Wild Nature Quest
Norbu, the founder of Wild Nature Quest, previously known as Off to Bhutan, has been at the forefront of birding excursions and exploring Bhutan's diverse ecosystems for over 25 years. As an avid birdwatcher, he has spent many weeks traversing Bhutan, identifying prime locations to observe the most coveted bird species, such as the elusive Wren Babblers, Pheasants, Trogons, and other notable species found in Bhutan. His explorations have contributed to expanding the knowledge of many species that were previously poorly documented.. Norbu has also been a pioneer among local birding guides, as he was one of the first to lead international birding tours independently.
Norbu has also collaborated with Tom Stephenson, his birding colleague and co-author of The Warbler Guide, to conduct extensive recordings of Bhutan's bird songs. They have amassed a vast library of local bird songs, which Norbu has generously shared with Cornell University's Macaulay Library and the public site, Xeno-canto.
Norbu's vast experience in leading birding groups has helped numerous birders witness even the rarest of bird species. With his in-depth knowledge of the local culture, Norbu provides clients with a unique and immersive cultural experience during their tours. He is also known for his dedication to training and mentoring aspiring young guides who wish to pursue their career in birding and nature guiding. Along with birding tours, Norbu is also skilled in organizing nature tours and cultural tours that offer a more comprehensive Bhutanese experience.
Upon completing his high school education, Sherab Dorji was chosen to join the Bhutan Olympic Committee as an archer, which allowed him to travel to various countries and represent Bhutan in regional and international archery competitions. Through these experiences, he gained a profound understanding of different cultures.
After accompanying Norbu on trips into Bhutan's wilderness, Sherab discovered his passion for nature. He then received extensive birdwatching training from Tom Stephenson, a distinguished American birder, and became one of several certified birding guides. Sherab is known for his sharp eyesight and exceptional patience, Sherab has garnered numerous accolades for his exceptional guiding skills, having led many overseas birding companies and private birding trips over the years. His in-depth knowledge of Bhutan's avifauna and their habitats has allowed him to spot even the rarest bird species, making birding tours with him an unforgettable experience. Sherab's passion for nature and wildlife is infectious, and he always goes the extra mile to ensure that his clients have an enjoyable and informative tour. Additionally, Sherab's fluency in English and other languages helps him to communicate with clients from various parts of the world, making him an ideal guide for international birding tours.
Tshering Dorji is a full-time staff member of Off to Bhutan who has spent several years exploring and studying birds and nature throughout Bhutan after graduating from high school. Under the guidance and training of Mr. Norbu, Tshering received four and a half years of education and became a knowledgeable birder who is familiar with the calls, behaviors, distributions, and habitats of Bhutan's bird species.
In 2018, on the occasion of World Ranger Day, the Forestry Department and the Ugyen Wangchuk Institute for Conservation and Environment organized the first-ever citizen birder meeting. Tshering was nominated by the Guide Association of Bhutan (GAB) to represent the guides and present on life as a birding guide. His presentation was well-received by audiences, including the Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest.
Amidst the pandemic when the tourism industry was at a standstill, Tshering seized the opportunity to enhance his skills by enrolling in an advanced nature guide course offered by the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute of Conservation and Environment. His performance in the course was highly appreciated by both the instructors and the management. Tshering's dedication to self-improvement and keeping up with the latest knowledge and techniques in his field is a testament to his commitment to providing the best possible experience to his clients. With his newfound expertise, he can now offer a more nuanced and informed perspective to his nature tours.
Pema Dawa was raised in a breathtakingly beautiful area, surrounded by pristine forests, in a remote village located in the Upper Kheng of the Zhemgang district. He is now a full-time employee of Wild Nature Quest, previously known as Off to Bhutan. After graduating from Sherubtse College, the oldest university in Bhutan, with honors in English and Dzongkha, Pema developed a keen interest in working and interacting with people, which led him to become a tour guide.
Pema has been serving as both a co-guide and an independent tour leader for the past ten years, providing exceptional nature-based tours and leading successful birding expeditions for both international birding partners and private clients. His extensive knowledge of Bhutan's diverse ecosystems and bird species has allowed him to provide an unforgettable experience for his clients, who highly recommend him for his professionalism, excellent communication skills, and friendly demeanor. He is always willing to share his knowledge and provide guidance, ensuring that his clients learn as much as possible during their tour.
Pema is one of the few individuals to have received specialized training in nature guiding, which was conducted by the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute of Conservation and Environment. His exceptional performance on the botanist section of the exam highlights his passion for Bhutan's rich flora and fauna. In addition to his birding tours, Pema has also worked as a leader and co-guide for botanist tours, where he has been highly successful in his endeavors.
Tharchen is a highly experienced cook with over 15 years of expertise in trekking and cooking. He is one of the most skilled and respected cooks in Bhutan, having undergone rigorous training by the Tourism Council of Bhutan on cooking for foreign tourists. He is known for his kind and helpful nature, as well as his excellent team management skills and strong connections with local communities. Tharchen can prepare delicious meals with limited resources, whether camping or trekking, and is especially renowned for his use of wild herbs in creating unique and tasty dishes. He is famous for his momos, a must-try if you have the opportunity to travel with him.
Tenzin Dendup is a highly experienced and skilled driver who has been with Off to Bhutan since its inception. He is not only an expert in navigating the roads of Bhutan but is also a keen birder with an exceptional eye for spotting birds. In fact, he has been responsible for sighting many rare and elusive bird species during the company's birding trips.
In addition to his impressive driving and birding skills, Tenzin is known for his friendly and helpful nature. He goes above and beyond to ensure that his clients have a comfortable and enjoyable trip. His deep knowledge of Bhutan's top birding sites and key bird species is unmatched, and he can provide valuable insights and information to his clients.
If you're planning a birding tour with Off to Bhutan, be sure to request Tenzin as your driver. With his expert driving skills, exceptional birding abilities, and friendly personality, he is sure to make your trip a memorable one.
Tshewang is a passionate and skilled driver who dropped out of high school to pursue his love for both driving and birding. His excellent driving skills are highly appreciated by all the clients who travel with him, even on the treacherous mountain roads and narrow, steep routes. He is also fluent in English and always ready to lend a helping hand. Tshewang has accompanied many birding trips, and his experience has enabled him to identify most of Bhutan's bird species and their locations. With his knowledge and coordination with the birding guides, he ensures that the trip is unforgettable and enjoyable for the clients. Despite not being a certified birding guide, his skills and expertise make him as good as any experienced birding guide.