Through the eyes of Sinia Hudson Nchoe

Q. Your story is especially interesting: from askari to guide, and long days spent self-teaching about nature. What triggered your passion for nature and for the profession of guide?

A. I always wished to become a guide and believed I had the knowledge in a traditional sense but needed to get to grips with everything in the books as well. It was fun and I learnt a lot. I also learnt a lot from our other guides and used their stories for inspiration.

Q. What is the most exciting / memorable story / sighting?

A. One day at the river when we were waiting for the wildebeest crossing I was watching the crocs to see if they would go for the wildebeest. Suddenly we saw a hippo come from nowhere and take a wildebeest. This is unheard of behavior and was very interesting.

Q. Why do you love Kenya?

A. It is my home! I am very proud to be Kenyan.

Q. What’s the strangest / funniest thing you have ever been asked?

A. Is it possible for a dik dik to kill a leopard!?

Q. What makes Saruni different?

A. Extremely high standards for the guests and the work done with the community are why I am proud to work with Saruni.

Q. What is your favourite animal species in the Mara?

A. Cheetah – very fast and the only the cat that does not eat carrion. It always takes fresh meat it has killed itself.

Q. What does it mean to be a Masaai in today’s modern world? How do you balance traditional way of life and modern way of life?

A. We are seeing lots of differences between traditional ways of life . For example to communicate we now use a phone whereas before we had to use smoke signals or travel for many days. It is good for us and we are benefiting from it. With our culture, however, we are getting worried. Education, inter marriage, religion all mean that the young Maasai have a wider choice of what they want to do and it is very interesting times. For example, young men no longer spend the years from 14-18 years old as a Maasai warrior going to protect the villages but go to school and church.

Q. A lot of people don’t know that the Maasai never hunted the wild animals. Can you explain why?

A. The reason is that we keep domestic animals. We believe that we were created by God and God gave us the cow. All cows are ours and they are all we need to survive. All other meat is not valued and therefore not good. Finally, we believe if we eat other meat then our cattle will run out and the tribe will die out.