South Africa trip report and photo gallery posted

We're catching up on trip reports during a break between tours. Here's one from a wonderful, short South Africa trip from last November. We also posted a photo gallery. It was a 10-day road trip loop from Johannesburg, to Wakkerstroom, through Kruger National Park to Magoebaskloof, and back to Johannesburg via the Kalahari scrub north of the metropolis. We tallied 388 species of birds and 47 of mammals--a very successful trip! Below is the trip report's introduction--click on the link above to read the whole thing and see the trip's bird and mammal lists.

South Africa in early summer is bursting with animal life. Birds’ breeding season is kicking into gear, migrants are pouring in, and birdsong is at its peak. This itinerary was designed as a driving loop starting and ending at the international airport in Johannesburg, taking in some the best birding spots in the region along the route and the visiting a wide diversity of habitats full of endemic birds and other wildlife. In just ten days we packed in some of the finest grassland, bushveld, and forest birding the country has to offer, racking up 388 species of birds, including almost all of the top birds on the route, along with an amazing 47 species of mammals. It was a great introduction to African birds, animals, and experiences for the group, none of whom had been to Africa before. Among the bird highlights were Botha’s, Rudd’s, and Short-clawed Larks, Yellow-breasted Pipit, Bush Blackcap, Southern Ground-Hornbill, all five of the endangered vultures possible on the route (among 27 species of hawks, eagles, and relatives), Cape Parrot, Gurney’s Sugarbird, Wattled Crane, Bat Hawk, Green Twinspot, Black-fronted Bush-Shrike, African Crowned-Eagle, seven species of bustards, and excellent numbers of migrants.

Back from CUBA

We recently returned from the inaugural Red Hill Birding tour to Cuba! It was a wonderful trip. The birding was great, the people welcoming, and the traveling easy. Despite the strained relations between the governments of Cuba and the United States, the immigration and customs processes were straightforward on both sides of the 'border.' 

In addition to seeing most of Cuba's endemic birds, we enjoyed seeing its classic cars, beautiful architecture, and gorgeous coast, meeting Cubans along the way, and drinking the occasional Havana Club rum cocktail. Check out the trip report and photo gallery. We will post additional photos on our Facebook page, so be sure to "Like" it. 

Although we are not offering a set departure trip to Cuba at the moment, we have a great local guide who is not used by any other tour company and we are happy to arrange custom trips for bird clubs or groups of friends. We will next offer a set departure trip in 2020. 


Announcing Panama with the Illinois Ornithological Society!

We are very excited to announce our collaboration with the Illinois Ornithological Society--Panama 2018! This trip will take in the very best of Panamanian birding. The main tour, 26 June-5 July, 2018, will take in Canopy Tower and Canopy Lodge, two of Panama's finest birding lodges. We will have top local guides to take us to the best birding locations in the lowlands around the Panama Canal and in the foothills of El Valle de Anton, where we expect to see a wonderful range of tropical birding, including toucans, motmots, mannakins, antbirds, and many, many more. 

The trip's extension (5-11 July) takes in the remote Darien of eastern Panama, home to Choco endemics and Harpy Eagle. We will have five nights in the stunning Canopy Camp to explore the remote lowland forests of this region, including a full day to search for the world's biggest raptor. 

This tour stays entirely in comfortable lodges, the food is delicious, and the logistics are easy. There are direct flights to Panama City from Chicago. The trip is great both as an introduction to the Neotropics and for veterans of the region. We hope to see you there!