Hiking/Bird Watching

Questions and comments about birding and rainforest tours
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Tracey Wyatt

Hiking/Bird Watching

Post by Tracey Wyatt »

We are visiting Tobago for the first time in September and have arranged car hire for the majority of our stay. I wondered if it was possible to drive to the National Park and book a guide there, rather than book a complete "package" which includes travel to and from the location.

Any advice would be appreciated.
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Steve Wooler
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Post by Steve Wooler »

Hello Tracey

Welcome aboard! :lol:

Yes, you can simply drive across the main ridge nature park between Bloody Bay and Roxborough. You'll know when you have got to the main walk because a number of 'guides' will rush out into the road and try to stop you, touting for business. Don't be intimated - they mean no harm, but it can be a little alarming if you're not expecting it.

Some of the guides are good; some are total rubbish. You have know way of knowing. Also, the boots supplied their can be pretty naff. The general levels of service and knowledge offered by any of the recommended tour guides mentioned on our site are generally considerably higher than taking pot luck in the reserve.
Steve Wooler
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Jill M
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Post by Jill M »

Hi Tracey,

I would definately do a tour with a guide - let them pick you up. When we did our tour with Newton George, we stopped many times on the journey up to the rainforest, then went to three different locations and on the way back to our hotel, we stopped at a fourth. You may miss out on so much if you just go to one location.

Jill
Tracey Wyatt

Hiking/Bird Watching

Post by Tracey Wyatt »

Thanks for the advice guys. Sounds like it would be a better plan to prebook a guide. Not sure I would want to wear rented boots, yuk. Would probably take our own boots though - although if the luggage restrictions still apply on 9th September may have to forego most of our clothes (or wear our boots on the plane!).

We are really looking forward to this holiday!
David Watkins
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Post by David Watkins »

Tracey,where are you staying?We could give you better info on who,what and where.BUT don not take aguy of the street or beach as a guide.Steve will,I hope,agree with me.Use an established company,or person to arrange your trip.
David :D
Tracey Wyatt

Hiking/Bird Watching

Post by Tracey Wyatt »

David,

We are staying at "The Inn on the Bay" in Lambeau.

I realise we will be asked by the Rep at the hotel to purchase a trip - I have had negative experiences in the past with these trips so I would appreciate any recommendations. (I have looked at the Forum and the relevant page in My Tobago)

Thanks
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Post by Joanne Green »

David of King David Tours is excellent. Read Steve's review of him. He's based in Castara, but will pick up clients anywhere on the island. He gives very good value for the money and really knows his flora & fauna!
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Post by David Watkins »

Also in Castara is Kelly-a prodigy of David.He has a fantastic knowledge of the rainforest and its'flora and fauna,as he spent most of his school days skiving "in da jungle"!Young-in his twenties I think-but safe and well thought of.
Have good time,
David(not mentioning any numbers :wink: ) :D
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Post by Steve Wooler »

Hi Tracey

Your choice may depend upon whether you have any particular areas of special interest and expertise. For example, if you are a keen birder, then Newton George is THE man, although guys like Peter Cox are a damn good choice. King David is more of a 'general' guide, but has more than enough knowledge for most of us. I have heard very good reports about his nephew (?) Kelly, as mentioned by Joanne, but obvoiusly he's young and less experienced.

There's one other factor for you and others to consider. The Gilpin Trail and other more popular rainforest reserve trails are not the best place to see birds, flora and fauna. You will also end up feeling more like a tourist than an explorer. Guides like King David will take you quieter more off-the-beaten-track places on the edge of the rainforest. Areas of more open secondary bush where there is actually room for birds to fly and the light to get to the ground. Places where you are unlikely to see another tourist.

If you don't want to take a full day tour with a guide, there is one brilliant alternative. In fact one that I can highly recommend to anyone. Arrange a forest walk followed by lunch at the Cuffie River Nature Resort. See our review in the accommodation section for details. Although not within the actual forest preserve, its right on the edge. In fact there's no other hotel/accommodation nearer the geographical centre of Tobago. Its 3 miles from the 'main' north coast road. Their guide, Desmond, is a lovely guy with an extensive knowledge of birds and a superb knowledge of herbs and spices and how they can be used for medicinal purposes. He takes small parties on 2-3 hours gentle 'walks' through the bush. The catering at the hotel is the best Caribbean cuisine (not Creole) I've ever tasted. HIGHLY recommended.
Steve Wooler
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Tracey Wyatt

Hiking/Bird Watching

Post by Tracey Wyatt »

Thanks so much for the helpful suggestions. I have had a look at the "King David Tours" website which looks very professional.

One last thing - we would probably like to go back to the rainforest after our tour and do some walking on our own - are there any walking trails and maps?

Thanks
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Post by Steve Wooler »

Hi Tracey

Sorry, but you'll have a problem even finding road signs in Tobago, much less maps of trails. However, if you return to the same trails you did with a guide, you should have no problem.
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Post by David Watkins »

But be careful of the weather--it can suddenly rain as you have never seen it.Me and two others just avoided a flash flood in january.Iwould say take a guide,you will get more from your walk.
Steve,yes Kelly is King David's "nephew".
David :D
John Bray

A great guide and in the Times as well Peter Cox

Post by John Bray »

Went on a Rain forest/ nature tour with Peter Cox reccomended by Mytobago.
Had a really good time, interesting and informative in a laid back Tobago style.
Saw plenty of Birds, Butterflies and Turtle nests on StoneHaven beach.

Peter was also featured in the Tmes 20th August

An early start ensured we were ahead of any groups in the Jungle (can we still call it that?)
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Post by David Watkins »

John.no it is not jungle but rain forest.Jungle is mainly dense shrub land with little or no high growth so the under growth realy takes over at ground level.In rain forest,as there is little sunlight penetrating thru'thecanopy there is less dense under growth.
David :D
J Newton

Post by J Newton »

"jungle" therefore, appears to be an apt description of my back garden.
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Post by Jane H »

Ah! You obviously aren't under a hosepipe ban!

Jane
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