We are a group of biologists, bird book authors and conservationists who are drawn together by a common passion: sharing our enthusiasm for Africa’s birds with others. Since 1997, we have been leading tours around our home town of Cape Town and further into Africa for top international tour companies and small groups. We’ve even acted as consultants for the BBC Natural History Unit and shown Bill Oddie his very first Cape Rockjumpers…
Dalton Gibbs has long been a key person in the City of Cape Town’s Nature Conservation and his various responsibilities have included running Rondevlei Nature Reserve, monitoring critically endangered flora, assessing biodiversity of reserves, monitoring bird breeding colonies and chasing down escaped hippos – which regularly graze on his lawn at night at his home on the edge of Rondevlei Nature Reserve! Dalton has been leading Cape Town Pelagics trips for many years. Besides his birding skills, Dalton is a well-rounded naturalist with a deep interest in all aspects of ecology — and history if you get him started!
Vince is a life-long birder, having grown up in Cape Town (but also has lived and birded for a while in California). Vince has a degree in biology, and has worked as a seabird scientist and in nature conservation.
David grew up in Pretoria and lived in Durban for two years (where he was the chair of Birdlife Port Natal) but now resides in Cape Town. He visited the Kruger National Park numerous times as a child (and many times since), but only really started birding around 25 years ago. As a young geologist, he bought a guide to ID the birds he saw in the field. Birding has since turned into a passion and profession.
Growing up in Cape Town, Mayur has always had a deep passion for the natural world, especially birds and then later flora. He’s explored and led tours extensively around South Africa, and also as far afield as Uganda for Green-breasted Pitta, Shoebill and African Green Broadbill. In recent years he’s combined his love for photography with botanical photography and exploration and he’s developed a reputation for being able to show people some of South Africa’s localised and special flora.
Vanessa has always loved exploring the outdoors and knowing what creature or plant she’s looking at and is never happier than when she’s out in the wilds. She is an ecologist with a great deal of experience across the African continent.
She graduated from the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology’s Conservation Biology MSc programme in 2006, after which she worked largely in savannah ecosystems, but harboured a growing passion for seabirds. Seabirds are not only phenomenal in their tempestuous environment, but they require a certain dedication to see them – which comes with a good dollop of adventure.
After travelling to the Antarctic Peninsula as an ecologist for a wildlife documentary company, this passion grew and established itself firmly in the Southern Ocean. Vanessa has since been lucky enough to sail on the SA Agulhas II three times, atlas-sing seabirds for the Atlas of Seabirds at Sea (AS@S). These trips took her back to Antarctic waters as well as along the South African coastline and she was recently one of a group of guides for Birdlife SA on their extraordinary birding voyage to Marion Island.
Garret is one of Cape Town’s top birders and spends almost all his spare time (when not busy with his medial career) travelling for birds and sharing his birding knowledge with others. He has an incredible knowledge of the birding spots around Cape Town, as is one of the main ebird reviewers for the region. He also travels internationally for birding, including recent trips to Ethiopia and Australia.
Growing up in the incredibly biodiverse Cape Town area, Joel has been passionate about birds, and nature in general, from a young age. He has birded around the country, and loves sharing South Africa’s rich birdlife with others. He is currently doing a BSc at the University of Cape Town.
Gabriel Jamie became interested in science as a child through watching birds, first in Cape Town and then in the United Kingdom. This has resulted in a life-long avian obsession that has led him to study birds and their ecosystems in many places around the world.
Gabriel did his PhD at the University of Cambridge, conducting fieldwork in Zambia and Mozambique on a group of finches which, like many cuckoos, forego their parental duties and instead lay their eggs in the nests of other bird species. Gabriel is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge and a research associate at the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology where he studies the evolution of mimicry and speciation with a particular focus on African birds.
For more information on Gabriel’s work see: https://www.zoo.cam.ac.uk/directory/gabriel-jamie and http://www.fitzpatrick.uct.ac.za/fitz/staff/research/jamie
Nick grew up in Johannesburg and developed a passion for the natural world after numerous family trips to nature reserves in Mpumulanga and the Kruger National Park. The huge variety of lowveld birds opened his eyes to the wonderful world of birding and this has subsequently resulted in him pursuing a career focused on the conservation of the natural world.
Captivated by birds since he was a small child, Cameron’s love for birds and the natural world was solidified growing up in the town of Hoedspruit, a stones-throw from the famous Kruger National Park, Blyde River Canyon and Mariepskop forest. He has birded widely in every province of South Africa, as well as in parts of Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana. He has recently finished his Honours at the University of Cape Town working with the Honeyguide Research Project on the remarkable calls used by Greater Honeyguides to lead people to bees’ nests. He also chaired the UCT Birding Club for two years and is still on the committee.
Cliff is fast developing a reputation as one of the top seabird guides in South Africa and regularly leads our pelagic trips from Cape Town. Cliff works for the City of Cape Town Nature Conservation and has been instrumental in securing new protected areas full of endangered plants and animals.
Birding has been a major passion of Seth’s since a young age. He has lived in both Namibia and South Africa and has birded widely in these countries as well as in Kenya, India and Ecuador. Seth has been guiding for Cape Town Pelagics for around 5 years now, and his pelagic experience includes two-and-a-half months of seabird surveys to the Southern Ocean and Antarctica.
Andrew comes from a family passionate about nature and the outdoors, and was brought up with a bird book at his side. What was a passing interest in childhood has grown into an academic career trajectory, with Andrew having completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2013, majoring in Applied Biology and Ecology & Evolution. Andrew’s Honours year saw him working on Spotted Hyenas in northern KwaZulu-Natal, before leading a research project for 4 months investigating the importance of birding tourism to national parks around South Africa. In 2015 Andrew began his Masters degree through the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology at UCT, looking at the disturbance effects of boat-based tourism on the waterbirds of the Ramsar-designated De Hoop Vlei. While undergoing fieldwork Andrew has recorded in excess of 200 birds on the reserve, one of the most complete bird lists available for the area.
Andrew is passionate about sharing South Africa’s biodiversity with everyone he meets, and is currently studying part-time towards his FGASA Level 1 Nature Guide course. His ultimate bird moment was assisting with the fitment of a GPS-tracking unit to a majestic Martial Eagle in Kruger National Park. Andrew founded the UCT Birding Club along with Birding Africa guides Seth Musker and Campbell Fleming, and was elected chairperson for its inaugural year in 2016.
Andrew now works for Birdlife South Africa, but still manages to guide for us in his spare time.