eco
TOURS-EASTERN-EUROPE &
LATIN AMERICA SPECIALISTS
The Natural Leaders


About Us

  • Our Company
  • Our Guides
  • Friends and Contributors
  • References
  • Testimonials

ABOUT OUR COMPANY

Ecotours-Kondor EcoLodge Ltd. is the only registered and original birdwatching, wildlife and nature tour company in Hungary using the Ecotours name legally & officially

Idegenvezetői igazolvány Orbán Gábor 1 2 oldal

Ecotours was set up by Gabor Orban during the 90’-ies and became so successful that there are some others who set up web sites and copy not just our itineraries, text, pictures and what we do, but even started to use very similar names to ours on their websites (beware names such as GreenEye Ecotours, Ecotours Wildlife Holidays, etc.) without having a registered company,  without being members of the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce or paying taxes and social security after their employees in our country. There are many people and so called companies who offer their services illegally. Unfortunately some major UK and US companies also make the mistake of working with some of these so called companies who in reality have only a website, usually not much more.

 
 

Before you book a tour either directly or through a UK or US company we suggest to check which local company will be your local service provider.

IDVEZ IGAZOLVANY Guiding licence Andrea KatonaWe suggest to check the followings details:

  1. Registered name in Hungary                Ours: Ecotours-Kondor Ecolodge Ltd.
  2. Chamber of Commerce Registration   Ours: 03-09-108065
  3. Hungarian Tax Number                         Ours: 11970828-2-03
  4. European VAT Number                          Ours: HU11970828
  5. National Guiding licence number
    Gabor Orban -managing director, official zoologist and general tour guide (Nr.: 003818 and also 800672)
    Andrea Katona – managing director, official cultural tour guide (Nr.: 700453)
 
You can check these data at the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry; www.mkik.hu/en ; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; Phone: +36-1-474-5151
 
Ecotours-Kondor EcoLodge is actually Hungary’s only officially registered birding and nature tour operator which is specialized in Eastern Europe, Latin A

merica & other Worldwide destinations. We organize top quality Birdwatching, Butterfly, Dragonfly, General Wildlife & Nature Tours and professional Bird, Wildlife & Nature Photography.

We are also unique, because our office is not in a town or not even in a village, but at our own Kondor EcoLodge in the heart of the Kiskunsag National Park, HungaryAddress: 6080 Szabadszállás, Balázspuszta 90. HUNGARY

We are also the only Natural Showroom of Swarovski Optics products in Hungary. You can come and try top quality products at our Kondor EcoLodge at a natural environment and hire or buy your Swarovski at us.

We also have a base in Latin America from where we organize various Birding, Mammal, Butterfly, General Wildlife, Nature & Culture and Photography tours to Latin America, plus to some other Worldwide destinations.

 

OUR ECOTOURISM

Our ecotourism aims at providing superb natural holidays for birders, butterfly enthusiasts and people with a general interest in nature in a way that respects the natural environment and contributes to its protection. During our holidays we aim at building the best possible relations with the locals, trying to make them interested in protecting their own environment and to bring them benefits by using the local services they provide. We also work together with some of the National Parks in Hungary and other countries in various ways, ranging from simply passing on our observations, records, to organizing and running butterfly and bird monitoring projects. Since we have our own Kondor EcoLodge in the middle of the Kiskunsag National Park we work strongly together with the National Park putting out hundreds of nestboxes by the help of our Czech & Slovakian friends. These projects are very successful, most of the boxes are occupied by Rollers, Scops Owls, Little Owls and Hoopoes. We also support local communities by fostering an interest in protecting their immediate natural environment, for example involving schools in Transylvania with Tengmalm’s Owl nestboxes, where the children are the “owners” of the boxes. 

HOLIDAY / CUSTOMER CARE

DSCN3184 picnicWe believe that the reason why Ecotours Ltd. became Britain’s most preferred ground agent in Eastern Europe and beyond is mainly due to our customer care and our knowledge in the field, our individual style and precise work in preparing for the tours. Besides preparing a daily itinerary for each guest we provide on board cappuccino and chocolate biscuits and regular comfort stops. In the evening after supper when we complete our checklists we often give a slide show of the days specialities. This helps us identify any mystery species and reinforces ID characteristics. Very educational and totally optional! Our guides are often highly ranked in their specific field, but still, they make sure all levels of interest are catered for, and the pace of the tours pleases all participants. Clearly we are not twitchers, rather ordinary people who love to be out enjoying nature and experiencing what is there. However, thanks to our extensive network of relations we are always aware of the current bird movements, and this allows us to select where to go, optimize species seen and hopefully optimise time spent travelling. We aim to use friendly little inns, hotels with local character and excellent cuisine. Meals are carefully selected and the packed lunches are often constructed by the participants of the tour for themselves to ensure the choice of sandwiches is to personal taste. However, we sometimes have indoor, hot lunches, depending on our route and weather conditions. We usually provide hot drinks and biscuits during the day at no cost. Our minimum number to  run a tour is usually 5 or 6 passengers. For groups of over 8 passengers we favour an 18 seater a/c Mercedes mini-coach with driver. It has a luggage trailer as well. For small groups we use an a/c minibus driven by the Ecotours Guide.

HISTORY

Our company was formed with the intention of popularizing Hungary as a perfect ecotourism destination both for amateur naturalists and for those with a more academic interest in plant and animal species, habitats and geology. The key figure who started our company, Ecotours Ltd. was Gabor Orban. He participated in his first Birding Camp during the seventies and became engaged in birding instantly. Later he broadened his interest in zoology, botany and geology as well. During the eighties and nineties he lead several tours in Hungary, Great Britain and Europe (Denmark, Sweden, Spain, etc.) while he was a biology and geography teacher. He qualified in zoology in 1994. He has worked and travelled in the US visiting more then 20 national parks. Returning to Hungary he became a licenced professional birdwatching and nature guide and set up Ecotours Ltd. in the 90's. Since 2006 each year he spends 6 months in Latin America, 6 months in Eastern Europe, based at Kondor EcoLodge, Kiskunsag, Hungary, www.kondorecolodge.hu . He is leading various birding, nature and culture, butterfly and photo tours Worldwide. His passion is to share his knowledge about nature and culture of different countries with his groups.

During the years Ecotours developed into a strong company with several knowledgable and enthusiastic guides, each specialized in their own fields.

FAIR IMG 4237One of Ecotours' key partners is BirdLife Hungary (MME). We were the official Tour organizers of the 15th International Conference of the European Bird Census Council, 2001 and the Owl Conference in 2003. We also support worldwide protection of wildlife and habitats by donations to WWF and in UK to the Butterfly Conservation Society. We have run several Butterfly monitoring projects with BC EIG.

Ecotours has been present as an exhibitor at the British Birdwatching Fair since 2000 and also at the American Birding Expo since its exsist. Gabor had dozens of lectures about natural values at different destinations during many years.

gabor and andrea
Gábor Orbán participated in his first birding camp during the 70's as a young boy at Lake Kondor and became engaged in birding instantly. Later he became a ringer and broadened his interest in zoology, especially mammals & butterflies. During the 80's, 90's he lead several tours first in Hungary, later in other East European countries and Western Europe as well. He lived and worked for years in the US at such different states like New Mexico & New Hampshire; criss-crossed the continent several times. He became a licenced professional birdwatching and nature guide and set up Ecotours Ltd. in the 90's. Since 2006 each year he and Andrea, his wife who is also a licenced guide spends 6 months in Latin America and the other 6 months in Eastern Europe, based at their own Ecotours Kondor EcoLodge, Kiskunsag National Park, Hungary; just a stone-through away from Lake Kondor where Gabor started birding decades ago. He is leading various birding, nature & culture, butterfly and photo tours Worldwide. His passion is to share his knowledge of nature and culture of different countries with his groups. Hobbies are: wildlife photography, birding and travel to hidden places.
 

GaborandAndreaAndrea Katona is wife and partner in work of Gabor and also a professional, licenced guide with working permit in Hungary and in Mexico as well with a lot of years of experience. She is degreed in Italian linguistics and literature and also fluent in English and Spanish and with Gabor they get along really well in Hungarian as well! :) Andrea with Gabor spends every half year in Mexico, where they have their second base for their tours. She is expert in Latin American culture, specially Mayan, but also enjoys spotting any creatures in tropical forests and love beautiful birds, dragonflies, insects. Since she was a young girl with her parents she went to forests walks, watching birds and nature. She was a guide in Tunezia and Sicily for years.  In Mexico and  Latin America  they lead tours together whenever it is possible, Nature & Culture hands-in-hands or All-in-two as they usually say.  It is a win-win situ for all, a very successful combination. If within a group there are some who would like to learn more about for example Mayan culture Andrea is ready to fill them with tremendous amount of interesting stories, while others can look for more birds, butterflies, nature & fun with Gabor.


Lendvai CsabaCsaba Lendvai
graduated at the Eötvös Lóránd University, Budapest as a biologist. He has been a keen birdwatcher since the age of fifteen. He works for BirdLife Hungary as a coordinator for waterbird monitoring and white stork conservation programs. Since 2004 he has been Secretary of the Budapest Local Group of the BirdLife Hungary assisting in the public enviromental education events of the Society. His favourite birding sites in Hungary are Kiskunság National Park, the Danube Bend, Lake Balaton, and he has a particular interest in the wildlife of Budapest. Csaba has travelled widely visiting Belarus, Turkey, Georgia, Egypt, Croatia, Poland, Slovakia, Azori Islands, Peru, Colombia, India, the Gambia, Cambodia, Thailand, Mexico and many more countries.

LargeMartin HrouzekMartin Hrouzek a long-time friend and partner of Gabor and they had several projects together during almost 2 decades. Martin owns Arnika Travel in Czech Republic. They have co-lead tours in Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary and develop new itineraries & destinations such as Macedonia, Greece, Cyprus or Belarus, Georgia. Martin is an experienced all around naturalist guide, who can lead birding, butterfly or wildflower tours especially in Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary but Macedonia and other Eastern European destinations as well. He is enjoying taking photographs, especially landscape and macrophotography. Martin and his Czech amd Slovakian friends, such as Petr Pavelcik helped enormously to carry out an extremely successful nestbox project  during years in the Kiskunsag National Park, providing new oppotunities for species like Roller, Scops Owl, Little Owl, Hoopoe and even Saker Falcon. Martin also helps NGOs.

 

 

Istvan MatisStefan Matis has attended an agricultural school and started to work as a researcher in 1989. His area of research included the study of the population dynamic of several species, such as Eagle Owl, Rock Thrush, Red-backed Shrike etc. He has achieved good results in protecting Corn-Crake, and he is also an active bird ringer having an official license since 1994. He is ranger of the Slovak Karst National Park. In 1993 he broadened his interest and started to study bats. He is the main organizer and coordinator of the faunistical study of the bat fauna of Eastern Slovakia. He has prepared several protection plans and also author and co-author of many 30 scientific articles.

Istvan Bartol

István Bártol graduated as a biologist at the University of Science in Szeged in 1997 and attended a bird ecology PhD course between 1997-2000. Since then he has been working as a warden in the Kiskunság National Park. Being another enthusiastic and friendly member of the Ecotours team he is tirelessly looking after our clients ensuring a great holiday. He speaks English, Serbian and Spanish, and he has widely visited Europe including the countries of the former Yugoslavia, Romania, Poland, Finland, Ireland, Spain and Portugal. He has a bird ringing license since 1995. István has three children and lives in Tiszaalpár, a quiet and beautiful village on the border of Kiskunság National Park.

 
 
LargeDime Melovski
 
 
Dime Melovski is foremost Macedonian lepidopterist who works for renowned NGO called Macedonian Ecological Society. Dime is now the key authority who revises the old data on Macedonian butterflies. Another Dime’s major activity is Balkan Lynx Project. He is very friendly and fluent in English and will guide the butterfly tours to Macedonia. With him we hope to uncover some new corners of this beautiful but little known country. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
LargeLukas Spitzer
 
 
Lukáš Spitzer made his grade on butterflies and leads a research on Large Blue and Niobe Fritillary in his region, western Carpathian mountains. He has concluded his PhD. studies recently and besides his regular occupation in a museum he also works for the Czech Academy of Sciences. Lukáš guided butterfly tours for Naturetrek and travelled extensivelly to Altai, Africa, Balkans and eastern Europe. He will guide butterfly tours to Slovakia, Macedonia and Romania.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 LargeMartin Waldhauser
 
Martin Waldhauser is a Czech dragonfly expert. He is one of the authors of „The Dragonflies of the Czech Republic“, probably the biggest dragonfly book ever published. Martin is in his fourties and you cannot wish a better companion and dragonfly enthusiast to guide you through the north Bohemia where he lives and works at Landscape Protected Area Luzicke hory. He will give lectures in field and one or two slide shows before dinner. Martin and is also a renowned dragonfly photographer.
 
 
 
 
 
  

Soos Andris

András Soós graduated at the University of Veterinary Science in 1995. After that he has studied at the University in Canterbury for a year, from 1998. He obtained his diploma on Endangered Species Management. In 1996 he spent a month in Tanzania, documentary filming chimpanzees with Jane Goodall at the Gombe National Park. He is presently the Head of the Veterinary Department at the Budapest Zoo. András is a keen birdwatcher, besides Hungary and Europe he visited Kenya, India, Ecuador, Australia and Ghana. He is member of the Hungarian Ornithological Society since 1980 and the Hungarian Nomenclator Committee since 1998.

 

 

Gabor Kovács

 

Gábor Kovács worked as a ranger at Hortobágy National Park for decades. His knowledge of the area and its wildlife is legendary. He wrote and contributed to many publications on the avifauna of Hortobágy. He is a talented and keen nature photographer; his photos appeared in a wide number of books and periodicals. Now he is retired but still lives at his beloved Hortobagy area. 

 

 

andras bohmAndrás Bőhm has been watching birds since 1984. Graduated as a biology-geography teacher, he has been working for nature conservation since 1997. He  wrote his PhD on the ecological character of wetlands of international importance. András is an experienced field ornithologist. His special field of interest is wetland ecology, raptors and passerines. Between 1992 and 1998 he was leading a monitoring project on common bird species in Hungary. His friendly and calm manner ensures you will have a great time with him. He has an excellent knowledge in botany and he is familiar with butterflies as well.

Dusan Karaska is a zoologist at the Museum of Orava, Oravský Podzámok. He is member of the committee of BirdLife Slovakia and member of the Slovak Rarities Committee. He is commissioner of BirdLife Slovakia for bird-ringing exams, national co-ordinator of the Black Stork ringing program and is member of the editorial board of the ornithological journal Tichodroma of BirdLife Slovakia. He is co-ordinator of the Polish-Slovak program “Breeding distribution of the birds in Orava”. He participates in the program of Monitoring Raptors and Owls in Europe and he is regional co-ordinator of the Orava region in the International Wintering Waterbirds Census. He published over 200 articles on the research and protection of animals and birds
 
 
 
The whole Ecotours Kondor Ecolodge team is very thankful for all of those who helped in any of our nestbox or other environmental projects. 
We are extremely thankful especially for all of our Czech, Slovakian and Hungarian friends who helped us enormously with producing, putting out, cleaning and monitoring 100s of nestboxes in the Kiskunsag National Park, most of these occupied by Rollers, Scops Owls, Little Owls and Hoopoes. Within 5 years populations of the  not just became stronger, but number of individuals of some of the above species, especially Eurasian Rollers literally tripled and they started to spread to other parts of Hungary as well. 
 
 
Little Owl on nest 2 small
We also put out platforms for Saker Falcons and other raptors. One of our recent success story is a pair of White-tailed Eagles which managed to breed in of of our nesting platfroms. Without a full list here are some of the friends who turned this fantastic project into a huge success story:
 
Petr Pavelcik, Martin Hrouzek, Petr Simcik, Pavel Salek, Josef Lengyel, Przemek, Eric Muller, Adam Bodor, Ferko Pal-Szabo and many more.
 
We also have very good relationship with local NGOs who work hard to protect areas, carry out different environmental projects, ringing birds, fighting against invasive plants, restoring habitats, monitoring species and perhaps most importantly help educating and involving young generations and adults, locals and visitors alike in the work. We hope that these NGOs, such as Dunatáj Természet- és Környezetvédelmi Közalapítvány, or theRinging Station at Lake Kolon & Futóhomok Nature Protection Association and the Kiskunság National Park together can secure the future of the unique landscape and wildlife in our region and we try to help these efforts with all means.
 
 
DSCN4879 small
Our best friends are in our neighbourhood László Molnár(Laci) and his wife, Kata who live also at the Lake Kondor at the Birding Camp called Kiskunsági Madárvárta. Gabor remembers Laci and Kata from his childhood when he first participated in the work of the bird ringing camp which was lead by Laci and Kata. There is no-one who knows more about the mushrooms, orchids and other wildflowers, insects, especially spiders, butterflies and moth and of course birds and mammals then them. What is more Laci is not just writing books, but illustrating them with his amazing paintings as well. We are very proud to have them as our friends and happily decorate our Kondor EcoLodge rooms with the paintings of local moths on their host plants painted by Laci.  
 

300px SzabolcsKókayIndia

Szabolcs Kókay another very talented illustrator, especially keen painting birds and mammals, but almost anything in nature. He has been a keen birdwatcher since childhood and started to paint birds and nature at the age of 20. Since then he became a well known illustrator all over Europe and participated in many competitions, such as Birdwatch Magazine's and British Birds' competition. In 2002 he won the first prize in the identification category of Birdwatch’s competition with his Curlew plate. In 2006 one of his paintings was selected in the prestigious 'Birds in Art' exhibition. He was 'Birdwatch Artist of the Year' in 2008. Since then he has worked on hundreds of publications for Hungarian National Parks, for BirdLife Hungary and many other organizations. He illustrated excellently some amazing field guides as well as for example the Birds of Papua New Guinea. For more details about his works please visit the following site:  www.kokay.hu

CSonkaPeti 1Péter Csonka, photographer He lives in Komárom-Esztergom county of Hungary. During the last 20 years he has been involved in bird monitoring and protection, concentrating mainly on raptors and woodpeckers. Beside birds, he is interested in the life of reptiles and amphibians and in the last few years he also discovered the beauty of dragonflies. His aim is to increase awareness of the beauty and fragileness of nature to assist his overall objective of trying to preserve nature in its original state. www.csonkapeter.hu

Although almost all of the photos which are decorating our website made by us and our guests during our tours there are a few photographers who contributed to our website with their fantastic images. We would like to thank the help of our following friends:

Martin Hrouzek, Martin Sabik, Chris & Sue Massie-Taylor, Brian Clasper, Tibor Horváth, Bence Kókay, Stefan Matis, Attila Szilágyi, Béla Tokody, Artur Wiatr, Daniel Petrescu, László Nehézy, László Bécsy


We are very proud that since the 90'ies Ecotours Ltd. has become the ground agent of most of the leading UK & US bird & nature tour companies, as well as some Dutch, Swiss and other European & some Worldwide tour companies, organizations and local birdsocieties. We have enjoyed hundreds of succesful birdwatching, butterfly, dragonfly, wildflower, mammal, photography and general nature & culture tours with our guests, out of whom many became our regulars and even friends. Many thanks for all of you & we hope to share our knowledge and enthusiasm with you for many more upcoming years!

 
Beside doing active environment protection projects we also proud to support local environmental NGO-s at all areas we visit, either in Eastern Europe or Latin America or at other Worldwide destinations from BirdLife Hungary till BC EIG just to mention a few . We also very glad to be Rainforest Alliance certified.
 
The below is an incomplete list of the most important companies and NGO-s with whom we have worked with during the last more than 20 years period:

 

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Feedback from our visitors and guests:

Pantanal, BRAZIL Jaguars, Jabirus & other Jewels - tour for Honeyguide, Chris Durdin

Hi Chris,

It is very remiss of me not to email you earlier to tell you what a brilliant trip it was to the Pantanal.

The journey was a bit of an ordeal but so worth it. That place is a 'Wow!' a minute, Mundi and I were beside ourselves with excitement. We saw more birds before breakfast that we usually see in a month.

Gabor and Andrea were delightful and they had enlisted the aid of brilliant guides, especially Marcos at Puival who was a real biologist and full of extra information that appealed to Mundi and me.

The program was excellent with a great variety of habitats and wonderful opportunities to watch wildlife close up. I never imagined that I would see jaguars close up. I'm even delighted that I have seen the place where an ocelot had just been!!

Having keen photographers around was very helpful for ID purposes. Mundi and I spent happy hours going through her photos and labelling them so we could re-live the experience too.

My photography was not so great but getting better. I just need another wildlife holiday to have some opportunities to improve on my skills.

It turns out that watching wildlife from a boat works really well. We had brilliant views of giant river otters, black skimmers, and so many birds of prey.

One of my favourite things was discovering a striated heron using flies dropped into the river as bait for fish. It took the fly back out and dropped it upstream several times.

Food was plentiful and delicious. Mosquitos were few but biting flies a nuisance. I think most of us got ticks but a small price to pay for such a wonderful experience.

Thank you Chris for organising it and thank you, Mundi for encouraging me to go with you.

All the best

Jo

 

Swallow Birding - Birding and wildlife tour at Kondor Ecolodge-Kiskunsag

Spring

Hi Gabor & Andrea

Sorry about the delay in thanking you both for an excellent tour!  We had a
fantastic time and everyone loved it!

We are so pleased with everything we saw and thought the area was superb
with beautiful flowers and birds etc.

The Ecolodge is superb and you both did so well looking after us and
keeping everyone happy with extra toast and

especially beer!!!

We hope to join you again as we are interested in a tour to Romania.

Meanwhile we attach a trip report for Hungary and look forward to dropping
in to say hello to you both at the birdfair.

Very best wishes

Annette & Steve (the leaders of Swallow Biding)

 

Independent Travellers at our Kondor EcoLodge

Spring

Hello Andrea,

we arrived in Germany without bigger problems. We liked very much Hungary. The landscape is beautyful and we were very happy to see all these birds and other animals.......

Ingo and Gosia

 

Crane Spectacular, Autumn Tour at Kiskunsag, Hortobagy, Bukk, HUNGARY, October

Dear Gabor and Andrea,

I wanted to thank you for the fantastic trip, even better than I had hoped it could be. You looked after us so well and your skill at ID - wow!

We went on having a really good time in the hills. The weather was superb and the trees beautiful and I loved the hotel, which I have reviewed on TripAdvisor.

Looking forward to coming with you again. I certainly want to see the same areas with summer birds - Rollers and Red-footed Falcons especially. My photos are up on http://www.flickr.com/photos/everard1/collections/

All the best for Mexico. Loved Kondor.

Keep in touch and keep tempting me....!

Warmest, Everard

 

Bird & Nature Photography Tour at our Kondor EcoLodge, June

Dear Gabor and Andrea,

Firstly I would like to thank you both for making our short stay in your country so enjoyable, We were looked after so well and the photography opportunities were excellent, so much so we will no doubt arrange to return next year perhaps in May for amongst other birds the illusive Black Woodpecker! Your guiding and advice was excellent and I have put the pics on our websites:

http://chrissuemt.zenfolio.com/p839678210 & http://www.flickr.com/photos/massie-taylor/sets/72157630211403928/

Chris&Sue Massie-Taylor

 

Belarus Birds & Mammal tours for Bird Holidays

"It was great meeting Gabor and Andrea - really good holiday! Plenty of excellent birds, mammals, butterflies, dragonflies, moth to remember!"

Robin Griffiths-Bird Holidays Traveller

 

Private Tour to see Ural Owl & Azure Tit - May

"I would like to thank you for arranging the very successful tour to Belarus and Hungary. You made me feel very welcome and I saw both my targetsbirds."

Eric J. Alblas

 

Independent Travellers at our Kondor EcoLodge

Dear Gabor and Andrea

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you both so much for the wonderful time spent with you at Kondor Tanya. We can well understand why you fell in love with your home and decided to develop your business from such a lovely place.

Despite not having a key member of your staff who became ill you managed to keep everything ticking along well and gave us as much of your time as we needed supplying us with lovely home cooked Hungarian dishes as well as organising the nature and birdwatching tours which we thoroughly enjoyed.

We will keep in touch and hope one day to either return to Hungary or we may well see you in Mexico.

with our best wishes to you both.

David and Claire

 

Birds and bears tour, Romania

Just a word of appreciation for your wonderful company and guidance on the recent trip to Romania. I loved your optimistic enthusiasm and positive attitude - to say nothing of your deep knowledge. You seemed to always be able to find something interesting to observe! I also appreciated the detail with which the trip was organised and the readiness to be flexible and change things when circumstances permitted.

As for your DVD - it is wonderful to have been able to print off your beautiful photographs and to savour them at my leisure. They have added hugely to the experience.

Many, many thanks. I hope we'll meet again one day.

Elizabeth Garsten

 

Central European Butterfly and Hungary Moth tour

First, many thanks again to you for a fantastic trip - indeed, two fantastic trips. We've seen such a lot and learned so much over the two trips. Not just about the butterflies and other wildlife, but also about the countries we've visited and their culture and history. Some things I learned when I studied parts of European history came back to me, and there was a lot more which was new. Now when I hear Kodaly's Dances from Galanta it will bring so many more associations, and remind me of how complex is our common European heritage.

 

Autumn Cranes & Migration Special, Hungary

We thought we'd send you a short note just to say how much we enjoyed the holiday last week.

Although we booked it with long-eared owl in mind, we enjoyed all of it -from great bustard, your "commando" style dotterel approach, crane spectaculars, wallcreeper and woodpecker views, to the excellent coffee and biscuit stops!!

Thanks for your excellent organisation of bird sites visited and your use of others such as Gabor, and the two guys in the Bukk, which all gave us the maximum birds throughout.

Your sense of humour and enthusiasm made it a brilliant holiday. Thanks again.

Graham and Sheila Rodgers

 

Hungary Cranes tour

I thought of writing a 'balanced' account of your Hungary trip – but have given up because there is nothing to criticise. What a fabulous (will go down in legend) 8 days. Perfect weather, relaxing hospitality, good fun, characterful group members, spectacular views of stunning birds – thanks to clued up leaders.

ER (Accrington)

 

Richard Lewington, Sunbird Birds and Butterfly tour

From the Hortobagy Reserve situated in the Great Hungarian Plain, to the pituresque mountains and hills of Aggtelek and Bukk National Parks in the north, Hungary offers the naturalist a vast diversity of wildlife. The sheer numbers of butterflies in the unspoilt flowery grasslands are a delight and a challenge, as many fritillaries, blues and hairstreakes jostle for nectar on flowerheads, or swarm around muddy puddles to feed. 64 species of dragonflies, including White-tailed Skimmer and Lesser Emperor are frequent in the Hortobagy fish ponds, and of the six species of emerald damselflies, or spreadwings found here, the Dark Spreadwing has its stronghold in Hungary. A great place to visit for butterflies, moths, dragonflies, and of course birds.

 

Dominic Couzens, BBC Wildlife journalist

This is just a quick e-mail to say many, many thanks for my fantastic trip to Hungary. So many dragonflies, butterflies, moths and birds - I enjoyed them all. There were too many highlights to mention, although the Imperial Eagle, Poplar Admiral and the Tisza boat trip come to mind.

I felt that your friendliness and hospitality were also special so, thank you.

 

Canoe tour, Hungary

We had a great weekend, your recommendation of "Szigetkoz" was the right

one, a beautiful landscape and wonderful to canoe in the different "rivers"

of the Danube. Christian was a good guide and we enjoyed it very much.

And no moskitos!!! Thank you again that you were able to organize everything

on short notice and we will definitely recommend your organisation!

Martin and Annette

 

Steppes and forests in Autumn, Hungary

Wonderful trip - would recommend it to all my friends, would most certainly consider booking with you again.

 

4 days birdwatching trip, Hungary

Many thanks - I've learnt a lot about birds, butterflies and Hungarian culture and had great fun too! Thanks for the disc of photos with great moments of a brilliant trip.

 

Dr. Ian Duncan, Chairman of West Midlands Branch of Butterfly Conservation, Hungary

If I say we saw 105 species of butterfly, 259 species of moth (including 8 species of Burnet, 8 species of Hawk Moth and 7 species of Red Underwing) and 119 species of bird (Saker, Imperial Eagle, Roller, Bee-eater, Great Bustard), you can get an idea of how rich and diverse the wildlife still is in this part of Eastern Europe. Many thanks again for organizing such a succesful and enjoyable tour of Hungary.

 

Judy Dawes and David Whaley, Cyprus Breeding Bird Atlas

Our visit to Hungary was on the occasion of the 15th International Conference of the European Bird Census Council at Nyiregyhaza from 26th - 31st March 2001.

The conference arranged pre- and post-conference tours organised by Ecotours, that we felt we could not miss. The quoted prices included all transport, accommodation, food and guiding and were very reasonable, especially as we later realised that we were to be accompanied by two leaders and sometimes by a national park guide in addition.

From our experience of other birding tours we were a little apprehensive that the emphasis would be on 'ticking' and we had made it clear that our main interest was to watch birds and behaviour rather than to see as many species - or 'firsts' - as possible in a short time. We need not have worried. Our small group was like minded and our guides were able to tailor their tour to the group's pace and needs.

We left our home in Cyprus soon after midnight on Saturday 24th and with a full days birding ahead of us we were somewhat apprehensive of our condition by the evening. After a delayed flight we were met at Budapest airport by Gabor Orban, co-founder of Ecotours, and left our bags at our tourist apartment in central Budapest. Within minutes we were on the road for our first destination, Ocsa Landscape Protection Reserve some 30km to the south.

In addition to the for three day pre and four day post Conference tours we stayed on for another three days to visit the Balaton area. Accommodation was usually in small places of character and the local menus provided interesting food. In some areas Judy, as a non-meat eater, had problems in finding suitable alternatives when fish was not available. The driver was excellent!

 

Tommy Knutsson, WWF Sweden

As I worked extremely hard for a long time I suddenly felt an urgent need for a break. I decided to accomplish my old dream: a visit to Hungary to see the famous Puszta and its birds, first of all the Great Bustards. I browsed through the web and found the informative site of Ecotours Hungary Ltd., sent them a message and got an instant reply with an attractive autumn trip-offer to Kiskunsag National Park and Ocsa Reserve.

Within a short period of time we saw very diverse habitats with good number of species such as Great Grey Shrike, Hen Harrier, Penduline and Bearded Tit, just to mention a few. But the highlight of the trip was unquestionably the search of the Great Bustards which resulted in one of my best birding experiences forever. It is just unforgettable to see approximately 70 of these enormous birds flying and landing close enough to take some digital pictures. Then we witnessed how the males maintain the pecking order by a kind of off-seasonal displaying, the sun shining through their feathers. Without the perfect guiding to the best sites I wouldn't have the chance to have the same experience, so thank you again!

I definitely will come back next year to stay for a longer period!

 

Cromwell Schubart Jr., Journalist, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

We were on a year-long around-the-globe tour when we stopped in Hungary just for a few days. But the marvellous capital city, Budapest, the beautiful countryside and the friendly local people encouraged us to stay for weeks. As I am a keen birder I was delighted that Gabor Orban helped us to spend some remarkable days at the majestic Danube Band Region, the Kiskunsag National Park, Ocsa Landscape Protection Area and some other nature reserves as well. His friendly manner and deep knowledge of the sites we visited was a huge advantage during the tour.

 

Karen Ulmer Dorsch, Educator, Sanbornton, New Hampshire, USA

I am writing to say thank you Mr. Orbán for the excellent tour through Northeast Hungary that you directed and which I was fortunate to take. I can honestly say that it was one of the most delightful tours that I have been on in recent years. I am not a native of Hungary, but I now feel as if I know well some of the best natural areas in your attractive country and some of your cultural traditions most intimately because of the many wonderful experiences I had with local people while on your tour." ... "I am convinced that your sensitive and courteous manner literally opened many doors for us that would otherwise have remained closed when we arrived in small villages to view unique buildings, sites or age-old Hungarian traditions."

"Equally memorable are the many natural sites we visited and which remain sharp in my memory because of your excellent knowledge of their protected species. I look forward to visiting again the Kiskunsag National Park, the famous Hortobagy, the Zemplen and Bukk Mts. or Ocsa Landscape Protection Reserve."..."No wonder that based on my experiences I chose your company to travel to other Eastern-European areas such as Slovakian High Tatras or Krakow and different National Parks in Poland."

"Again, I wish to express my deep appreciation to you for making this experience so memorable. I will eagerly recommend you to my friends in the U.S. and throughout Europe who seek interesting travel tours.

 

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Latin America (since 1997).

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