Senior Tour Leader and South African Office Manger
Dylan Vasapolli grew up in the suburbs of Johannesburg and fortunately, due to a very supportive mother, was able to experience the joys of the then largely still wild surroundings on a regular basis. From a young age the beauty of birds was instilled in Dylan, and it would go on to shape his life. Turning annual ‘family holidays’ into pure birding adventures was one way how he and his family went about this. The warm, coastal forests of KwaZulu-Natal province (South Africa) were a regular stomping ground, and in recent years he has expanded and largely covered the bird-rich nations of Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi, Panama, Peru, Israel, the United States, and Romania and also of the Caribbean,.
An impressive repertoire comprised of experience beyond his years, a figurative ‘golden’ ear when it comes to picking up the faintest of bird calls, raw skill when getting clients onto tough species, and a sense of perseverance rivaled only by a select few all add up to his highly credible reputation as one of Southern Africa’s most respected birders and an invaluable part of the Birding Ecotours team.
Dylan’s passion for all things feathered ranges far and wide, but his heart and soul lie in both Africa and the Neotropical regions of Central and South America. But he also has a deep-rooted love for pelagic birding and ‘tube noses’ the world over. He regularly leads some of our pelagic day trips off Simons Town (Cape Town, South Africa), where he not only showcases his fantastic birding skills but also his remarkable photography skills, another major passion.
When Dylan isn’t busy guiding he is either finishing off a degree in Nature Conservation through the University of South Africa (UNISA), engrossed behind a few field guides, or readily exploring his local patch – a wetland basin within an extensive band of grassland, finding such skulkers as Red-chested Flufftail and White-bellied Korhaan. Dylan is also an avid contributor to the second South African Bird Atlas Project and regularly sets out for a day’s birding with the sole aim to record data on the birds seen in areas not often visited by others in order to contribute to citizen science.
Together, Dylan and Jason form the managerial powerhouse that runs our South African office out of Johannesburg/Pretoria.
Join Dylan on the following upcoming tours:
Read Dylan’s feedback from clients:
I just wanted to email and say how much I enjoyed the day yesterday in and around Suikerbosrand – Dylan was a fantastic guide, unbelievably knowledgeable, very helpful (and patient!) and good company. We saw much more than I expected, and the flufftail was the icing on the cake! I would go out of my way to recommend you guys and Dylan in particular – thanks again for a thoroughly enjoyable day.Dr Liam Morrison
I will be in touch when I return to South Africa – even if just to set eyes on that pesky grass owl. . .!
We had an absolutely wonderful weekend at Ezemvelo. Great company, good weather and Dylan.Bev Carstens – Johannesburg, South Africa
What a good guide that young man is!!! He certainly knows his birds, and tries very hard to make everyone happy. He really goes out of his way. He’s such a gentleman, he’s going to go far. By the way four adults and one Blue Crane chick were seen on the weekend. Also a Black Stork, which Dylan was so pleased to see, and a couple of Honey Buzzards
Our trip was wonderful! Dylan was great. Top notch birder and guide. Patient, kind, thoughtful, understanding. Best birding ears ever! He found us so many great birds! My count is 430, more than I had expected for the entire trip! Great views as well. He worked hard to get the birds and get us in position for photos. My best decision was hiring Birding Ecotours.
Cheers, more later. Off to Vic Falls now…Bob and Terrie Davis – Idaho, USA
Just a quick note today to let you know that mom (Eleanor) and I had a fantastic day with Dylan. First of all it was a great comfort to meet someone at the airport from the area who knows how to go about things. Dylan provided us with a splendid introduction day to the common bird families and antelope (plus a mongoose) at Rietvlie which was exactly what we needed after being cooped up on a plane for so long! He also capably described things about each family and then the species we were seeing. What surprised me was how knowledgeable he is about other species around the world which makes it easy for him to relate to our knowledge base. We had a splendid day talking about all sorts of things. You guys are doing everything right -Bravo! Your website came up first in a Google search and it’s very inviting which encourages an inquiry. Chris, you got back to me right away, and Dylan followed up with answers and then read perfectly what we needed. Thank you so much! I will most definitely recommend you to anyone coming to this part of Africa. Keep up the good work! Dylan, thank you! I look forward to coming back some day.
Kim HartquistKim Hartquist – Rochester, New York, USA
We went out to Marievale with Dylan to (re)connect with some South African birds after some years away from SA. It was a wonderful experience. Dylan was charming, helpful and incredibly knowledgeable about the birds. We saw over 50 species in a morning and learned a lot about the birds. We would highly recommend Birding Ecotours for an excellent birding experience.Linda Jacobson – Toronto, Canada