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Richard Avilino

As a boy growing up in Maun, Botswana, Richard Avilino would sit in his grandfather’s field and watch the bushbucks play on the other side of the Thamalakane River. Those quiet encounters in a frontier town surrounded by wilderness sparked Richard’s love of Botswana’s wildlife and his devotion to conservation.

After stints as a chef and safari lodge manager, Richard completed his studies at the Botswana Wildlife Training Institute and began guiding in 1998. Credentialed at the highest level as a professional guide in Botswana and with the prestigious Birding Certificate from Birdlife South Africa, Richard leads groups into the Okavango Delta, Kalahari, Chobe and Linyanti areas. He speaks Setswana, English and German, having completed intensive language training in Düsseldorf, Germany, in 2000. He has a special affinity for observing the behavior of endangered species such as wild dogs and wattled cranes. Besides introducing guests to the wonders of the wilderness, Richard likes to teach them about geology, the origin of the Okavango Delta and Botswana’s history, particularly its heritage of peace.

Upcoming Adventures with Richard:
Botswana: Kalahari, the Delta & Beyond
Secluded Botswana Safari
Epic Botswana & Namibia Safari


Praise from Nat Hab travelers: 

D. Yates
"Richard was an absolute star as far as we were concerned. He was one of our group when socializing and a superb and extremely knowledgeable nature guide (a walking encyclopedia). He was funny and very entertaining and is also a very competent driver. He drove us through some spots that I thought we might not be able to traverse. On top of all that, he got a bottle of champagne for our anniversary and a beautiful card signed by all the camp staff. Extra things like that mean a lot to us and show what an excellent guide and person he is."

L. Sittenfeld
"I’ve traveled a lot and seen quite a few guides. Richard was extraordinary. He knows everything about wildlife. He also knows astronomy, flora, weather, geology and more. He is an excellent leader who takes charge of the group in the best possible way, providing guidance, making us feel safe and extending himself in every way. Plus he has a great sense of humor! The wildlife was breathtaking and Richard was award-winning. These two things made this trip a once in a lifetime experience."

B. McKee
"Richard was the best guide! He was patient, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. I think he was as excited to see the animals as we were even though he had seen them many times. He went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that we saw as many animals as possible. He made our trip even better than we dreamed it would be."

J. Tashjian
"Richard was unbelievable and the best I have ever had. He always found animals and put us in the best position to photograph them." 

M. Bruce
"Richard was EXCELLENT. He was knowledgeable, friendly and was superb in tracking and finding wildlife. He made sure our son had safe food to eat due to his food allergies."

C. Steiger
"Richard was an excellent guide! I was very impressed with Richard's wide range of knowledge (astronomy, wildlife, geography and plants) and his ability to identify animal tracks. He was very personable and entertaining as well. He always prepared us ahead of time for the days events and what we could expect at each location. He was also very aware of everyone's interests and made sure that I had the best photo opportunities."

K. Johnson
"Richard really made our trip extra special—his knowledge and expertise were fantastic. There wasn't any question we asked about wildlife, plantlife, history, geography or even the stars that he could not answer. I can't imagine a better guide in Botswana. We saw a total of three leopards, 25 lions and a cheetah plus numerous elephants, giraffe and other animals. Richard was so great at tracking and locating the animals and so knowledgeable about the birds! That was very impressive—he could just catch a glimpse of a bird and be able to identify it for us. He was a real joy and pleasure to spend two weeks with."
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