Tour guiding is a male-dominated career here in Africa but there’s one lady who is setting the pace, gone are the days for stereotyping careers she says and just do what you love, nothing you do will be good enough for everyone so just do what you feel your calling is, had an interview with her and this is how it went

1. Tell us about yourself, where you were brought up, your aspirations as a kid.
I’m Ann Tumpesia, I’m 26years old, born in the heart of the Great Rift valley, Narok county, Transmara west, lolgorian ward. As a kid, I grew up in a culture full of traditions. That means education was not a priority. Something I can say is that I was lucky to be born as the last born of 4.. and that made a difference coz I got a chance to go to school. During our time going to school, I could walk for 10kms every day to school and back in the afternoon. On my way, I could always see different animals as I head to school and I can interpret whether I was safe or not. I could follow animal tracks and poops to get to know if I’m on a safer route or not. And every day was unique to me and my one brother who also got a chance to attend school. As a young kid especially a girl, it was never easy. There were higher chances that I might not have completed my schooling because of culture but thanks to my mom she showed me the right way. When I was 12 years old I lost my mom and I knew this was the end of me. I knew I was going to face the culture once again. This includes (FGM), and early Marriage. I decided to run away from home and I got lucky to find a girl rescue center where I got helped and went back to school. After high school, I knew I was going to make it and not let anything hold me back. I went back home as I knew I was an adult I can make my own decisions.

2. Did you have any other career/job before becoming a guide?
Yes I wanted to be a journalist but I didn’t have money to go to university and before I became a tour guide I worked as a house help for 4 months that’s 2014, then I got some money I went to apply for a dishwashing job in one hotel in Maasai Mara and after 2weeks I got confirmed for the position. This was just the beginning, after a couple of months, the same camp I was working at were looking for waiters and waitresses and since I was learning how to do the waitress job silently I applied for it. A few days later I was confirmed. I got a new job, a new salary, and getting stress free but that was not my stopping point it wasn’t easy either, of course, you’d meet different people you are working with. Some made my working condition hard but I could never give up that easily am a natural fighter. I kept pushing on. At times I wanted to give up but I remember if I stop working hard if I go back to the village I might get married as a sixth wife to someone.  I decided I’m going to work hard for myself.

Ann catching up with one of her guests

3. Why tour guiding and not any other career?
So what made me choose tour Guiding is; 1. I have always been around these animals from my childhood age, and one day as I was still working as a waitress, came a lady named ( Lonah Nabaala) who was having her own guest and she was a guide. One of my colleague waiter said to me “set a table for your fellow lady”. And was like okay.. so I did set a table for her and when she came in for dinner I went ahead and served her and I was feeling deep in my heart that one day I’ll be like her. She gave me more courage to keep chasing what I wanted to do most. I just served her and I decided to ask her some questions which she never hesitated to answer I asked her where I can get the school to study and she told me. On the last day when she was leaving, we exchanged contacts and she promised to keep me posted. And yes she did. One day she asked me if I was free so we can go to a graduation party at the same guiding school and I didn’t want to miss so I asked for permission from my job and one of my colleagues said he was going to work on my behalf for the day. Lonah drove and after few hours we’re in the school since she was one of the alumni she was received and she went straight to have our seats. She met her colleagues and when they were catching up I tip-toed going around the school, looking around and asking people on how I can get a chance to join. And I met one person who told me interviews were going on and I asked him to show me where the interview was being done. I was taken to a hall , people were doing an interview exam. One of the teachers asked me ” are u in for an interview?” And I said yes. He gave me a seat and a paper to fill in and of course an exam. I did it quickly and I left the room praying hard that I get a chance. I went back to the party grounds and I didn’t tell Lonah what I have done. Shortly the party was off and we headed back and still, I hadn’t told her obviously feeling timid, and afraid of getting disappointed or given false hope. She dropped me back at my workplace and after a week I got a phone call from the school asking me to pick my admission letter. Guess who was the first person I called. (Lonah) and she was so proud of me, that really motivated me. And that’s how my dream of becoming a tour guide started.

4. It must be tough for you as a lady in a male-dominated field?
Being a lady in a male-dominated industry has both advantages and disadvantages;  one,you are competing with men and some are quite intimidated by me. They say you chose to do what we are doing so do it a majority of the guides I come across are quite supportive while others are openly chauvinists especially back in the village it’s never easy.

5. How has it been so far for you as a guide?
So far being a guide it’s full of fun and new experiences learning something new each day I don’t think I’m changing my career soon.

6. What’s the most interesting part of your job?
Meeting new people every time and making new friends, am a people person can fit in any crowd it’s full of fun because after every 3to 4 days I meet new people and we have fun differently, it’s never the same with previous guests. I love making fun at work not just with guests but also with my colleagues.

7. How did your family react when you told them you wanted to become a guide?
At first, no one believed because I didn’t ask them for money to go and study the tour Guiding school, they just said that I was joking and they only believed it when I invited them for my graduation day so they should prepare.

8. To the young ladies interested in becoming a guide what’s your advice to them?
Keep focusing, talk to someone about how you want it to happen, get the right mentors to share your thoughts and visions with positive-minded people. Write down what you want to be share with someone. And the other thing don’t rebuke any work that comes your way. Do any work it’s the rope to connect you to your destined work.

9. “Eco Trip match” What’s that all about?
I didn’t know this nomination was happening until I got an email from the company ( Eco Trip match) most of the nominations were done by the guests I have taken on a safari as a guide. The Eco Trip match does analysis each year to encourage and support the conservationist across the world. So this year 2021 I got to be shortlisted as the finalist of the best nature tour guide of the year. Currently, we are voting until the 15th of February and on 16th will get to know who got the highest number of votes. If you want to vote click the link below
How to vote
1. Click the link and wait for it to open … (Don’t scroll)
2. Tap my photo (Ann)
3. Put your email on the space provided below the photos.
4. Submit.

10. If I wanted to do a safari with you as my guide how do I get in touch with you?
Currently, I’m working at and beyond kichwa Tembo, Maasai Mara. You can book with them or send an email to me at and I can direct you on how to make a reservation and I’ll be glad to give you an unforgettable experience in the Maasai Mara.
You can also reach me on
Instagram ann_tumpesia
Facebook . Ann Tumpesia
Tweeter. Ann Tumpesia