For our first Blog post, we thought it only fitting to tell you a bit more about the driving force and brain(es) behind the company.
The name Steve Braine is well known within Namibia as he has been involved with ornithology and natural history within Namibia from a very young age, contributing invaluable data to Namibian Ornithology and natural history. During the past 30 years, he has captured and ringed (banded) raptors and contributed and published several articles on the distribution and other aspects of ornithology in popular journals and magazines. He has discovered several new butterfly species as well as a species of desert beetle, Onymacris brainei in the northern Namib Desert as well as a sub-species of the Speckled Burrowing Skink Typlocontias puctatissimus braineialong the Skeleton Coast.
After a three-year stint doing exploration geology work in the Namib Desert, he left to study Nature Conservation. Thereafter he joined the Namibian conservation department and spent 9 years in the Skeleton Coast Park, and two years in the Eastern Zambezi Region as a ranger/conservation official.
Steve, his wife Louise and his two sons then moved to Hobatere Lodge, a wildlife concession area on the western border of Etosha National Park. Here they operated a very successful wildlife lodge for 21 years. From here, leaving his competent wife Louise in control, Steve guided many specialized eco- and ornithological tours throughout Namibia.
Steve guided for several different companies during this period such as Wild Wings, Green Tours, Zegrahm Eco Expeditions and Birdquest. After a tragic fire at Hobatere Lodge in January 2011, the family lost many of their personal possessions, photographs and many years of data. Shortly after this, Steve became involved with Batis Birding Safaris.
During the past ten years Steve and his wife have traveled extensively doing birding and photography. Angola became a favourite destination because of the excellent birding opportunities the country has to offer.
Steve has passed his on-going enthusiasm and love for natural history to his two sons Sean and Dayne who now assist with birding, wildlife and photographic tours.
He would like to see Batis Birding growing into a highly specialized niche especially within Namibia, not only from a birding point of view but in general ecology and conservation as well.
Both Sean and Dayne were born while Steve was working in the Skeleton Coast Park as a ranger and they had the privilege of growing up in this pristine wilderness area.
Sean, the eldest, after completing his studies worked as a fly-fishing and bird guide at a lodge on the Zambezi River in the eastern Caprivi. He was then promoted and was transferred to a lodge on the Kwando River where he managed the lodge for three years. From here, Sean led specialized birding trips as well as doing guided walks with big game. He has also done specialized birding tours for Birding Holidays in the Caprivi and Botswana, the area in which he has developed a thorough understanding of the environment and especially the diverse bird life as well as wildlife of this region.
Dayne the youngest on the other hand is a qualified commercial pilot but opted to do land based safaris. He has led several coastal and desert birding tours. He has also done birding in the United States, Australia and Borneo and has travelled extensively in Southern Africa including Angola, Madagascar, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Botswana and South Africa.
Dayne and Sean grew up during their teens in the unspoiled wilderness and wildlife area of the Hobatere concession. After their studies, both boys eventually joined Steve and Louise at the Hobatere Lodge and gained invaluable experience in the tourism industry. While here, invaluable experience was gained doing wildlife guiding and the general hospitality trade. Both Dayne and Sean are keen photographers and both have found their own niche in the photographic world within Namibia.
They are passionate and enthusiastic about the bush and cannot wait to share this enthusiasm with others. Their roar of laughter is highly contagious and anyone who has ever been in their company is simply in awe of their knowledge.
Collin has been doing Living Desert tours since 2011. He knows the desert well and he is extremely passionate about nature. It’s not every day you encounter someone who loves to learn and is just as eager to share this knowledge. Guests simply adore him!
And then there’s us….sisters and life-long family friends of the Braines, Berenike and Wiebke Behrens (not as well-known, brainy or blue-eyed as the Braines) but we run the admin side of the business and if you’ve ever booked a tour or safari with Batis Birding Safaris, then you would have probably dealt with us at some stage. Both, keen birders and nature lovers we feel right at home at Batis Birding Safaris and we have gained invaluable knowledge and experience working for Steve & Louise, both at Hobatere Lodge and now at Batis Birding. We could not have asked for better mentors and colleagues.
That’s it, that’s the team. We look forward to sharing all our adventurous endeavors with our readers and followers. Please do not forget to like our Facebook and Instagram page for more insight into Batis Birding Safaris.