About

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OPENING WORD FROM OUR FOUNDER

When I first started my company back in 2006, I never would have imagined it would lead me on such a fulfilling journey. It is a blessing that I have been able to turn my hobby into a profession and to be capable enough to share it with so many wonderful people over all these years.

Since childhood, I have been interested in wildlife, with birds being my favourite. I owe thanks to my father for sparking this interest and by letting me join him every weekend on walks and trips all over the Netherlands. By the time I reached my adolescent years, I had developed a great enthusiasm for anything related to the former USSR and the legendary Silk Road. I must have read the tales of Marco Polo a thousand times and wondered over the map of Russia daily, learning the names of all the small cities in the far east. My curiosity in the region resulted in many travels to these once distant lands. Eventually, I moved to Almaty, Kazakhstan, and started my company at age 23.

In the beginning, I led most trips myself, focusing on ventures within Kazakhstan. It turned out that tour leading was something that came to me naturally. I had great fun sharing the pleasure of sightings and watching so many brilliant wildlife encounters with others. It was at this time that Victor Emanuel Nature Tours invited me to join their team, one of the most respected nature tourism companies in the world. I am very proud of this achievement and lead trips for them annually across Asia and Africa.

When I am home in Kazakhstan with my lovely family, I focus on leading the Rubythroat office. Many people have asked me, “Why did you pick the name Rubythroat?” These beautiful, enigmatic birds have always inspired me and provided me with lots of joy. In addition to that, they occur throughout the region in which we operate our business. It was only the natural choice!

I am proud that we have grown into the largest ecotour operator in Central Asia and Siberia. We pioneered and commercialized trips to many difficult to reach places or into countries that require an arduous undertaking. I am appreciative to be able to work with so many great leaders and happy that our team of experts continues to expand. Since the creation of RBT, I have focused on operating our ventures with a professional approach, offering our clients an exclusive personalized experience. In the coming years, we plan further expansions, and I look forward to being out in the wild with you, discovering the beautiful natural world of Central Asia and Siberia!

MACHIEL VALKENBURG

 tour bird

Why travel with us?

Rubythroat prides itself on having professional staff. An excellent leader accompanies all ventures, with outstanding expertise in Central Asian wildlife and ornithology. They also have great logistical talents and are FUN people to be on the road with for an extended amount of time. Moreover, the group will be accompanied by a tour manager who is usually of local origin and speaks the native tongue. They are trained in hospitality management and handle all logistical items during the trip. As you might expect from travels in the former USSR, documents are both essential and confounding! Further, our tour managers will be able to tell you much about the daily life and traditions of the country you are travelling in - giving an extra touch and bonus to the trip!

Furthermore, Rubythroat has a competent and experienced office staff that do an excellent job of arranging logistics for holidays/expeditions in challenging and difficult to reach locations. We excel in far-flung destinations like the Indigirka Delta in arctic Russia or searching for desert birds like Zarudniy Sparrow in Turkmenistan. We are the only operator to visit many of these unique regions. Also, we run all the logistics needed for a holiday ourselves and pride ourselves on competitive tour pricing.

Over the past decades, we have helped thousands of travellers experience the bounties of this region. We have designed custom wildlife and birdwatching holidays across Central Asia and Siberia. Since the inception of Rubythroat in 2006, we have amassed tremendous knowledge of the flora & fauna living in this unique and colossal landmass.

 

Who travels with us?

We have travelled with thousands of birders of all ages and skills. You don't have to be an expert; we are always determined to help you develop your skills no matter your experience. You must enjoy travelling and have a desire to observe the world's many beautiful and fascinating birds. Not to mention all the other wildlife, fabulous landscapes, and distinct cultures we see along the way.

 crane birds

 

What is included in our tour fees?

All tours organized by Rubythroat are all-inclusive and based on twin occupancy. For most destinations single occupancy is available, however mostly limited, please contact the RBT office for more information. Please note that if you are travelling alone, and want to share a room, we will try to pair you up with another participant who also wishes to share. However, if there is no other single person on the tour who wants to share, we will have to charge a necessary single room supplement.

All expenses are covered from arrival to departure. There are no hidden costs! Your time in the field is to be enjoyed instead of dealing with lunches or other extras. Let us handle that for you. Personal expenses include souvenirs, tips, and/or alcoholic beverages.

At the top of every tour PDF, you can find the pricing for the tour. This price is the cost of in-country logistics. Rubythroat is operating on the international market, and your fellow travellers join from all over the globe. Therefore, international flights costs vary and are not included in our tour prices. However, the Rubythroat office is happy to assist; they can prepare any domestic or international air travel arrangements.

Please be sure to check with the RBT office before purchasing your air ticket to confirm that the tour is sufficiently subscribed to operate. RBT cannot be responsible for any air ticket

 Our tours are well provided; the cost of our service covers the following:

  • Airport transfers
  • All domestic transport
  • All lodging
  • All meals plus enough bottled mineral water (distributed by need)
  • Expert tour leaders and expert local guides
  • Tour managers/translators
  • Entrance to national parks

The items which you will be required to pay yourself are those of a purely individual nature such as:

  • Travel and health insurance (please check with the Rubythroat office for exciting deals)
  • Visa
  • Alcoholic beverages (please note that in some tours beers or wines are included with dinner)
  • Souvenirs

 

 

Please check the details of your tour for more detailed information on your particular venture carefully.

 blooming fields

 

How big are our groups?

We believe that small groups make for high-quality birding tours. We design each trip with the group size in mind as we feel it enhances the quality of the experience for the participant. On most of our travels, we use 20-seat Mercedes Sprinter busses, large and comfortable transport. During private tours, we use new Toyota Landcruisers or equivalent convenient transportation. When travelling in Central Asi[[a and Siberia long drives are inevitable, and therefore we do not compromise on comfort. As we have noticed, with other tour companies in the region, they tend to use old Russian busses or aged cars, which are slow and uncomfortable. Please check what vehicles you are promised before booking!

Our fixed departure tours have limits ranging from 6 to 10 participants. Our limitations are firm, and we don't exceed the limit by one to accommodate a couple when only one space remains open.

We do believe firmly in teaching, and occasionally we will send a guide or manager in training along with a group to gain experience birding in the field. In these cases, one seat in the 4WD or bus will be taken by the guide in training. Our guides will have a rotation system within the vehicle so that clients share any inconvenience equally. We hope this minor inconvenience will be more than offset by the advantages of having another guide along.

 

Fixed Departure Tours

Rubythroat Birding Tours has many years of experience in organizing bird and nature travel in Asia. Our company is used by other operators from all over the world. They hire our services to function as the local ground operator for their ventures to Central Asia, Mongolia or Russia. We pride ourselves on being the chosen agents for some of the largest operators in the world like Victor Emanuel Nature Tours, Tropical Birding, Fieldguides and Wildside Birding.

Some of our tours on our schedule are offered as a fixed departure tour for small groups. It is possible to book a spot on these tours as a single traveller. When the minimum number of participants is reached, the tour will have a go-ahead. Tours go ahead mostly with a minimum of 4 participants. We will immediately be in touch to inform you about this joyous occasion. After you have reached the go-ahead from us in writing, you can continue booking your flights to your destination. For our full travel range, please have a look at our CALENDER page.

 

Individual Tours

Rubythroat Birding Tours offers not only fixed departure tours but also organizes individual tours. Those wanting to experience flora and fauna of Asia on their own or with a private group are more than welcome to contact us for a customized tour. We can arrange a trip based on one of the available trips, or we can also design an itinerary at your request. Let us know your wishes, and we will be happy to accommodate you and your companions!