Julian Parsons

Born on the beachfront of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and raised in a small town bordering the picturesque city of Cape Town - Julian is a coastal soul with a strong affinity for the natural world and a great love for the outdoors.

  • What started off as a childhood fascination with the colourful bird-of-paradise family, Julian quickly developed a deeper love and interest for birds, earning him his first bird book and binoculars at the age of 6. Shortly after his schooling, and driven by his lifelong passion for the natural world - Julian left suburban life and pursued a career as a nature guide, specializing in birding and wildlife photography. Julian's career began in with overland safari tours where he guided groups of guests across the diverse and contrasting environments of Southern Africa. Thereafter he spent several years in KwaZulu Natal, guiding at various lodges in the pristine and bird rich Maputaland wetlands. From there, his career and passion for birding and photography have led him further afield to the untamed wilds of Zambia, spending a year in the breath-taking Lower Zambezi Valley; traversing the red sands and golden savannas of the Kalahari Desert; island hoping eastern Indonesia and getting somewhat lost in the tropical forests of West Africa. The incredible experiences gained along the way have developed and refined his style as a guide and photographer, further fuelling his passion to explore and discover the hidden beauties of this planet's breath-taking natural history.

  • PK, Uganda 2023

    I was very pleased with Julian Parsons as our guide. He is an excellent birder and guide. The entire tour went as smoothly as one could expect, largely due to Julians work.

    PN, Namibia 2023

    Julian was a true pleasure to tour with. His calm and easygoing style were much appreciated. We love a guide with a sense of humor! His knowledge of the animals and birds and where to find them was excellent. Although we dipped on the Southern Carmine Bee-eater spectacle the first night, we still saw wonderful sights. He found the perfect place our second night on the river. The spectacle was amazing! He got all our biggest targets including Pels Fishing Owl and White-faced Owl and an African Wildcat! We had to give him two demerits as he dipped on the Honey Badger and the Pangolinsigh

    MW, South Africa

    Julian did an outstanding job leading the tour. I understand he is a new guide w/ Rockjumper, but it seemed like he had years of experience. His birding skills were superb, as expected. His knowledge of all the obscure larks and LBJs was very impressive. Importantly, he handled logistics very well, managed client expectations and personalities superbly, and was always cheerful and kept things positive. I've got to give a nod to the driver as well, he was a joy to be around. Always cheerful (regardless of tire problems in the Karoo) and willing to jimmy the vehicle around so everyone gets a good look. A definite asset to the tour. I understand these trips run smoothly because of all the support back at the office. Thanks to everyone involved. All of my communications pre-tour were handled promptly and professionally. The whole Rockjumper team were a real pleasure to work with. Can't wait to do it again!

    RK, South Africa

    The tour was fantastic. Julian Parsons is an excellent guide. Outstanding with both birds and people. Several times he was required to troubleshoot problems and issues and did so without distracting from the trip in any way. Our driver was also fantastic. Two flat tires, but he quickly changed out to the spare and arranged to have both fixed, after hours! He was very personable and incredibly safe driver. We always arrived on time (or early) without incident, including when we had the flat tires.

    CH, South Africa

    I would like to especially thank Julian Parsons for his outstanding guiding. Julian has just the right touch of skill and personality to make a tour like this fire on all cylinders. His ability is unique, a top-notch combination of outgoing and enthusiastic personality traits, deft handling of logistical details, fundamental knowledge of the landscapes and biota, and keeping the fire going for finding more birds. I do not give such praise lightly. I have myself have been an ecotour leader, so I well know how difficult it can be to keep satisfied the very demanding expectations of diverse participants. Julian possesses a novel blend of open-mindedness, too, which can be a scarce trait in birding guides. If Julian were the guide on an itinerary that I wished to sign up for, his presence could be a deciding criteria for my participation with a RockJumper tour. In addition to the guide, the itinerary, food, and accommodations all exceeded my personal expectations. Lodging at Hout Bay and Calvinia stand out, but frankly all of it was excellent.

    RO, South Africa 2022

    Julian was an excellent tour leader and bird guide. I would happily travel with him again.

    SZ, South Africa 2022

    I participated on the Flock To Marion & Western Cape-I tour. The tour was great , the Flock was indeed a wonderful experience. Julian, our guide on the land section was very professional, attentive and made the tour a big success. The accommodation facilities were great.

    DT, South Africa

    Our short custom tour with two day trips out of Cape Town was really excellent. Our guide Julian was knowledgeable and engaging and generally a great fit for our small family of three. We found almost all our main target species and Julian was always quick to set up the scope to ensure we all got great views of the more distant birds. As a family with a range of interests including not only birds, but also mammals and plants, we really appreciated that Julian found the right balance between trying hard to find some of the more difficult birds and allowing some extra time for studying plants, especially at Kirstenbosch. Thanks Julian, for a great couple of days! Thanks also to Daniel and Laverne for your help with planning and logistics!

    RH & LH - NBZ 2022

    We had a great time on the Namibia, etc. tour. Julian Parsons is a terrific guide, not just for birds (with which he is superb) but other dimensions of natural history, such as mammals, herps, plants, and geology. And he is a fine and thoughtful traveling companion, exceptionally helpful at every step of the way. We would be keen to go on Rockjumper trips with him as our guide, specifically, on future forays.

    LH - NBZ 2022

    The best part of the tour was our guide, Julian Parsons. He was extremely knowledgeable about the birds, mammals, and plants and trees. He also was very personable and inclusive, making sure everyone was able to see the wildlife. I would go on other tours he plans if they fit my schedule. So, definitely, do what is needed to keep him on your staff.

    EL - Namibia, Botswana & Zimbabwe 2022

    Julian Parsons is an exceptional bird and nature guide in many respects - you can be proud to have him on your team. I couldn’t ask for more in a birding and total naturalist guide. His organization, attention to details, interest in the participants were all top notch. All those things that make a birding trip successful Julian attended to with energy, and enthusiasm. He was an excellent driver and put safety as #1. The amount of driving on this tour it would have been nice to have a driver and a guide. It’s one thing to know the birds, wildlife, plants, trees, etc. It's quite another to teach and explain the species to others. Julian is an exceptional teacher. He was always keen to go the extra step to provide the details and the understandings of the species, i.e. its behaviors, how it feeds, migration information, and on and on. Julian’s knowledge of the natural world is encyclopedic. Like all good teachers you never felt any question was too small or too trivial to ask - it’s a gift to be able to put the participants at ease so they feel comfortable to ask questions. There are many positive adjectives I could use to describe Julian as a person and as a professional bird/nature guide - the list is long. At the top is his character and kindness - it seems to be part of his being. I was grateful to have Julian as my guide - I hope I was a fraction as good as a participant.

    MH & AH, South Africa 2022

    Our group of six was very lucky to have Julian Parsons and Musa as our tour guide and driver! Excellent knowledge of birds, biomes, and local culture and politics. Also both had a great sense of humor and they were adaptable to our group's moods: the perfect match for our group! We would recommend both of them for any future tours! Bottom line, a very memorable trip with lots of great memories. Thanks to all.