Discover the Trailblazing Safari Guide Transforming Women’s Roles in East Africa

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Trailblazing Female Safari Guide

“Wildlife and I share a unique bond. I can’t quite put it into words, but these magnificent creatures ignite a spark in me,” muses Evalyn Sintoya Mayetu, standing amid a buffalo herd soaking up the Kenyan sun. “I feel like I’m in my element when I’m among them.”

Currently working at Asilia Africa’s recently revamped Naboisho Camp, situated in the sweeping landscapes of Mara Naboisho Conservancy in the vast Maasai Mara, Evalyn finds her job particularly rewarding. “You know, when you love what you do, each day becomes a treasure,” she remarks, reflecting on the sheer joy she gains from observing wild animals like cheetahs, lions, and elephants in their natural setting. “Being a guide is my calling.” She chuckles, “Honestly, I kind of pity my bosses, cooped up in their offices all day. Couldn’t be me.”

Years back, Evalyn broke new ground as Kenya’s first female guide to earn a Silver Level qualification from the Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association, signifying her exceptional skill and knowledge in the domain. Now, she has her eyes set on a Gold Level certification—no small feat in an industry that remains largely dominated by men. Even today, female safari guides are a rare breed, not just in Kenya but across the continent.

Captured by George Turner for Asilia Africa, the elusive leopards that travelers might glimpse on safaris in the Greater Maasai Mara are notoriously difficult to track down, thanks to their secretive disposition.

What makes Evalyn’s journey even more extraordinary is her background. Raised in a rural community where formal education was not a priority, she bucked tradition by fleeing her home at the young age of nine to pursue an education. Assisted by a supportive aunt, she navigated through both primary and secondary education, excelling academically while rejecting the norms of a domestic lifestyle. Upon high school graduation, her heart was set on the African savannah.

“I grew up surrounded by the wilderness, so it felt like a natural step to become a guide,” she notes. Evalyn fondly reminisces about her early childhood brushes with warthogs and giraffes. “Giraffes are awe-inspiring, especially for a kid. I mean, they’re the tallest animals on Earth! When one looks right at you, it’s like a moment of sheer beauty.”

Motivated to prove that women could go toe-to-toe with their male counterparts, Evalyn gained hands-on experience in wildlife management, juggling part-time work to support her own journey. When she finally snagged a position in the conservancies—those sprawling, animal-rich plains with more stringent visitor regulations than the primary Maasai Mara National Reserve—it felt like she had reached nirvana. Evalyn has been a cornerstone of the guiding team at Naboisho Camp since 2015.

Snapped by Georgina Goodwin for Asilia Africa, the 2023 renovated Naboisho Camp sits adjacent to the Masai Mara National Reserve and offers an ideal launchpad for nocturnal expeditions and on-foot Mara explorations.

Almost a decade into her guiding career, Evalyn still finds joy in every expedition. “Each time of the day carries its own brand of enchantment, but there’s something about the early mornings. A fresh start, teeming with life and energy as if the animals are offering their gratitude for surviving another night. It’s simply magical.”

Evalyn describes the conservancy as her “slice of paradise,” a fitting label for an area dotted with just a handful of camps but boasting one of the world’s highest concentrations of lions. “And, the spirit within the camp is just as intoxicating. With only nine tents, it’s like we’ve custom-crafted our little world. Sometimes when I’m driving solo across the plains, I catch myself tearing up with sheer happiness.”

Plan Your Adventure
For expert guidance on crafting your own safari journey, Asilia Africa has got you covered. To find out more, head over to asiliaafrica.com.
To get your copy of National Geographic Traveller (UK), click here. (Available in select countries only).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Trailblazing Female Safari Guide

Who is Evalyn Sintoya Mayetu?

Evalyn Sintoya Mayetu is a groundbreaking safari guide working at Asilia Africa’s Naboisho Camp, located in Kenya’s Mara Naboisho Conservancy. She’s known for being Kenya’s first female guide to attain a Silver Level qualification.

What makes Evalyn unique in the safari guiding industry?

Evalyn broke barriers as the first woman in Kenya to earn a Silver Level qualification from the Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association. She aims to achieve Gold Level certification, a significant feat in a male-dominated industry.

What conservancy does Evalyn work in?

Evalyn works in the Mara Naboisho Conservancy, a part of the Greater Maasai Mara in Kenya. The conservancy is known for its high concentrations of lions and rich biodiversity.

What motivated Evalyn to become a safari guide?

From an early age, Evalyn felt a deep connection with wildlife. Raised in a rural community without access to formal education, she left home at nine to pursue an education. After excelling in her studies, she followed her passion for wildlife to become a safari guide.

How long has Evalyn been a guide at Naboisho Camp?

Evalyn has been a guide at Naboisho Camp since 2015. She is a cornerstone of the guiding team and has gained significant experience and recognition over the years.

What are some challenges Evalyn faced in her journey?

Evalyn grew up in a rural herding community where children were not formally educated. She broke cultural norms by leaving home at a young age to seek education. She also faced challenges in breaking into a male-dominated field but persevered to attain high-level qualifications.

What times of the day does Evalyn find most magical while guiding?

Evalyn finds the early mornings to be the most magical time of day for safaris. She describes it as a fresh start, teeming with life and energy, as if the animals are offering their gratitude for surviving another night.

How can one plan a trip to Naboisho Camp?

To plan a trip to Naboisho Camp, you can consult Asilia Africa’s expert advisers who can help build your full itinerary. For more information, you can visit their website at asiliaafrica.com.

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9 comments

AnimalLover101 September 4, 2023 - 11:08 am

evalyn is goals! And the camp being eco-friendly would be a plus. Does anyone know if Naboisho Camp has any sustainable practices?

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KevinTheCritic September 4, 2023 - 1:38 pm

This is what we need more of. Women breaking the glass ceiling, especially in non-traditional roles. Kudos to Evalyn and kudos to the writer for bringing this story to light!

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WanderlustingAmy September 4, 2023 - 2:13 pm

Story’s solid, but I wanna know more about the wildlife. what kind of animals are we talkin about here besides lions? Gimme more deets.

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TechNerd September 4, 2023 - 3:31 pm

Is it just me or does anyone else feel the travel bug biting hard after reading this? Need to get to that Naboisho Camp like ASAP.

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EcoChic September 4, 2023 - 11:11 pm

Seriously, why isn’t there a movie about her yet? Her story is gold. Hollywood, are you listening?

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SocialJusticeSteve September 5, 2023 - 2:59 am

leopards are hard to track, huh? Makes me wonder how skilled Evalyn must be to guide in such a diverse ecosystem.

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MovieBuff September 5, 2023 - 3:10 am

I’m puzzled, why aren’t there more female guides? Is it just the cultural thing? Would love a follow-up article on that.

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SafariQueen September 5, 2023 - 3:58 am

Whoa!! Evalyn is my new hero. Leaving home at 9 to find an education? That’s incredible. Makes me wanna pack my bags and go on a Kenyan safari.

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JakeTheExplorer September 5, 2023 - 7:47 am

Woah, Evalyn is a total rockstar! Breaking norms and trailblazin’ in a field dominated by men? Respect!

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