Sunday, September 28, 2008

For the birds

 

September 26, 2008

Zululand
OBSERVER
 

 

For the birds

Zululand bird guide - Michael Blose explains the Zululand birding routes to an interested birder at the British Bird Fair

BirdLife SA's stall at the British Bird Fair was usually swamped - a good indicator of the huge number of foreign birders interested in what South Africa offered

Tanya Waterworth

LOCAL Zululand bird guides got a taste of the international avi-tourism market when they visited two overseas birding fairs.
Making his first trip overseas, Zululand Birding Route's Manager, Michael Blose, said the trip was unforgettable as they met birders from around the world at the famous British Bird Fair and the Dutch Bird Fair.
Held in Rutland Water, the British Bird Fair is recognised as the biggest gathering of birders in the world.
With Zululand boasting a high concentration of sought-after sightings and a wide diversity in habitats, Blose said there was a 'noticeable interest' in birding destinations in South Africa by visitors to both birding fairs.
'South Africa is definitely high on the radar screen when it comes to avi-tourism, competing against destinations such as Kenya and Uganda,' he said.
He added that the Dutch Bird Fair attracted a lot of family groups and younger birders.
This was a move away from the traditional perception that avi-tourism only attracts the 50-plus age group market.

Unique experience
And the guides also thoroughly enjoyed their first experience of the United Kingdom and Europe.
'The transport system in Amsterdam is excellent and there were lots of people everywhere.
'It was also nice to see places that are relatively crime-free.
'Cars just park on the side of the road as there is no real need for garages and we saw kids cycling around Amsterdam late at night,' he said.
But the biggest highlight was meeting up with international birders who had visited Zululand.
'It was great to bump into some of our clients who greeted us like old friends. Birding is all about connecting with nature and meeting people -it was an amazing experience,' he said.



 

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