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Mkenda, as he is known, was born in Iringa, Tanzania between Ruaha and Selous Game Reserves. After finishing high school, he attended Mbegani Fisheries College where he obtained his fisheries diploma. He worked as the Coordinator of Fish Farming Project for the Lutheran Church Fish Farming Project for more than three years. He then took a safari guide training course through Conservation Corporation Africa. He enjoyed guiding so much that he worked for CCAfrica as Head Ranger for four years before joining Ranger Safaris in 2001.
Tarangire: …At Tarangire we got our first exposure to Mkenda’s exceptional ability and experience. One morning, we and others observed a leopard cub in a tree near the road and the mother perhaps 100 yards away in a tree by the marsh. We went back in the afternoon and saw the cub sleeping on the ground near the marsh but the mother was not in sight. Other vehicles stopped for brief photos and left. Mkenda said, “I’m going to find the leopard, I know she’s nearby.”
We drove up and down the road, scanning the marsh edge with binoculars. Suddenly, there was an outbreak of guinea fowl alarm calls. Mkenda spotted the leopard moving through the marsh toward the cub. The cub joined her and they picked up a second cub behind some bushes. The three leopards angled toward the road while we kept pace.
A dead tree snag beside the road was perhaps 20 feet tall with a horizontal branch about 10 feet up. The mother leopard climbed it and lay down on the branch stub. The two cubs played, climbed up and lay on top of her…15 feet from us in the vehicle. We watched them for 45 minutes until sunset in perfect light with no other vehicles present.
Mkenda was as thrilled as we were…in 18 years of guiding he hadn’t had an experience like that! Just the leopards and us. At Tarangire we also watched three cheetah cubs wait while their mother went through the bush to make a kill, then we followed them as they caught up with her and the four of them began to feast on the kill.Read More
- Scott and Adelaide Wallinger
We all fell in love with Mkenda and I was close to tears when we had to say good-bye to him at the airstrip near Olakira to board our plane for Rwanda . I really felt like I was saying farewell to a family member, not knowing when I would see him again. He is such a fabulous guide and provided us with some amazing game viewing. He is so passionate about his job and connects so well with his clients. We just can't praise him enough! If he ever returns to the US , please let us know so we can fly him to Seattle for a visit.Read More
- Lisa and John Russell