghana 2019

I loved this tour, Andre was outstanding, very knowledgeable and eager to get everyone on the birds.

CL & RL - Ghana 2019

Andre proved to be an excellent lead guide and was very well supported by Mark. They had a very good knowledge of the birds of Ghana and knew where to look for them and how to locate them. They got on well and provided us with excellent company. We were very pleased with our bird list, with many rare and highly desirable species. The Picathartes was the major reason we went to Ghana and was, for us, the highlight of the trip and the views were superb.

CL & RL, Ghana 2020

Andre proved to be an excellent lead guide and was very well supported by Mark. They had a very good knowledge of the birds of Ghana and knew where to look for them and how to locate them. They got on well and provided us with excellent company. We were very pleased with our bird list, with many rare and highly desirable species. The Picathartes was the major reason we went to Ghana and was, for us, the highlight of the trip and the views were superb.

RA, Ghana 2020

Andre was really good. I feel he is a potential superstar leader. He has great birding skills and his people skills a pretty good too and will improve with time. He is at his best when helping the tour group work on those tough skulkers. On our next to last day we got three or four of these tough to see birds and it was all due to Andre's skill and patience in dealing with the birders in the group. It was very impressive. That day was one of the best birding days I've had and it involved a lot of hiking. I'd certainly recommend any birding trip with Andre as a guide.

BD, Thailand 2020

My Rockjumper guide, Andre Bernon, is the best guide I have birded with. I continue to be amazed at his impressive birding skills and he will do whatever it takes to make sure that his guests see the birds. I saw so many awesome birds on this tour because Andre would sometimes physically place me in the right spot so I could see the bird. How many guides have that much dedication to their guests? His excellent guiding skills ensured that all logistics of the birding tour went smoothly. Andre can read his guests and he knows when breaks are needed to avoid fatigue and frustration. His time management skills enabled his guests to arrive at their accommodations on time so that they could enjoy the check list, dinner and relaxation each evening. And Andre's wit and sense of humor made this a very fun birding tour.

JB, Thailand 2020

"Andre and our local guide were a terrific team. Travelling with the author of the Birds of Thailand was quite a treat. Andre catered to the needs of each participant. He was kind enough to lend me his extension cord which was quite helpful in hotels with few electric outlets. At the end of the tour he helped with transportation and overnight hotel prior to our flight out. Both guides were fantastic, skilled and capable birders. The food was plentiful and good. Overall this was a terrific trip with lots of beautiful sightings and many birds. We look forward to travelling with Rockjumper again."

SS, Thailand 2020

Andre was great as a guide and trip leader. He did an excellent job of spotting birds and getting us on them quickly, kept us informed on logistics and made the trip so much fun with his humor. I definitely want to travel with him again.

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