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.
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.

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.

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!
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

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.”
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.
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. She is also in charge of client 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.

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.
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!”
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.
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).

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

Head of Marketing

Karen Darnborough