James Lee

Wade has been surrounded my nature his entire life, having grown up on the Manyoni Private Game in the heart of Zululand, South Africa. He took up birding at the early age of 8, becoming a professional nature guide as soon as he left school. To further his global experience, Wade took a sabbatical from the African savannas and spent months guiding in the Andean Cloud Forests of Ecuador.

  • What got me into birding:

    At the early age of 8 my father sparked my interest with the sheer number of different and brightly coloured species, particularly the gaudy Lilac-breasted Roller. Interestingly the birding spark dimmed a little in my teenage years as I became more interested in mammals. However, once I’d seen and experienced the majority of species available in the Zululand reserves, my desire for greater species diversity relite the birding fire again.

    Hobbies other than birding:

    I’ve recently taken up herping (searching for amphibians and reptiles), as well as an interest in orchids. I also enjoy fishing and sports such as cricket.

    What led to a career in tourism:

    I find the sharing of knowledge and understanding of nature really rewarding. In combination with my passion for nature and the outdoors – a career in tourism was a practical certainty!

    Some of my strengths as a tour leader:

    Patience – I take my time to ensure I get my guests onto all possible species.
    Acute eyesight & hearing allow me to pick up the smallest of movements, odd shapes and sounds.

    Am I a lister?

    Definitely, I keep lists for everywhere from my world list to my garden for birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles and recently orchids.

  • AF, South Africa 2023

    Wade is an exceptional individual. Hard to believe he is not 21 and has such an understanding and knowledge of the animals. He also has a great personality and is a hard worker to insure that you get all the help needed to be safe in every aspect of the operation. Ryan was also a hard worker with the customers comfort and satisfaction always in mind. He is also extremely knowledgeable about the animals and their environment. The entire staff was very accommodating and helpful. It is a great operation and was a wonderful experience.