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Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 10:57 am 
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I don't know if KNP already tried to work with bird guides but as long as I come into the park, I never had seen a sign or read something about organized bird watching, so when there is nothing like that, nobody will asked for it. Maybe KNP can give it a try but they have to advertise about it so that people will know.
The guy from the Shingwedzi shop is very good for the job and he wants to be a guide.
He is on a course now.
He is an open personality and absolutely not shy, something a lot of guides can't say. When you are in Shingwedzi, ask in the shop for "Phanny" and talk about birds with him, than you will know why I recommend this guy. :thumbs_up:

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Last edited by Nico on Wed Oct 19, 2005 4:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 11:28 am 
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wildtuinman wrote:
Odd name for an oke?

Lets see what KNP thinks of this? I have send a email to owl.

also mentioned this to Owl a month or so ago. Seems that the main thing will be to who will be doing the work when the guys are on courses and also who will do the work if they are walking about with birders.

I can see their point as it will mean they would have to create posts and employ new people, all coming down to the cost factor again.

Owl has sent letters to the relevant managers of these people in Kruger, so maybe he received some more info on this since a month or so ago.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 11:34 am 
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francoisd wrote:
I can see their point as it will mean they would have to create posts and employ new people, all coming down to the cost factor again.


Hopefully, it will actually mean more job creation, something that SA could do with.

But, it would be a waste to spend a lot of money training people, if nobody went on the walks.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 11:41 am 
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lam wrote:
But, it would be a waste to spend a lot of money training people, if nobody went on the walks.


I reckon if it's marketed well, it should be fine.

Interesting, because KNP does not even have enough guides to do the current trails. I really wonder why. Surely there are plenty of qualified guides?

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 Post subject: Bird Guides in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 11:54 am 
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Morning Forumites,

I can report that 15 staff members in Kruger (Frank among them) have been identified to partake in accredited bird guide training through Birdlife SA. For cost saving purposes, they will not go as far as Wakkerstroom, but to Phalaborwa. However the total cost for this initiative is over R50 000 (including course fee over 10 days, course material, assessment fee, ongoing equipment and transport) and the amount set aside by the presiding manager was cut from his budget. As a result we have turned to the Honorary Ranger Corps to possibly channel funds raised through the Kruger Bird Day for this purpose.

Once the money is found and the staff are appropriately skilled there are a number of exciting bird products that are planned, particularly in the Pafuri region.

It's frustrating now while everything is in the conceptual phase, but hopefully in time there will be an array of exciting birding opportunity in the park (and in turn in other National Parks).


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 Post subject: Re: Bird Guides in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 1:27 pm 
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Owl wrote:
I can report that 15 staff members in Kruger (Frank among them) have been identified to partake in accredited bird guide training through Birdlife SA.

Great news! Also good to see staff who are willing to go the extra mile be rewarded with an oppotunity to further themselves in the workplace.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 8:16 pm 
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Here's a dumb question from someone who has no idea of SANP finance, personnel or logistics but loves birds and can therefore ask it innocently.

R50K to train 15 guides ? Sounds a lot but it is only 10% of the first 6 month cost if my assumptions laid out below are correct.

KNP is recognized as a major birding destination amongst the southern African and international birding communities. I am concerned that the planning folks might be red-herring'ed by the bus loads of day visitors and one-nighters who only want to kitty cats and jumbos. Bird visitors to KNP is major business. Every day in KNP you will bump into other groups of visitors who are there primarily, if not entirely for birds.

To recoup the cost of R50K within 6 months (any business person would die for an ROI like that) AND keep 15 guides employed at total cost to company of R5K per month each, you would need less than 20 birding guests a day, plus the guides will still be available for other tasks. If you project an average of 30 guests a day (ie 4 per guide every second day) at R150 a guest, the projected GP after 6 months is over R300K, or am I missing something big here?

Training Costs 50000
Monthly Cost to Company per Guide 5000
Projected Guests per Day 30
Income per Guest 150
Total Guide Cost for 6 Months 450000
Projected Total Income after 6 Months 810000
Projected GP after 6 Months 310000

Of course, this assumes that one does walks from a camp, which are mostly located in bird-rich areas (a la Pafuri picnic site or Punda or Letaba or Satara or Skukuza or .....) - you don't need the cost of a safari vehicle to organize a birding walk. At Ndumo (a place SANP management might consider visiting to pick up some tips) all walks are done from the camp or with the use of the guests vehicles (the guide bums a lift).


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 8:25 pm 
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Surely Sanparks pays Skills Developent Levies like any other company so they would be refunded 50% of training fees if they put in the correct claims :?


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 11:50 pm 
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wildtuinman wrote:
DinkyBird wrote:
For a start they should build on what Frank at Pafuri does at the moment. Promote him to a guide and allow him, with all the safety precautions provided on other walks, to take interested parties further out of the picnic area on a bird walk.


DB only registered fgasa guides can take people on guiding outings. Frank does not have that skills I think. You seem to suggest a daywalk at the Pafuri picnic spot? I like that idea!


I know that if specific birding walks were available from a couple of camps, I wuld definitely be interested. Of course you would need to have a minimum number sign up, as for the bush braais and breakfasts. That's really not such an obstacle. Probably a bigger obstacle would be having a qualified guide available. Still, seeing the interest here, it would certainly be worthwhile for KNP to consider?

Do the guided bushwalks (not the trails :D ) also require a minimum number to have signed up?

wildtuinman wrote:
I say if you want to do something like this put in a special request and gather a few friends, Much less fuss.


This isn't a possibility for someone like me who comes from overseas and who travels alone. And I would be very interested in doing birding walks 8)

DinkyBird wrote:
Owl wrote:
I can report that 15 staff members in Kruger (Frank among them) have been identified to partake in accredited bird guide training through Birdlife SA.


Great news! Also good to see staff who are willing to go the extra mile be rewarded with an oppotunity to further themselves in the workplace.


Great news indeed 8) Any chance, I wonder, of such walks being introduced by next April? I'd love the chance to do one!


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Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2005 10:45 pm 
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saraf wrote:
As long as they cater for beginners then I think they'll be great.


Even semi-experienced birdwatchers, when in a new area are really beginners.

I am quite a good birder in sand forest and thornveld, but when I come to forest birding, which so often relies on calls, I am pretty much a beginner.

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 Post subject: Birding walks and drives: the reality
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2006 11:00 pm 
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I think that the concept of birding -drives and walks should be offered to the keen birder. I know I would certainly enjoy it. I have seen numerous wonderful nocturnal bird sightings on a night drives!

Which brings me to the point: If the “normal” game drive operators (game rangers) simply paid more attention to bird sightings, both the game and bird viewing fraternities could benefit from a normal drive.

Unfortunately however, this ‘ideal’ is difficult to implement in reality as many foreign tourists, sitting in the back of the game vehicle, are waiting to see a lion and couldn’t be bothered by a rare LBJ! Thus, specific birding drives would be a logical and novel concept - especially if beginner’s level birding is also offered.

Walks are a bit of a different story altogether. It could work really well if the guide is an expert in all aspects of birding, i.e. identification of birds and their calls, habitats and habits. Again a beginner's course would also be attractive to many.

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 Post subject: More birders than you think
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 12:34 am 
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I am a birder and I am going to Kruger for the first time next month. :dance: I also love looking at everything else too. But if a dedicated birding walk or drive with a knowledgeable guide was offered, I would certainly take advantage of the opportunity! Even a coordinated day drive.

My first birding exposure came during a class geared toward both beginners and advanced birders, but some of the people had mobility problems. So most of our trips were by carpooling in vehicles and using walkie talkies to communicate the sightings and identifications of what others were seeing. The car makes an ideal hide and it seems to me that since you can't get out of the cars anyway, Kruger would be an ideal place to do this.

They say birding is one of the most popular and fastest growing hobbies in the US. And a great deal of these people are retired with travelling money, so it has been a huge economic boost to locales with a variety of birds and/or specialty birds.

Looking forward to my visit!
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Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 11:06 am 
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I've done a brilliant bird walk before but still found that while walking the birds many times decide to move away quickly when they hear you.

As for Bird viewing drives on the other hand something totally different which I would really like to see happening in Kruger. During this year's Birding weekend we birded at Punda Maria. Birding was done from those game viewing 4x4 vehicles (12 seater? total but we had less people so that nobody had to sit in the middle). We left at 3am (remember that it was January so the sun rises early) made our way to Crooks Corner for the dawn chorus which was brilliant and somewhat overwhelming for a bird-call-challenged-individual as myself but still great!

We made our way back slowly to Punda, stopping every so often (including breakfast/brunch stop at Pafuri picnic spot), switch the engine of the vehicle off, sit back and listen to the birds and see what comes along. Sometimes we were even allowed out of the vehicle but had to stay within a certain perimeter. We had place to store our small cooler boxes with provisions (and a big bag of biltong supplied by Johann :thumbs_up: ) Although, due to the puncture incident, we could only bird until about 11:30 we still managed around 138 birds without finishing the whole route!

I will certainly pay money for a drive like this. These could be either half day or full day excursions. One does need a person on board who knows the birds of the area (and their calls) well and who can easily communicate and interact with the other people in the birding party. Also need a driver with a special temperament to stop ever so often for a bird or just to wait and listen. The one we had seemed dumb struck by the fact that we were not interested in game viewing and needed to stop for birds, it took him a while to get used to this idea as well as some well directed words from Dr Ian Whyte :lol: )

Oh and did I mention the beautiful Pennant-winged Nightjar male we saw on the evening drive from Punda?


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 Post subject: Kruger Birding Activities
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:31 am 
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I have been thinking about this for some time now and actually discussed it with a Sanparks employee a while back who also thinks there is a market for this.

For birders it is not always possible to get to view the nocturnal birds such as the Owls and Nightjars and many of them miss out on these sightings/ticks.

Unfortunately the current game drives that Kruger offers are catered for the Big 5 findings, so for many birders that do visit the parks don't really get the chance to experience the birds that are mainly active at night, and to try and get a current guide to stop for a Nightjar in the road is unheard of.

My proposal is that 2-3 camps ranging between north and south for example Berg N dal, Satara and Punda should have a Birding night drive option that accompanies the current sunset and night drives.

I don't think its necessary for a dedicated birding guide to be employed as such, but perhaps one or two of the current guides could perhaps get a course into birding and be on hand for when a birding drive is booked.

This drive won't just be catered for the Saffies alone as it is estimated that America alone has over 20 million birders which of whom many come to Africa to enjoy the bird life here and add to their Global life lists.

Of course the chances will still be there for findings of nocturnal animal life, but the main reason for this drive is to try and cater for those out there who actually wants to stop and ID a Nightjar, or get that Barn owl tick etc.

I believe that this option could actually enhance the experience that Kruger already offers and could be another drawing card to an already successful recipe.

Please give some of your thoughts regarding this, as I would love to send any feedback on to the relevant people at Sanparks and see what they say :wink:


Last edited by DotDan on Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Birding Night Drives
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 9:17 am 
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Sounds like an interesting idea.

Are there enough nocturnal birds to justify a 2-3 hour drive? Is it cost effective to do shorter drives?

I know my BBD group started at 3am to try get some nocturnal ticks.

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