Gary Douglas and Jono Francis make one’s birding safaris memorable for so much more than the actual birding. They are certainly very experienced and talented bird guides. They also have in-depth knowledge about the rest of the birding habitat – the ecology, trees, plants, mammals, reptiles and insects (particularly butterflies!). Their excitement is infectious, and time spent in their company is always fun.
… Lastly I must pay tribute to Gary and Jono who were excellent guides. They had done their homework and put considerable effort into finding the birds. Their knowledge also went much wider than birds and included the trees, insects and particularly butterflies. Like Taylors before us, we really enjoyed their company and recommend them highly .
I’ve long forgotten what it is like to be a bush novice, but can’t imagine that a trip with Douglas & Francis Safaris would disappoint anyone, from beginner to expert. I’ve been on five trips to beautiful African countries with them, in various formats—with friends, with my family with young kids and joining groups I mostly didn’t know. Some emphasised birding, others were more general safari and wildlife expeditions. I’d go on five a year if I could. Here’s why. I’ve been fortunate to meet many knowledgeable wildlife experts and generally love their company. What separates Gary and Jono from the rest is the breadth of their knowledge. To describe it as encyclopaedic would be to fall short. I doubt there are any resources available that could claim to reflect their insight into the interactions and stunning complexity of the wild world. I end each trip, even the long ones, with pangs of real heartache at having to part from the rich spectacles of whatever wilderness they are helping me appreciate. Their organisation and planning is professional and they are adept at uncovering unique and off-the-beaten-track gems—not seldom places for which you can’t even find a single reference on the internet, or place name on a map. Travelling with these remarkable human beings is a privilege, an introduction to a world of wonder and mystery. They are great company and have delighted everyone I’ve taken along for the journey. They have an eye for tailoring trips to suit the interests and character of the groups they guide. I cannot recommend their services highly enough.
I spent several summers in Zimbabwean safari camps or in extended camping trips to Zimbabwe’s eastern highlands or deep into Zambia with Gary Douglas before he embarked on his company as Douglas and Francis Safaris.
Gary and I are both fanatical birders. He knew where to find many exotic species. His familiarity with the African bush and its attendant dangers always made me feel safe and comfortable under his watchful eyes. His expertise on ecology, plant-animal interactions, and avifauna made his services invaluable to me. I was always amazed by the depth and complexity of his knowledge of wild Africa. He was always cheerful, energetic, indefatigable, and entertaining, easily one of the most interesting people I have met in my long life.
Kurt E. Johnson, PhD, Alexandria, Virginia, USA.
The trip is so much more than a birding trip. It is a complete African adventure… There is so much more I could write about but I will end off now saying only that this truly is the experience of a lifetime.