André is a KwaZulu Natal boy and was lucky enough to grow up with parents who owned a farm in the midlands, loved the bush and Drakensberg mountains. So, holidays were spent running wild on the farm and exploring the rich natural diversity KZN parks offer and the many wilderness areas around South Africa. When the birding bug bit at the age of ten the listing started, and holiday planning became a little more specific as we targeted lifers in remote corners around the country. This culminated in trips to Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe ensuring that André got an incredible foundation any young birder would hope for.
André’s career has seen him pioneering tour operations in KZN, opening award winning lodges and concessions, guiding clients in the bush and across the French Alps. His work and leisure travels have so far taken him to 4 continents and over 50 countries, giving André healthy perspective on life, the universe and of course birds!
Andre lives in KZN, is married with two teenage boys. When not birding Andre consults to the tourism sector on risk management, challenges himself to the odd ultra-distance trail run, seeks out adventures with his family and loves nothing more than good wine and company around a campfire!
What got you into birding?
My parents and the excitement of planning and executing the next trip! What, where when and how? The early start, “padkos”, exploring areas no-one else would consider visiting, the excitement of the search and sometimes rather risky adrenaline filled darts into the bush where we knew there was dangerous game lurking!
What attracted you to a career in tourism?
The belief that tourism is a vital pillar of the African economy and essential for the preservation of the wilderness landscapes and biodiversity of this planet. Witnessing the joy and emotion that is impossible for anyone to hide when they experience true wilderness and all it offers.
Do you have other hobbies?
Not being a full-time occupation, birdwatching is my hobby.
Are you a lister?
I keep a keep a few lists going such as my World List, Africa and Countries, and will always take a trip count. But I don’t do year lists at this stage.
What are your strengths as a tour leader?
Skills relating to birding aside, I believe it’s the little things that make a big difference on tour. Understanding individual needs while meeting groups objectives is key for me. I enjoy interpreting and connecting the dots of the intricate ecosystems we explore and communities we meet. I am a positive guy with tons of energy and a limited time to make sure all on tour are blown away!