Travel Beyond is excited to welcome Mwiga Mambo to Minnesota!
As a 16 year old, Mwiga was inspired by Jane Goodall – today, he’s one of Africa’s leading primatology guides. Mwiga has over 20 years of experience at Greystoke Mahale, a camp in the Mahale Mountains of Tanzania.
His family was local royalty – his grandfather was a well-respected Tongwe chief and his grandmother was born in a village not far from Greystoke. Mwiga was brought up with stories of the chimpanzees. His mother spoke of them often and both his uncle and father worked with the primatologists from Kyoto University. In fact, his father introduced Professor John Ichiro Itan to the Mahale population of chimps and his uncle was one of the trackers who helped to habituate the M community. When he was 16 he met Jane Goodall at his school, and received a prize from her for his exceptional knowledge.
With such a pedigree, and his insatiable curiosity, Mwiga was always going to become one of Mahale’s top guides. He had to start from the bottom though, and originally joined Greystoke as a waiter and housekeeper. Eventually he managed to get out into the forest as a tracker where he spent blissful days following one group after the other as they traversed the forest, observing unique behavior and learning the individual characteristics of the chimpanzees. He still finds that each day with the chimps brings new discoveries and, as he says, he is a full-time student at the best primate university in the world.
Over the last few years Mwiga has been a wonderful ambassador for Nomad Tanzania, and the chimps of Mahale, traveling to Asia and the USA, giving presentations to clients about life in Mahale.