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 Natural Habitat travelers:
"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 [a walking encyclopedia] nature guide. On top of that he was funny and very entertaining. He is also a very competent driver. He drove us through some spots that I thought we might not be able to traverse. And as I said above his handling of the drive from Maun to camp was terrific. And on top of all that he did me the super favor of getting a bottle of champagne for our anniversary. On his own he had it in our tent with a great card with wonderful art by one of the camp staff and they all signed it. Extra things like that mean a lot to us and show what an excellent guide and person he is."
"Richard Avilino 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."
"Richard was EXCELLENT PLUS. He was knowledgable, friendly and was superb in tracking and finding wildlife. He made sure our son had safe food to eat (food allergies)."
"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 to 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."
"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 3 leopards, 25 lions and 1 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 impr essive, 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 2 weeks with."