Meet Mark Bankunda, a zealous birder and nature guide born and raised in Uganda.
Mark was born to a family filled with guides. This created a strong attachment to nature, discovery, and the outdoors from a relatively early stage in his life, leading him to become one of the pioneer members of the Uganda Young Birders Club during his childhood. This eventually came back to haunt him later in his life after completing his bachelor’s in commerce, as he had difficulty finding joy in working behind a desk. He left work behind the desk and embarked on various trips and training with the African Institute of Tourism and Field Guiding, Uganda Safari Guides Association, Uganda Bird Guides Clund Avian Safaris and Bird Uganda Safaris. This enabled him to get mentorship from some of the best bird guides in the country, like Crammy Wanyama and Herbert Byaruhanga, amongst many others, which has helped him generate a wide range of knowledge on wildlife.
Having rediscovered his true calling, Mark spends time teaching and trying to help others acquire more information about birds and wildlife when doing tours. His goal would be maybe one day surpass the tremendous inspirational figures he has had the opportunity to have around him.
What they say about Mark
We have had an amazing experience over the last 25 days. The number of new birds and animals we have seen is beyond what we were expecting. Mark had been exceptional in all aspects of the trip. He has ensured that our trip has gone very smoothly. He is always checking that we are happy with what we are doing and has organised our accommodation and excursions extremely well.
Mark has helped us learn so much about Uganda’s wildlife. Mark knows how to find the birds and animals and effectively communicate where they are to us when we are often struggling to find that great new bird he has just found for us. I am very impressed with his taxonomic knowledge of birds and mammals and his ability to effectively pass it on to us.
His cheerful enthusiasm in the field and the genuine delight he shows whenever we see a new bird or animal has made this trip great fun to be on.
I was particularly impressed with how he quickly took charge of things at the scene of an accident by helping to get an injured motorcyclist off the road and calmly dealing with some distressed and agitated people.
Nothing was too much trouble for Mark to ensure we had the best trip possible.
We will be strongly recommending Avian Safaris to our friends back in Australia.
It has certainly been well worth the wait to finally experience such a great trip with your company.
Greg and Judy – Australia
Uganda Birding Trip reports – Yes, I made it back safely. You are welcome for the laser pointers. I’m happy to be able to help you out. The trip was absolutely amazing! Thank you so much for all that you did to help organize it and helping me with the visa. Everything about the trip was fantastic. I thought the itinerary was excellent, since it allowed me to appreciate several different ecosystems and the animals found in each. The hotel choices were great too. Mark did a wonderful job as a guide also. He was very personable and knowledgeable and made it a relaxing and fun trip. He also did a fantastic job of finding birds and other wildlife and explaining the best places to look for species to me, which made it particularly fun. His skill helped me to see a wide diversity of amazing birds and a lot of other really cool mammals and reptiles and he did a great job of focusing on my interests and finding highlight species for me. I really can’t say enough good things about the job that he did – it was fantastic. I will highly recommend Avian Safaris and Mark to anyone I know who is interested in traveling to Uganda. Thank you again for putting together such a wonderful tour for me!
Cody – USA