John Ole Nchoe

John was born around 1975 (Maasai have often an approximate idea of their age, because when they are born there are no birth certificates). He grew up in Ngoswani, which is one of the surrounding areas of Saruni Mara. He has 2 wives and is father to 6 children; 4 boys and 2 girls. John has had a typical Maasai upbringing in what is a well-known clan of the Northern Mara region. When asked which is his favourite animal, he answers with a big smile: “Simba, of course!”. In fact, 16 years ago, as a young Maasai warrior (moran), John and 14 of his fellow age-mates took part in the Maasai ritual of killing a lion to proove their masculinity and their adherence to Maasai warfare skills. John was the first one to throw his spear, which was a symbol of bravery and secured his status as one of the most respected elders within the area. In 1993, John traded in his Maasai spear for a pair of Nikon binoculars, becoming a conservationist. He began his career working as a ranger in the Maasai-run rhino sanctuary within in the Olchorro Group Ranch. In 2003, John joined Saruni. As one of Saruni Mara’s first employees, he helped with the construction of the lodge. After two years, it became obvious that his depth of knowledge, his charisma and his infectious laughter made up all of the qualities of an excellent guide. As John wanted the opportunity to become a guide, Saruni decided to sponsor him through the Koyiaki Guiding School. The school is the first school of its kind to be set up to train young Maasai to be qualified professional safari guides. John has been a KPSGA’s bronze level guide since June 2006.