Should we call it “Natural Insight Experience”. Wildlife (holidays) for those who seek a little excitement yet also to find tranquility. This is a combination that Being-in-Nature can provide. Healthful holidays please! Far from the madding crowd, at a slow pace, gently immersed in Nature. Maybe that would be another way to describe what we desire?
Travelling overseas was all very well until the Covid health crisis hit. Although many of us worried increasingly about the ecological effects of this, our carbon print on the planet.
In 2019 I, along with others, was beginning to tailor the tours, my safaris, to the evolving “go-slow” requirement of many, and to the “flight-shame” directives of our new age.
Never having been a driver I was more than ready to escape the confines of the truck. The customised East African safari vehicle; always preferred being on foot, the care free life of the walking naturalist, the one that I had ever been.
But when needs must I am more than happy to board a motorised boat, and freely admit to a love of trains.
And when necessary in my earlier years, i.e. in order to escape the grey drudgery of a Northern winter, I had been quite prepared to jump on a jet, a long haul migration machine to get me into my beloved tropics. Especially a flight that would convey me to an opening near those least exploited wilderness corners, the nature reserves of the so called “global south”.
Yes, for decades I was more than happy to follow the swallow and, for a night or two en route, to snatch some sleep in the sky with the swifts! In short, I was a typical northern ecotourist.
However in early 2005 I decided that we should move, as a family of four, to Arusha in Tanzania, East Afric. Leaving the northlands partly so that I could avoid some of the hypocrisy of being a jet-to-nature commuter. And we stayed there, in Africa until 2017, when Toran our youngest graduated high school.
Sadly the credit crash of the global financial crisis, from 2008 onwards, forced many of us, albeit relatively modest travellers, to trim our wings.
Far fewer folk came from Europe and America for wildlife safaris in East Africa. Reluctantly I returned to my former work. Planning and conducting eecological impact assessments.
For four years I was an investigator and ecological advisor, traveling regularly to a huge China-financed iron ore mine in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Tours of duty in those years were indeed journeys to the heart of the beast.
Conditions were gradually improving for the global ecotourism industry, certainly in Tanzania, when the Ebola epidemic struck West Africa in late 2013. Just as the London-registered mining company sank into liquidation! Pretty quickly I was quickly back in the safari saddle and guiding up to six tours per year all across Tanzania.
And then came Covid! And the lockdown of our travelling lives.
We resided in Scotland but by September of 2020, with our sons safely at college in Europe, at The Hague in fact, Elsie and I decided to return to live in Spain. We returned to the Tarifa district, where eagled-mountains meet the sea. Its one part of Europe where one can still relish the leopard light of evening: south western Andalucia.
And where the wonders of the ocean, the wind and waves, are always close at hand.
Now that Covid is “part of our lives” : from our base here in Spain I am returning to a full guiding schedule and will be offering:
five day local Andalusian “All-sizes Nature experiences” for cranes, raptors, cetaceans, insects, flowers … the works, plus
my established wildlife safaris through the equatorial savannas and mountains of Tanzania (March & April and November & December)
as a brand new departure for me I’m planning a two-centre “ecological insight tour” in July-August 2022 to the Amazonian jungles of Peru.
If any of these destinations interest you please contact me by email at
Our motto, as a suggestion for contemplation before, during and after any tour is :
“Review, rewild, rejoice!”
It was in late September of 020 James and Elsie returned to the same farmhouse (a Cortijada) near the ‘raptor migration mecca’ of Tarifa, in southernmost Andalucia. This is where they had lived with Lui and Toran, their two young sons from 2002 until 2005, prior to leaving Europe for Tanzania in East Africa.
As of NewYear 2022 there should remain two major companies with whom I will continue to work in order to offer my safaris in Tanzania.
James will continue to design, refine and guide four safaris per year in Tanzania with these two well established wildlife tour companies
Should anyone question the bird-finding capabilities of such a senior and myopic guide they might observe that in early May 2015 James together with Pete Davidson, ably assisted and driven by Stanley Bupamba (of Zorilla safaris in Arusha) were the Winners of the First ever “Arusha Big Birding Day” – logging 283 bird species in 24 hours.
So here I am ready to read your mail. Your natural guide to some of the best of what’s left!