MEET OUR SAFARI DRIVER GUIDE: Jimmy Cliff Mtei
During primary school is when I first realized I want to become a guide. Our school was built adjacent to Kilimanjaro, so I had the chance to see many visitors who were going up and down the mountain with their guides. I was always curious about how the guides dressed and the way they were explaining to the tourists about Tanzania’s nature and culture. From there, I developed an interest in becoming a guide so that I could lead clients too.
In 2000, I joined Mount Meru college where I took the wildlife course for two years and achieved my advanced certificate. I learned about animal behavior, birds, plants, insects, reptiles, ecosystems, guiding ethics, first aid, and customer care. I did my field study at Tarangire National Park for a year to convert my theoretical knowledge into practical understanding. After I completed all of this in 2003, I joined a language college and learned Spanish for the next year. After that, I earned my driver’s license. I truly started my career as a driver guide, speaking both Spanish and English in 2006. I am lucky to still be learning many things I didn’t know about our wonderful country.
My favorite thing about being a driver guide is seeing my clients’ reactions and explaining animal behavior and facts to my clients. I love that I can educate my clients during a game drive. The most difficult thing about being a guide is that everyone shows up with different expectations for what will happen on a game drive. Some people want to see specific animal that is very rare to see, even in Tanzania, like the Black Rhinoceros. I will always put all my effort into making these expectations come true, though.
I always wanted to work with Easy Travel ever since I started working. I got a chance to interact with other guides who worked with them in my years starting out in the safari industry, and their company always stood out to me. I could clearly see how happy their team was, and they spoke often about how Easy Travel prioritized their guides and trained them to improve their education. They also always had great vehicles that got serviced regularly, meaning I wouldn’t have to worry about that on safaris.
People in my community tend to describe me as a peaceful and co-operative person. I try to be as friendly and open as possible, and I am always keen to help out people in need. I got married in 2019 to my wife Angel and we are blessed to have a one-year-old baby boy. My wife is a teacher, and we live in Arusha.
Favorite Park in Tanzania
My favorite is Tarangire National Park due to the beautiful scenery and swamps which provide a sanctuary to many animals and incalculable bird species that can be seen and admired throughout the year. Tarangire is also the best place to see huge numbers of elephants compared to other parks in Africa. I have learned a lot about elephant behavior through watching them in Tarangire, and I still learn and enjoy the nature there whenever I visit.
I like all wild animals although the spotted hyena may be my favorite. The hyena belongs to the Hyaenidae family, and Crocuta Crocuta is their scientific name. Hyenas are successful hunters as well as scavengers. They also do a lot of their hunting in groups. Hyenas are incredibly strong and have powerful jawbones – they can break bones and digest skin and bones which have been sitting in the wild for over 50 years! They also play an integral role in cleaning our national parks through their scavenging.
I really like to eat my traditional food – banana with meat. It is tasty and healthy, and I can stay full for a long time without getting hungry when I eat this.
I like jogging and exercising at the gym. This is because I want my body to be active and healthy all the time!
Favorite TV Show
I like watching sports and my favorite is boxing.
Favorite Singer / band
I like Diamond Platnumz – he is a singer who can introduce our country to the rest of the world and educates people about Tanzania.
10 Questions with JIMMY
Tanzania is a country blessed with all the resources needed for an enjoyable vacation. Tanzania has beautiful natural wildlife to explore – we have the world-famous Serengeti National Park, which is well known as a home of the big cats and the Great Wildebeest Migration. There are also many other parks, reserves, and conservation areas that are authentic and cater to the needs of clients who want to experience wildlife.
The most incredible thing I can remember is one day at the Mara River in Serengeti National Park, I saw a hippo feeding on the food inside a wildebeest stomach, which had been killed by a crocodile when crossing the river.
My favorite tour is a 6-day itinerary below. I like this program because it isn’t rushed and gives clients a great chance to explore the northern circuit parks and experience our local culture.
Day 1: Pick up from the airport and overnight in Arusha.
Day 2: Drive to Mto wa Mbu for a cultural walking tour with local lunch, then drive for an afternoon game drive in Lake Manyara National Park.
Day 3: Drive to Serengeti National for a half-day game drive.
Day 4: Full-day game drive in Serengeti.
Day 5: Half-day game drive in Serengeti then drive to Ngorongoro for overnight.
Day 6: Half-day game drive to Crater then drive to Arusha/airport for departure.
Easy Travel is the best choice because they are incredibly well organized. Every aspect of the company is focused on client comfort, so we try to make your trip as easy and as pleasurable as possible. Right from booking through to the end of your trip, Easy Travel is incredibly reliable.
My favorite month is September because it’s the dry season and easy to drive everywhere in the park to search for animals, especially big cats.
The Mara River crossing is my favorite part of the wildebeest migration, although all parts of the migration circle are outstanding. I like to see animal actions – especially when crocodiles try to catch the wildebeest when crossing the river to the neighboring Masai Mara Reserve.
There are a lot of things that clients don’t expect and a big one is that a lot of clients don’t expect to see animals up close, so they bring their big cameras with long lenses. However, a lot of animals are comfortable with coming right up to the vehicle and even lounging on top of it!
I like many cultural practices from our different tribes, but the practices from Masai culture are my favorite. I like the way they dress; the shukas and shangas on their legs, hands, and necks. They look very beautiful to me, and I try to buy some of their cultural products and keep them in my house or to give to my friends as gifts.
Asante Rafiki – Thank you friend – Gracias amigo
Hakuna Matata – There is no problem – No hay problema
Kwaheri Rafiki – Goodbye friend – Adios amigo
I have a great ability to imitate the vocal range of animals – this is difficult for other guides to do!