"Initially I was a bit nervous about whether my Uganda trip would be anti-climactic after having issues with not being able to pay for visas online, covid testing requirements, etc. But I need not have worried. Nature Travel Birding eased our way and even told us they would pay for the visas and we could reimburse the guide on arrival. And the trip that they laid out was absolutely amazing. While we booked it as a birding tour, they also included stops — a trip to Murchison Falls, multiple boat rides, animal safaris — that mixed in nicely with the birding. And the highlights of the trip were trekking with the chimpanzees and gorillas. What an unforgettable experience! Our guide, Marc, was very personable and became like a friend in travel. And our drive/guide Brian was not only an excellent birder, but got us expertly through rain that forced us into 4-wheel drive as well as bumpy roads. They really added to our understanding and enjoyment of the country. This trip exceeded my expectations and will remain one of the best trips I have done in Africa!" - Joe Sina
"In December 2021 my husband and I had a phenomenal birding day with Marc Cronje in and around Nelspruit. His knowledge, enthusiasm, patience, wit and understanding, made for a magical birding day. He always goes the extra mile. What a joy to go birding with Marc." - Marit Woudstra
"A veterinarian and conservationist, Nick Buys is a consummate professional. He delivers outstanding customer service, responds quickly yet thoroughly to communication and is incredibly knowledgeable. He listens to your birding “wish list,” tailors the itinerary based on those goals and delivers results. Nick is personable and has an amazing sense of humor. After a day birding with Nick, you feel like family. I highly recommend Nature Travel Namibia and look forward to birding with Nick and his team in the future." - Kristen
"My wife booked a trip with Marc to help us with birding (we are newbies, but know the bush really well and visit parks 2-3 times per year).What an amazing experience. Over the past 15 years we were privileged to have excellent guides in places such as Sabi Sands, Welgevonden, Timbavati, etc. We have never experienced what we experienced today – Not only does Marc have excellent knowledge around the bush and birds (identifying them by sound and then let us stop and find the bird to show us!) but is never in a rush, always have more time to show you something exceptional and really enjoy the trip with you.We can highly recommend a trip with Marc and will surely would love to go on a drive with him again.
What a splendid gentleman with knowledge one rarely come across.
Thanks Marc! 20 out of 10 and Kudos to you!" - Andries van Heerden
"This was my first trip to Africa let alone Namibia. My main focus for the trip was to see as many bird species in Namibia as possible. After researching for a good guide that I thought would be a good fit, I chose Nature Travel Namibia (NTN) mainly due to my talks with owner Nick Buys.
His attentiveness and quick thorough responses to my many questions made the decision easy. I never use guides or tour companies for my travels so this was going to be new for me. I am usually the guide or part of a team that is showing clients the places I go, which means I know what to look for in a good guide.
With Africa being a new continent and with the Covid landscape I decided this would be the best way to be safe, healthy, and see the most on my trip. Nick made it happen on all points. Never was I worried that he did not have my best interests in mind and did all he could to make them happen. It was just him and me for 14 days on the road.
During the time I learned a lot about him and his passion for Namibia, wildlife, and touring. He is dedicated on all fronts. Initially I set a lofty goal of 350 species as a goal for the trip. He planned out a route that would bring us across many of the unique habitats in Namibia from the City of Windhoek to the North and Northeast of the country. This area covered the various scrubland, acacia, grassland, desert, mountain, riparian, marshland, flood plain, coastal, and dune habitats of the area. This gave us the best chance to focus on the near-endemic and endemic species as well as have good chances to pick up the Southern Africa species as well. Obviously, this plan worked and was exceeded. Having both of us totally motivated 24 hours a day helped as well. We worked very well together. After a couple days we had definitely gotten to understand each other and communication was easy.
Nick has been involved in the landscapes of Namibia since a young age and his family took part in many camping trips to many of the game parks growing up giving a lot of field knowledge. He is a veterinarian as well working with various agencies on tagging, relocation, and other operations with big game. It was apparent that he knows the animals well and how they will respond and what to look for when around them. Mainly to make sure they are not nervous or feel threatened and when we should be quiet or move on even if the scene is breathtaking. Animals first. I appreciated that as I have the same values." - Mike Sylvia , Galway IRE
I heard about Nature Travel Namibia and Nature Travel Birding through a presentation at the African Bird Fair organised by Birdlife South Africa in August 2020 by Zoom. As I had some funds available from a cancelled international trip in 2020, and no likelihood of other international travel in 2021, I took the opportunity to use the money to indulge my recent passion for birding. Birding friends recommended Namibia as a great birding destination and, after sending an inquiring email to Nick Buys of Nature Travel Namibia, I got immediate information about all the options available and suggestions for the best itinerary.
The trip was organised by Nick via multiple emails and one phone call. All my queries were answered fully & promptly, allowing me to make all the decisions necessary to plan a dream trip, despite the nightmare logistics of international travel in the Covid-19 era.Marc Cronje was my guide and he looked after me wonderfully, from meeting me at the airport in Windhoek and travelling onwards for 12 days. We drove to Rundu in the Caprivi Strip, then through Mahangu, across the border to the Okavango Panhandle in Botswana (including fabulous birding boat trip), back into Namibia for a further couple of days at wonderful Mahangu National Park (and yet another great boat trip), then 2-3 days in Etosha National Park, and then a day each at the Brandberg in Damaraland, the Erongo Mountains, Swakopmund & Walvis Bay and then back to Windhoek. Namibia is fabulous with great scenery, people, game and, most importantly for me, birds.
Marc was an excellent guide: very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about all birds, wildlife and photography. He knew exactly which spots to go to find all the various bird species, allowing me to see almost all the targets we were looking for. I saw 270 different bird species over the trip (including many many “lifers”) and over 30 other animal species, with plenty of time to get good observations and photos. He was a careful driver and liaised very well with lodge staff, park staff and border officials. In addition, he was really great company and also very patient and helpful with a relative novice both as regards birding and photography. He even managed to fix my camera after I damaged it early on, and thus salvaged an important component of the trip for me. The lodges and food were good, particularly the Erongo Wild and the Mahangu Safari Lodge. I have recommended Nature Travel Namibia & Nature Travel Birding highly to many friends and hope to use them again myself for any future visits to Namibia or other parts of Africa. I have been well & truly bitten by the birding travel bug! - Gillian Ainsley, Cape Town South Africa
"I happened across a Facebook post on the BirdLife South Africa group, inviting those interested to join Marc Cronje, from Nature Travel Birding, for a day in the Kruger National Park.
Being new to the life of birding, I thought this was an opportunity I could not miss, and boy was I right. We arrived at the Malalane Gate in the early hours, just as the sun was rising. While one of the guides conveniently took our information and went ahead to stand in the queues, Marc got us to hop out the open vehicle to see the views from the bridge. Within 15 minutes we had spotted upward of 30 bird species! I was blown away, and I couldn’t snap the birds fast enough with my camera. All the while we got interesting commentary from Marc, learning about how to identify those particular birds. Once in the park, our guides knew exactly where to go to find the best sightings, and with their trusty speaker and recordings, were able to call birds right up to us, which I had never seen before. From migratory birds to the locals, we saw 124 bird species that day. And not only birdlife, with the team’s friendly connections within Kruger, we got the inside scoop on the locations of animals such as Lion, Rhino, Elephants and more. The day was so successful, that the group didn’t want to leave, and they offered us a quick detour before heading out, where we spotted a magnificent Martial Eagle with its kill, being watched over by a Tawney Eagle. I highly recommend anyone who is even vaguely interested in birding to follow Marc and Nature Travel Birding and hop on their next tour. You won’t regret it." - C Kraak
"We went birding with Marc Cronje from Nature Travel Birding in the Southern Kruger.
His ability to spot and hear birds was extraordinary. I managed to get five lifers onto my list but more importantly, we had such an enjoyable day together in the open vehicle. It was a real treat and I would recommend a birding trip with Nature Travel Birding to anyone wanting to enjoy some birding in Kruger and improve their birding." - LWA
"Thank you Marc Cronje for guiding my wife and I to some amazing, beautiful and hard to see (let alone photograph) specialities in and around the Kaapsehoop area. It was truly an amazing day spent birding under your expert guidance. We would sincerely recommend your professional services to anyone wanting a passionate, knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide. This day would not have been the same without you, thank you for making it possible and for the unforgettable experience.
We will most certainly do it again in the future." - K Fraser
"In Feb-March of 2020 I made the plunge, fulfilled my life long dream, and went to Africa, specifically Zambia, Botswana and Namibia. Nature Travel Namibia handled the tour, and I couldn’t have been happier. Marc and Charyl were excellent leaders. On the one hand they were professional and no-nonsense which made me (as a solo female traveler) feel protected. On the other hand they both had a light and humorous side which gave us all some good laughs and a fun time. But the thing that really made the trip was their incredible knowledge of the areas we traveled.This trip focused on birding, and they bent over backwards to make sure we saw our “target” birds….and some beauties there were at that!!! For people who go on a mammal-oriented safari, the birds may not be that important, but for birders, the beauty and wonder of birds is a total “high”, plus birders are also super interested in the mammals. Both Marc and Charyl were highly knowledgeable about the ecology of the areas we visited and the behavior of the birds/animals. They well also well informed about the human activities of the area and even the geology! I saw and learned so much! All those other things on my bucket list have now evaporated. Next trip – back to Africa, hopefully on a different trip with Nature Travel Namibia!" - P8890POjana
"This is a belated review of a private 14 day nature trip of Northern Namibia in December 2018 that was led by Marc Cronje of Nature Birding Travel, who served as our superlative and indefatigable host, guide, driver, fixer and companion throughout.Beginning with an airport pick-up at Livingstone in Southern Zambia, the tour encompassed a brief stop in Zimbabwe to visit Victoria Falls; two days in Zambia to bird the Zambezi River; two days in Botswana to bird the Zambezi floodplains and Okavango River, and the remainder of the time in Namibia, with a route that took us through the Okavango to Etosha for 4 days; a day in the spectacular, other-worldly Damaraland region; two days in the Erongo Mountains, where we stayed at the amazing Erongo Widerness Lodge; and a final morning of coastal birding in Walvis Bay.We are experienced, well-travelled birders with an equally strong interest in all other forms of wildlife, as well as in natural landscapes and ecosystems, so our hope for this tour — which was fully realized — was to experience a wide range of Southern African flora, fauna and avian life at an unhurried pace that would allow for full immersion. As this is a review rather than a trip report, we do not provide here a detailed account of species sighted, but the birding and wildlife experience was richly rewarding and exceeded expectations, with nearly 350 species of birds sighted, 40 species of mammals (including no fewer than ten separate encounters with lions), and one exciting sighting of a Black Mamba on the first morning of the trip.
The itinerary of the trip was exceptionally well designed, with consideration given to keeping daily travel distances manageable in order to allow time for leisurely enjoyment of all wildlife. The well-chosen lodges were (other than in Etosha NP) small, privately run establishments with individual character and charm, allowing for varied experiences while delivering a uniformly high standard of service.
Marc Cronje proved to be a world-class guide, whose deep knowledge and appreciation of wildlife, landscape, and birds is matched by his superb wildlife spotting and identification skills and by his infectious enthusiasm and passion for his job. He worked tirelessly on our behalf, from first light until night fall, and even then he was always eager to go owling.
Beyond his skills as a nature guide, Marc is a great communicator with a robust sense of humor. His patience, politeness and respect for others was a pleasure to behold and a real asset when dealing with border officials, a necessity on a trip that encompassed four countries.
We could not recommend Marc and Nature Birding Travel more highly and look forward to arranging our next nature safari adventure with him." - David & Deborah