Vale Paul Oliver

Some of the old-timers on birding-aus will remember the occasional contributions from Paul Oliver. Paul grew up in the UK and went touring in Africa in his 20s. As often happens in Africa, something bit him and he stayed to settle in Arusha Tanzania. He was a pioneer in the modern safari industry and developed from scratch one of the best camps in Tanzania – Oliver’s Camp in Tarangire National Park. He ran birding safaris for people from all over the world and had a great reputation as a naturalist and teacher to many native Tanzanians. He met his partner Lala – an Australian – and has spent many years since “with one foot in Tanzanian and the other in Australia”. His Australia home was in Far North Qld (Kuranda I think).

I met Paul when my wife and I went to Arusha to live in March 2020 and he offered us a house to rent. We found ourselves in a blissfully peaceful oasis of native trees, full of birds. The house was quirky (like the owner) and had lots of beer and wine bottles embedded in the walls and bits of old landrovers scattered around as structural features. Paul arrived prior to a safari and we quickly became mates as he was very generous with his local birding knowledge and vast number of stories of the Tanzanian bush. He amazingly let me look after his excellent library of African natural history books.

Unfortunately he also arrived with a gut ache which, after many tests in three countries, turned out to be cancer. He returned to live in the UK for treatment and enjoyed a year or so looking for the birds and wild places of his youth. Sadly Paul passed away yesterday. He was just 65.

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