I have decided to pay tribute to those persons I consider to be the most important on a photographic safari . . . I'm referring to the guides I work with in each African destination. Without them we would be lost in the bush and most of all we would most likely miss out on the best opportunities, photographic ones that is. When you have a limited amount of time and a vehicle full of excited photographers optimising our time when searching for the perfect moment is key.
This first post will be about Godwin, known among locals as Ngushway but in reality he is the Eagle of The Serengeti disguised as a human. I am NOT joking, his eyes can see far far and beyond and can easily spot a Lilac Breasted Roller perched on tree stump 2 miles away . . . remarkable is the word that comes to mind.
The man that is easy to get a smile from . . .
So lets get a little more intimate with this human being. I wanted to know more about the man so I asked him about his favourite things, his goals, his dreams and more. Here is what came out of our talks when there was nothing our guests could shoot at.
Date of Birth - 30th of August 1977
Place of Birth - Arusha
Marital Status - Happily married
Children - Just 4 . . . 2 boys and 2 girls
Years Guiding - 13 years at Maasai wanderings makes him the most experienced
Current Job - Passionate guide at Maasai Wanderings
Previous Jobs - 9 Treks to Mount Kilimanjaro between 2002 and 2003
Godwin with his Toyota feeling at home on the open plains of The Serengeti
Allow me to say one thing about Godwin . . . maybe two. He is truly and I mean truly passionate about what he does and this passion results in the most amazing experience when in the bush with him for the first time. Finding a guide in Africa that knows most if not all the latin names of the species we encounter is difficult to say the least. His knowledge of the Serengeti is astounding and safari after safari he never fails to impress me with something he says, knows or talks about.
Lets continue with some facts that will help us discover more about Godwin. His initial training took place in Mount Meru. After starting his career as a guide he continued to attend training courses in Tarangire National Park and Lake Manyara National Park. I asked him about his favourite location . . . I knew that Ndutu was the answer. Ndutu is located in southern section of the Serengeti ecosystem. Despite appearing to be part of the Serengeti it is in fact part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Godwin knows this place like the back of his hand. The open plains that head to Southern Serengeti are endless and it gets to a point where you see nothing around you for miles. I have seen many guides get lost here . . . Not Godwin.
Never gets lost but does get stuck occasionally
Which are his favourite species and why ? He did not hesitate to say Elephants are his favourite mammal because of their incredible intelligence. They never cease to teach you Godwin says. I then asked about his favourite bird and the Southern Ground Hornbill came out on top. Why ? A fascinating way of building nests, caring for their chicks and behaviour in general. So after clarifying favourite species I had to know what his best ever sighting had been so far . . . 3 Cheetah siblings killed a fully grown Wildebeest in Ndutu after 9 long hours following the cats. Next up was a leopard that had killed a baby wildebeest, carried it up a tree and started feeding from the nozzle which is extremely rare as they usually start from behind. I am happy to say that I was with Godwin on this sighting.
The Leopard sighting That Godwin's has pointed out as one of his favourites
Godwin will always find time to help my guests with sightings
Godwin will always find time to share the enthusiasm of my guests
So, after knowing about his favourite African creatures and favourite sightings I had to know about the most intense moment ever experienced in the bush. It was at night after work when he decided to call his wife. Since the network coverage is not great he went to a spot he knew he could call from . . . To his surprise he found himself talking to his wife in the exact spot where a Lioness decided to spend the night with her cubs. Fortunately Godwin was able to hang up and leave unharmed.
Group shot before saying goodbye
Very special connection between these two . . .
Making sure the Perfect Moments are captured.
Where would Godwin like to guide if it wasn't in the Serengeti ? Kituvo National Park is his choice. It's an island in the Western side of Tanzania and in his opinion the best for birds and flora. Two things by the way he knows plenty of.
And what would be a country he would like to visit and has not yet ? South Africa was his choice because he would like to compare it with Tanzania after all the amazing things he has heard about the southernmost country of the African continent.
Now, moving into more casual things like food, hobbies, music and movies . . . Well, farming is his hobby when he is back home between safaris. He likes to grow corn, beans and sunflowers. Godwin's preferred food is Nyama Choma ( of course ) and Ndizi. Ndizi is the Swahili word for plantains and Nyama Choma are the Swahili words for roasted meat. When it comes to music R&B is what rocks his world with R. Kelly being his favourite. His movie is Rambo. I hope he is referring to the first one because the sequels . . .
So this is the man I have as my trustworthy guide and friend when in Tanzania. I hope you all have the opportunity to meet him one day. It will be unforgettable.
Godwin posing nicely next to the guy that just wrote this post.