“If you will stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, those things can unexpectedly become great and immeasurable”, Rainer Marie Rilke – Letters to a young poet.
This quote beautifully sums up what we are about at Gee’s Nature Tours. Nature is amazing, if you just take the time to stop and examine it.
If you are interested in nature and want to immerse yourself in it, and you are in or coming to Cambodia, then you have come to the right place. We will take you on tours in weird and wonderful places, explaining as much as we can about what we see along the way, including “the small things hardly noticeable”.
We are interested in bigger things, too, but it important to set expectations appropriately. Seeing large animals in Cambodia is difficult. We will try and we are working on ways to improve the chances. For example, most of our tours are based around camping out in nature, with night time activities, in the hope of seeing nocturnal creatures.
“in the end, we will conserve only what we love, we love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught” – Baba Dioum, 1968.
Who we are
We are a family operation. I am married to a beautiful Cambodian lady (Theary), and she and other members of the family help to ensure our tours run smoothly, and you and I can concentrate on the nature around us.
I am Gerard Chartier (a.k.a. Gee) and I am a very keen (some might say, “obsessed”) amateur naturalist. I am an Englishman, who has been living in Cambodia since 2009. I have always had an interest in nature but it did not really develop until I came to Cambodia and was so immersed in nature at Rainbow Lodge (an eco-lodge in Tatai Commune, Koh Kong Province), where I lived for eight years. I was first attracted by the beautiful butterflies here and started photographing them. My curiosity was piqued and I wanted to find out what species they all are. That was the start of my efforts to learn about and document as much of the nature around here as I can. I have been doing so ever since. There is still so much to be done!
I have done some work with international scientists, including co-authoring papers and providing specimens of insects and arachnids (spiders, scorpions, etc.) for scientific study. This has led to the discovery of several new species that I know of to date, but all are yet to be published, so I cannot say more about them at the moment.
My brother-in-law, known as Jake, is our support guide. He is a very friendly and helpful chap. He is also very keen to learn nature but is limited by his poor grasp of English. We hope that both will improve through his participation in our tours.
Where we are
We have a plot of land within the boundaries of Peam Krasop Wildlife Sanctuary, less than 10 km from the bridge in Tatai, Koh Kong Province. Our land is surrounded by a wide variety of habitats in easy walking, kayaking or boating distance, including:
the river itself
open meadows (both dry and flooded)
flooded forests of Meleleuca cajuputi
the main coastal mangrove forest.
Who are our tours for?
All of our tours are aimed at people with a keen interest in nature. All tours are carried out at a gentle pace, with lots of time for trying to spot things and for me to explain what see. I do not profess to know everything but I know enough to provide interesting information to most participants. All tours are guided by me with a second guide/boat driver in support. Most tours are focused on the beautiful river in Tatai, the streams that run into it and the land that meets the streams. One tour goes further inland to explore jungle and a hilltop meadow.
Given the slow pace with lots of explanations, our tours are not necessarily suitable for young children, who can become easily bored. I leave that decision to their parents, who know them best. I have guided young kids who have been enthralled!
Summary of Tours
You have a choice of a number of tours, all of which allow you to truly experience nature. Some are designed to provide a broad range of natural environments in a single tour, and others involve a more focused examination of a particular type of habitat. You can even choose a short night walk, and get a very different perspective on nature.
In order to maximise your nature experience, you can opt for one of our overnight tours. These all involve a tour one one day (usually starting in the afternoon), ending at one of our campsites, a nighttime tour nearby and another tour in the morning before returning. You can combine camping tours to create a diverse, multi-day immersion in nature.
On most individual tour pages there is a section on things you might see on that tour. Please be aware that there are no guarantees but what we have written is based on what we have seen. To be honest, it is always difficult to get a balance between demonstrating the richness and diversity of an area and setting expectation too high. We certainly do not want the latter. I will say with absolute certainty that you will not see tigers, which are extinct in Cambodia, or elephants, which, while present in the nearby Cardamom Mountains, do not frequent coastal marshes, or the forests nearby.