Best Safari Guide Wanderlust World Guide Awards 2019
You generally hear the rumbling laugh before you catch sight of him, which is saying something for his laugh as he towers over most, even Maasai. Adept with families, photographers, honeymooners or whoever we throw at him, he is an integral part of the Bush Camp Holy trinity.
James Nampaso picked up the prestigious accolade of Best Safari Guide at the Wanderlust World Guide Awards 2019. Over 4000 guides received nominations, he now owns this covetous prize. 12 years ago James was a tent attendant. We are all just so proud.
This enterprising mechanic started oiling the wheels of Kicheche Landcruisers eight years ago. Full of drive and determination with no little pedal to the metal, he successfully steered himself through Koyaiki guiding school and earned his Kicheche colours, passing his Silver level guiding exam in 2019.
A hugely popular guide, nicknamed ‘Lucky, the leopard whisperer’ as he has an uncanny knack of spotting these elusive cats, which are even more so in the rarefied air of Laikipia.
Photography, tick, families, tick, spotting skills, tick, sense of humour … many ticks, Johnson is one of a kind. Normally resident at Valley Camp this magnificent Maasai knows every acacia, cat and termite mound in all three Conservancies. He works tremendously hard every day without fail and is NEVER without a big smile on his face. With children he is like the pied piper and it seems that way with elusive wildlife too as he leads them all a merry dance with his gentle yet persistent tune. We are very glad Johnson found us, he is hugely popular, a big asset and sparkling example to all.
Whenever there is a good sighting in Olare Orok conservancy or the reserve the chances are Charles was there first. This broad-shouldered, softly spoken Kikuyu is a rock for Kicheche, consistently one of our most requested guides.
To be in the shadow of the ‘trinity’ may spook some guides, not Nelson. He knows every blade of grass of the conservancy and seemingly is on first name terms with all the predators, this is quite an ask as this particular area has the only growing lion population in Africa. Top man, top guide.
Patrick is not only a truly outstanding guide in every aspect, he is also a very intelligent man who can discuss traditional Maasai dancing with the same vim and vigour as he can gestation periods. He is Kicheche to the core, he was once asked what he likes best about his job ‘ hearing that people are returning and requesting me as their guide again’, he must really like his job then as he gets asked this a lot.
Simon Alepel Lomelo
Whether he does have mystical skills in locating wild dogs is still under debate but he is frankly astonishing when it comes to canids and other predators for that matter. An ardent twitcher from Naivasha and upcoming photographer.
His guests have made comments that he’s careful and sensitive to their needs. Knowledgeable, considerate and very sensitive to all safari-goers needs.
If this young man is the future of the Mara, we are in safe hands. Simply a brilliant guide, silver qualified, looking to increase his carat value, he is a prized asset. This is a man who can hold a deep conversation
with a full vehicle, sipping his chai whilst looking over his shoulder driving on lumpy granite … and still spot a leopard cub.
Another top graduate from the guiding school (which Kicheche sponsors) Bernard is home grown from Ole Sere and revels in the continual success of the Mara Naboisho conservancy, his own back yard. Regularly provides ‘Spots’ of the week and is a fantastic birder.
Seven years ago Benja was a tent assistant. No longer, he is now one of our most senior and accomplished members of the guiding inner circle. He is not only another of the top spotters, he also has a wonderful temperament.
Lean, keen and often seen, David is making large areas of Mara North his own. He has the uncanny ability of not only finding often notoriously elusive game but also being in the right place when the action starts.
Another extremely popular guide, Jimmy is also incredibly hard-working as well as a tremendous spotter. Whether it is bee eaters, hyena pups or serval, Jimmy misses nothing. It is a ridiculous CV for one so comparatively young.
Past through guiding school with flying colours, George has family connections all over the Mara but is never happier than when guiding. Thoughtful, quietly spoken and thorough, he has a fantastic future with us.
Passionate about guiding. Francis has guided hundreds of photographers and is very good with birders and families.
Lively guide with outstanding humour and also very popular with families.