Mkuyu Guide School
Mkuyu Guide School can be found in Tungamalenga, the last village on the road towards Ruaha National Park. The school is locally run and attracts young people from all over southern Tanzania who aspire towards a career in the safari industry. With a minimum of resources the school has already seen lots of young students come to learn about the bush and tourism in Tanzania. Paul Tickner Safaris has worked with founder Leonard Fidelis since the school began in 2013.
A big thank you to Tandala, Kichaka, Kwihala, Mdonya, Jongomero, Ikuka, Hilltop, Wildlife Connection, WCS, STEP and all the other camps and NGOs who have taken on students from Mkuyu.
When local people start to see the benefit to their livelihoods of having a national park like Ruaha on their doorstep, the goals of conservation become a lot more achievable. Tungamalenga and neighbouring villages see a lot of crop raiding by elephants during the harvest season and local pastoralists also frequently lose their livestock to hyena and lion, understandably this situation creates animosity towards conservation areas. As a safari company, it is our responsibility to foster the development of local communities and help them live sustainably with wildlife.
In 2017, we sponsored Alex Kidunye to attend Mkuyu Guide School for 6 months. Alex is the youngest of 9 children, his father died when he was young and he couldn't finish secondary school because of financial constraints. We met Alex in his home village of Kitisi, the poorest in the area, and after telling him about the guide school; Alex wasted no time in visiting and talking to the students and staff there and quickly decided it was the place for him. Alex has a passion for the wildlife he has grown up around and a desire to learn, he also sees the potentials of tourists coming to see what the area has to offer.
Dec 2017 update: Alex has started his first job at Jabali Ridge, here he is in his smart new uniform! Hongera sana!
In 2018 ourselves and some kind benefactors are sending more students to Mkuyu, pictured here with their field guides and binoculars (not enough of these!)
Ruben Yotham from Songea, Aneth Msemwa from Njombe, Saum Athuman from Songea, Donald Changaa from Mufindi. And James Halula, pictured with his father, who is a local Barabaig and wants to attend Mkuyu so he can teach his people more about wildlife and reduce lion killings.
For 2019 we have three new students attending Mkuyu, with super smart uniforms to boot! We wish Gladness, Joshua and Alexander the very best for their time at Mkuyu. (Joshua and Alexander are not related never mind twins!).
Here are some of the more recent Mkuyu graduates who have gone on to work in the Ruaha area and beyond. Lukasi at Kichaka Expeditions, Zawadi at Tandala Tented Camp, Stella (far right) works as a private guide on Zanzibar , Henry (far left) at Mdonya Old River Camp and Meshaki who works for TANAPA in Ruaha.
If you would like to help; by sponsoring a student, or otherwise please contact us.
Click here for information about conservation and community projects working around Ruaha and Tanzania.