A&K Travel Experts: Touring Tanzania with Emmanuel Mbuya

Meet Emmanuel Mbuya, a passionate Driver Guide who shares his lived experience and local insights on exploring the diverse regions of Tanzania on safari.
September 2020

The landscapes of Tanzania have long captivated travelers, journeying from all parts of the world to catch a glimpse of the local residents of the Serengeti plains and rich forests of the Mahale Mountains. The biodiverse natural wonder of the Ngorongoro Crater leaves even the most seasoned of safari explorers in awe. Now, imagine this was your office.

A&K’s team of dedicated and passionate Driver Guides use their local knowledge and insight to bring our signature safari experiences to life. They work hard using their intimate knowledge of the land to give you the best opportunity to see the local wildlife reveling in their natural habitat, ensuring you leave with memories that last a lifetime. Meet Emmanuel Mbuya, a passionate Driver Guide who shares his lived experience and local insights on exploring the diverse regions of Tanzania on safari.

Tell us about your role, what you do and how long you have been in your role.

I am currently working as a Driver Guide for Abercrombie & Kent, starting my career in the tourism industry in 2010. I’m very passionate about what I do, and am now looking to expand my experience by hosting people from all over the world on tours to showcase the natural beauties of Tanzania (enjoying these wonders myself as I go!).

What inspired you to work in travel?

I have enjoyed the core aspects of being a Safari Guide since I was a child, because I grew up in a key wildlife conservancy area. I love wildlife and natural ecosystems and am very passionate about sharing this with others; so naturally I was drawn to work where I can talk about wildlife and conservation with guests. I have decided to dedicate myself to the tourism sector, as it is the most important lever we have to protect our National Parks, and the best way that I feel I can express my love and passion for my country.

What is your earliest travel memory?

My earliest travel memory was when I travelled with my Dad in his old 110 Land Rover from a small village to a tiny city in the Kilimanjaro region. It was a lengthy and bumpy journey just to meet and greet relatives and friends, and enjoy a gallon of a traditional brew called 'Mbege'. A long journey for a short but memorable gathering before we had to drive back home. I loved the journey because the terrain was so adventurous, especially as we’d had a little rain which made the terrain quite slippery and exciting.

What is your favourite location in the region that you work? Why?

I find it interesting working in different places and parks within Tanzania as each of them has unique characteristics, it is very difficult to get bored while on safari here! That said, my favourite location in the region has to be the spectacular Serengeti, because of its abundance and variety of iconic African wildlife.

What is one of the most interesting things you have learnt through your work?

The most interesting thing I have learnt through my work is 'culture', and by this I mean the importance of understanding different kind of people, from Americans to South Europeans to Australians and many more. Each and every guest has unique requirements depending on where they from and the experiences they have had. As a Driver Guide it’s so important to make sure a guest’s expectations are fully met, regardless of cultural differences, and learning to do that is a particularly special skill.

What is your favourite local experience and your favourite local dish, and where do you get it?

My favourite local experience is meeting and interacting with the Khoisans (the bushmen of the 'Hadzabe' tribe): their way of life and culture is astonishing.

When considering my favourite dishes, I prefer eating greens, organic vegetables and seasonal fruits; Tanzania is lucky to have an abundance of delicious local produce. I also love the rotating menu of Gibbs’ Farm, to me, it offers some of the best meals you can find in Tanzania.

What is something interesting about your region/country that you would like to share with travellers?

The region I come from is best known as the home of the highest peak in Africa: Mount Kilimanjaro. The people living in this area are known for kindness, love, and their dedicated work ethic. Like the rest of the people in Tanzania, we are welcoming and cheerful citizens. The area also includes one of the lowest points in Africa, the depths of Lake Tanganyika.

Can you share your favourite experience you’ve had in your role?

My favourite experiences come from sharing the cultures of local tribes with guests. A big part of this, when we are able to visit a remote village and interact with local communities, is being able to see happy guests who are willing to share knowledge and skills with the locals. Also, a small gesture from the guests such as buying handmade products (earrings, a necklace, bracelets) contributes a lot to supporting women who struggle on daily basis to guarantee a hot meal for their children. These small gestures go a long way and its heart-warming for me to watch these exchanges and their impact.

Did Emmanuel give you a little inspiration for your own safari adventures? Discover how you can witness the wonders of Tanzania and Africa beyond.

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