wild life tours South Africa
Wildlife tours South Africa



Avian Leisure continues to get wonderful feedback from clients for whom we have created birding tours, wildlife safaris, photographic safaris and other memorable holidays. See below for a selection of client comments. Also, guests staying in our spacious accommodation regularly rate us as excellent! Click here for feedback on Avian Leisure's accommodation

Winter Birding Day Trip in Cape Town - June 2011: Patrick’s wealth of knowledge not only of birds but also of flora/fauna, culture made this outing to the Western coastal region a fabulous trip! Patrick, it was such a pleasure to spend the day birding with you!
Valerie and Makena Deveraux, USA

Winter Birding Excursions in Cape Town - June 2011: Patrick, our guide, moved at our pace, making sure our bird sightings were high quality. His knowledge of birds and their habitats yielded great quantity, even with limited time. Accommodations (Shearwater Apartment in Simon’s Town) were comfortable and beautiful with special touches that made us feel welcome.
Gary & Marla Craven, USA

Short Birding Excursion in Western Cape - April 2011: This (Avian Leisure) is a 5 star tourist facility! Our guide (Patrick) was interesting, highly professional and knowledgeable – a wonderful place to spend a birding and environmental vacation. Our Canadian friends will be advised of Avian leisure.
Ray & Helen Fast, Canada

Birding in the Northern Cape - March 2011: A trip to the Northern Cape gives you a totally different image of South Africa. Patrick’s knowledge of the area and its history greatly enhanced the experience. This was a wonderful trip which we greatly enjoyed.. even though we are getting older, we wouldn’t have missed it for the world!
Laurie & Sheila Garner, UK

Birding break-away weekend in Cape Town - clients booked for pelagic which was cancelled due to high winds, February 2011: Thank you both for your hospitality. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay and will recommend your facilities to others. As for the birds we found them both! The (Hottentot) Buttonquail specifically will be an abiding memory. We had one flushed bird which got hung up in a headwind giving us fantastic views. The (Cape Long-billed) larks were much easier to find once we had the right spot. The first was a thrill, the second fantastic, the third good, the twentieth okay …..
SA couple, Johannesburg

Birding Day Trip in Cape Town, February 2011: Excellent – due to Patrick and the birds in a relaxed atmosphere
Liz & Jim Lidgate, UK

21 day Self-drive Birding Tour in Namibia, January-February 2011 for a small group of Swedish birders, their 3rd tour with Avian Leisure: So, we had a great time in Namibia saw 424 bird species, think we never had had so much good food, nice and friendly people, fantastic landscape, thou lots of bush in many places. Namibia is a great country to go birding in. Thank you for all your help making our trip successful. We will be back.
Staffan Nordgren, Mats & Lars-Ake Lundberg, Sweden

Self-drive Birding Tour – Kwazulu Natal, Mpumalanga, Kruger, January 2011: This was a dream of a trip! A particular highlight was the Sani Pass trip with Stuart Maclean. We are especially appreciative of the efforts of Marie-Louise and Patrick to help us plan our trip, their care, thoughtfulness and thorough knowledge made the trip a great experience. The itinerary was perfect, the accommodations excellent, and your service could hardly be better! Thank you
Thomas & Dee Clary, USA

19 Day Guided Birding Tour covering Zambia (Vic Falls), and South Africa, January 2011: Patrick's knowledge about South Africa in general and the birds in particular was stellar. He obviously cares deeply about his country and about giving his clients the best experience possible. I cannot imagine a better birding tour of South Africa than we received. Overall--Thank you, thank you, thank you. 
Liz & Sam Febba, USA

Birding Tour - mixture of self-drive and guided, using Avian Leisure as a base, October 2010: Avian Leisure built a perfect customized trip based on our wishes. All was set up perfectly and at short notice. Absolutely perfect! Patrick is a World Class Birding Guide that treats his clients like they want to be treated. Birding intensity can be full-bore or laid back!
Bud & Margaret Widdowson, USA

Birding Tours out of Cape Town, using Avian Leisure as a base, following an organized tour, October 2010: We gave Patrick a list of the birds we hoped to see and he showed us almost every one of them, and was very good about being sure we actually did have a good look at them often with his scope.
Richard & Elisabeth Vanderlip, USA

Self-Drive tour in Kruger area, September 2010: In answer to the question ‘what contributed to your enjoyment of the trip, Marita writes ‘your meticulous planning, the quality of the lodges, particularly Nottens and Toro Yaka, the fact that I learnt a lot at these lodges so was able to enjoy driving myself in Kruger with better understanding of the wildlife, your instructions about how to get from place top place were perfect…
Marita Macrae, Australia

Guided Birding Tour for client’s Target birds, September 2010: Nick had a few days to spare at the end of a business trip and a target list of birds to see, so we put together a highly tailored tour for him, guided by Patrick: Thanks Patrick for your companionship, your enthusiasm, knowledge and field craft, as well as the meticulous preparation! A truly memorable trip.
Nick Prentice, UK

Tailored Self-drive family holiday with mixed interests – birds, safari big game, natural history, Cape to Kruger, August 2010: In answer to the question ‘what contributed to your enjoyment of the trip, our client writes  ‘The friendliness of the people everywhere, the quality of the food and accommodation. Everything went according to the plan and we enjoyed the varied package you organized for us – we were genuinely very happy with what you provided for us and more than content to recommend you’
Stewart-Smith Family, UK

Fly-in Safari in private lodges in Greater Kruger, following a stay at Avian Leisure’s Guest House, August 2010: Marie wrote us a long note covering her delight with her tour in detail, and in summary says ‘ I am incredibly grateful to have had the experience and I thank you very much Marie-Louise for your help! You have contributed to my quest for more visits to Africa!’
Marie Kazan-Komarek, California, USA

Tailored, guided Tour in Western Cape – Habitat, Birds & Flora, August 2010: Excellent guiding on a well-tailored itinerary. Marie-Louise is amazing, offering a warm and personal service in setting up our trip – nothing was too much trouble – thank you!
Reg & Rowena Langston, UK

Tailored guided and self-drive birding Tour, South Africa, June 2010:
The quality and the experience was first rate – we got the birds AND had rich social experiences!
Price Webb, USA

Private tailored mixed holiday in South Africa – World Cup, Cape Town & Garden Route, Safari, June 2010:
All in all we had a terrific trip - and your planning and preparation were key to its success.
Rob Malcolm & Family, USA

Birding Day Trips in Cape Town using Avian Leisure as base, July 2010: An instructive and entertaining experience with Patrick as field guide. Please reference us as appreciative relaxed birders. The accommodations were great. Thanks for the bird feeders and squash for the birds and porcupine views. Wish we could stay longer.
Sharon Center & Kirk Sapa, New York USA

Birding Trip Cape Town & Western Cape, Autumn April 2010: 'Touring with Patrick and Avian Leisure was a delight! – professional, easy to get on with, flexible to our needs and interpreted our brief precisely.Highly recommended! '.Timothy & Lynda Hyde, Australia

Birding Day Tour in Cape Town, February 2010: 'Want to say a huge thank you to Patrick for an amazing bird watching day. We both had a fabulous time & will definitely recommend you to any friends visiting SA' .
Debra & Malcolm Higgs, UK

Birding Day Tour in Cape Town, February 2010: 'An excellent day to marvellous birding sites; if the bird is around you will see it with Patrick!' .
Michael Smithson, UK

Fully guided short tour of the Coast of Namibia, January 2010, for Islands Holidays UK: 'A beautifully planned and executed itinerary with first class guiding'.
Libby Weir-Breen, Island Holidays UK

June/July 2009: Self-drive mixed interest tour in South Africa, including rugby, birding and battlefields, for Gareth, Pat & Padraig Goodwin, Wales: 'We would like to thank you so much for your excellent organization and bookings for our recent trip, everything went very smoothly and all the accommodation fitted the bill. Thank you also for the directions that you included, it made life much simpler….You will come highly recommended to anyone who is planning a trip to your wonderfully varied country. With very best wishes and thanks for a great adventure.'

August 2009: Fly-in Honeymoon Safari to Kwazulu Natal for Natalie & Ben Shaw, UK: ‘Thank you for arranging such a fabulous time for Natalie and me. We enjoyed every moment. The country was so beautiful, the lodges really looked after us so well. Everything was perfect, right amount of time at each lodge, you did a great job. Best wishes and many thanks again for a perfect Honeymoon’

July-August 2009: Family Safari over a 4 week period in Kwazulu Natal, Kruger, Botswana and Cape Town for the Bell Family, USA: ‘Thanks again for all your work in making the family trip such a success. We all had a great experience, and very much enjoyed finally meeting you and Patrick. The combination of luxury and ‘camping’ was ideal. The ‘beach break’ at Thonga was also perfect. Excellent service, thanks’

August 2009: Mixed Birding, Wildlife and Horse-riding Self-drive Safari in Northern South Africa for Duncan Coates & Helen Elliott, UK: ‘The birding was great … Helen really enjoyed Horizon (Horse-riding lodge) and was happy that they selected horses according to ability and that they were all obviously well looked after. She even went swimming on a horse in the hippo filled lake. I was happy walking around the grounds.

All the accommodation was great and we liked the fact that each was very individual. I was a little concerned at the directions, thinking they were going to be too vague, but each one was easy to follow and we didn't come even close to getting lost once- thanks, all your documents were very helpful.

We missed the ability to walk for longer at Rhino, but did manage a few short strolls at Nottens and Kirkmans. The latter was a very up-market replacement for Rhino and we liked some of their smaller touches, especially the hot water bottles in the morning jeeps! We had great food everywhere.

We'd definitely come back, and use Avian Leisure again. Thanks again for all the help organising the trip. We'd be happy to recommend you to anyone’

July 2009: Fully Guided Birding Tour, Karoo, for Ron & Carol Majors, North America: ‘We enjoyed our winter birding in the Karoo with our experienced guide, beautiful scenery and excellent sightings of birds'.

July 2009: Fully Guided Birding Tour, Namibia, for Kim Frost, Denmark: ‘This was my 4th trip with Patrick and as usual very few possible birds were missed despite leisurely birding. Highly recommended! I look forward to the next trip to Botswana and Zambia!’

June 2009: Combination of self-drive and guided Tour with birding as the focus, in Sani, Pafuri and the Western Cape, for Bev & David Crocker, Canada: ‘Our guides all exceeded our expectations – fountains of knowledge ... sensitive to needs and always a pleasure to be with. Marie-Louise’s planning was so thorough that we never once had a cause to worry, all transitions were seamless. She clearly did her homework! Bev and I had a wonderful introduction and stay in South Africa, thanks to the thoughtful and thorough planning of Marie-Louise and Patrick!!’

May 2009: Guided Birding and Winelands Tour in the Western Cape for Barbara & Jay Salzman, USA: ‘Patrick & Marie-Louise of Avian Leisure provided the ultimate birding & wine tasting experience in the Cape Peninsula. Patrick as our guide added hugely to the enjoyment of our trip – his interests and ours meshed beautifully. A 5 Star experience - it’s a ‘keeper’!

March 2009: Patrick did a guided birding tour in Kruger Park and surrounds on a free-lance basis for Tropical Birding, for Steve Smith, USA: 'His feedback to the tour company was : 'My leader (Patrick Cardwell) was excellent. I'd recommend him to any one any time.  He knew his birds, animals and trees.  He was always helpful to make sure I was on the bird and that I always got good looks. We saw 285 species and most of them were new birds for me' And direct feedback to Patrick: ‘ I had a great time finding birds & mammals with you, Patrick. Thank you for showing me such a great time and taking case of all my needs!'

March 2009: Short Guided Tour Cape of Cape Town & Winelands, for Leiha Macauley & Jim Palumbo, USA: ‘Patrick, you were the highlight of our trip - unparalleled service, from getting us the best tables to picking the vineyards we visited, to your specialized knowledge of absolutely everything! We are so appreciative.'

December - January 2009: Self-drive Tour - Birding/Nature/Cultural heritage – Cape Town & Western Cape for Liz & Paul Harvey, UK: ‘First Class Birding, Wildlife, Organisation, Accommodation & Food – Look no further: superb trip largely due to your enormous help!'

November 2008: Safari in South Africa – Madikwe, Kruger & Cape Town, for Lesley & Ian Patterson, Australia: ‘We've arrived home safely after an absolutely fantastic holiday. Thank you so much for organizing such a great itinerary.'

November 2008: Accommodation arrangements for self-drive trip in South Africa, for Mags & Les Veldman, USA: 'Just wanted to thank you so much for organizing 2 very excellent B&B's - both were a pleasure to stay in!'

November 2008: Self-drive Tour in Namibia, for Jeff & Maryann Williams, Wales, UK: 'If you are looking for an immaculately planned nature holiday you can do not better than booking with Avian Leisure.'

October 2008: Guided Birding Tour Cape to Kruger for Nestling Tours, USA: Bill Eden - 'Thank you for showing me the 'Bird's of South Africa'. Your friendly manner, leadership skills and incredible birding expertise made this trip special! You sure know how to find the Birds!

Tom Bush - ‘The trip met all expectations and certainly exceeded them. Not only the incredible number and quality of bird, flora and fauna sightings but Patrick's knowledge and expertise as our guide was exceptional. Additionally the accommodation, service and meals were delightful. Both Patrick & Marie Louise were the perfect hosts and did a fabulous job of representing SA and showing us the best both culturally and environmentally'

Frank & Pat Stermitz - ‘Thanks a million for one of our very best trips! Congenial and knowledgeable guide and Marie Louise's graciousness and competence in handling an unusual accident occurrence. I recommend Avian Leisure to any and all without reservation”

September - October 2008: Private Guided Birding Tour – Kwazulu Natal to Kruger including Sani Pass, Dr Kim & Mrs Sunneva Frost, Denmark: 'Despite the term ‘leisure' we cannot imagine a more skilled, energetic guided and indefatigable search. ‘ Leisure' should here be understood as responsibility and avoidance of any possible risky situation which makes one totally relaxed and comfortable from first to last minute. Accommodation was pleasant and peaceful making every day enjoyable and leisurely. Every effort is made to secure top birding experiences. All birds are seen well. All round knowledge, cautious driving and meticulous caretaking. I cannot imagine what could be done to improve on the service.'

September 2008: Classic Western Cape Spring Birding Tour, fully guided tour for Mark and Janice Hollingworth, Norfolk, UK: 'You gave us one of the best trips we have ever had!'

August 2008: Mega Safari to South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Namibia! For Ross & Natalie Aitken, New Zealand: 'Marie-Louise & Patrick planned an itinerary of Southern African countries for us. The detail and delivery far exceeded our wildest dreams! Thank you both, there was absolutely nothing more we could have wished for.'

August 2008: A Short Guided Birding Tour in the Western Cape's Spring for Greg Balogh and Ken Morgan, USA & Canada: Greg Balogh - 'I was continually amazed at Patrick's grasp of all aspects of natural history. He was always pleasant company and was very sensitive to his client's needs and preferences.'

Ken Morgan - 'Patrick's approach - professional, yet casual and friendly. Can't see how you could make it any better. Excellent! If I could have stayed longer I would have'

November 2008: Self drive birding tour in Tanqua Karoo and Namibia for Jeff & Maryann Williams, Wales: ‘If you are looking for an immaculately planned nature holiday you can do no better than booking with Avian Leisure'

November 2008: Fly-in Wildlife Safari in South Africa for Ian & Lesley Patterson, Australia: 'Absolutely fantastic holiday. Thank you so much for organizing such a great itinerary'

Alan McTavish: Ontario, Canada: 1st class bird tour – it gets a 10.

Richard Hell: MA, USA: Wonderful accommodation and perfect birding directions. I will especially remember your detailed maps! Plus a dream come true pelagic seabird trip.

Arnoud van den Berg: Netherlands: Thanks to Pat's directions, we had some of our most memorable sightings on our last full day in South Africa.

Jim France & Brian Clasper, UK: Dear Marie-Louise and Patrick, many thanks again for an absolutely fantastic trip. The birding was amazing, the accommodation throughout incredible and the food out of this world. Add the awesome mammals and spectacular scenery and all in all this trip was probably the best either myself or Brian have been involved in. We really can’t thank Patrick enough for sharing his incredible knowledge of all things to do with the natural history of the area, and for being an incredible guide and jolly good company!!! BRILLIANT TRIP!

Susan Wilkinson, USA: We had a great day with super birds and spectacular scenery and lots of information on SA. Patrick was wonderful! What a marvelous country!

Dr Kim Frost, Denmark: Patrick was an exceptional guide, not only on account of his unique knowledge of birds, but especially because of his personality, friendliness and truly indefatigable endeavor to ensure his clients a holistic and optimum experience of the Cape nature and social conditions. In addition to pleasant and considerate driving, he provided us with the best accommodation, meals and wine! To the last minute we were taken care of including arrangement with shuttle to the Airport Terminal. Thus I give Avian Leisure my warmest recommendations!


What follows are ‘write-ups' or trip reports of some of the wildlife safaris and birding tours we have done. Each tour is different, demonstrating Avian Leisure's personalized and versatile approach to tailored travel in Southern Africa , based on clients' needs and preferences.

While great birding will always be a key focus for us, Avian Leisure is not ‘only about birding'! We believe in a holistic blend of experiences: the best of what the outdoor environment has to offer in combination with a hand-picked selection of accommodation establishments – ‘birder friendly', wildlife lodges, and others - specially chosen for their locality to birding and wildlife areas, comfort and traditional hospitality, and attention to conservation and the needs of local communities.

In the Trip Reports for guided birding tours below we outline the areas visited and key species seen along with spontaneous client comments received on email following the trip. Detailed sighting summaries are also available for each of the trips from us if required.

Similarly we outline some of the safaris and self drive tours we have done recently with comments from the clients themselves.

Should you wish to make direct contact with any of the clients listed we would be happy to send their contact details to you.

We trust you will find these reviews interesting and sufficiently enticing for you to consider Avian Leisure as an option when thinking about a future fully guided or self-drive birding or wildlife safari to one or more of the Southern Africa countries South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia. Contact Us now!


March 2011: Chobe - The Enchanged River Trip Report
January 2011: Namibia Birding Trip Report
October 2010: The Long & Winding Road up and Over Naude's Nek
September 2010: Anne Albatross Pelagic Trip Report
August 2010: Birds & Whales at De Hoop on the Southern Cape Coast
May 2010: Sauntering Up Sani Pass
April 2010: Autumn Birding Trip From Cape Town
March 2010: Anne Albatross Pelagic Birding Trip From Cape Town
February 2010: Namibia Skeleton Coast Cape Cross
November 2009: Botswana and Zambia : Photographic Safari in Botswana.
October 2009: Summer Birding Tour - Kruger 2009

September 2009: The Exquisite Cape Gannets Of Bird Island In Lambert's Bay
August 2009: Birding Botswana and Zambia
July 2009: Birding Namibia's Outback
July 2009: Winter Birding the 'Ivory Trail' at Pafuri in Kruger Park

June 2009: Birding off the beaten track in Central Mozambique
October 2008: Guided Birding Tour Cape to Kruger
September-October 2008: Private Guided Birding Tour – Kwazulu Natal to Kruger including Sani Pass
September 2008: Classic Western Cape Spring Birding Tour, fully guided tour
August 2008: A Short Guided Birding Tour in the Western Cape's Spring
February 2008: Namibia & South Africa Tailor-made Tour
January 2008: SA Tour for ABA Executives
November-December 2007: The Baobab Trail along the Limpopo River
November 2007: Limpopo Bushveld to the Kruger National Park
October 2007: Drakensberg Escarpment and the Elephant Coast of KZN
September-October 2007: Cape Town to Kruger Park via Drakensberg Mountains & KZN
August-September 2007: Western & Northern Cape – Springtime at its Peak!
August 2007: Fairest Cape to Addo Elephant Park


November 2009: Botswana and Zambia : Photographic Safari in Botswana.
November 2007: Botswana, Cape Town, the Winelands, and Garden Route.
November 2007: Western Cape and Garden Route: self-drive.
November 2007: Kruger National Park - Drakensberg - Kwazulu Natal, self drive.


Watch this space for upcoming tours for 2010 or choose your own dates

JANUARY 2010 : - Full

Namibia : 5 days – 24-28 January
Birding the starkly beautiful Namibian Coastline – fully guided tour

MAY 2010 : - Full

From Wine to Wildlife in South Africa : 10 days – 14-23 May
From the winelands of the Cape to the wildlife of the Madikwe bushveld – fully guided tour


Cape Town - Kruger Birding Tour: 15 days Scheduled Dates 19 Nov – 3 Dec 2010, plus 4 day extension to Northern Kruger 3-7 December 2010
The best of summer birding in South Africa, an all embracing and unforgettable Medley of Bird and Mammal Experiences


9 Days: South Africa, Zambia and Botswana - Your choice of Dates

Click here for a sample itinerary

Contact Us for more information on itinerary and pricing


" A v i a n    L e i s u r e    i s    c o m m i t t e d    t o    r e s p o n s i b l e    t o u r i s m    p r a c t i c e s "

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