It’s one thing to teach but another entirely to inspire genuine curiosity they way you do as you share your excitement and passion for this beautiful world.
You make the mundane extraordinary and the extraordinary otherworldly.
I cannot thank you enough for the knowledge and wisdom imparted this week, and I will forever cherish it. I cannot wait to cross paths again soon but until then please don’t ever stop being you.
All the best
The DF Safaries team did their best to make sure that we had a wonderful experience. Gary is an excellent guide and his knowledge of specifically the birds, but also the natural environment in general was really impressive. The tour certainly exceeded our expectations and I am looking forward to travelling with DF Safaries again in the future.
Eastern Highlands, Zimbabwe February 2020
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 never witnessed such incredible charisma, excitement and passion prior to spending time with you both, and I’m ecstatic that your knowledge could be so beautifully taught. I learned so much about the ecosystem and Africa, and most importantly – what really matters in Life – being part of it all.
Thanks for everything
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.
CHOOSE YOUR GUIDE
When we think of Gary Douglas, we remember the time we were due to exhibit at the international Bird Fair in Rutland, United Kingdom. Late again, Gary had gone ‘missing’.
“Who is that?” Fingers pointing at a moving bush as a man with a butterfly net appeared.
“Gary, we are late!” “Gary hurry up!” “Gary we have been waiting for hours!”
”Ah yes, but did you see that butterfly?” replied Gary, not at all sorry he had kept us waiting.
Time has no meaning for Gary, especially when surrounded by nature, or anything to do with nature. His passion is infectious, his knowledge incredible and his sense of fun superb!
Despite being highly qualified and recognized as one of the leading wildlife experts in southern Africa, Gary has an easy way of explaining things – this is probably why children so enjoy being with him in the bush. If you are experienced, out comes all the Latin names and scientific details; if a novice everything is shown in such a way that you start your own love affair with the wilderness.
Together with Jonathan Francis, another highly respected guide who has amassed a wealth of knowledge on butterflies, Gary has travelled throughout Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Madagascar, guiding, re-training guides, training anti-poaching scouts, finding new species of birds and insects, and filming.
Gary and Jonathan covered Uganda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe in the first series of 13 episodes of Bundoo Boyz – Wild in Africa, then went on to film the next series, starting in Madagascar.
In collaboration and co-production with animal Planet, Gary and Jonathan have completed a new 6 part series of ‘Big 5 challenge’ which was premiered in the United Kingdom in November 2008 and will be shown in Africa in 2010.
Gary is a Zimbabwean, grew up in the south-east Lowveld and trained and served with the Zimbabwe Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management, before becoming a professional guide.
Email : Douglas and Francis Safaris, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lesley Cripps Thomson
There is a reason Gary and Jono are the best guides in Africa: unwavering professionalism, unmatched knowledge of all things big and small, childlike enthusiasm and passion, and finally, they are the kindest, most delightful company in the bush! We trust DF Safaris to give our VIP clients the very best of Africa.
Kelley Austen, Mavros Safaris