Thomson Tackles Safari Guide Health and Fitness

Written by Thomson Safaris

We have a deep relationship with the safari guides in Tanzania. In fact, the average Head Guide has worked with Thomson Safaris for over 20 years! Most of our guests build strong relationships with their guides over just a few days. Imagine our feelings after two decades!  They’re not just a piece of the organization – they’re a part of the family.

When Phanuel Saimon, a Head Guide and longtime friend, passed away unexpectedly last year, the guides agreed to start some sort of health and training initiative. Reportedly, few guides took the time to attend regular checkups, and that made some nervous about their general health.

Say no more! Eager to help, Rick Thomson and Judi Wineland scheduled a visit from a health and nutrition expert in the area. Here he is collecting data from the team!

safari guide health and fitness weigh-inArusha staff collecting health stats for safari guides

Ninety percent of the guides participated, attending informational training sessions and receiving a Body Mass Index reading as a health baseline. From there, many were ready to hit the ground running – literally!

Starting One Stride at a Time

“More than half of the staff decided to start jogging and have a diet plan to make us healthier and stronger – to perform our duties well and make a healthy organization,” said Elizabeth Mwakajila, FoTZC (Focus on Tanzanian Communities) Project Coordinator. “For us, being healthy will transform the health behavior for our family as well.”

Elizabeth has been an absolute role model, walking over 3 miles every morning and 8 miles on Saturdays. But she’s not the only inspiring personality on the team.

Leonard Temba created a running and exercise group, gathering the staff he works with to jog a new running trail in the Eastern Serengeti camp, which they affectionately call the Judi Tracking Trail. Apparently, it’s not so surprising to find them running with guests as well!

Leonard’s big goal is more than a daily jog, though. He and fellow Head Guide Hashim Kindu plan to take over the Ngorongoro Marathon, arranging a 1,000-person race through one of Tanzania’s most iconic locations. For Leonard and Hashim, this won’t be their first time participating in the race.

Their Health, Our Commitment

Health is an incredibly important part of Thomson Safaris’ work. Ethical employment opportunities have been a cornerstone of the company’s mission since its inception in 1981. To us, that doesn’t just mean hiring locally in Tanzania and providing some of the highest wages in the industry. It means providing excellent health care and access to health care opportunities, too.

We’re thrilled to see guides leading the charge! Maybe we’ll start a run club in our Watertown, MA office…

We’ll keep you posted.