We spoke with Alfred Izauri Lagweny, the wonderful guide at Elephant Pepper Camp, this month to learn more about why he became a guide, what he loves about his work and why the property is favourite amongst guests.
How did you become a guide?
I was born in the Central part of Kenya, on the northwest side of Mount Kenya, next to one of the most famous wildlife conservancies called Olpejeta Conservancy, which is near Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.
I remember back in the 1990s when I was attending school in my small village called Segera, our grandparents used to teach us every day before going to school that we always needed to learn and spot the signs of the wild on our way to school, from footprints to listening to their sounds, including some birds singing, for clues of any danger ahead. That's how it all started when I was a young boy. I love it to this day.
Why did you become a guide?
I became a guide because it's the best office ever and it gives me an opportunity to meet with people from different parts of the world. It allows me to see animals in their natural habitat which is my passion.
How long have you been guide at Elephant Pepper Camp?
It's always good to part of highly reputable company like Elewana Collection and I have been guiding here for over a year. Previously, I worked with camps in Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia.
What makes Elephant Pepper Camp special from a wildlife viewing perspective?
Elephant Pepper Camp is located in the core area of the Conservancy. Our camp is surrounded by animals from all sides. We have a swamp, the elephant maternity ‘room’, salt lick and water hole close to our camp. Our restaurant has the best viewing area. All of our rooms have a wide view of the plains where all animals come to graze. Guests watch all of these animals from the balcony of their rooms.
What is your most memorable animal sighting?
Wow. A few months ago something unbelievable happened. One morning close to the Elephant Pepper Camp, I was with two photographer guests. At around 6.30 a.m., we come across three male lions from one of three main prides of lions. We see them often. In our presence, they killed one male lion from a different pride; it took 30 minutes for the three very strong unmatched male lions to kill that poor male lion from a different pride. It was so brutal. Truly, it's so tough to be a male lion.
What’s your best tip for avoiding the crowds on safari?
I always consider the Conservancy rules and regulations; I honour our company’s guide code of conduct. I know that I have an obligation in conservation matters. I have a role to play in bequeathing the next generation of this treasure. I make my guests aware of this as well.
What are your tips for guests who are coming on their first safari?
Before they arrive in the country, it is very important for them to read a few things about our country, the people, the culture, and the weather. It is equally very critical to book into reputable hotels such as Elewana. It helps a lot for them to express their expectations to the booking agents so that their expectations are matched well to avoid disappointments. They need to know that Kenya has a lot to offer, and that Kenyans are very welcoming.