Audley's founder, Craig Burkinshaw, speaks to Christine Malaso Pesi, one of very few female Maasai safari guides in Kenya, based in the Masai Mara
Christine was born in Sekenani village about 10 km southeast of Naboisho Camp in the Narok district in Kenya and is from a large family with three brothers and five sisters.
In late 2011, Christine joined Koiyaki Guiding School inside the Naboisho Conservancy with financial help from her eldest sister in Nairobi. The training at the guiding school lasted a full year. Before her graduation, Christine completed her practical training at Asilia Africa’s Naboisho Camp, and went on to pass her final exams with credit. After her graduation she was given further opportunity to grow and learn from the qualified and experienced guides at Naboisho Camp where she became a trainee safari guide.
Christine's future looks bright, as her friendly and inviting personality together with her passion for wildlife is popular with safari guests visiting Naboisho Camp.
Why did you decide to become a safari guide?
Since my childhood, I have had a big passion for wildlife and the urge to be able to get a job in the travel industry in Kenya.
What is your favourite part of the job?
I really enjoy going on walking safaris in the bush as they give the best chance to experience and to learn more about the smaller details in the ecosystems in Africa.
And the Worst part?
I am very lucky — I don’t think there are any parts of my job that I don’t enjoy.
There are not many female safari guides in Kenya — Why is that?
There is still a belief that safari guiding is for men. Women do not get the opportunities to gain more knowledge of how to develop as a safari guide. Did you face any extra challenges being a Woman in a predominantly male career? No, I believe what a man can do I can do even better!
Do you think more women will start to move into guiding as a job?
Yes, because women are realising they are capable of doing better than men!
What makes the Masai Mara special to you?
The Maasai culture is very important to me, and in terms of wildlife, the annual wildebeest migration is a really exciting time to be on safari. Tell us about your most exciting wildlife encounters. Seeing cheetah hunting is really impressive — watching their skill and speed is wonderful. I have also been lucky enough to witness adult male lion fighting for females and territory.
Which animals are the hardest to find?
Leopard are the most elusive and difficult to see. The aardvark is also hard to see.
What are your plans for the future?
I would like to achieve my gold level qualification with Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association, which is the highest level. Also to be a role model for other girls with aspirations and goals, and to be an ambassador for my country and community.
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