Ever wondered what makes a great safari guide, where they come from and how they are trained? Or maybe you’ve been curious about why they chose the profession and what they love about their work?
Perhaps you have a more practical question, like, do they converse with guests in English? (For the record, they do and they also know the English names of all the animals and birds! Pictured below is a training session for our guides with Steve Spawls, a leading herpetologist and author of the excellent “Field Guide to the Reptiles of East Africa, to help in identifying reptiles).
Find out those answers and many more as you get to know the Porini Guides.
Bird-watchers, you are going to love chatting with Jackson Sayialel and learn about lions from him too!
Jackson Sayialel was born to be a safari guide for Porini camps as he grew up just a mile from the famous Maasai Mara National Reserve. Since early childhood, he has been fascinated with the many wild animals that live nearby. After graduating from high school, Jackson spent some time as a teacher before realizing his calling to be a guide. He attended Koiyaki Guiding School (KGS), where he trained to become a safari guide, ultimately earning “Silver” certification.
Jackson started with Porini Camps in 2007, and is now the Head Guide at Porini Lion Camp. He finds the Great Wildebeest Migration to be the most exciting experience in the wild as it is a time when the whole of the Mara is “teeming with wildlife.” Jackson is very knowledgeable about the different lions to be seen in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy which currently number over 73 individuals in 4 different prides, the Enkoiyanai pride, Oldikidiki pride, Seketa pride and Sankei pride.
When not on safari, Jackson can be found bird-watching (his favorites are the lappet-faced and white-backed vultures) or reading up on natural and wildlife history.
Enjoy a nature walk with Ben Munke Tongoyo.
Another Porini guide with a “silver” certification from the Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association (KPSGA) is Ben Munke Tongoyo. Ben has been serving as a guide with Porini for the last seven years. Prior to working for Porini, he taught at Lenkanka High School and worked as a guide in the Shompole Conservancy.
Ben’s vast knowledge of the flora and fauna on the savannah enhances any safaris he guides. As well as going on game drives in a customised 4×4 safari vehicle, you can also join Ben for a nature walk where you can learn more about tracking animals, the local vegetation, and the fascinating Maasai culture.
Track the “Big Cats” with Bill Simat Kupai at Porini Mara Camp.
Bill Kupai began his safari interests at an early age while growing up in the Ol Kinyei region. His schooling includes the Nairobi Aviation College, where he studied tour guiding and administration, as well as the Koiyaki Guiding School, where he received a “silver” certification.
Bill started his guiding career with us at Porini Rhino Camp, where he spent several years after joining Porini Camps in October 2010. After being based at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, one of the few parks where all of the “Big Five” (Lion, Cape Buffalo, Leopard, Elephant, and Rhino) can be seen, he moved to his current position in Ol Kinyei Conservancy, a hotspot for the big cats: lions, leopards and cheetahs..
Wilson Saningo Pere knows the Porini Camps inside and out.
Wilson Pere initially worked with Porini as a room steward, then as a waiter, and finally as a storekeeper before pursuing his passion to be a guide. Earning a KPSGA “silver” certification, Wilson now guides for Porini, exhibiting his excellent knowledge of the surrounding nature and wildlife.
Enthuse about elephants with seasoned guide, Daniel Mamai.
Of all the guides, Daniel Mamai has been with Porini the longest—since 2002! He is a silver-rated guide with the Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association, and also studied at the Tsavo Park Hotel institute. As he was born and raised near Amboseli National Park, conservation has been a big part of his life. Prior to his time with Porini, Daniel worked at the Africa Conservation Center.
Daniel loves to spot both birds and mammals, but his favorite animal to see on safari is the elephant. After being the head guide for many years at Porini Rhino Camp, he is now back home in Selenkay Conservancy and running the Gamewatchers Adventure Camp an excellent base from which to watch the elephants of Amboseli.
Experience extraordinary scenes of teeming wildlife in Olare Motorogi Conservancy with Jackson ole Ronko
Jackson ole Ronko was born in 1987 at Kileleoni Hill just north of the Maasai Mara Reserve. He grew up in the savannah plains of the Mara, surrounded by wildlife, and decided to have a career as a professional safari guide showing visitors the natural wonders of the place that he calls home. So he attended the Koiyaki Guiding School between 2010 and 2011 where he graduated with the KPSGA bronze certification. While at the Guiding School he was an intern at the Porini Camps and then joined Porini Lion Camp as safari guide. Jackson knows every inch of the 30,000 acres of Olare Motorogi Conservancy and enjoys showing guests the teeming wildlife of the area. He is a keen observer of nature and has had some memorable sightings. One that he cannot forget is coming upon two sparring wildebeest whose horns had become entangled and inextricably locked whereupon a pack of hyenas seized the unfortunate creatures and devoured first one and then the other. Go out on a game drive with Jackson and get to know about the “Circle of Life” and how the Conservancies are providing space for a huge variety of wildlife species in their natural habitat.
Porini Lion Camp guide Jackson ole Ronko
Forget “Jack of All Trades”—Jackson Liaram is a “Master” of all trades when it comes to guiding.
Jackson Liaram aspired to be a major player in the field of wildlife and tourism and management, and has enjoyed success in his chosen field. Jackson has a silver certificate in Field and Tour guiding from the KPSGA, and has studied a wide range of topics including wildlife and tourism, natural history, animal behavior, culture and history, communications, and first aid.
Jackson began his Porini safari career in 2011, where he has been a full time guide at the Adventure Camp in Ol Kinyei. His favorite pastimes include bird-watching, nature walks, reading, and athletics. Find him on the savannah tracking lions or gazing at the graceful giraffe, his favorite animal.
Learn why Wilson Kasaine calls Kenya a “magical place to be!”
Why does Wilson Kasaine think of Kenya as “magical?” In his own words, “Kenya’s physical geography ranges from high mountains including spectacular views of Mt. Kilimanjaro, rolling plains, rivers and lakes, equatorial forest, grasslands, bushlands and even deserts – what is there not to love?”
How right he is! Wilson would love to show you Kenya through his eyes while on a game drive. His knowledge of all the local flora and fauna never ceases to amaze guests. Wilson has a silver-rated guide and has a Diploma of Tourism and Business Studies from the Institute of Commercial Management (ICM). He has been with Porini since 2006.
Looking to photograph your safari? Andrew Saruni’s your guy!
Andrew Saruni brings a different perspective as he loves to help photographers to capture some great shots. While a Silver-rated guide, he also holds a Journalism degree from Kenya Polytechnic University. Andrew has a sensitive eye out in the field, and photographers often request him for their safaris. He has been with Porini since 2011 and has been a guide at Porini Rhino Camp, Porini Amboseli Camp, and at Nairobi Tented Camp in Nairobi National Park before moving to Ol Kinyei Conservancy.
Andrew’s favorite bird is the Lilac-Breasted Roller, and his favorite mammal is the Leopard. One of his most memorable wildlife experiences was watching a Pygmy Falcon, the smallest raptor in East Africa, kill a male Red-Headed Agama, a colorful lizard larger than the 8” falcon.
Spend a full day in the bush with Meshack Sayialel.
Meshack Sayialel grew up near Olare Motorogi Conservancy, giving him unbeatable knowledge of the bush and its wildlife. He currently holds a KPSGA “Bronze” level certificate.
Join Meshack on a full day game drive into the Mara Reserve from the Porini Lion Camp in Olare Motorogi Conservancy, taking a picnic lunch to maximise the time on your safari adventure.
Meshack is a popular guide with keen photographers and we often get positive comments about him from guests, such as these two just received: “Meshack has a good eye for photography and placed the car for best shots – which is related to his own interest in photography. He always parked our car for best viewing and has a feel of what the animal is about to do next.” (Harald Struck Sep 2017) and “Porini Lion Camp was the highlight. One major reason was our guide. Meshack was simply superb! I cannot say enough good things about him. He made it all so easy for me….he knows light and composition and he thinks like the animals we are after and thinks way before anyone else out there, like a chess master. A lot of the credit for my pictures goes to him.” (Maheswaran Sanjeevan, Sep 2017)
Explore Ol Pejeta Conservancy with Benjamin Sakita
Benjamin Sakita, KPSGA Silver Guide at Porini Rhino Camp, Ol Pejeta Conservancy
Benjamin Sakita, a member of the Kisonko clan of the Maasai from Eselenkei, where we run the Selenkay Conservancy in partnership with the community, joined Porini Rhino Camp 10 years ago as a night security guard. His knowledge of wildlife enabled him to become qualified as a professional safari guide. Today Ben is a Silver guide taking guests out on safari in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy.
Benjamin recently witnessed a very touching scene. A bull elephant with a deformed leg as a result of an old injury, was helped by a group of female elephants. This bull has difficulty walking and tends to stay in one area of the Conservancy where there is plenty of grass and vegetation to feed on so that he does not need to travel far. The bull went down to a waterhole to have a drink in the company of a family of elephants already there. There had been heavy rainfall and the sloping bank of the waterhole was muddy and slippery. When he tried to go back up he started slipping and couldn’t get up the bank. All the adult females in the family group rushed to help him and pushed him up to the slope until he was able to continue on his own.
The bull elephant with a deformed leg who was aided by females at the waterhole in Ol Pejeta
Porini Mara Camp Manager & KPSGA Silver Level Guide Jimmy LeMara (right) with spotter Marima Kipokel
No matter your guide, you’ll love a Kenyan Safari!
Can you picture yourself beside one of these great guides in a customised open sided 4×4 safari vehicle searching for your favorite safari animals? We can’t wait to have you staying with us.
Click here to tell us your proposed travel dates and budget and one of our expert Safari Advisers will email you with a recommended itinerary and prices. Or sign up for our free email course to learn more about planning the ultimate Kenyan safari.