Cottar’s Guides

Gold Level Guide

CALVIN COTTAR

Calvin is the fourth generation of East Africa’s oldest family-run safari business. Having been guiding in the African bush since he was 15, he’s been awarded the Best Guide in Africa on several occasions (as well as being a KPSGA Gold Guide) and is regularly interviewed by the press, authors, and conservation enthusiasts.

Calvin is the fourth generation of East Africa’s oldest family-run safari business. Having been guiding in the African bush since he was 15, he’s been awarded the Best Guide in Africa on several occasions (as well as being a KPSGA Gold Guide) and is regularly interviewed by the press, authors, and conservation enthusiasts. Don’t get him started on conservation, his no.1 passion, you’ll be there for a while! But you’ll learn a lot from this very dedicated and inspiring man – it’s an opportunity not to be missed. He’ll open your eyes to so many exciting new possibilities with refreshing, authentic insight. A lifetime of accumulated knowledge and experience and his unparalleled passion for wildlife ensures the most memorable of experiences.
Gold Level Guide

DOUGLAS NAGI

‘Delta November’ as he’s fondly called: the man who holds us all together. Nothing seems to ruffle his feathers, he’s always ready with a helping hand and has a wealth of knowledge on numerous topics.

‘Delta November’ as he’s fondly called: the man who holds us all together. Nothing seems to ruffle his feathers, he’s always ready with a helping hand and has a wealth of knowledge on numerous topics. You’ll love his cheeky sense of humour and contagious laugh. Doug is the man with a plan and a lot of engaging stories to go with it, you’ll be entertained from sunrise to sunset. He’s certified in astronomy after studying under a visiting Oxford professor, has experience in gun handling from time spent with the British Army in Nanyuki, and insight from numerous ethnobotany and ethnography research projects in the northern regions of Kenya. Doug is our top gold level guide, as well as being our Sustainability and 4Cs Manager, you will usually find him in the Explorers Tent or entertaining guests in the Mess Tent.

Most memorable sighting
One of my most memorable sightings to date, was of a male leopard snatching a kill from a python and then engaging the python in a fight, eventually killing it.

Silver Level Guide

ENOCK SAYAGIE

Our calm and wise, undercover hero. One of the nicest people you will ever be lucky enough to meet, Enock handles himself with all the grace and grandeur that you would expect from a stoic Maasai Warrior.

Our calm and wise, undercover hero. One of the nicest people you will ever be lucky enough to meet, Enock handles himself with all the grace and grandeur that you would expect from a stoic Maasai Warrior. Also did you know that Enock speaks Spanish and loves ornithology, conservation and star gazing! Enock will be sitting for his gold level KSPGA guide certification process this year and if he obtains it, he will be the first Maasai guide in Kenya to reach this highest standard in guiding. Good luck Enock!
Bronze Level Guide

JOSPHAT MAKO

Mister FAN-TASTIC! Just wait, you’ll have a new best friend in no time, you can’t help it, Mako is just so much fun to be around.

Mister FAN-TASTIC! Just wait, you’ll have a new best friend in no time, you can’t help it, Mako is just so much fun to be around. Born in the Mara, Mako joined Cottar’s initially as a trainee, then he learned how to drive, became a spotter and studied to become a guide (and also learnt English in the process). Always happy to chat and ready with a good story, Mako makes everyone feel at home on safari. Being from the local Maasai community, Mako brings local cultural knowledge and skills to the table by the bucket load.
Bronze Level Guide

LETURA KANAE

Determined with a great sense of humour, is how to describe Letura; did you know that he ran the New York Marathon (a few years back, but still) AND with a smile on his face!

Determined with a great sense of humour, is how to describe Letura; did you know that he ran the New York Marathon (a few years back, but still) AND with a smile on his face! He started at Cottar’s as a tracker/spotter, and was determined to become a guide which he has done effortlessly. He gets along well with all groups of people, with a fun approach to guiding and a superb wealth of local and cultural knowledge.
Cottar's Safaris Joseph
Silver Level Guide

JOSEPH OLE MPOE

The best type of guide, so excited by what his home has to offer that he can’t wait to share it with anyone and everyone. Always looking for the next adventure…and usually finding it!

The best type of guide, so excited by what his home has to offer that he can’t wait to share it with anyone and everyone. Always looking for the next adventure…and usually finding it! “I have always loved what I do, and I always say that it’s the best office to wake up to. Our environment never ceases to amaze me, no day is ever the same and I hope to do this for a very long time.” Joseph is a KPSGA Silver level guide. Joseph is also a very skilled photographer and guitar player. Don’t believe us, ask him to sing for you!

Most memorable sighting
I had an interesting encounter with three rhinos. We had headed out on an afternoon game drive towards the free falls area. Halfway there, in the Olkoski forest, my spotter spotted three rhinos crossing the road, some 50 meters ahead of us, so we thought we would follow them. We turned left in the direction of where they had headed around a corner, and suddenly the mother rhino was coming straight towards my car. Within a fraction of a second she was hitting the front of the car, lifting the car up and down. It was an intense experience, but a quick attack that left me and my guest in shock, but still thrilled by the efficiency of that rhino attack.

Cottar's Safaris Wilson
Bronze Level Guide

WILSON TUMAKE MPATIANI

Strike a pose! A true performer – he leads our Maasai talks at camp and did a lot of modelling for the famous Anthony Russell (ask him to show you the fabulous photos).

Strike a pose! A true performer – he leads our Maasai talks at camp and did a lot of modelling for the famous Anthony Russell (ask him to show you the fabulous photos). Our newest guide, he’s worked his way up with an astonishing amount of energy and merriment that you’ll soon be swept up in it.

He’s great with kids (probably all the boundless energy) and loves everything conservation – a great all-round guide. Did you know that he got the name ‘Wison’ at the age of 12, it was picked out from the Oxford Dictionary when his school required him to register for his final primary exams. Wilson is planning to sit for his silver level exams this coming November.

Most memorable sighting
It was early morning and I was heading to the Mara River in search of hippos and crocodiles as it was my clients last day. Along Keekorok stream which hosts a lot of hippos, my spotter Salaash spotted a wandering hippo outside the water, it was approximately 50 metres from the stream. It seemed restless and well-fed, and looking closely I realised that she was in labour. We thought her first instinct would be to rush to the water for safety but instead came rushing towards our vehicle, which I had parked up on a raised area. It suddenly hit the truck from the side and then snorted what I thought was water from her nose, and within seconds was back in the water.

Cottar's Safaris Letilet
NATURALIST – IL TOROBO / NDOROBO HUNTER-GATHERER

LETILET

Hunter-gatherer, Letilet Ole Yenko, whose mother was a Maasai, is an Il Torobo, or Ndorobo as they are sometimes called (a man without cattle).

Hunter-gatherer, Letilet Ole Yenko, whose mother was a Maasai, is an Il Torobo, or Ndorobo as they are sometimes called (a man without cattle). Letilet is a local medicine man who has had a book (‘Letilet’s Tales) and a documentary made about him (‘Life of an il Torobo Hunter-Gatherer’ – 8 million Youtube followers). Whilst he speaks no English, your guide can accompany you for a walk with Letilet where he can showcase some of the three hundred plants in the vicinity and what their ancient and modern uses are – be it for ailments or poison or to enhance sexual performance!
Cottar's Safaris Kinyaika
POACHER TURNED TRACKER

KINYAIKA

Kinyaika is of the Wakamba tribe, born in the Ithumba area next to Tsavo East National Park. He grew up in a subsistence hunting family due to the harsh area not suitable for farming or livestock.

Kinyaika is of the Wakamba tribe, born in the Ithumba area next to Tsavo East National Park. He grew up in a subsistence hunting family due to the harsh area not suitable for farming or livestock. He was a master hunter with bow and arrow by the time he was 17, and was arrested by the National Park wardens and put in jail for poaching in the early and mid 1960’s. Many of his jailed tribesmen started to die, as being cooped up after a lifetime of freedom and wilderness drove them to depression and suicide. The authorities decided to find them work in their area of expertise and Kinyaika was allocated to Calvins’ father Glen Cottar as a tracker. He worked in the safari photographic industry on and off with Glen, then joined Calvin in wildlife management and he proved more than excellent. Kinyaika joined Cottar’s 1920s Camp in 1998 and is currently our primary bushwalking escort, as well as head of the Maasai Warrior School activities.

Cottar’s Heads of Departments

Cottar's Safaris - Amos
Camp Accounts and HR

Amos Were

Amos’ Father - Francis has worked for the Cottar family for over 35 years and is still with us! Francis is part of the family so when his son applied for a job there was no question he would be a superb addition to the team.

Amos’ Father - Francis has worked for the Cottar family for over 35 years and is still with us! Francis is part of the family so when his son applied for a job there was no question he would be a superb addition to the team. Amos is an incredibly humble hard working man and a go to for the entire staff for advice and guidance - much like his father is. Born in Nairobi, he started school in Nairobi and followed this by schooling in Uganda and University in Nairobi.

“I joined the Cottar’s team as a radio operator where my father Francis Were was in service for many years. I was later shifted to camp accounts, which is the position I still hold to date.”

Cottar's Safaris - Lucy
Head of Housekeeping

Lucy Gakii

Lucy is a powerhouse of smiles, work and warmth! Lucy joined Cottars from Lewa Safari Camps where she was the assistant manager.

Lucy is a powerhouse of smiles, work and warmth! Lucy joined Cottars from Lewa Safari Camps where she was the assistant manager. Her passion in housekeeping is second to none - always striving for absolute excellence from her team, Lucy is a force to be reckoned with. She has revolutionized the housekeeping department, making it more efficient and sustainable; using only environmentally friendly detergents and cleaning products. She is the camp ‘Mumma’ and is always there to lend a helping hand or ear.
Cottar's Safaris - Peris
Sustainability & Client Experience Coordinator

Peris Aloyo

Peris leads our environmental management department. She is also in charge of client experience.

Peris leads our environmental management department and is also in charge of our guests' experience. Prior to joining Cottars in 2017, she was a volunteer at Ecotourism Kenya under the standards and best practices program. Her role at Cottar’s enables her to customise guest activities in a way that enhances our environmental conservation efforts, sustains the Olderkesi community’s livelihoods and preserves their cultural heritage. She believes in transformative travel practice and has a passion for sustainable tourism.

Peris is a commonwealth scholar, currently pursuing her Masters in Responsible Tourism Management at Leeds Beckett University.

Cottar's Safaris - Grace
Front Office and Social Media Content Creator

GRACE LINTI

What can’t Grace do, that’s the question you should be asking. Grace is the ‘front office’ at camp and the content supervisor and on ground content creator for Cottar’s social media.

What can’t Grace do, that’s the question you should be asking. Grace is the ‘front office’ at camp and the content supervisor and on ground content creator for Cottar’s social media. She is extremely efficient, energetic and always willing to help with whatever you may need. Rarely will you see her feathers ruffled, and she’s always ready with a kind word and a nice smile.

Grace was born and raised in the Masai Mara and holds a Bachelor's degree in Ecotourism and Hospitality Management from Egerton University.

Cottar's Safaris - Bonnieface
Head Chef

BONIFACE MUHATI

Our supremely talented and all round nice guy, Head Chef Bonny. His culinary career was inspired early on by his Mum’s love and respect for classical British cuisine and her baking skills.

Our supremely talented and all round nice guy, Head Chef Bonny. His culinary career was inspired early on by his Mum’s love and respect for classical British cuisine and her baking skills. His chocolate tart is what dreams are made of, you must try his Tree Tomato Sorbet, oh and the peach chocolate. And those are just his deserts! We are constantly getting requests, asking for his recipes from clients that have stayed with us. He is also extremely cool, being a passionate motorcycle enthusiast on his days off, think Sons of Anarchy.

“I am experienced in African, French, Mediterranean and British cuisine but I tend to lean more on Fusion, as it presents an interesting challenge in creating a delicate balance of different world cuisines in a menu or dish. I am also experienced in menu creation, recipe development and good food presentation skills. My knowledge in all sections of the kitchen is my greatest asset though my strength is mostly in pastry and bakery. My ability to think critically is a skill that often helps me think on my feet, which helps solve certain problems quickly and also helps me and my team get out of sticky situations fast. A must have skill when working in a camp kitchen!”

Cottar's Safaris - William
Mess Supervisor

WILLIAM OTSIEKA

William (Will I Am) always has the biggest smile to welcome you to the dining table whether this table is in the camp, on the side of a hill or by a waterfall, William will have the table looking like you are on a movie set and will make you feel so incredibly welcome and warm!

William (Will I Am) always has the biggest smile to welcome you to the dining table whether this table is in the camp, on the side of a hill or by a waterfall, William will have the table looking like you are on a movie set and will make you feel so incredibly welcome and warm! Always cracking jokes and making everyone feel at home (with your fermented grape juice!) - William is truly the host with the most!
William is the food and beverage supervisor at Cottar’s. He leads all aspects of mess waiting, service and ensuring the clients get the best possible services at the mess. William joined Cottars in 2005 as a head waiter; he has gradually worked his way up and been promoted to the position he holds today.
Cottar's Safaris - Tanya
Chief Operating Officer

Tana Pike

For us at Cottar’s, if there’s ever anything we need, then Tana’s the person we call. She knows how to manage the team fairly and get the job or jobs (let’s be honest there are usually numerous) done.

For us at Cottar’s, if there’s ever anything we need, then Tana’s the person we call. She knows how to manage the team fairly and get the job or jobs (let’s be honest there are usually numerous) done. She often works too hard, but knows how to enjoy a good glass of red wine too, and has a wicked sense of humour to boot. Tana’s Grandparents used to hunt with Calvin’s folks and the two families have been friendly for some time! For Tana it’s a dream and a kind of karmic full circle to be working for the Cottar’s. Her grandparents would have been so happy for her!

Tana has a degree in Geology and Geography and has worked in some pretty strange and unusual places including South Sudan, Chad and Niger as a Geologist. Tana then tried her hand at running a pub/hotel in Nairobi and was an Account Manager at Marketing firm before joining the Cottars team in 2018 as Coordinator - Tana was promoted in 2019 to Chief Operations Officer where she looks after the 3 Cottars Companies (1920’s Camp and Bush Villa, Cottar Safari Services and Cottars Wildlife Conservation Trust).

Cottars Team - Karen
Head of Marketing

Karen Darnborough

Karen has over eight years experience in the travel industry in Kenya and is currently our Marketing Coordinator; creating and overseeing the marketing strategy and its implementation.

Karen grew up on the Kenyan coast in the idyllic village of Watamu where her parents owned and ran a small hotel for most of her childhood. She went to secondary school in South Africa and then University in the UK, but couldn’t stay away from her home, Kenya. Karen has over eight years experience in the travel industry in Kenya and is currently our Marketing Coordinator; creating and overseeing the marketing strategy and its implementation.
UK and European Marketing Representative

Honour Schram de Jong

After a spate of jobs in which I could never quite settle I went back to university and studied a masters in International Hotel & Tourism and immediate embarked on a new adventure by accepting a role in Zambia, which is where my love for Africa began.

After a spate of jobs in which I could never quite settle I went back to university and studied a masters in International Hotel & Tourism and immediate embarked on a new adventure by accepting a role in Zambia, which is where my love for Africa began.

After nearly 4 years, I then started Honour Way, a marketing company representing an exclusive collection of unique and authentic, privately owned luxury lodges, camps and DMC’s. My passion lies in working with incredible people in outstanding destinations with a dedicated responsibility towards the environments they are located in.

I have known and followed Cottar’s for many years so when the opportunity arose to look after their European marketing, I naturally jumped at the chance. Despite not being based in camp, I am privileged to be part of such a fantastic team in one of the most breathtaking settings.

The Americas Marketing Representative

Brooke Berlin

Founder of Karoo Consulting, a company focused on promoting travel to Africa and supporting conservation and community non-profits, Brooke has been exploring the continent for 15+ years and has been to 19 of Africa’s 54 countries, most multiple times.

Founder of Karoo Consulting, a company focused on promoting travel to Africa and supporting conservation and community non-profits, Brooke has been exploring the continent for 15+ years and has been to 19 of Africa’s 54 countries, most multiple times. As of 2022, she has collectively traveled to 60+ countries on 5 continents. Experiencing the world is a personal passion, and Brooke works to inspire others to travel just as much. As she seeks to return to those places she loves most, which includes annual time on property at Cottar’s, she can easily understand how there are countless repeat guests to this incredibly special private conservancy near the Maasai Mara.

Brooke earned a Bachelor of Science in Magazine Journalism from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Combined with a minor in Cultural Anthropology and a concentration in Contemporary Art, she dreamed of writing for National Geographic. However, during a semester in Spain she caught the travel bug and when the opportunity to be part of the opening team of W San Diego came her way, Brooke headed west to dive into the world of luxury hospitality. Before moving to Boulder, Colorado to manage a boutique inn, she took six months off to road trip around North America. After a year at the inn, she took a year off to travel around the world, including an extended stay in Cape Town, South Africa. Brooke then worked for a private members’ travel company for 8+ years, and in her role as Vice President of Marketing produced international video and photo shoots, secured invaluable media placements, spearheaded the creation of adventure travel tours, and more. She strives to bring an awareness to the diversity and uniqueness of Africa, and Cottar’s Safaris, through an international lens.

Cottars Team - Tanya
Camp Manager

Tanya Leakey

Tanya grew up in a pretty remote part of Kenya, so being outdoors and in the bush is where she’s always felt most at home and at her happiest.

Tanya grew up in a pretty remote part of Kenya, so being outdoors and in the bush is where she’s always felt most at home and at her happiest. She’s travelled quite extensively in and around Africa, but specifically in Kenya, “the Maasai Mara is high on the list of incredible places, there is something truly magical about it - if you’ve experienced it you’ll know what I mean - so the opportunity to work out in the Mara was a dream come true. Not only that, but to have the opportunity to work for a company whose vision and overall drive towards being a fully sustainable eco-tourism destination, something that I truly believe in, I could not have asked for better. So I am very fortunate to have recently joined the Cottars team as Camp Manager - although this is a new industry for me having held various roles in the private security sector in Nairobi, it has been a relatively easy transition and this is down to the wonderful, supportive team here at Cottars, it’s a family not a big corporate chain – and when you come to visit, you’ll feel the same!”
Cottars Team - Taro
Assistant Manger

Taro Croze

Taro is Kenyan born and raised, and has been working in the safari industry for almost four years. He has worked all over Kenya in luxury tented camps and lodges.

Taro is Kenyan born and raised, and has been working in the safari industry for almost four years. He has worked all over Kenya in luxury tented camps and lodges. He started as an activity coordinator in Loisaba Conservancy, Laikipia, with the Elewana Collection. He has gained a lot of experience working at their eight different properties, before starting as the assistant manager here at Cottar's Safaris in December 2021.

“The experience so far has been incredible, I truly feel part of the Cottar's family already and love working with this fantastic team everyday. I find such happiness working in such a beautiful environment, Olderkesi Conservancy is really a special part of the Masai Mara. I love meeting our guests from all around the world, garnering new connections and sharing stories. Having been raised in Kenya, I feel so at home in the bush and there are moments everyday that cement this further; the amazing wildlife, stunning vistas and beautiful sunrises and sunsets. The whole team here at Cottar's really look forward to having you come and enjoy the unique and memorable experiences that we have here, karibu sana!”

Resident Expert Maasai Beader

Mamma Naishuro Batian

Mamma Naishuru is a widowed grandmother and our resident expert Maasai beader. She was born in the early 70’s and has been living within the Olderkesi area since childhood. She has been part of the Cottar’s team for about twelve years and finds joy in doing beadwork and aspires to learn more jewellery designs and also, advance her skills through formal training.

Mamma Naishuru is a widowed grandmother and our resident expert Maasai beader. She was born in the early 70’s and has been living within the Olderkesi area since childhood. She has nine children and several grandchildren, but sadly lost one of her daughters three years ago and is the sole provider for her two granddaughters. She has been part of the Cottar’s team for about twelve years and finds joy in doing beadwork and aspires to learn more jewellery designs and also, advance her skills through formal training.

Mama Naishuro joined the Cottar’s team in the early 2000’s as a laundry attendant, she did laundry work for a year but showed her interest in beadwork and she now focuses on doing beadwork with guests at camp to date. She was taught by her mother to do beadwork and is a talented beader. She can make bracelets, earrings, belts, necklaces, waist beads, anklets, head- pieces, placemats, beaded phone pouches and many other customised Maasai ornaments.

All half day sessions with Mamma Naishuru will result in 50% of net sales going to support her granddaughters. Should guests wish to further support Mamma Naishuru and her granddaughters, please contact management for more details. Please join her for a one hour, interactive and fun, beaded jewellery making session where she can show you how to make, help you make, or make for you, a personalized Maasai beaded bracelet. Alternatively, join her for a longer period of time and have a more sophisticated piece developed over two hours or half a day.

Stores and Procurement Officer

DOMINIC MWELA

Always ready to crack a joke or two; if you’re having a tough day just find Dom. Another lovely addition to our Cottars team, Dom continues to work seamlessly behind the scenes to make sure that everything ‘up-front’ runs smoothly.

Always ready to crack a joke or two; if you’re having a tough day just find Dom. Another lovely addition to our Cottars team, Dom continues to work seamlessly behind the scenes to make sure that everything ‘up-front’ runs smoothly. He enjoys teamwork (it makes the dream work) and has a passion for developing his and his team's skills.

“This is a role I have over fifteen years of experience in, I have been with Cottars for over five years. I attained my professional experience from the Kenya Institute of Management (K.I.M), and the Eldoret University Polytechnique where I did my Diploma in Purchasing and Supplies Management.”

Director and Owner

Louise Cottar

Head of Accounts

Elijah Njuguna

Head of Reservations

Liz Kamau