Senior Birding Ecotours tour leader based in Cape Town.
Mark Harrington is an accredited bird guide registered with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT), as well as with the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA).
Although Mark has always been passionate about the natural environment (having grown up in Cape Town in the heart of the fynbos floral kingdom), it was during the early 1990s that his obsession with birds and birding really took off. Having completed his LLB degree at the University of Stellenbosch in 1991, he moved to Pretoria in 1992, where he was in the fortunate position of being able to pursue his birding habit in places as diverse and scenic as the world famous Kruger National Park, the Limpopo and North-West Provinces, as well as the indigenous forests of northern KwaZulu-Natal.
Mark subsequently returned to Cape Town in 1996, where he has remained ever since (except, of course, for regular birding excursions to all parts of southern Africa!).
His favourite birding locations in and around Cape Town include the West Coast National Park (especially the Geelbek hide), Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in the early morning, and the Tankwa Karoo. Further afield, Mark has always enjoyed excellent birding in the Kruger National Park (especially the Pafuri/Crook’s Corner area, while Tamboti Tented Camp has long been a personal favourite for bush shrikes, cuckooshrikes, and all-round excellent bushveld birding). The forest canopy boardwalk at Mapungubwe National Park (in the Limpopo River Valley) is another special place which recently provided Mark with his first sighting of the sought-after Southern Hyliota.
In addition to being able to share a wealth of experience, Mark has also expanded his knowledge of the natural environment in general, and birds and birding in particular, by completing numerous courses and extra-mural qualifications, including a National Diploma in Game Ranging from Allenby Campus and Eco-Training in 1995, as well as his FGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa) examinations in 2001. Naturally, these qualifications stand him in good stead, especially when visiting the typical bushveld areas such as the Kruger National Park. Mark has been a professional birding guide since 2006.
I would like to thank the Birding Ecotours Company for all the careful attention they gave to our needs in the Capetown Area. They helped us have a wonderful time in Capetown, as we wanted to do some birding as well as see the Wine Country.
The Bird Guide they supplied us with was Mr. Mark Harrington, who has a wonderful knowledge of the area and it’s flora and fauna. Mark took us to areas we would have never known Â of on our own, and found a great many birds for us, as wellÂ as several good spots to eat. His personality is exceptional, and his company was a real pleasure. I can highly recommend his services. We have birded in many countries, and meeting Mark was one of the highlights of our trip.
Very Truly Yours,
James E. Reveley, DDS, Texas
Diane and I participated in an amazing 12 day Western Cape Bird watching tour through Birding Ecotours in the fall of 2011 with Mark Harrington as our driver/guide. Mark was a very pleasant, good humoured, knowledgeable guide whose knowledge of the flora and fauna of the Western Cape area was outstanding. He was able to identify all of the birds we saw very quickly and took the time to make sure that all of our group was able to clearly see and identify each new bird or animal. As well his knowledge of the cultural history of South Africa made the trip an excellent learning experience for both of us. He was able to smooth over any rough patches in the tour and made all of us feel special. We hope that in the future that he can be our guide again.
Otto Peter, Canada
As for Mark’s guiding abilities I thought he was a superb leader! Mark is thoroughly familiar with the Western Cape South-Africa area, all of its birds, and all of its mammals (even the whales we saw from a couple of sites)! Mark is fluent in both English and Afrikaans. He knew all the owners of the lodges we stayed in. He knew all the birding sites throughout the area, from national parks to city gardens, to mountain passes, to desert scrub, to sewage ponds! With one exception (the elusive Ground Woodpecker) Mark’s guiding led us to see all the birds billed in our trip itinerary. He also knew where there were some really good restaurants! He was a big help to some of our party that stayed some extra time in Cape Town. I would certainly take another tour with Mark.
John J. Collins
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