I am excited to announce that I am offering a personally guided tour of Saudi's southwest in October 2023. Spaces are filling up, so secure your spot now! [Update: The 2023 Arabian Endemics Tour is now fully booked up. If you were interested in joining us, complete the booking form HERE and I’ll put you on standby. If one of the currently registered participants needs to bow out, then you may still get the opportunity.]
The tour will run from October 7 to October 13, 2023 and cover the highlands of the Sarawat Range from the Makkah Region to the Asir Region and the Tihama lowlands from Jazan to Jeddah. Following this rough itinerary, we will stand an excellent chance of encountering all of the Arabian endemics as well as several exciting near-endemics.
While there's the potential of racking up a hefty trip list, brimming with lots of really interesting birds, particularly in the Jazan region with its abundance of Afrotropical species, the following will be our primary targets, all of which are endemic (E) or near-endemic (NE) to the Arabian Peninsula:
Arabian Partridge (E)
Philby's Partridge (E)
White-eyed Gull (NE)
Arabian Scops-Owl (E)
Arabian Eagle-Owl (E)
Arabian Green Bee-eater (NE)
Arabian Woodpecker (E)
Asir Magpie (E Saudi only)
Rufous-capped Lark (NE)
"Mangrove" Reed Warbler (NE ssp)
Yemen Warbler (E)
Arabian Warbler (NE)
"Mangrove" White-eye (E ssp?)
Arabian Babbler (NE)
Tristram's Starling (NE)
Yemen Thrush (E)
Buff-breasted Wheatear (E)
Arabian Wheatear (E)
Arabian (Shining) Sunbird (E ssp?)
Arabian Golden Sparrow (NE)
Arabian Waxbill (E)
Arabian Grosbeak (E)
Arabian (Olive-rumped) Serin (E)
Yemen Serin (E)
Yemen Linnet (E)
Check out a more complete list of the regional specialties we may encounter HERE.
I have over eleven years of experience with the avifauna of the Arabian Peninsula, having birded extensively throughout Saudi Arabia, Oman, the UAE, and Bahrain. I am skilled in identifying Saudi birds by ear as well as sight and, as the regional reviewer for eBird with a network of contacts across the country, will use the most up-to-date
information for tracking down our target species. Finally, with my strong grasp of Arabic and knowledge of Saudi culture, I will enrich your experience of this intriguing and often misunderstood country while dealing with whatever situations that come up during the tour to ensure you have a safe, secure, and enjoyable visit.
What better way to experience Saudi Arabia than with someone who knows the country well, can introduce you to the charms of its culture, and can find its amazing birds?
Details in Brief
Dates: October 7 - 13, 2023 [standby only]
Arrive: Meet at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah early morning on Saturday, October 7
Depart: Leave via Jeddah the evening of Friday, October 13 or the following morning
Transport: A minivan or SUVs depending on the number of participants and final space requirements
Itinerary: Taif to Al Bahah (day 1); Al Bahah to Tanomah (day 2); Tanomah to Abha (day 3); Abha (day 4); Abha to Jazan (day 5); Jazan to Al Birk (day 6); Al Birk to Jeddah (day 7)
Climate: While the coastal plains along the Red Sea coast will be hot and humid with a heat index during the day reaching around 110° F (43° C), the weather in the highlands will be cooler and much more pleasant with the temperature rarely exceeding 86° F (30° C). There will also be the chance of heavy mist and thunderstorms.
Physical demands: There will be light to moderately strenuous walking at most of our birding stops
Participants: Min 6; max 9
Cost: TBD based on group size; single-room supplement applies
Deposit: 30% to reserve your spot
To help you prepare for your visit, please read the following post: "A Thousand Welcomes to Saudi Arabia": Discover the Thrill of Saudi Birding.
Terms and Conditions
What's included: Hotel accommodation in a single room, double room, or 2 bedroom apartment; ground transportation to and from the airport and the various stops along our birding itinerary; all meals as well as light snacks and drinks throughout the day; tipping for accommodation and restaurant staff; access to the Raidah preserve in Abha; bird guide and driver
What's not included: Airfare and baggage costs; travel insurance*; Saudi eVisa; Saudi SIM card with data (recommended)
* Basic medical insurance is included with the Saudi eVisa. However, I recommend a traveler's policy to cover other unexpected situations, such as cancellations, lost or stolen items, emergency evacuation, personal liability, etc. By completing the booking form below, you accept full responsibility for insuring your trip and personal items and full liability should you choose not to.
Cancellation: You can obtain a full refund of your deposit, minus any fees based on the original payment method, up to 90 days before the start of the tour; in the event there are insufficient participants to make the tour viable, refunds will be issued no less than 60 days prior, again, minus any fees based on the original payment method. Of course, you'll also receive a refund should something unforeseen prevent the tour from going ahead at any point in the lead up.