Our expert guides: guiding you every step of the way

By Asilia Africa | 16 December 2020

As anyone who has ever been on safari knows, the role of a guide is fundamental to the quality of the experience. We’re extremely proud of how our renowned team of guides and naturalists consistently deliver impeccably high standards. Becoming a safari guide isn’t just a walk in the (national) park.

Each year around 500 hopefuls, some of whom already work in other roles at Asilia, arrive in Arusha with the dream of one day becoming a qualified guide. Over the course of three days, we look for candidates with the necessary spark, drive, and potential to make it as an Asilia guide. Only 20 candidates make it through to the next stage: our month-long foundation course.

The multi-disciplined foundation course consists of detailed lectures, first-hand experience in the national parks, 4x4 driving tests and intense field assessments, always under the watchful eye of Asilia’s most experienced guides. To reach the next step, the recruits prove their wildlife knowledge, guiding etiquette, safety protocols, vehicle handling, tracking and more. Of approximately 20 candidates, we hope to end the course with 12 to 14 new trainees.

Trainee guides are allocated a mentor in their resident camp for the season ahead. During the next month, they work a week each in the kitchen, restaurant, workshop and in housekeeping. This helps trainees to understand what it takes to create an overall Asilia camp experience.

For the rest of the year, trainees assist their mentor guides with tracking and spotting during game drives. Once they have proven their ability to manage dangerous animal and safety situations on safari and have a comprehensive knowledge of the fauna and flora of East Africa, they start doing airstrip transfers, allowing them to put their skills into practice one-on-one with guests. Both time in the bush and theory is vital to pass the exam, which tests them on mammals, birds, botany, astronomy, tracks, signs and more.

If they prove successful at the end of the year, they will finally graduate to Junior Guide level and will begin leading game drives on their own. Then the hard work really starts!

Last season, just eight guides in Northern Tanzania and six in Southern Tanzania qualified as Junior Guides. Six of these graduates made the jump from other positions in our camps such as waiters and bar staff. They have joined our elite team of 69 guides in Tanzania and 12 in Kenya, which continues to get stronger year on year. In January 2021, we’re launching a new youth upskill vocational programme, taking 10 students on a 30-day junior guide training course in Kenya, so the future looks bright, too.

Our rigorous guide training program ensures that when you book a safari through Asilia you know that your clients are in the very best hands. We hope you are able to meet some of our incredible guides on safari soon, too.

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