MEET OUR SAFARI DRIVER GUIDE: Sudy Juma Mwanga
I realized I wanted to be a guide 20 years ago when I used to see my brother (who was a guide) coming home in his safari car and explaining to us all about his trips! He basically taught me how to drive a car and gave me some hints about customer care and tour guiding. From there I was inspired and planned to become a guide. After I completed my secondary school, I joined Sila Vocation Training Centre and took the Wildlife Management course where I learned about mammals, anthology, hepatology, botany, archeology, culture, ethics of tour guiding, first aid, and Spanish.
I did my field study in Tarangire, Lake Manyara, and Ngorongoro where I practically digested what I learned theoretically in college. The field study helped me understand different game drive routes, ranger post allocations, and the accommodations that are inside the parks. I secured my wildlife certificate after two years of study and practical experience. After that, I started applying for jobs and have been a tour guide ever since!
The best part about being a guide is when I get to meet different people from different countries and learn about who they are and where they come from. I wouldn’t have become a guide if I didn’t enjoy learning, so this is one of my favorite things about being a guide. During my guiding career, I have come across a few challenges – sometimes sick clients, sometimes animals wanting to attack the vehicle, sometimes even getting stuck in the mud! Most of the time, though, things work out perfectly.
I chose to work with Easy Travel because it is a medium-sized company that is successful and not so big that it stops caring about its employees. It is best to work with a company like Easy Travel because it provides great service to its workers and clients alike.
People describe me as a good guy because of how I like to explain things calmly and patiently to people. I married my wife in 2007 and we have 2 kids – both are girls. My first born is 13 years old and is starting secondary school. My second born is 7 years old next year and she will be starting primary school. Our home is in Sakina, about 7 kilometers from Arusha.
Favorite Park in Tanzania
To be honest, all national parks are my favorite. I don’t have a specific park that I can say I love the most because each park is unique. For example, Tarangire is famous for elephants and Baobab trees, Lake Manyara is famous for its bird species, Serengeti for big cats and the Great Migration, and Ngorongoro Crater for the black rhino. Every place has its thing, and all are incredible for different reasons!
I really like all animals because each one has their own unique characteristic that cannot be found in another. However, I think my favorite is the wildebeest. Wildebeests can smell and detect rain from far away and migrate to the rainy areas to find water and fresh pastures. These are low grazing animals that don’t settle in one place for long and are always migrating for nourishment, hence the Great Migration. Incidentally, if there is no rain, a pregnant wildebeest can hold in her babies until its rains so the newborns can get fresh grass to feed on!
I like ugali because it is a Tanzanian food which I have eaten since I was a kid. It makes me strong and gives me enough energy to perform my job well. If a week passes without it, I feel like I am losing both energy and weight!
I like to watch rally. I used to watch it either live in the street or on television at home. Riding my bicycle is a favorite hobby of mine too.
Favorite TV Show
I like to watch news channels such as BBC, Al Jazeera, and news from our local channels. I also like to watch football – Manchester United is my favorite club in Europe and Simba Sport Club is my favorite in Tanzania.
Favorite Singer / band
I like reggae, hip-hop, and sometimes Lingala or Congolese music. Koffi Olomide, Diamond Platnumz, Ali Kiba, and Professor J are my favorite musicians.
10 Questions with sudy
Tanzania is the best place to visit because first and foremost, it is a very peaceful and safe country with hardly any strife to speak of. Tanzania is also blessed with incredible natural phenomena, like the tallest mountain in Africa, beautiful beaches in Zanzibar, the biggest animal mass migration, and some of the most remarkable national parks and conservation areas in the entire world.
When you are a tour guide for 17 years, you get the opportunity to see a lot of incredible sights. One experience that stands out was in the Ndutu region with my clients: four cheetahs came and jumped on top of our vehicle’s roof. Two of them were inspecting the inside of the vehicle and two were looking out into the wilderness. I told my clients to stay calm and not to show any sign of movement so they would not attack us and leave us alone. Luckily, after about 20 minutes they dropped off the top of the vehicle and went on their way. It was the first time I had ever come across this situation, and I will never forget it.
Easy Travel offers a lot of enjoyable tours, but this is my favorite. It offers the opportunity to explore the northern circuit parks including the Great Migration of Wildebeest in northern Serengeti. The best time for this tour is from late July to October.
Day 1: Arrival and overnight in Arusha city.
Day 2: Game drive in Tarangire National Park – Overnight in Tarangire.
Day 3: Game drive in Lake Manyara National Park – Overnight in Lake Manyara.
Day 4: Afternoon game drive in central Serengeti – Overnight in central Serengeti.
Day 5: Drive to northern Serengeti for Migration viewing- Overnight in north Serengeti.
Day 6: Full day Migration viewing – Overnight in north Serengeti.
Day 7: Morning game drive in north and evening game at central Serengeti + Overnight.
Day 8: Morning game drive central Serengeti and overnight in Ngorongoro.
Day 9: Crater tour – JRO for Zanzibar extension or departure.
Easy Travel is the best choice for guests because they truly provide excellent services to clients throughout their trips. They can customize and alter trips to fit client needs for a good mixture of both nature and Tanzanian culture. They also have well-maintained vehicles for smooth safaris on what can sometimes be bumpy roads.
Dry season months between August and September are probably my favorite (although I like different months for different reasons) because I can drive through parks without the possibility of getting stuck in wet conditions. There are also higher concentrations of animals near water sources in the parks, so it can be easier to find them.
The Mara River crossing is my favorite part of the Migration, although the whole Migration circle is brilliant. When you watch the river crossing, there is a high probability of seeing crocodiles trying to hunt the wildebeest from the river or lions who lounge by the shore and watch for the weak wildebeest to identify themselves by breaking their legs on stones in the water.
Most people don’t expect to see a lot of wild animals before coming to Tanzania – maybe only a few here and there. After they complete their safaris, however, they change their thinking and become natural ambassadors of Tanzania when they return to their home country, telling all their friends and family to visit us!
I find all the cultural practices from more than 120 tribes here fascinating. However, I think I like the Maasai tribe most of all. They have a ceremony called orpull, which I find exceptional. A group of older male adults of the tribe will leave and go to a special location in the bush to slaughter cattle in order to improve the health of the tribe by using it to make a special soup. The Maasai are very fervent about protecting their culture and are very proud of it.
Karibu sana – You are most welcome.
Asante sana – Thank you very much.
Kwaheri – Goodbye.
Sometimes I can call to lions by roaring like them and hear them responding! I can do it for some bird species too.