What do you want from a nature oriented tour company?

Over the last few days I have done some reading on various companies websites to see what people around the world offer. I find it really hard to find companies with a strong focus on nature. I understand that even a superficial level nature experience is still experiencing nature, but I just feel that for the person who really wants a quality nature experience, it's rather hard to pick?

I don't know if I am right about it. I would love to hear from travelers who have planned holidays around the world and aimed to visit areas with tour companies who are nature oriented? Are they easy to pick, or is it hard to know who really has a good field knowledge and who doesn't?

My feelings only reflect the reactions that I got from guests that I have had over the years. I guess that for a good 70% its not a big deal. If you, as a guest, don't know a great deal about nature and don't have expectations about what you will learn, then it's not a problem. Perhaps you may feel that to much field knowledge is not at all what you want your from your guide.

But I find it frustrating, on the few birding outings and game drives that I have been on. I feel that even if a guide doesn't need to be divulging copious amounts of information all the time, he/she should still be able to back up his stories and tidbits with solid facts and a rock solid field knowledge background.

In any other profession that sort of knowledge would be expected, but somehow in guiding a lot is let slip. Many a guide still gets away with telling the guests rubbish, and getting away with it so often that they even start to believe either that they can just always lie or simply believing their own lies.

Now, that said, I know that their are a great many good, very good field guides out there in the business. I have even had the great pleasure to be mentored or to have meet some guides I would rate right up there with the gurus in the business. Go on tour with them, and there is no question that a good field knowledge in important. Everyone hangs spellbound by the expert. A solid field knowledge like that means that they know enough to not have to tell you the boring things. They know enough about the natural world in that area that they can tell you interesting stuff for hours. Those guides are out there. Lots of them. But in the world of internet marketing, how do you know where to find them. What are the standards? Perhaps you know?

[Just a note about my opinion about top end guides - I do not for a second think that all top end guides have a strong educational background. It's a huge advantage. But there are other ways to study. Spending time with wildlife. Some with a very poor educational background, poor English (Spanish, Chinese, or whatever is relevant to their guests) and un-scientific approach would keep you spell bound with their knowledge and appreciation of nature. I almost felt this note didn't need to be included, but it's important to me. I would go so far as to say it the other way round. The guy with the book knowledge makes a very week guide if he/she didn't spend time in the bush.]

If you read this blog as a potential traveler to Africa or anywhere around the world, seeking a naturalist or nature experience, what are you expecting? Do you think that your travel agent is able to point you to those guide and companies where that sort of field depth is provided? I'm not answering the question. I am asking.
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