Rockjumper is excited to announce the launch of our brand-new, informative webinar series entitled Dream Destinations. Every week one of our passionate tour leaders will act as your personal virtual guide as you explore some of the planets most exotic sites from the comfort of your armchair. Ever wanted to learn more about hummingbirds in general, where is the best place to see a Satyr Tragopan or why the months of October and November are prime time for visiting Madagascar? These questions and so much more will be on the agenda during the webinars. Our tour leaders will happily answer questions live and should volume be high remaining questions will be answered after the webinar has concluded. The webinars in this series are all being offered free of charge. Should you however wish to donate towards our tour leaders our GoFundMe is still open.

Up next is Spain – Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Time: 11:00 AM (New York), 4:00 PM (London), 6:00 PM (Johannesburg). Click here to sign up.

 

Our first webinar in our Dream Destinations series is Sri Lanka where globe-trotting Rockjumper tour leader Stephan Lorenz will get into the intricacies of this exotic island. Learn more about Sri Lanka’s endemic birds, mammals, history, top birding sites and conservation issues as Stephan showcases the natural wonders of Sri Lanka.

This webinar features a bird family that is very high up on most people’s favorite list – Hummingbirds. Forrest Rowland, one of our most popular tour leaders, showcases the myriad varieties of these extraordinary little birds. This one is not to be missed as the images are knockout and Forrest entertains with stories, facts, and plenty of interesting information featuring hummingbirds front and center.

We are back to Asia where Rockjumper tour leader Daniel Danckwerts showcases one of the most pristine countries on the planet – Bhutan. This beautiful part of the world is high on many peoples’s wish list and for good reason. Unique in so many ways, Daniel will highlight many of the country’s top drawcards including its fascinating culture, remarkable scenery, and intriguing wildlife. Join us as we explore the home of tragopans, myzornis, leiothrix and elachuras!

Our 4th webinar in our Dream Destinations series features one of our freshest and most exciting tours – our fabulous small group cruise through the Remote West Papuan Islands from Waigeo in the Raja Ampats to Buru in the Malukus. Join Glen Valentine, one of Rockjumpers most popular and well-known tour leaders, as he takes us on a spell-binding voyage to one of the most remote and isolated parts of the planet. A stunningly scenic part of the world that is dripping with beautiful endemics and specials from Wilson’s Bird-of-paradise and Carunculated Fruit Dove to Kofiau Paradise Kingfisher and the legendary Madanga. This is a webinar not to be missed and promises to put a massive tick next to the exotic box.

BirdLife South Africa: Conserving the White-winged Flufftail

BirdLife South Africa’s Dr Hanneline Smit-Robinson (Head of Conservation), Robin Colyn (Science & Innovation Programme Manager) and Dr Kyle Lloyd (Rockjumper Fellow of White-winged Flufftail Conservation) present a fascinating webinar on the conservation of the Critically Endangered White-winged Flufftail. The species is arguably one of Africa’s rarest and most threatened birds with an estimated fewer than 250 individuals remaining, globally. These elusive rallids live and breed in the high-altitude grasslands of South Africa and Ethiopia. Within the last 3 years, BirdLife South Africa’s work into understanding the ecology and behaviour of the White-winged Flufftail using the BirdLife South Africa Rallid Survey Method, a system of remote monitoring camera and acoustic devices, has fundamentally changed what we know about the species. Join the White-winged Flufftail team as they share one of conservation’s most enthralling stories about a little known bird that has been able to unite industry, science, conservation and government to ensure that it does not become the first known species in Africa to slip into extinction.

The vast plains of the Serengeti and nearby Ngorongoro Crater are arguably two of the most iconic names in the natural world. This is, after all, where the legendary wildebeest migration takes place. Africa’s most famous animals still reside in magnificent numbers and the birdlife is prolific. Join Rockjumper’s Founder Adam Riley as he takes us on a classic virtual safari through these two mind-blowing locations in northern Tanzania. If you have been before its likely next week’s webinar will be a nostalgic journey down memory lane while for those who have yet to experience the sheer marvel of this ecosystem, it promises to be a spell-binding presentation that will likely launch the Serengeti and Ngorongoro to the top of your bucket list. 

Beautiful South Africa is next on the Dream Destinations list as home grown Rockjumper leader Greg de Klerk highlights one of the most iconic wildlife reserves on the planet – Kruger National Park. Famous for its big mammals such as Lion, Cheetah, Leopard, African Wild Dog and White Rhinoceros, Kruger has been a drawcard for wildlife enthusiasts for many decades. The reserve protects an incredible 19 485 km² of pristine habitat and well over 500 species of birds have been recorded from within Kruger’s borders. Join us as Greg showcases Kruger in all its glory and appreciate why it has earned a reputation as one of the most renowned wildlife reserves in the world. 

Of all the world’s birding destinations few capture the imagination quite as profoundly as Papua New Guinea. The island is justly famous for its spectacular birds-of paradise while also holding a variety of other exciting and exotic families such as bowerbirds, jewel-babblers, owlet-nightjars, and fairy-wrens. Join Adam Walleyn as he takes us on a fantastic virtual experience, highlighting a treasure trove of mind-blowing birds, with some insight into the regions fascinating culture and customs. There are few people on the planet that have spent as much time as Adam, travelling and birding through this region, and his webinar is not to be missed.  

 

Our 8th instalment in our Dream Destinations webinar series features the magical island of Cuba. For such a small place, it has certainly given the world much to ponder over the years from interesting politics, leaders and alliances to world famous cigars and rum. The island also happens to be a paradise for birders and holds an exceptional array of endemic, special, and range-restricted species. Join Rockjumper’s Operations Manager Clayton Burne as he showcases this remarkable island in all its glory. From vintage cars to Che Guevera and all Cuba’s wonderful birds, this will certainly be a fascinating presentation.  

 

To kickstart the month of August we will be featuring Zambia, a country that largely flies under the radar for many world birders and travellers. Interestingly, this fascinating location holds a plethora of special and localised species, including some of the most iconic birds in the world, such as Shoebill and African Pitta. Other interesting locations and landmarks include the mighty Victoria Falls, massive Bangweulu Swamps, and some of Africa’s most famous national parks such as Kafue, Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa, which all hold exceptional numbers of Africa’s classic big game. Join Daniel Danckwerts for an incredible journey through his home country of Zambia, where you will get to learn a lot about this often-overlooked birding and wildlife destination.  

With an exceptional volume of endemic birds and wildlife Ethiopia has always ranked as one of the top destinations to visit on the African continent. The ‘Roof of Africa’, as it is often referred to, is also blessed with a remarkable history and some of the most extraordinary cultures on the planet. We invite you to come and learn more about the remote Omo Valley, where untouched local tribes still forge an existence in this harsh terrain, the magnificent Bale Massif and Sanetti Plateau, which is the last stronghold of the beautiful Ethiopian Wolf and a plethora of endemic birds to boot. Join us for an intimate virtual exploration across the ‘Roof of Africa’ with Nigel Redman, one of the world’s most knowledgeable tour leaders and co-author of the superb field guide – Birds of the Horn of Africa.  

Mexico, a land of stark contrasts, supports an enviable, endemic-rich avifauna, third only to Brazil and Peru in the New World. Home of the Mayans, Aztecs, Zapotecs and Spanish Conquistadores, Mexico is one of the world’s most charismatic countries. Over 1100 bird species have been recorded from within the country’s borders while over 140 of those are endemic and found nowhere else on earth. This week join Lev Frid as he showcases the countries very best birding locations from Baja, Jalisco and Veracruz to Oaxaca, Chiapas and the Yucatan. 

Our Dream Destinations webinar series moves back to South America next week where the featured country is Peru. With the second highest birdlist in the world, with over 1800 species, Peru is quite simply a birding mecca. So diverse is the countries habitats, and birding potential, that covering even half of the region in a single trip is impossible. For our Peru exploration we will begin with Northern Peru, home to a fantastic array of special and little-known avian gems such as Marvelous Spatuletail, Long-whiskered Owlet, Yellow-scarfed Tanager and Royal Sunangel. Our guest speaker will be stalwart Rockjumper tour leader Rob Williams. We are in for a real treat as very few people on the planet have the depth of knowledge or passion for Peru as Rob does. 

To kick things off in September our Dream Destinations webinar series heads off to Brazil’s glorious Pantanal. Traditionally September is a fantastic time of the year to explore this watery wildlife haven and we felt it was fitting to showcase this spectacular part of the world as a virtual tour, while Brazil’s travel restrictions are still in place. Nowhere in South America are large mammals as prolific as the Pantanal and it is well regarded as THE place to see a Jaguar. Other outrageous species such as Giant Anteater, Brazilian Tapir, Southern Tamandua, Ocelot and Giant River Otter are also possible, and the birding opportunities are remarkable with many stunning species being extremely approachable. From Hyacinth Macaw and Helmeted Mannakin to Sunbittern and Jabiru we invite you to join Stephan Lorenz as he showcases this magnificent part of the world. It feels like a long time ago now but some of you may remember Stephan as our guest speaker during our very first Dream Destinations Webinar on Sri Lanka. This will now be our 13th webinar in the series and we wanted to thank all of you for your heartfelt support during these trying times. 

The tiny country of Israel is well known within birding circles for its incredible migration spectacle, where thousands of raptors pour through Eilat and other locations offering a truly mind-blowing interaction with the natural world. This week we invite you to join Rockjumper leader Yoav Perlman, as he showcases his remarkable home country. With an exceptionally rich history to augment the birding experience Yoav will give us a wonderful in-depth understanding of what one can expect and enjoy within the borders of Israel. Get ready for Macqueen’s Bustard, Barbary Falcon, Cream-coloured Courser, no less than 5 species of sandgrouse and much more as the Hula Valley, Eilat and Mount Hermon await.

For our next instalment in our Dream Destinations Webinar series we venture off to the ‘Great White Continent’ of Antarctica. Referred to by many as the ultimate destination, this virtually untouched part of our planet offers some of the most magnificent settings and scenery anywhere on Earth. Join Adam Walleyn, a past master of the seas, as he takes us on a classic voyage from the southern tip of Argentina to the remote Falkland Islands, South Georgia, South Shetlands and, finally, the Antarctic continent. The sheer scale of nearly everything in this region is grand, and complementing the astounding vistas are vast colonies of penguins, brash skuas, giant petrels, sheathbills, somnolent seals, feeding whales and a fabulous variety of albatrosses, petrels, shearwaters and diving petrels that all add life to the region’s stark and amazing beauty. This is bound to be one of our finest webinars yet and follows the exact same route as our special Rockjumper Antarctica Charter in November 2021. For those who have been before, this is sure to be a wonderful journey down memory lane, while for those who have yet to experience Antarctica this is a webinar not to be missed.

Up next in our Dream Destinations Webinar series is the incredible country of Colombia. Nowhere on our planet can more birds be found, with the total steadily heading towards the 2000 mark! The primary reason for this phenomenal number of birds is Colombia’s exceptional habitat diversity that includes three Andean Cordilleras, two inter-Andean valleys, the lowland rainforests of the Amazon and Orinoco regions, the isolated snow-capped Santa Marta Mountains and the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. One of Rockjumper’s most popular guides Forrest Rowland is back for his second webinar and we could not think of anyone more appropriate to showcase Colombia’s natural splendour, given his depth of knowledge in the region. Prepare to be enthralled by a plethora of fabulous families from tanagers and hummingbirds to antwrens and antpittas. Colombia offers a truly mind-blowing birding experience and we invite you to join us for a small sample of what one might expect in this bird-rich land.

We are back to Africa for our next Dream Destination webinar which means we are in for not only a spectacle of incredible birds but fantastic mammals as well. We invite you to join legendary Rockjumper guide David Hoddinott for a spell-binding journey across one of his favourite countries – Uganda, home to over 1000 different species of birds. Uganda is probably most famous however as a refuge for some of the last Mountain Gorillas on the planet and it is also a fantastic location for viewing Chimpanzee in the wild. From a birding point of view any country where you can see over 550 species including the likes of Shoebill, Green-breasted Pitta and Grauer’s Broadbill, in less than 3 weeks, makes any birder sit up and take notice. Besides the fiesta of birds come and learn about what else makes Uganda so special, from the various habitats and extensive national parks to famous landmarks such as Lake Victoria, Murchison Falls, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and the Victoria Nile. 

Next week we are back to exploring the incredible realm of Antarctica. A few weeks ago, we were enthralled as Adam Walleyn took us on a memorable Antarctic adventure with visits to the Falkland and South Georgia Islands along the way. This time around it is the turn of David Tanguay, our guest presenter from Quark Expeditions, who will dive into the nuts and bolts of an Antarctica expedition. We have partnered with Quark for our special Antarctica charter in Nov 2021 and a whole range of other exciting polar expeditions as well. Next week’s webinar will be a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the vessel we will be using on the charter, the zodiacs, how things generally work on landings and on board, the logistics involved and so much more. Antarctica is certainly a special part of the world and for those considering joining a cruise to this incredible continent this is sure to be an interesting and valuable presentation

There is nothing like dreaming about that next trip, doing the research, planning the itinerary, and thinking about the wonderful birds, animals, food, people, lodgings and habitat you will get to see and experience along the way. There are however the nitty gritty details that also come about when planning a big international holiday and insurance is one such item. Next week we are heading in a slightly different direction as we feature an informative webinar on travel insurance with insurance expert Uriah Jansen, Managing Director of Oojah Travel Protection (Pty) Ltd, part of the Hollard Group. This will be a wonderful opportunity to gain more insight into this topic, particularly given the current travel environment, and some of the items on the list to discuss include cancel for any reason, medical emergency, travel delay, cancelation vs curtailment, what insurance can’t cover, perils list, T&Cs, and when to buy insurance. 

 

For those of you wondering if this means the classic Dream Destination webinars are coming to an end do not be concerned. We will be back next week with Japan followed by Argentina, South Africa, and Spain as we traverse 4 different continents in 4 weeks. As the saying goes – variety is the spice of life! 

 

“Containing the spread of unnecessary panic is as important as stopping the virus itself. We want to deliver peace of mind to all our travellers ,” Uriah Jansen.

 

Rockjumper Birding Ltd is not a law firm nor are we in the business of giving out legal advice. The information held within this webinar should not be considered legal advice from Rockjumper. The intention of the webinar is to provide you with broad information but anything stated within is not the thoughts or opinions of Rockjumper. We strongly encourage you to seek your own legal counsel related to your own situation and we are also happy to put you in touch with a professional within the insurance sector should you desire.

We are excited to announce that next week we will be broadcasting our 20th webinar in our Dream Destination series where we venture off to the fascinating country of Japan. From a birding perspective Japan is famous for its spectacular winter gathering of ‘dancing’ cranes, while other desirable species include the magnificent Blakiston’s Fish Owl, Steller’s Sea Eagle, and Okinawa Rail. Japan also has an extremely rich history and unique culture which is another enticing aspect to delve into and soak up while visiting. We invite you to join Rockjumper leader Stu Elsom as he showcases exotic Japan from the snowy mountains and frozen lakes of Hokkaido to the tropical islands of Okinawa and Amami. 

At the southern cone of South America lies an astonishing part of the world, where the snow-covered Andes make for an incredible backdrop, spectacular glaciers loom proud and vast lagoons teem with birds. This is the home of Andean Condor, Hooded Grebe, Puma, Pichi and Magellanic Plover. This is Patagonia – land of fire and ice! Next week we invite you to join Bobby Wilcox for what is sure to be a memorable webinar as he showcases this incredible region in all its splendour.

The wilds of Alaska from Nome and Barrow to Denali, Kenai and the Pribilof Islands are some of the most spectacular landscapes on our planet. These remote locations still harbour a fascinating array of wildlife in breath-taking numbers from rafts of tiny auklets, stunning eiders and puffins to Polar Bears, Moose and Killer Whales. Next week Stephan Lorenz, whom many of you have thoroughly enjoyed listening to during past webinars on Sri Lanka and Brazil’s Pantanal, is back to showcase another of his personal favourite locations – Alaska. This promises to be another beautifully presented webinar and we will all no doubt learn a lot about Alaska’s birds and other wildlife while also touching on other aspects such as the geography, general natural history, conservation issues and more as we have come to enjoy during Stephan’s past presentations. 

 

Spectacular scenery, vast areas of wilderness and awe-inspiring wildlife is the order of the day for our next Dream Destination webinar – Svalbard. Joining us from our friends at Quark is Naomi Box, who has an infectious enthusiasm for this stunning part of the world. This webinar will provide a wonderful overview of this extensive region, where Polar Bears still roam as the apex predator, Walrus lounge about on ice floats and legendary birds such as Ivory and Ross’s Gulls, Snow Bunting, Atlantic Puffin and Brunnich’s Guillemot are all on the radar. 

Dotted off the west coast of equatorial South America lies a group of tiny volcanic islands where the wildlife is exceptionally approachable, finches use tools, mockingbirds drink blood, “dragons” characterize the rocky shorelines and tortoises weigh as much as 550 pounds! This is the Galapagos Archipelago – a stunning part of the world where wildlife flourishes with a high rate of endemism to boot. We invite you to join Rockjumper leader Dušan Brinkhuizen as he showcases the wonderful variety and diversity of these spectacular islands. Dušan is also busy putting the finishing touches to a brand-new field guide featuring the birds and mammals of the Galapagos, a ground-breaking effort that we are all extremely excited to see.

Adam was given a Roberts’ bird book for Christmas when he was 13 and has since been captivated by birds. Making birding his career, Adam has been fortunate enough to have travelled around the world, exploring its wildest places, in search of the world’s most spectacular birds. In the process he has visited 100 countries and seen over 8,000 bird species, many of which he has photographed. Adam’s slideshow will showcase some of his favourite bird photos coupled with stories of his adventures in finding these beautiful, but often elusive and sadly endangered, feathered creatures.

Next up our Dream Destination series heads off to the world’s 4th largest island – Madagascar. Often referred to as the 8th continent, Madagascar’s flora and fauna are uniquely distinct and have evolved over millions of years in isolation. The island alone has 4 endemic bird families and a further 2 that are shared with only the Comoros while also boasting over 100 species of different lemurs, for which the country is probably most famous for. The marvels of Madagascar however extend well beyond its avian gems and the island also plays host to an exceptional diversity of lizards, snakes, chameleons, frogs, and crazy insects. Join Rockjumper tour leader Greg de Klerk for an impactful overview highlighting the islands incredible diversity.