Alex was born in Moshi, a town in the Kilimanjaro region, to an advocate father and an entrepreneurial mother who strived to give him and his sister the best possible education. Despite this urban and academic upbringing, Alex felt happiest when he sneaked out at dawn to stalk scrub hares and birds. Over the years his family patiently welcomed home a assortment of unusual pets, including a variety of monkeys.
Initially, Alex studied Business Administration and Information Technology, but the idea of spending life behind a desk made him feel trapped and encouraged him to follow his true passion. He attended FGASA trainings, Botswana Trails Guide trainings, IGS training, First Aid Training, Horseback Safari training and became a member of the Interpretative Guides Society. Having become proficient in guiding day and night game-drives, as well as horse and boat safaris, he found his true calling in guiding walking safaris and training and mentoring fledgling guides.
“Even after 14 years, the Tanzanian bush still fills me with a sense of wonder. It is my true home,” Alex says, “and sharing it with people from all over the world is my passion”.
Tony was born and raised under the shadow of Mount Meru, in a small village near Arusha National Park. Keen to share his passion for nature and wildlife with others, he attended a Tour Guide and International Language college where he completed his advanced diploma in wildlife studies. He furthered his skills by attending several guide-training courses in Tarangire National Park, and a hospitality training in Zanzibar. His first posting was in the Selous Game Reserve where he worked for two years before accepting the challenge to return to his old Tour Guide college as a volunteer teacher. Tony was offered a post as a field guide in Ruaha National Park and stayed there for seven years, specializing in guiding walking safaris, until he was transferred to Northern Tanzania. He has been guiding for 12 years and his passion for learning, and for sharing this knowledge with others, has only increased over time.
Ethan Kinsey was born and raised in a small village near Arusha. Being outside, immersed in nature, has always been a part his life, from catching tadpoles, birding and other outdoor pursuits..
Ethan completed a guiding course in South Africa and is a certified First Aid Wilderness Responder; He holds a post grad degree in Biodiversity Conservation & Management through the University of London.
Upon returning to Tanzania, Ethan began work managing safari camps and lodges in Ruaha and the Serengeti, guiding and leading walks. Since 2008 he has been working as an independent guide and now works with Matembezi. A passionate conservationist and activist, Ethan was a driving force behind the forming of the Tanzanian Interpretive Guides Society. Not only is Ethan considered to be one of the most respected private guides in Tanzania, but also one of the pre-eminent guide trainers in east Africa. He lives with his wife and young daughter in a village outside of Arusha.
Zepha has always been a passionate naturalist. He started his formal training under the Mikumi National Park Park ecologist for over three years in 2000. He then joined Beho-Beho Lodge in Selous working as a resident guide, training as a walking guide and as a safari boat handler. Through the years, he participated in many training programs, from walking safaris guiding in Zimbabwe to human adaptive behaviour and client care workshops. In 2006 he moved to Arusha, and joined Matembezi, where to this day he is one of the most passionate and dedicated guides in our team. A knowledgeable guide, Zepha led safaris all over Tanzania and participated in many scientific forays to pursue his passion for wilderness and wildlife. He is a member of the Interpretative Guide Society as well as the Red Cross of Tanzania. When not on safari, he resides in Arusha.
Isaac Schon, Belgium
Seba was born in Mbeya, in Tanzanian’s southern highlands, and came to Arusha in pursuit of his wildlife passion. He enrolled at Mt. Meru College in 2000, attaining an advanced diploma in tour guiding. In the year 2004, he started guiding with Aberkrombie and Kent, and in the year 2005, he joined Matembezi, guiding throughout Tanzania. Seba is our linguistic wiz-kid, speaking no less than 6 languages, and guiding in Italian, Spanish, French and English, apart from his native Kiswahili. He is happy-go-lucky in nature with a great sense of humour, which he loves sharing with his guests. Seba is the envy of his peers, in that he has an uncanny ability to figure out the expectations of each of his guests and fulfil their every wish. When not on safari he lives in Arusha with his wife and two kids.
Shira Lerden, Israel
Since his teenage years, Njano criss-crossed Tanzania’s furthest corners with the Tanzania Bird Atlas Team, led by Liz and Neil Baker; birding, mist netting and ringing. A keen ornithologist, he has since worked with many researchers, exploring the remote montane forests of North Tanzania, extinct volcanoes, and up to the lowland forests of Minziro on the shores of Lake Victoria, bringing to bear his in-depth knowledge of the wilderness and Tanzanian fauna and flora. In 2003 he made the natural switch to wildlife guiding; joining Matembezi in 2009 and has never looked back. His easy manner with people, deep knowledge of the wilderness and vast experience have quickly led him to become one of the foremost Tanzanian guides in northern Tanzania. Njano is fluent in English and Kiswahili. When not on safari he lives in Arusha with his wife and three kids.
Laura Pritchard, USA
Maxi, as he is fondly called by all, followed his passion for wildlife and his dream to work in the field and joined Matembezi in 2008. At the time he was a manager in a flower farm, but he left his successful career in the field and spent the next 3 years doing in-house training in Matembezi – from working in the garage for 6 months learning about vehicle mechanics, and working in the office with the operation and reservation teams, to spending long spells in the field with our various camping units. He participated in training sessions and workshops, and gained important experience, until, at last at 2011, he received his own safari vehicle and started guiding. Maxi has never looked back, he brings to every safari an unyielding commitment, his passion for wildlife and love for Tanzania. A warm, intelligent and caring person, Maxi has become a superb guide, which we are pround to count amongst our best. Maxi is fluent in English, French, Kiswahili and Kimeru. When not on safari he lives in Maji ya Chai with his wife and two kids.
Julius was born in Hai, in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro. In 1998 he joined the Mt. Meru College in Arusha for an advanced diploma in tour guiding. In 2000 after graduation, he started guiding and advancing his knowledge and interest in wildlife. Julius joined Matembezi in 2006, guiding throughout Tanzania, and has been a part of our family ever since. He is one of the backbones of our operation. Julius is warm and welcoming and loves sharing his vast experience and knowledge with our guests. He has built a following of dedicated repeat guests that will only travel with him. Julius is fluent in French, English, Chagga and Kiswahili. When not on safari he lives in Arusha with his wife and two kids.
Natalie Katz, Australia
Hagai, the founder and co-owner of Matembezi, was born in Ethiopia to an anthropologist father and spent his early years there. An avid naturalist he returned to Africa in 1992, and back-packed extensively, exploring the wilderness areas of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa. In 1994 he began guiding wildlife safaris and natural history tours, while traveling further through Africa, the Mascarenes and further afield in Asia and South America, everseeking the best wildlife experiences. In 2001 Hagai made the choice to start his own safari operation in Tanzania, his personal Eden.
Hagai spends his free time exploring, birding and scuba diving in Africa and the Western Indian Ocean basin. Hagai holds B.F.A. in photography from the Bezalel academy of arts in Jerusalem, and is a member of the Interpretive Guides Society. He lives with his wife and daughters in a village outside of Arusha.
Godfrey was born in the Eastern Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania His most special memory as a child was the time he spent accompanying his father in the Mt Kilimanjaro forest collecting honey as his dad was a beekeeper and environment conservator in their village.
Whilst on their honey expeditions, Godfrey was in awe of the wildlife that surrounded him; and was especially fond of the Black and White Colobus Monkeys with their beautiful colours and bushy tails that inspired him to start spending much of his time learning more about nature.
Godfrey has been a safari guide for 8 years and joined Matembezi in 2019.He is fluent in Swahili, German and English. His passion is to show the world how important the conservation of nature is and to share with others the culture of his country and fellow Tanzanians.
Godfrey is extremely passionate and knowledgeable about wildlife and loves keeping his guests very entertained while guiding.
In his free time, he enjoys reading, keeping fit and running marathons.
Duncan was an integral part of the Matembezi family for nine years and is dearly missed by us all every day. Most will remember Duncan’s unwavering passion for wildlife and his excellent guiding skills. What set him apart from the rest was his enthusiasm to learn more about his guests, their cultures and life experiences. He was never without an infectious laugh, genuine smiles, and a constant twinkle in his eye, all of which are just some of his many endearing qualities.
Before his devastating and sudden passing in 2021, Duncan hailed from Moshi in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro. He started his wildlife education early in Miwewe academy in 1999, proceeding to the prestigious Prots school to finish his studies in 2000. After graduation, Duncan began guiding in 2004 for various top-end safari operators, gaining invaluable experience. The Tarangire National Park always held a special place in his heart and is where he spent much of his time, especially in the long dry seasons. Duncan leaves behind a wife and three children.
You are never forgotten and always in our hearts. Rest In Peace dear Duncan.
Erin & Brandon Woodward, USA
Emmanuel was born in Mbuguni Village, located about 50km south of Arusha. As a young boy he would take care of the family’s livestock with a rod in his hand and a hand catapult around his neck for bird hunting as well as for wild animals such as; hares and antelopes in bushes. He went to Mbunguni Primary School where he was amongst the top 5 students in a class of over 100 students at the time.
From 1997 to 2000, he continued his studies at Makiba Secondary School where he was awarded a certificate for secondary education completion. Due to his love for nature, he then began a course at a tourism college for tour guiding and international languages called the Arusha International Languages Instruction & Services (AILIS). He was also awarded a certificate after he joined L’ALIANCE FRANCO TANZANIENNE in 2010 for a French course level B1 and B2 (Independent level).
He was employed as a French teacher for two years. In 2011 to 2014, he became a freelancer driver guide in various tourist companies where he gained much experience for his career as a driver guide. In 2016 to 2017, he attended two short courses for human adaptive behaviour and client care level 1 and level 2 (psychology). He has been with Matembezi since 2017 and is an integral part of the team.