A Day in the Life of a Kenya Safari Guide
As anyone lucky enough to go on safari will tell you, it isn’t only the animals that make the safari unforgettable… it is also your guide. He is the expert that knows the land and wildlife so well that you are assured of an exciting safari. Your guide’s training and years of experience will not only bring an insider’s knowledge to your adventure but a personal connection to the natural world all around.
A 19-year veteran Kenya safari guide, Daniel Musyoki is only happy when his clients are happy with their safari. “I want to give them memories they will cherish for the rest of their life. When I look at them, I hope to see that they are really satisfied with what they have seen.”
Born in eastern Kenya, Daniel was always fascinated by the animals he saw growing up, but his first love wasn’t the drama of nature but rather the drama of the stage. Daniel dreamed of being an actor. But then a good friend took him on a safari to the Tsavo and Amboseli parks and suddenly he was hooked on the wildlife of Kenya.
“Something I came to realize – nature – you cannot get tired of nature. It is so satisfying. It is never the same regardless of how many times you do safari.”
Enrolling in a college program for budding guides, Daniel studied in the classroom and the field. He had to pass a series of rigorous exams and then began his apprenticeship in the company of an experienced guide.
In time, Daniel learned enough on the plains and savannahs to become a lead guide himself. All that happened 19 years ago and today Daniel is one of Natural World Kenya Safari’s most experienced guides.
On a typical safari day, Daniel is up at 4:30 am to get everything ready for his guests, who he meets around 6:30 for the first game drive of the day.
Daniel explains the early morning is the best time to look for lions and the other cats:
“When I leave for the morning game drive, my main agenda is to look for the cats, the lion, leopard, and cheetah. Because that is the time before the tropical temperatures are high. So, when we commence game viewing drives within the National Park we go to their favorite areas, where they love to frequent.”
Daniels says that the elephants, giraffes, buffalos, antelopes, and others are easier to spot as they will be out during the entire day grazing or browsing. But for the big cats, morning is prime time for finding them out in their natural environment as they are hunters.
“We try as much as we can to spot the big cats in the morning. If we don’t spot them, then we have another chance to head in search of them in the evening. But if we see them in the morning then everyone is satisfied.”
Not only are his guests thrilled to spot a lion or cheetah first thing in the day but sometimes some unexpected safari moments occur:
“We try to spend some time with them ,to show guests the animals’ movements, walking around – for example, lion cubs playing with their mother it is a wonderful moment.”
Several hours of safari activity are sure to increase one’s appetite and Daniel heads back to the safari lodge or camp so his guests can enjoy breakfast ,lunch, rest, go swimming, or just admire the environment. The next game drive is usually later in the afternoon, around 4 pm when the temperature begins to drop, and the big cats come out again to hunt.
Daniel confesses that he’s just as excited to go out exploring again as he was in the morning: “It’s always unpredictable. Animals that you might not have seen in the morning you may find in the evening. Other times animals that you saw in the morning you might find again in the evening.”
Depending on the time of year and other factors Daniel may pull over at a scenic spot for a “sundowner”, a leisurely safari time out where guests will be served drinks and enjoy the view.
“I can tell you 99.9% of clients are happy, in a great mood, their spirits are quite high, they are excited…. I am bonding with the clients. They are getting value for their safari. When I look at them, I see the satisfaction that they are really happy with what they have seen.”
Perhaps nothing pleases Daniel as much as the moment when his guests spot their first safari animal. First-time safari-goers don’t even have to spot a lion to be thrilled:
“Especially the first game drive – even the first antelope or first monkey. They yell ‘Stop! Stop!’ they are so excited!”
Daniel laughs recalling the delight he takes in his guests’ enjoyment of their safari adventure. His favorite safari is the 7-day journey that begins in Amboseli Park.
“In Amboseli, the client will have the opportunity to see Africa’s highest mountain, that is Kilimanjaro. Then we have lots and lots of elephants. It’s a small park with a big population of elephants.”
“Then we go to Masai Mara for 3 nights and it is quite satisfying for the clients. You have a big opportunity to see the rest of the big five.”
With his years of shepherding hundreds, if not thousands of guests through the plains of Africa, no moment in Daniel’s vast safari travels moved him as much as the revelations one family experienced upon finishing their safari:
“They didn’t want to leave. The whole family was crying. They had fallen in love with the animals. It was beyond their expectations. They were going to sell everything and come back and settle in Africa!”
According to Daniel, the family is still making plans for their return to Africa. But whether it actually happens or not, he takes pride in the moments he was able to give them:
“To give memories they will cherish for the rest of their life. …. We went to Kenya and it was ‘wow’.”
Such are the memories that Daniel Musyoki creates for his guests.
Get to meet Daniel or another of our many excellent and experienced safari guides when you book your adventure with Natural World Kenya Safaris. Tell us your wishes and we will design a customized safari just for you.
Natural World Kenya safaris is Member No.FA/440 - Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO) bonding scheme. The scheme is insured to guarantee your holiday safari in the unlikely event that a bonded KATO member ceases operating.