Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris

Our Leaders

Barry Davies

Barry is friendly, humorous, helpful and great at spotting birds. With a passion for wildlife, he did his university degree in ecology. Barry has always been sought after for his guiding excellence from many years in Queensland and the last 10 years throughout Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Sabah in Borneo. He seeks the best conditions for you to photograph wildlife in action. In PNG, he has developed close relationships with local communities and resident guides at lodges in key birding areas.

Christopher Calonje

Christopher is a Colombian who developed an appreciation for its beautiful birds at a young age. After graduating with a degree from Humboldt State University, California, he worked eight years as an environmental consultant in the USA. In 2008, he founded Colombia Birdwatch to spread his passion of Colombia’s wildlife to nature enthusiasts and to promote responsible ecotourism. Chris will be helped by an assistant resident guide.

Claudio Vidal

With Patagonia as his backyard, Claudio developed his deep knowledge of its wildlife and environs at a young age. As a result of this vast expertise, he published many natural history field guides that feature his professional photography, including a guide to the birds of Torres del Paine National Park. Travelers appreciate his warm personality and attention to details.

Doug Cheeseman

Doug leverages his expertise gained during 35 years of teaching ecology and zoology at De Anza College to offer travelers a unique learning experience in wildlife-rich regions of the world. Doug and Gail led over 70 safaris to Africa, especially to Tanzania and Kenya, since 1978. They also led many tours to all corners of the globe including the Antarctic, South America, Australia, and Asia.

Fabrice Rakotonirina

Fabrice resides in Madagascar and has been leading wildlife tours full-time throughout his country for many years. He has expertise in knowing where to find the special birds and lemurs that we want to see. Fabrice has been leading our private Madagascar tours since 2010 with rave reviews.

Gail Cheeseman

Gail is a naturalist of the best kind – self-taught through a lifetime in the field fueled by a deep passion for wildlife. Her attention to individual hopes and desires ensures that each traveler has the experience of their dreams. Gail has a true spirit for conservation that drives her actions on many issues, both local and worldwide.

Grant Reed

Grant leads our safaris through Botswana where he has organized and led safaris for many years. A native of South Africa, he has lived in Botswana for many years where he knows the flora and fauna very well. In addition to over 15 years of guiding experience in five African countries, he holds a post-graduate degree in Nature Conservation. He also owns the Okavango Guiding School that provides extensive guide training. Grant is the author of Okavango - Spirit of Life.

Grephus Andalo Ingati

Grephus knows the birds and mammals of Kenya very well, and as a photographer understands how to position the vehicle for great photos. He grew up in the Kakamega Forest in western Kenya and was one of only nine students chosen to receive an in-depth course in forest ecology and is now is an excellent professional naturalist. He has worked with Cheesemans’ since the early 1990’s with rave reviews.

Guy Germaine

Guy resides in Madagascar and has been leading wildlife tours full-time throughout his country for many years. He has expertise in knowing where to find the special birds and lemurs that we want to see. Guy has been leading our private Madagascar tours since 2009 with rave reviews.

Helder Brandão

Helder has everything a great tour leader needs to be successful: patience, knowledge, punctuality, and attention to details. Born in São Paulo, he studied biology and afterwards the mysteries and wonders of the largest wetlands on Earth drew him to the Pantanal in 2006. He worked at one of the top eco-lodges in the Pantanal where his leadership skills became well known and in demand. His years of field experience made him a fabulous naturalist, with a great passion for birds and all wildlife.

Hishey Tshering

Hishey spent his lifetime promoting and preserving nature in Bhutan through many guiding and conservation efforts. He worked for the Royal Society for the Protection of Nature and the International Crane Foundation on bird issues. His belief in "Gross National Happiness" and extensive knowledge of culture, birds, and wildlife make him one of the most sought-after guides in Bhutan for over 15 years. Hishey will be helped by an assistant guide.

Hugh Rose

Expedition and Trip Leader, Naturalist, Geologist, and Photographer, Hugh has over 20 years of professional guiding experience. The vast landscapes and incredible wildlife of Alaska and the Polar Regions are his subject and passion, evident in his inspired leadership and stunning professional photos. Hugh receives unending praise for his amazing knowledge, delightful and accommodating personality, and attention to every trip detail.

Juan Manuel Salcedo

Juan grew up in the Galápagos Islands where he developed his passion for wildlife while sailing on his father's boat. He received a degree from the University of San Francisco, Quito after studying Applied Ecology, Biology and Geology. Juan also earned a skipper certificate after studying sailing and navigation in Los Angeles. Involvement in Environmental Education projects in the Galápagos Islands and on mainland Ecuador fills his spare time.

Nkosi Sibanda

Nkosi has led safaris for many years in Zimbabwe and Botswana. His love of the bush and its amazing wildlife inspired him to earn both Zimbabwe and Botswana Professional Guides licenses. He also has an advanced degree in Tourism and Travel Agency Management and is an all-round knowledgeable guide with a great personality. Nkosi loves photography and is very helpful with photo assistance.

Paco Madrigal

Paco has over 20 years of experience guiding wildlife, natural history, and birding tours throughout his native Costa Rica. He studied English and Ornithology at the University of Florida then worked at La Selva Biological Station before following his dream of starting his own tour company. His deep knowledge and charming personality make him one of our best leaders.

Ron Niebrugge

A professional photographer with a keen following, Ron keeps busy leading photo tours and traveling on assignment in his native Alaska and lower 48. His images have caught the attention of many including impressive clients such as National Geographic, Smithsonian, and many advertising agencies. Ron specializes in finding the ordinary, mixing it with beautiful natural light and creating extraordinary photography. See some of his work at Niebrugge Images.

Scott Davis

Scott is a professional photographer specializing in wildlife, nature, and travel. Originally trained as a wildlife and marine biologist, his research and photo assignments took him to the far corners of the globe. National Geographic, BBC, Animal Planet, and renowned magazines used his photography. His patience for teaching and love of capturing the essence of his subjects make him one of our most popular tour leaders.

Tom Murphy

Tom has offered custom photographic tours and seminars for nearly 30 years, specializing in snowy environments such as Yellowstone National Park and Antarctica. His passion and talent is photographing wildlife in their environment to tell a story. Much of his work centers on Yellowstone as highlighted in a popular PBS Nature series program, Christmas in Yellowstone, and several of his own books.

Tonia Cochran

Tonia Cochran is a wonderful guide, naturalist, and conservationist with a wide range of experience in Australian fauna and flora. Armed with a PhD in Zoology, she has had a varied professional career in science, conservation, and tourism. Tonia is a superb leader as proven by the many accolades she receives during our tours to Australia.

Zapa Zaparoli

Cassiano "Zapa" Zaparoli has been leading wildlife tours throughout Brazil and especially the Pantanal for many years since finishing university. He has a deep love of the wildlife of his home country, Brazil, and calls the Pantanal “the best wildlife destination in South America.” A photographer with an eye for composition, he enjoys traveling throughout South America photographing wildlife. Finding the rare mammals of the Pantanal takes great patience, knowledge, and experience - Zapa has these qualities.

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