KZN twitcher makes a global call
HE’S into the sort of tweets not found in the virtual world, but his love for feathered creatures is now certainly known around the world.
KZN birding guide Junior Gabela featured last night on CNN’s African
Voices show, speaking about his love for birdwatching, and his journey in making it his career path.
While very excited about showcasing his work on the international platform, Gabela, 35, who lives with his family in KwaDukuza, north of Durban, said it was all about the birds.
“To me, birds are everything. They are very special creatures and I love learning about them and sharing knowledge about them,” said Gabela.
His love for birding began when he used to go fishing with his father as a teenager, in the Zululand area.
“I started to listen to the birds, and then I would learn all the garden birds, then I’d learn the forest birds. I loved watching and listening to them.
“A while later, I went on a course with Birdlife SA and trained to become a guide. This is what I do now, doing what I love best. I can say that I don’t have a problem distinguishing between the bird calls, I know them that well,” he laughed.
He conducts tours in the Amatikulu Nature Reserve, the Ngoye Forest Reserve, Nkandla Forest, Dlinza Forest, Eshowe, Mtunzini, Richards Bay, and Umlalazi Nature Reserves.
“I also do some sites around Durban such as Pigeon Valley Nature Reserve, but I focus on the Zululand area. They have good birding sites,” he added.
With a client base made up of a good mix of foreigners and locals, Gabela said avitourism was a growing sector.
“The birding society around the world is very popular. Many of these twitchers, as they are called, want to come to southern Africa to spot birds, as our area has a rich biodiversity. Southern Africa has 960 different species of birds,” he said.
Apart from tours, Gabela also spends his time conducting research in the field on birds, as well as hosting educational talks at schools.
With more than 700 birds crossed off his twitching list, Gabela hopes to see the rest of the birds soon.
“I’m a real twitcher. I need to see the rest of the birds on my list, but I’d need to travel to Mozambique to see them. For now, though, I want to show the beautiful birds we have right here in KZN,” he said.
African Voices featuring Gabela will repeat on CNN today at 8am and 5.30pm; tomorrow at 1.30am, 5.30am and 9pm; on Monday at 6am; and on Tuesday at 11.30am.
KZN birding guide Junior Gabela’s love for tweets has been showcased around the world in a CNN ‘African Voices’ report. See CNN.com