Meet the Special Women of the Nyumba Camps

Written by Thomson Safaris

women camp staffers at thomson safaris

In Tanzania, it’s often challenging for women to find jobs, particularly in industries dominated by men.

Safari travel is one such industry. Work in the Serengeti and other parks is often considered “too rugged” for women. We feel a little differently.

Fair hiring practices are one way to directly impact the prospects of Tanzanian women. It’s empowering and critically important. That’s why women in Tanzania hold esteemed leadership positions in the Arusha offices, and others make up a very special part of the Nyumba Camp staff.

We had the opportunity to catch up with three of these women recently!


Rebeka – Cook

thomson safaris nyumba camp chef rebeka

How did you start working with Thomson?

Thomson has a camp in my motherland village. The company does community outreach, and it is during this time that the owners got to meet the villages. My mother engaged with them, asking if they would be willing to accept her daughter in the camp to learn how to cook.

After years in the kitchen helping cook and learning the skill, I became so good that the manager in charge took me on as lead cook in every Thomson camp, alternating at various locations.


What’s your favorite part about your job?

Preparation before starting specific meals. I believe the outcome of any meal lies on the preparation work.

Also, being out in the bush – the quiet and simple atmosphere.


What’s your favorite memory about Thomson?

Being given a chance to learn. Being taken in as a complete novice and trained how to cook.


What’s an interesting fact about yourself?

I’m a woman bold enough to work in the remote areas among men.


Grace – Trainee Cook Assistant

thomson safaris nyumba camp cook grace

How did you start working with Thomson?

I was offered a chance to train in the kitchen by *Rose, who knew me before and knew I loved cooking – an art I leant from my grandmother… She was an excellent cook.

*Rose Ngilisho, another incredible female staff member in Tanzania, is the Tented Division Director. She was also integral in writing this and collecting information from the team!


What’s your favorite memory about Thomson?

The day I was confirmed as part of the safari crew.


What’s an interesting fact about yourself?

I have confidence interacting with men. They do not intimidate me, as I can do everything they do. When we go out to camps there are no jobs I cannot do. They feel intimidated by my ability to handle hard jobs sometimes better than them.


Neema – Trainee Camp Hand

thomson safaris nyumba camp staff neema

How did you start working with Thomson?

I was called in by Rose, who knew me for a while and knew of my career ladder from selling maize to being a Kilimanjaro porter.


What’s your day-to-day work like?

It’s a lot of small tasks that build up to receiving and serving guests. From getting tent, dining, lounge, and grounds ready to receiving guests. Then clearing up for the next day.


What’s your favorite part about your job?

Serving and interacting with guests.


What’s an interesting fact about yourself?

My adaptability to any environment, and my fun nature sets me apart from other women. I consider myself special in comparison.



Msafiri Kibanga

thomson safaris nyumba camp staff msafari

And we’re fortunate because that passion runs through the whole team. The women wanted to give special credit to Msafiri Kibanga, who has been a mentor for these three from the beginning. From cheering on Grace while she beat her coworkers in time management, to laughing with Neema as she learned the virtues of camp baboon protocol, his support has been constant and deeply appreciated.


Women’s empowerment is part of our history. Judi Wineland was the first female entrepreneur in the adventure travel industry nearly 40 years ago. As our co-founder, the co-owner of AdventureWomen and a co-founder of Focus on Tanzanian Communities –  a philanthropic non-profit that lists women’s empowerment as a key initiative – supporting females is a staple of all our work.