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Avitourism Action

BirdLife Botswana guide training programme

BirdLife Botswana recently held its first bird guide training course, inspired by the success of similar courses created and run by BirdLife South Africa.

Andre Botha, then Training Manager with BirdLife South Africa, was invited to assist with customising a Botswana-specific course, and to develop the local capacity needed to run it. BirdLife South Africa’s venture into avitourism less than two years ago was an innovative way of involving local people in bird conservation whilst also giving them an invested interest in caring for local birds. During this time, more than 150 local bird guides have been trained, and guides on the Zululand Birding Route alone have earned more than R250,000 in guiding fees."Training local bird guides is an integral part of Birdlife Botswana’s drive to promote avitourism as a way of involving local citizens in bird monitoring and conservation." — Pete Hancock, BirdLife Botswana

BirdLife Botswana realised a similar potential existed in Botswana and the first two-week course for 14 participants from across Botswana was run by Richard Randall and Pete Hancock and held in Khwai Village, near Moremi Game Reserve, in conjunction with the Khwai Development Trust.

Further courses are planned, linked to the established Okavango/Chobe Birding Route which encompasses two of Botswana’s Important Bird Areas and some of the finest birding in Southern Africa.

BirdLife Botswana are grateful to BirdLife South Africa for sharing their experience and expertise, and to the Rufford Small Grants for making the project possible through their financial support

4th July 2014