William Tumate Ole Siara
William is a Maasai, born at the foot of the Loita Hills. He grew up herding his parents’ cattle before a government directive required that every family must send at least one child to school. As a young herder, he had numerous encounters with wild animals, laying the groundwork for his eventual work as a safari guide.
William has been involved in conservation and the tourism industry for more than 10 years, focused especially on the Mara. He has profound knowledge of Maasai culture, NGO operations and how community development and tourism are linked, which has enabled him to help communities around the Mara succeed in conservation issues.
He trained at the Wildlife Clubs of Kenya Center for Tourism Training and Research, receiving a diploma in Tourism and Wildlife Management before pursuing a course in tour guiding and tour administration. William holds a Bronze Level Guide Certificate from KPSGA and is working toward his Silver.
William went on to work for the Wildlife Clubs of Kenya as the assistant education officer for the Western Kenya region. The organization, a non-profit formed by a group of students, aims to educate youth on the need for environmental conservation.
William has also worked as a guide for Naivasha Chui Lodge, Kiangazi House (Oserian Wildlife Sanctuary), Cottars Camp and as head guide for Leleshwa Camp based in the Maasai Mara. He is now a freelance guide.
William has recently worked for Friends of Conservation, on a Ford Foundation- funded program on environmental governance and natural resource management that focuses on community involvement in conservation. Based at the Maasai Mara National Reserve headquarters, William was also in charge of a team of 74 scouts that monitored wildlife and threats throughout the Mara.
William’s deep knowledge of his own culture combined with his extraordinary ability to understand the intimacies of western culture has allowed him to be an effective bridge between indigenous communities and outside interests. His knowledge has clearly been enhanced by his extensive travel to Europe, Asia and Australia. Along with a U.S. partner, William has been brought business executives and academics to East Africa to spend time with the Maasai and explore the fundamentals of leadership and culture.
In May 2010 William was one of the key speakers at an event in Beijing called “World Without Walls.” William has also facilitated education programs from Beijing and Sydney where students spend a week living with his community, sleeping in their huts and looking after cattle – life-changing experiences for young children.