MEET OUR SAFARI DRIVER GUIDE: Adrian Augustino Mkay
I realized I wanted to be a guide about 25 years ago through my grandfather, who was a professional hunter back in his youth. He would tell us stories about the animals, their behavior, and his adventures stalking through the bush. At that time in my life, we lived at Pare Mountain with blue monkeys, bush babies, and hundreds of different bird species. My grandfather was fascinated by nature and would explain everything he knew about the animals, giving us their scientific names and even their names in our tribal language. I became inspired to help teach others about our nature as well.
After I finished my secondary school, I joined a teaching college where I was selected by the government to study for two years. After finishing, I then kept up my desire to work with wildlife and joined the Mount Meru guiding college in Arusha. At college, I got the opportunity to learn about both wildlife and customer care through courses like guiding ethics, hospitality management, animal behavior, habitats, plants, birds, physical geography, and all the national parks in Tanzania. While at the college, I also got my driving license. After completing my studies, I started out working as walking guide at Momela Lodge to gain experience. After that, my career as a driver guide started up properly.
Arusha is a big hub of safari/tour guiding companies because it is so close to a lot of the most famous attractions in Tanzania. However, I chose to work with Easy Travel and have been working with them for 19 years. Easy Travel, to me, is a company that truly cares about their staff’s welfare and want to do as much as they can to help the people they work with. They also see themselves as ambassadors for Tanzania to international clients, so they put in the extra effort to make every trip something memorable.
My favorite part about being a guide is being surrounded by the nature of Tanzania. I really enjoy our country’s nature and I take extra effort to preserve it by adhering to all the sustainability regulations of each park. I also help my clients to understand and practice them for the betterment of future generations here. However, sometimes being a guide can be challenging. Animal movement is so wide and varied in these big parks, so sometimes it can be difficult to find certain animals that clients are very excited to see.
People describe me as a co-operative guy who is always keen to help out. I have been married to my wife for 27 years now and we are blessed with three children – two sons and one beautiful daughter. My first son is 27, my daughter is 24, and my youngest son is 20. I live with my family at Usa River, Arumeru district in Arusha.
Favorite Park in Tanzania
My favorite food is makande with beans. This is a traditional food made up of half-grained maize cooked with beans. It is a very easy dish to cook, can be eaten at any meal, and does not use a lot of fuel or require a lot of effort to make.
I always like to find tasks to keep me busy – I don’t like staying idle after work. I have tried cultivating a garden recently and I also work with my community to help clean up our neighborhood on Saturdays.
Favorite TV Show
It may be stereotypical, but I like safari channels. Nature and wildlife television helps me out in my career as I can learn even more through watching TV in my off-time. It’s also interesting because I can learn about places and animals that are off the beaten path, making my clients’ trips better.
Favorite Singer / band
My favorite band is Juata Band. They are a local band from Dar Es Salaam. They write and perform music that is about our culture and traditions, and I respect them a lot.
10 Questions with Adrian
My favorite tour is the 6-day safari below:
Day 1: Arrival and overnight in Arusha.
Day 2: Game drive in Tarangire.
Day 3: Game drive in Serengeti.
Day 4: Game drive in Serengeti.
Day 5: Ngorongoro.
Day 6: Crater tour – Zanzibar.
I like this itinerary because it allows you lots of time to visit some of the most beautiful and famous northern circuit parks. It also provides the opportunity to visit either Mto wa Mbu or a Maasai village for cultural experiences.