Private guiding

Expert guide for birding and wildlife safaris, in Zambia and beyond.

"Do whatever it takes to get Frank Willems, a Dutch-born ornithologist, as your guide – beg, cheat, bribe – he’s worth it. He brings the forest alive and knows every bird and call."

Lucia van der Post, Financial Times

Watching Africa's mega-fauna is real magic... as is Kasanka's bat migration, searching for Grimwood's Longclaw in Mwinilunga's orchid-dotted grasslands, or watching the tadpoles living on Mutinondo's majestic granite boulders. I aim to have every visitor experience the endless biodiversity of this amazing continent.

My tours are tailor-made, ranging from wildlife safaris to specialized birding or herpetology tours. We typically travel with private transport, stay in 3-star lodges, or use our mobile camp. Where we can, we spend most time outside vehicles. 

Some places in Zambia are truly special to me and therefore highlighted: Mwinilunga, the Kasanka - Bangweulu - Lavushi Manda - Mutinondo circuit, and the Mafinga & Nyika Highlands. These areas are great destinations on their own, or can be visited in combination with Zambia's world-class "Big Five": the Luangwa Valley, Lower Zambezi, Victoria Falls, Kafue National Park and Liuwa Plains.

Bird-focused itineraries include the "Southern Specials Route", combining the endemic Zambian Barbet and Black-cheeked Lovebird with specials such as African Pitta. 

Please inquire about specialized activities such as film productions, herpetology tours, bird ringing, bat studies, and hiking.

Mwinilunga

Where Congo meets the Kalahari: Mwinilunga in Zambia's far northwest is a little-visited endemism hotspot, best known for the marvelous birding, in a mosaic of vast grasslands, woodlands and tropical forests. Much of my recent work has focused on never-visited parts, where we discovered Vermiculated Fishing Owl and Spot-breasted Ibis, among much more. In 2019 I have built a new bushcamp there, anticipating establishing a new conservancy.

Kasanka, Bangweulu, Lavushi Manda and Mutinondo

This massive and spectacularly diverse protected areas complex, between central and northern Zambia, was my home for 10 years. From rainforest, endless plains and papyrus wetlands, to huge granite boulders, this biodiversity hotspot hosts the world's largest mammal migration (Kasanka's fruit bats), Shoebills, the endemic Black Lechwe, and much much more.

Mafinga and Nyika

Exploring the unexplored: our 2018 CEPF/BirdWatch Zambia expedition to the Mafinga Highlands confirmed its rightful status as "Priority Key Biodiversity Area". Remote and unexplored, I hope to enable true wilderness lovers to experience this absolute gem, accessed by hiking only.
The better-known and equally stunning Nyika Plateau is a must for any birder or naturalist and can be accessed by vehicle.

 

©2019 by Frank Willems Guiding and Ecology Services.