Southern Africa

Birding for a good cause


Press Releases


Nichola Palmer


Every year on the first Saturday of December,

as part of Birdlife South Africa’s Birding Big Day, teams of intrepid birders have 24 hours to record all bird species they see or hear in their local environment. It is up to the individual teams whether they spend a few hours birdwatching, or the entire day out in nature. To show our support for this important initiative this year, Craig Glatthaar, Wilderness Head of Sales: Americas, spearheaded the Wilderness Birding Big Day (BBD) for our very own twitchers; and we even pushed it beyond our borders with some representation in Rwanda and even in Thailand.

The Wilderness teams, consisting of four participants in each, were encouraged to show off their birding skills for a good cause. Wilderness donated ZAR1,000 per team to Birdlife South Africa as well as an extra donation of ZAR2,500 to BirdLife’s Conservation Projects on behalf of the winning Wilderness team. In addition, the winning team won a year’s subscription to BirdLife Magazine from Wilderness.

The competition was on!

Our guides and birders were up for the challenge with some eager birders claiming they already knew secret locations for spotting rarities before the big day.


The mission began on 3 December 2022 across Africa. Participants included Private Guides, agents, Wilderness Private Journeys colleagues, and Wilderness teams from Botswana, Rwanda and South Africa.


Birding Big Day Teams

The day was a huge success with big birding numbers recorded. Grant Woodrow, Wilderness Chief Business Development Officer’s team racked up 147 bird species in the Kruger National Park. Craig’s team in Cape Town tallied a count of 156! The overall winner, Rainer Summers from Oryx Photo, whose team lone swallow in the wilderness achieved a bird count of 191, just beating the formidable Abu Team.

Lone Swallow in the Wilderness Team
Abu Team
Bïndo Team
Spurfowls Team
Lowveld Turacos Team
Magashi Team
Savuti Team
Bïndo Team
Olivier de Froberville in Thailand
Olivier de Froberville in Thailand
Olivier de Froberville in Thailand

Some of the day’s best birding finds:


  • Lone swallow in the wilderness (South Africa) - 191 – Team Leader: Rainer Summers from our partner agent Oryx Photo
  • Abu Team (Botswana) – 190
  • Wilderness Highveld Hawks (South Africa) – 161
  • Wilderness Bïndo (South Africa) - 156
  • Wilderness Lowveld Turaco (South Africa) – 147
  • Wilderness Crafty Weaverz (South Africa) – 121
  • Wilderness Magashi Camp (Rwanda) – 121
  • Wilderness Savuti Camp (Botswana) – 102


Highlights included, buff-spotted flufftail, bank cormorant, Agulhas long-billed lark, African emerald cuckoo, white-starred robin, Narina trogon, blue-mantled crested flycatcher and tambourine dove.

Another exciting first for the day

The Wilderness Bïndo team tackled the day with a new birding app called Bïndo. Bïndo is a fun, social listing app that allows birders to log sightings in real-time, create lists and challenges, all while following other birders and sharing their experiences. Bïndo has the advantage of intuitively knowing what birds are in your current location, meaning quicker logging and easier identification. It also identifies birds missing from your list – a game-changer for BBD. Bïndo is a start-up company of professionals, whose aim is to create a space for friends and family to have fun birding together.

Three teams used Bïndo on the day with great success – Wilderness Bïndo recorded 157 sightings, Bïndo Bashers 189 sightings and Bïndo Beta 115 sightings.


Lots of fun and stories were shared whilst supporting an NGO that is very important to Wilderness and our purpose as a pioneering collective, alongside our guests and partners, to increase and protect the world’s wilderness, together.

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When we say we’re there every step of the way, we mean it, literally. From planning the perfect circuit, to private inter-camp transfers on Wilderness Air, and easing you through Customs. We’re with you on the ground, at your side, 24-7, from start to finish. Ready to take the road less travelled? Contact our Travel Designers to plan an unforgettable journey.