© Bart Everts
Via the in La Paz based agency America tours we booked several trips in Bolivia including trips to Madidi national Park, Rio Yacuma National Reserve, Salar de Uyuni and an ascend of Huayna Potosí mountain. The staff is very friendly, knowledgable and will try to costumize your trip as you'd like it fro a very fair price. They don't organize trips themselves but work together with many local agencies. It's great value for money and we didn't have any complaints whatsoever: absolutely recommendable.
Travel agency Pantiacolla is run by a Dutch biologist and specializes in organizing all kinds of jungle trips into the magnificant Manu National Park. You will travel in small groups (2 to 10) and stay in simple lodges or sleep in tents on river sandbanks. The guides are very enthousiastic and know a lot about the rainforest and its inhabitants. The only downsight are the costs, which are still fairly low compared to other companies, but for real nature lovers it is absolutely worth it. Their office is in Cuzco.
Probably every person has his own favourite travel guide to get her or his information from. This is our general experience:
Lonely Planet is the most well known and biggest publisher of travel guides. Lonely planet is probably the best guide for backpackers, since questions like 'where to stay and eat' and 'how to get from A to B' are generally very extensively covered. On the contrarary background info on interesting sites and places is often a bit sparse. The 'Watching Wildlife' series from Lonely planet are fully dedicated to wildlife viewing in South America and Africa. Similar to Bradt, these guides give a very nice description of every National Park of the region it covers and what you are likely to spot in which section of the park. These are great value!
We personally find Footprint travel guides the best for South America. Both practical and background information are very thoroughly covered. Especially information on the country's background (history, culture, demography and natural history) is extensively provided.
What Footprint is for South America, is Bradt for Africa. Bradt has the biggest choice of travel guides for Africa also for less touristic countries. Bradt guides give a lot of background information in general, comparable with Footprint, but with a special focus on natural history. These guides can often be used as a simple wildlife guide, since a seperate chapter is dedicated for the description of common mammals and birds that your might entcounter. In addition, for every wildlife park you will find a description of what you can expect to see and which specialties you could look for in which pasection of the park. On the other hand, practical information is often not totally up tp date or a bit brief. But hey, what do you expect from Africa?
These are travel agencies we can really recommend. They are also recommended in most travel guides
The following Field guides for birds, insects, mammals or wildlife in general, I've been using with great joy. All books can be ordered via www.Amazon.com or via www.NHBS.com (a fantastic web-bookstore with an enormous collection of books on natural history)
ANWB Vogelgids van Europa
Best Field guide for Europe with very beautiful and accurate drawings of all European bird species to be seen
Field guide to the Birds of the Gambia and Senegal ISBN 1873403321
Nice guide with clear drawings of all 660 birds species in these countries. Unfortunately no distribution maps.o be seen
Field guide to the birds of East Africa ISBN 0856610798
Most complete bird guide for east Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda). Great illustrations with handy description and map on apposite page
Birds of Africa south of the Sahara
Hefty guide covering all 2175 species found on the African mainland south of the Sahara. All species are clearly illustrated and described by text and maps
Birds of Southern South America and Antarctica ISBN 069109035
Only field guide of this region. Illustrations are okay and separated from distribution maps
Birds of South America; Non-passerines ISBN 0691126887
A compact guide that covers all 1300 non-passerines species (Rheas to Woodpeckers) of South America with brilliant illustrations.
A field guide to the birds of Peru
This fantastic guide covers all 1800 species found in Peru. Descriptions and illustrations are in seperate sections. A must have for every birder.
Butterflies of North America
Very clear photos of all butterflies of North America. All butterflies are shown in same position for better comparison, as if they are drawn.seen
Very informative insect field guide with excellent illustrations that covers most common insect species in Holland and Belgium as well as Western Europe.
Butterflies of Britain & Europe
Standard work of all European and north African butterflies. Beautiful illustrations and highly informative text and distribution maps.
This lovely guide contains 6400 accurate figures of the true butterflies of the world to the genus level at the least.
The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals ISBN 0713665130
All African land mammal species are covered in this landmark field guide. 480 colour illustrations are accompanied by extensive information in text.
Travellers' Wildlife guides: Brazil Amazon and Pantanal ISBN 1566565936
This guide covers 500 illustrations of the most common animals of the Amazon and Pantanal. It's the best choice for an all-in-one identification guide.
Travellers' Wildlife guides: Peru
This guide covers 500 illustrations of animals (from mammals to insects) you are likely to see in Peru. It's the best choice for an all-in-one identification guide.
Watching Wildlife East Africa
This guide describes for each national park what wildlife you are able spot where. In addition, it can be used as a identification guide for most common animals.
Koningaap is a Dutch travel agency that offers grouptrips to nearly every part of the world. We have been to Kenya & Tanzania (2003) and Uganda (2006) with this company and for the trips we had a private driver, cook and a very knowledgable Dutch guide. Everything is very well organized and there's a good balance between group activities and time for yourself. We can highly recommend this organisation!
Click here to view itinerary in Uganda
Click here to view itinerary in Kenya & Tanzania comaprable to what we've done