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How to Choose a Birding Tour (Part one of three) (1 Viewer)

There are so many birding tours out there to choose from that it can be totally overwhelming to figure out which one is right for you. Recently there have also been a number of countries and regions that have become more accessible, making the choice even tougher. Here we will take you through some of the factors that are often considered important and that could make a difference between having a great tour and going back for more, or being disappointed because it was not what you had expected. A lot of the parameters or details of a tour are already decided before the tour even starts and you can therefore be fairly sure that a tour is well suited to you or not.

Some of the first questions to ask yourself are as follows: why are you interested in taking part in birding tours; what do you want from them; and what do you feel is less important for you in terms of ultimate deciding factors? If you are mainly interested in increasing your lifelist, seeing a very large number of species and targeting endemics, you are likely to focus on a different range of tours than if you are mainly interested in experiencing a different country through birding, or if you are also interested in a combination of birds, mammals, scenery and culture. Keep in mind that tours often tend to attract people that have a similar aim, although there is always some discrepancy of course. Once you have a good grip on your own motivations there are many other variables that you should also consider.

On our tours we try to find as many species as possible on our particular routes, as long as it is reasonable (from a time and travel perspective) and the tour does not become too rushed in the process. This means that all our tours will have a variable degree of birding intensity, because there are different numbers of species that need to be found and variation of difficulty in finding those species. In Madagascar for example there are not a huge number of species, but many of them are very hard to find, meaning that much time and effort is often required to locate the birds we are searching for. We spend time looking for the species that are considered important, trying to limit the degree to which this negatively impacts upon the rest of the tour. This means that on most tours we find a good balance between seeing a large number of species, and still ensuring a certain level of comfort and enjoyment for the participants when this is possible.

Icebergs are an added attraction on cruises to polar regions.

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