Through the eyes of Jimmy Lekiondo

Q. What is the most exciting / memorable story/ sighting?
A. When the black rhinos were reintroduced to North Kenya, I accompanied the team who tracked them for the first time. It was an amazing experience to be part of this team, as it was also the first time for me to see a black rhino. Later, I also got trained on how to track black rhinos and up to today I make use of these skills and cherish these memories.

Q. Why do you love Kenya?
A. Because it is my country and it’s beautiful. I especially like the diversity of the tribes, cultures, landscapes, and animals. It really makes it a unique country!

Q. What’s the strangest / funniest thing you have ever been asked?
A. We were tracking a big black rhino bull and when we saw it, I was asked whether we could get closer and touch it. As it is a wild animal, this is something we cannot do out of respect for the animal and for safety reasons, which I kindly explained to the person asking.

Q. When was the last time the wildlife of Samburu scared you?
A. Once while we were tracking a black rhino bull called Cedric, it became quite aggressive and started running towards us. I was in the front, throwing stones in its direction to scare it off, but Cedric kept on coming. So, in the last second, we moved out of its way, and it ran right past us. Thankfully, no one got hurt but our adrenaline was definitely very high in that moment!

Q. What motivated you to become a guide?
A. As a ranger I was protecting and monitoring black rhinos. Working as a guide, I still feel like I am doing my part of protecting the wildlife by bringing it closer to our guests and sharing with them the importance of protecting the diversity of our wildlife here.

Q. What makes Saruni different?
A. Saruni is situated in an amazing location and having been built in the Kalama Conservancy, it is helping the community a lot. It gave the local people jobs close to their home and the opportunity to interact with people from all over the world.

Q. What is your favourite animal species in Samburu and why?
A. Elephants. I have always felt very comfortable around them and only had good experiences with them. I especially like the rumbling sounds they make when communicating with each other, such a soft sound for such a gentle giant!