By Silvana 23 October 2018

INTERVIEWS WITH FEMALE GUIDES IN EAST AFRICA

Working on both sides of the Kenya–Tanzania border, Asilia Africa's and Serian's leading ladies have a wealth of inspiring stories, shared with us in this two-part series blog.

Safari guides are remarkable in their field. To complement the high quality of lodges that are included in a Yellow Zebra trip, we expect the guides to be well-rounded conversationalists, excellent interpreters of animal behaviour, and able to keep clients entertained in between viewings – in short, we expect nothing less than a private Dr. Dolittle, which is one of the hardest roles to fill. In addition to all of this, we expect these guides to keep our clients safe and to deliver a safari holiday that goes beyond their expectations.

Traditionally guiding has been a male-dominated sector, but slowly this has been changing across East and Southern Africa. Here, a number of well-known safari lodges and national parks have been striving for diversity and encouraging women with the right range of skills to apply to be a guide.

 

Asilia Africa

MEET ANGEL NAMSHALI: DUNIA CAMP MANAGER

Angel’s local knowledge cannot get any more impressive, as she was born and raised on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. Initially Angel started out in housekeeping in Dunia Camp, but it wasn’t long before her talents and drive were recognised and her career shot upwards from receptionist to manager. She has held the latter position for five years.

Why did you become a Camp Manager at Asillia?

I loved how Asilia do things, I loved the way they are supporting local communities, and especially how they focus on training their own staff, offering more opportunities for Tanzanian's and giving them a position. In general they value societies and wildlife, which is the perfect combination.

What do you love about the camp and the surrounding area?

I love where our camp is located because while sitting in the lounge or dining area you can see the Moru Kopjes – giant stones that reflect the light of the Serengeti – so beautiful!  Also our guests have a great chance to see rhinos as the Serengeti Rhino Project is next door, and our resident lion pride is very active and often kill quite close to camp, which is exciting for guests.

MEET EVALYN MAYETU: MAASAI MARA SAFARI GUIDE

Evalyn has a wealth of qualifications, ranging from a silver-rated guide certificate and a diploma in Tourism to her impressive experience in wildlife management. As a guide at Naboisho Camp in the Maasai Mara, she has the opportunity to share her love of wildlife with a variety of clients. Some of these include primary school children, who spend four days at Asilia’s camps learning about the importance of conservation and tourism.

What’s the best story you’ve heard from a guest?

I love hearing all stories, and what surprised and delights me is both how diverse and yet how similar our cultures are.

What are you most passionate about as a guide?

Two main things – conservation is very important to me, as are my career and Kenya. We must do everything we can to protect our beautiful country and wildlife, and I want to be a strong role model for other young girls who have a dream to be a guide.

 

Serian

MEET JUDY KOYA: GUIDE

With 5 years of guiding experience, Judy moves between three of the Serian properties – Serian 'The Original', Ngare Serian in the Mara North Conservancy, and Nkorombo Serian in the Maasai Mara National Reserve.

What has been a game sighting that will stay with you forever?
Recently we had a sighting of a hunting lion, which then began feasting on its prey only to be interrupted and scared off by a clan of hyena.

What is one animal that you wish guests would request to see more of?
Leopard is my favourite sighting, and I enjoy showing my guests these elusive animals as they are always surprised and overjoyed to come across them.

What do you love about the camp and the surrounding area?
Serian is my best camp in the Mara for giving ladies an opportunity to be a part of the team and for having such loyal and lovely staff.

What is your favourite game-viewing location? Do you have a favourite sundowner or sunrise spot?
The beauty of the lush green landscape with the plains game viewing and the serenity as we take the guests to a sundowner spot next to the Mara river, as the hippos below us have a party of their own.