Phillip Edwards

This was apparently Tati’s first time leading a tour on her own. You wouldn’t have known it. She was quite exceptional. I have travelled all over the world and she was one of the best guides I have had – knowledgeable, enthusiastic, caring; the consummate professional. From the word go when we first started to set up the itinerary with a list of target species, Tati was focused on trying to get me to see as many of these target species as possible. We made several variations on the itinerary to do this and to accommodate our budget restrictions. Then, from meeting us at the airport with a big smile until seeing us off again 35 days later with a hug, she spent every waking moment (and some dreaming as well she said) in looking after our needs and getting us to see birds. Not only does she have brilliant field skills (her ears are amazing and although I am now deaf to the very high-pitched calls, even the other local guides were impressed by her ability to hear and differentiate high-pitched notes) and knowledge of where the birds are likely to be, but she displayed exceptional logistical skills in continually chasing people ahead to ensure hotels were booked, national parks would be open, local guides would be ready and waiting. When things went wrong (a car breakdown) she ensured that we were taken on to the hotel while she sorted out a replacement vehicle without any fuss. She drove almost 10,000km in 35 days safely and alert despite times when she must have been tired. Every morning she was ready and waiting at the agreed time – I tried on a couple of occasions to be early, but each time Tati was there before me! She booked nice but not expensive hotels, took us to restaurants where only local knowledge would know how good the food was, and made sure that my non-birding wife was cared for throughout. And on top of all that, her happy disposition, infectious humor, and excellent English made her great fun to be with. By the end of the trip we no longer had a guide but a lovely new friend. We hope we will travel with her again one day. Oh, and of the target list of just under 250 species, I thought 80% (or 200) would be a long-shot – Tati got us 202! Fantastic! We wish her well.

December, 2018