Fabled for being the five most dangerous and difficult animals to hunt, the Big Five are now the most sought-after animals to capture on a point-and-shoot. Whilst sitting firmly at the top of every safari checklist, nature’s most magnificent animals are as elusive as ever before, making tracking them an exhilarating and unforgettable adventure. Home to all five showstoppers, the national parks of South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia and Botswana, are excellent destinations for a chance to see them all. On foot, by horseback or in the comfort of a 4x4, traversing the plains of sub Saharan Africa in search of these celebrated animals is the undisputed original safari experience.
Day in the life of a safari guide
With over a decade of experience, Mara guide William Ole Santian has to be one of the most knowledgeable, friendly and welcoming guides we have come across on safari. He tells us what it is like to be a safari guide in the Masai Mara.
For me, the Masai Mara is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. For a wildlife experience it is number one – there is no better place to be – it is paradise for game-viewing. The density of game is great, and the open plains are amazing. It is full of lions, my favourite animal. They are not too different to other cats – they are very social and look very similar to each other. However if you look a bit closer they are very different individually – you can identify lions by their whisker spot patterns.
One of my most exciting animal encounters was seeing a pangolin (a scaly anteater) being rolled like a ball by a group of lions. Amazingly it survived! For our guests, an average day usually starts with an early morning game drive, with a stop for a picnic breakfast, then back to lodge for lunch and a well-earnt rest. Do another game drive in the afternoon combined with a refreshing sundowner, and then back to the lodge for more drinks around the campfire and dinner.
While my guests relax, I am always busy behind the scenes making sure my vehicle is maintained and that the cool box is always fully stocked. It might sound like a routine, but the best part of my job is that every day is different. Every day on safari is unique and you are never certain what you will see, no matter how long you have been a guide. The Mara is a wonderful office. I also love learning all the differences between my Maasai culture and the western culture of my clients. I get to know each of them individually as they have the same guide for the duration of their stay. Some even add me on Facebook afterwards so I have many friends around the world!
William is the manager at Saruni Wild and can be requested as a guide for guests staying here at an additional cost and subject to availability.