Photo: Thomson Safaris guests Ann Tobey & Ron Wilhelmsen
After every safari, we hear from guests that their guide was amazing, and that he “must be the best.” At this point, we’ve heard this about every single guide that leads our trips!
We know that highly-skilled, friendly, attentive guides can make the difference between a good safari and an unforgettable one; that’s why we’re so honored to be able to work with so many amazing individuals, such as:
We hear that you have a nickname you like. Can you explain it?
I tell everyone to call me OJ, but I tell them it’s like orange juice, not like Simpson! [laughs]
Tell us about your background. Where are you from?
I was born in Arusha, then I went to school in…let me think…oh, Arusha, and now I’m working in…Arusha! [laughs] I’m married and have three sons; they’re 18, 16, and 10 years old.
What’s your favorite part about being a guide?
I love learning about different cultures—my life in Tanzania is so different from the lives of some of my guests, and I find the differences fascinating. I think my favorite thing to talk about it politics. I love to hear about different political systems, and how they work, and share ideas with the guests. I don’t want to argue about politics, but I do want to learn more!
Do you have a favorite park to visit on safari?
Not really—I love them all, and I love how different they are from one another, the changes in scenery and wildlife that you see. I can tell you that the Serengeti is best for cats!
What about a favorite animal?
I actually have three: elephants, because of how loving they are with their young; giraffes because they’re so serene and calm; and lions, which are actually incredibly social and generous with each other.
You’ve been guiding since 2001; is there anything you haven’t ever seen, or that you’d like to see more of?
I would like to see more hunts and kills. I know that sounds gruesome, but they’re so dramatic, it’s really exciting to watch!
What’s the strangest thing you ever saw in the field?
Well it’s more funny than strange. One night, when we were back in camp and everyone had gone to sleep, I saw a lioness come near. At first I was nervous, until I realized what had drawn her: the sound of a guest snoring so loudly! She had no idea what it was, and wanted to understand! [laughs] Don’t worry, she didn’t get TOO close.
What would you tell travelers about your country?
It is such a culturally interesting place. I love nothing more than sharing some of our culture with guests and learning more about theirs. They should also know how welcoming it is here. I promise, if they visit Tanzania, they’ll always be comfortable, and they’ll always understand their surroundings. At least if I’m their guide, that is! [laughs]