Meet Your Guides: Mustapha Juma

Written by Thomson Safaris

Mustapha Juma with Thomson Safaris guest

Mustapha with Thomson Safaris guest, Robert

After every safari, we hear from guests that their guide was amazing, and that he “must be the best you work with!” At this point, we’ve heard this about every single guide leading our trips!

We know that highly-skilled, friendly, attentive safari guides can make the difference between a good safari and an unforgettable one; that’s why we’re so honored to be able to work with so many amazing individuals, such as:  

Mustapha Juma

Tell us a little bit about your background. Where are you from? Where do you live now?

I’m Maasai, but my family actually moved to Arusha two generations ago, so I’m a “city boy,” born and raised! Now I have my own family there, with four children: two daughters, who are 17 and 12 years old, and two sons, a 15-year old and a 2-year old.


Do you have any nicknames?

I tell guests to call me Musty. Because of my name, not because of my age! [laughs]


What’s your favorite part of your job?

Meeting people. I love getting to hear the stories of people from all over the world. Every person is different, and has stories to tell, and I get to learn about them all—I’m a lucky guy!


What’s your favorite animal to see on safari? What do you want to see more of?

My favorite is the cheetah; they’re so beautiful and graceful, and you don’t see them every day. I’d love to see more striped hyena. People are used to seeing spotted hyena, and they’re not uncommon, but the striped hyenas are much rarer. They’re smaller, and they look more like dogs, but they’re usually only out at night. I’ve only seen them once or twice, in Ndutu.

striped-hyenaStriped Hyena
By Just chaos (originally posted to Flickr as Striped Hyena) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Do you have a favorite park?

Hands down the Serengeti. I really think it’s the best park for safari in the world. It’s huge, which means you have a chance to see all kinds of different animals. It’s a world heritage site—that’s how amazing it is! But for me, there’s another reason it’s my favorite, which is that it used to be part of Maasailand, so every time I visit it feels like I’m coming home.


Do you have any extra-special safari stories? Strange things you’ve seen?

One time I saw a mother zebra trying to defend her newborn from a male zebra. The baby was confused, because every time it went near its mother, the male zebra would attack the mother. Finally, the baby just parked itself next to my Land Rover—I guess it felt safe near me!

Another time, I was in the southern Serengeti in November [during the short rains] and the vehicle got stuck. One of the guests helped me gather sticks and rocks to place under the tires, and we got out just fine. Then, what we thought was a setback turned out to be the most amazing part of the day; when we were driving back, we passed under a tree we’d seen on our way in. This time, though, seven lionesses were in the branches! I don’t think we’d have seen that if we hadn’t happened to get stuck for a few minutes!


What do you want people to know about your homeland?

Tanzania is the most peaceful country in Africa, and we have the best parks on earth—I really believe that! There’s so much we can share with travelers: amazing wildlife, many different cultures, and the beauty of the earth. I want them to know they should visit as soon as possible! [laughs]