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British Birdwatching Fair 2012

News From HQ | 21 August 2012

It’s hard to believe that another British Birdwatching Fair has already been and gone.  This year over 20,000 people visited the fair over the three days and the good weather helped to draw the crowds. This was our eleventh appearance at the Bird Fair and it just gets better every year. This year we even had high speed internet access for the first time ever which made an enormous difference, particularly for the foreign exhibitors.

As usual there was a lot of interest in Botswana as well as Africa at large. Our neighbors at the fair, Zambezi Safaris, won Best Overseas Stand and got second place in the Best Stands Award in the Tourism category. Congratulations to John and Trish Berry and a special mention must be made for John’s shelf-building skills which really made all the difference 😉

For the third year running we donated two places on a Northern Highlights safari which was auctioned to raise money for the RSPB. This year the safari raised £3600.00 (around P43,000). This money will go towards conserving birdlife around the world and specifically to preventing species extinctions. Since it’s inception in 1989 the Bird Fair has raised close to 3 million Pounds for avian conservation.

Grant’s lecture on Botswana as a birding destination was very well received and the lecture marquee was filled to capacity. As the only Botswana company at the fair we are proud to promote our wonderful country as not only a birding destination but as one of the world’s premier safari destinations.

The long days of the English summer have one particularly important result. When the show ends at 17h00 every day, there are still four hours of light left in the day. Now you might ask why this is important… Well, Rutland Water is one of the best trout fishing waters in Britain and as soon as the show closes we are off like a shot to Normanton for a spot of fishing to help us wind down after a long day of non-stop talking.

This very important therapy helps us perform at our best every day, fish or no fish. This year it was unfortunately the latter, due mainly but slightly unbelievably, to the good weather. Apparently British trout are a bit averse to sunshine and prefer rain and cloud, a strange quirk of evolution but we have a theory… Over the past millennia, trout which loved the sunshine and were active when it was sunny eventually committed suicide because of the constant foul weather. This left only trout which were happy and active during inclement weather. But I digress…

It really was wonderful to see all our old friends at the fair and a special thanks to all our past guests who came to see us at the fair to reminisce about lions, leopards, hippos and birding adventures around Southern Africa. Julia Irving, who has travelled fifteen times with Letaka Safaris and is doing two more safaris in 2013 was there as usual – thanks for you never-ending support Julia.

Thanks to all the organisers, co-ordinators and volunteers that make the fair such a massive success every year. We will be seeing you all again next year. I have included a selection of photographs from the bird fair below – you can click on these images to view larger versions.

Brent – August 2012 😎

Here are some more images from this year’s Bird Fair