My name is Robert de Groot and I am the owner of Rafiki Birdwatching. Having started bird watching in the early 1970’s I can still remember the elation when I identified my first ever Common Buzzard. A three day trip into Zeeland listed 36 species, of which 9 were new. Since then, lists have lengthened and more areas have been scouted. I have started to introduce other people into this beautiful pastime. Even after more than forty years, the elation is still there when, during such a trip, we spot a rare bird, some strange behaviour or enormous numbers.
From Biology to Big game and birds
I studied biology and during my studies I worked at research stations in the Camargue, France and Mombasa, Kenya. During that time I started taking friends and visitors along on trips and safaris. We watched birds and big game.
After having finished my degree, I went to live in Kenya, teaching. Later on, married, we moved back to the Netherlands, on to Ethiopia and again to Kenya. In 2008/2009, having finished our contracts, the family drove back from Nairobi to the Netherlands. Read the blog of that trip. That was a 4 month “Trip of a lifetime”.
Back in the Netherlands I started working for Flevo Bird Watching. We still cooperate closely. The one-day-trips in the Netherlands are run under their flag. Rafiki Birdwatching does the trips that last longer and go further than only the Netherlands. If you want to have a trip organised for you, you can contact both our organisations.
Why the name? Rafiki is a word in the East African language Kiswahili. It means “Friends”. And that is the way I like to run my trips. Relaxed, with shared focus and values, sometimes challenging. So far it appears that clients like it that way as well.
Pictures: The feathered one is a Pearl-spotted Owl, in Samburu National Park, Kenya. The other one can be guessed