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Dylan Vasapolli grew up in the suburbs of Johannesburg and fortunately, due to a very supportive mother, was able to experience the joys of the then largely still wild surroundings on a regular basis. From a young age the beauty of birds was instilled in Dylan, and it would go on to shape his life. Turning annual ‘family holidays’ into pure birding adventures was one way how he and his family went about this. The warm, coastal forests of KwaZulu-Natal province (South Africa) were a regular stomping ground, and in recent years he has expanded and largely covered the bird-rich nations of Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi, Panama, Peru, Israel, the United States, and Romania and also of the Caribbean.
An impressive repertoire comprised of experience beyond his years, a figurative ‘golden’ ear when it comes to picking up the faintest of bird calls, raw skill when getting clients onto tough species, and a sense of perseverance rivaled only by a select few all add up to his highly credible reputation as one of Southern Africa’s most respected birders.
Dylan’s passion for all things feathered ranges far and wide, but his heart and soul lie in both Africa and the Neotropical regions of Central and South America. But he also has a deep-rooted love for pelagic birding and ‘tube noses’ the world over. He regularly leads pelagic day trips off Simons Town (Cape Town, South Africa), where he not only showcases his fantastic birding skills but also his remarkable photography skills, another major passion.
When Dylan isn’t busy guiding he is either finishing off a degree in Nature Conservation through the University of South Africa (UNISA), engrossed behind a few field guides, or readily exploring his local patch – a wetland basin within an extensive band of grassland, finding such skulkers as Red-chested Flufftail and White-bellied Korhaan. Dylan is also an avid contributor to the second South African Bird Atlas Project and regularly sets out for a day’s birding with the sole aim to record data on the birds seen in areas not often visited by others in order to contribute to citizen science.