Mark Smith Nature Tours emphasizes ecology, conservation, cultural and historical highlights, flora, photography and enjoying birds! Most tours are co-led by fine naturalists from the host country, and each is researched personally, then designed to maximize natural, cultural and geographic diversity. Reduced overhead keeps prices very competitive. Mark's keen interest in nature as a boy led him to study biology at Oregon State University and build his own tour business.
For over 25 years, Mark has guided travelers to Central and South America, Asia, Africa, Madagascar, Australia and Europe. He has led many tours for The Nature Conservancy, Portland Audubon, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) and Elderhostel. He is co-author of Birds of Oregon and has conducted research for The National Science Foundation, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, The Nature Conservancy, and the National Marine Fisheries Service in Alaska.
As owner, director, and usually guide, Mark provides informed, personalized attention before and during each journey. His wide knowledge and contagious enthusiasm have kept travelers returning year after year. Eighty percent of travelers are returnees, many having been on 10 tours or more. Read our traveler's feedback.
Lodgings are always comfortable, often spectacular, with attached bathrooms. Transport is by van or small bus. Group size is kept small, usually 6 to 14. Please join us as we explore a variety of spectacular destinations.
What Makes Mark Smith Nature Tours Unique:
Latest News from Mark Smith Nature Tours:
Our fall and winter tours went well, although a few travelers had to withdraw from trips. A difficult time in the world, and everyone has been affected by the economic situation. Most of our friends in the countries we visit to view nature are impacted severely by the drop in tourism and the global recession.
In a few days I depart for Africa with six people, and Marc Egger will lead Panama with 12 in March. Travelers understandably are waiting as long as possible before committing to trips. My spring tours in Texas, Arizona and Oregon have plenty of space, but I will definitely be running them, even with fewer participants. I'm hoping these shorter, less expensive tours will appeal to people this year. In Oregon, we visit the coast, Cascades, and desert wetlands, while the Big Bend National Park and Texas Hill Country tour, and the Southeast Arizona tour explore dramatic desert and mountain landscapes; there's solitude, diverse special birds, and small groups of nine or less.
I expect Central and South America will be favored over Africa and Australia this year, with the lower air and land prices. In July, Ecuadorian naturalist Lelis Navarete will guide 15 days of Andes and Amazon in Ecuador, and together Lelis and I will guide a Galapagos tour in mid-August, while Marc Egger has Brazil in mid-August. I expect fewer travelers worldwide, and smaller groups.
For 20 years our Kenya groups have visited Sabaki Village on the Indian Ocean where traveler Marlene Anderson has established the non-profit Imani Project, which includes sister school connections, orphan placement and sponsorship, and health education and clinics. Last summer six volunteers joined Marlene at Sabaki, and we plan to send volunteers this summer; we're hoping that the troubles calm. To learn more, visit Imaniproject.org or call 503-349-2596.
With excellent guides in many countries we can often customize and guide itineraries for individuals, groups, and families. For a preview, trip photos for many tours are posted throughout the website. My tours are consistently competitive with similar high-content tours, with service more personalized than larger companies. Many travelers are returnees, some having been on over 10 tours.
Your referrals are my best advertising and I appreciate all the addresses I'm sent. Let me know if you would like more catalogs to disperse.
Our travels to the world's wild places support parkside communities, providing the economic basis for maintaining parks and protecting species. These explorations in Earth's most beautiful landscapes enrich our lives. I feel lucky to participate in such adventures. Thank you for all the support and friendship.