Conservation-led luxury travel company &Beyond has partnered with high quality optics manufacturer SWAROVSKI OPTIK to create a selection of specialised itineraries that have been designed specifically to cater for birding fanatics while also providing an outstanding travel experience for their non-birding companions.
Specially curated for couples where one is an avid bird-watcher and the other is not, the five limited-edition set departure journeys explore some of the best birding and scenic destinations across three continents. Travellers are accompanied by specialised birding guides who will provide keen birdwatchers with the opportunity to expand their knowledge, while non-birders are kept busy with a variety of experiences that immerse them in local culture, spectacular wildlife and unforgettable natural wonders.
“We have often come up against a situation in our lodges where very avid birders find themselves travelling with or sharing a safari vehicle with partners who do not have the same fascination with the feathered world,” says Nicole Robinson, &Beyond CMO. “Our guides are trained to deal with this and to balance the needs of our guests to ensure that everyone remains happy. It was a natural step from there to create a range of itineraries that are specifically designed to satisfy groups of travellers that include both birding fanatics and their partners, who are simply looking for an exceptional travel experience. Our long-term relationship with SWAROVSKI OPTIK, who manufacture some of the world’s finest binoculars and share our passion for preserving the natural world, made them the ideal partner for this.”
“Lots of people who are very passionate about birding have partners who might not share that passion to the same extent. A lot of the birding tour operators are just looking at focussed birding trips, which don’t offer the non- birding partner anything other than the opportunity to tag along. Here we are looking at a well curated experience where both partners have a wonderful vacation together. As it is our mission to inspire as many people as possible to love and care for nature, we are delighted that these trips will bring nature enthusiasts of all levels closer to its beauty," adds Dale Forbes, Head of Strategic Business Development at SWAROVSKI OPTIK.
Launched as part of &Beyond’s 30-year anniversary celebrations, the itineraries explore some of the world’s key birding hotspots and are all designed for travel in 2022 or 2023. Each stop along the way offers a plethora of exciting options for birders and non-birders alike.
Beyond Average Birding in South Africa combines the cosmopolitan and scenic attractions of Cape Town with Big Five safari in KwaZulu-Natal, all while exploring some of the country’s best known birding destinations. In Cape Town, avid birders can set out in search of pelagic species, explore the birdlife of the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and scour the coastline in search of a variety of birdlife. Non-birders can choose between whale watching and shark cage diving, explore historical sites such as Robben Island and enjoy the city’s many other attractions. At &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, birding fans can combine thrilling game drives with specialised birding trips that target the reserve’s diverse landscapes in search of some of its 411 bird species. Partners have the option to go scuba diving or snorkelling at nearby Sodwana Bay, set out in search of nesting turtles on the beach, explore the local Zulu community or find out more about the reserve’s exciting conservation work on a rhino, elephant or pangolin experience. Departing in November 2022, this nine-night adventure starts from ZAR 123 000 per person.
Highlighting the iconic landscapes and birdlife of Ecuador, the Beyond Average Birding in Ecuador itinerary travels from the depths of the Amazon to the renowned Galápagos Islands. Over 600 bird species can be found in the rainforests for the Napo Wildlife Centre, where birders can spend time in the canopy observation towers, set out in search of sightings on the lake or river by canoe and hike through the dense vegetation to the best observation spots. Non-birders will spend time getting to know the traditions of the local Kichwa Community, taking part in some of their rituals. Travelling to the famed Galápagos, guests will explore the islands on board a private charter yacht, getting to know the unique birdlife and landscapes of this unusual destination. From swimming and snorkelling among the exceptional marine species to walking trails within Darwin’s living laboratory, there is no shortage of opportunities for an in-depth glimpse into the marvel of nature. Travelling in February 2023, this 10 night experience is available from USD 9 485 per person.
Travelling in February 2023, the Beyond Average Birding in Sri Lanka itinerary explores a range of ideal birding destinations that include mangroves and wetlands, as well as protected areas in the country’s highlands and lowlands. Birders enjoy the opportunity to spot many of Sri Lanka’s endemic species, while their non-birding companions can explore thriving markets and fascinating cultural sites, thrill to the challenge of white water rafting and whale watching, explore thriving tea estates and set out in search of Sri Lanka’s fascinating wildlife in Yala National Park. This 10-night adventure begins from USD 6 560 per person.
Exploring a different aspect of the Asian continent, Beyond Average Birding in Bhutan seeks out a diversity of Himalayan bird species while offering an array of cultural, spiritual and wellness activities. A variety of walking trails offer opportunities for birding in Buhtan’s lush valleys, along its mountain peaks and on the banks of its rivers. Meanwhile, non-birders can explore the vibrant cultural highlights of the country, from arts and crafts to exquisite religious sites and breath-taking landscapes. This itinerary travels in March 2023 and costs from USD 8 595 per person for nine nights.
Another experience that combines birding and safari is the Beyond Average Birding in Botswana journey, which ventures from the Chobe River to the famed Okavango Delta. A paradise for birdwatchers, guests can immerse themselves in these two watery destinations, both of which attract a wealth of both resident and migrant bird species. Their travelling companions enjoy the opportunity for a selection of wildlife safaris from many different vantage points, from a photographic safari on a specially adapted river boat to walking trails and dugout canoe trips in the Delta, as well as an optional scenic helicopter flight over the waterways. Scheduled for May 2023, this eight night adventure begins from USD 11 900.
Each of these set departure itineraries travels in groups of ten to twelve people and is accompanied by a specialist birding guide. In addition, guests benefit from the opportunity to choose their favourite SWAROVSKI OPTIK binoculars from a selection of three of their latest models. These will be sent to their home prior to departure so they can familiarise themselves with the equipment ahead of time. Travellers will trial the binoculars throughout their trip and will have the option to purchase and keep them at the end of the journey. A special edition Guides’ Journal created by &Beyond and featuring destination information, maps and wildlife illustrations will also arrive before the journey, allowing plenty of time for the anticipation to build ahead of the trip.
For more on the birding experiences, log on to the Beyond Average Birding with SWAROVSKI page on andBeyond.com or speak to your preferred travel specialist.
ISSUED BY: media@andBeyond.com
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&Beyond designs personalised high-end tours in 13 countries in Africa, five in Asia and four in South America, offering discerning travellers a rare and exclusive experience of the world as it should be. We own and operate 29 extraordinary lodges and camps in iconic safari, scenic and island destinations in Africa and South America. This enables us to positively impact more than 9 million acres of wildlife land and 3 000 kilometres of coastline. Established in 1991, &Beyond strives to leave our world a better place than we found it through our care of the land, wildlife and people, and the delivery of extraordinary guest experiences.
ABOUT SWAROVSKI OPTIK
SWAROVSKI OPTIK, headquartered in Absam, Tyrol, Austria is part of the Swarovski group of companies. Founded in 1949, the Austrian company specializes in the development and manufacturing of long-range optical instruments of the highest precision in the premium segment of the market. The binoculars, spotting scopes, rifle scopes, and optronic instruments are products of choice for demanding users. The company’s success is based on its innovative strength, the quality and intrinsic value of its products, and their functional and esthetic design. The appreciation of nature is an essential part of its company philosophy and is reflected commendably in its environment-friendly production and its long-term commitment to selected nature conservation projects. The turnover in 2020 was 163.5 million euros (2019: 158.7 million euros), with an export ratio of 91%. The company has around 1,000 employees.