Dispatches from the 2018 Lion Guardians Games

In July, twelve Guardians travelled to Tanzania for sightseeing and to meet up with the extended Lion Guardians family – Ilchokuti from Kope Lion and Lion Defenders from Ruaha Carnivore Project – for the annual Lion Guardians Games. The participants enjoyed both collaboration and competition…everything from sharing stories from the field to a fierce tug-of-war competition! They also visited fascinating local sites, including Olduvai Gorge and the Shifting Sands. We recently caught up with the Guardians to find out about their impressions about the trip.


“I was excited to receive a call from Lion Guardians’ office that I was among the twelve out of more than forty Guardians selected to travel to Tanzania for the games. I have never been to Tanzania, and I never thought that I would ever travel that far. The Maasai communities that live in Ngorongoro still have a strong culture. When I came back to Kenya, I shared beautiful stories about the trip with my family and my friends.” -Sunte Mpoko


“I went to Ngorongoro Tanzania in 2015 to train the Ilchokuti on lion tracking, and was thrilled to have been chosen as one of those who travelled to Tanzania for the Lion Guardians Games in July this year. I enjoyed meeting the Guardians from other zones, the Ilchokuti from Ngorongoro and the Defenders from Ruaha. I was happy to learn that the Ilchokuti who I trained some years ago are working extra hard to save lions at their zones in Ngorongoro area.” -Kisimir Olamayiani


“The fact that I have made three inspiring trips is a clear affirmation that Lion Guardians recognizes and rewards hard work. This recognition of hard work has and will always give me impetus to work extra hard, as all I do will not be in vain. I will keep working hard and will also advise my colleagues to keep doing so.” -Kikanai Masarie


“This trip gave me wonderful memories about my first trip to Tanzania at the mid of 2017 – both trips were very entertaining. I enjoyed having a nice view of the beautiful Tanzanian landscape for the second time. I enjoyed the trip to the famous historical sites. It was nice to listen to the history of Olduvai as narrated by the host, and the “shifting sands” were magical.” -Kapande Komolo


“Tanzania has a fascinating landscape and I will never get tired of visiting the neighboring country. I enjoyed every moment I spent with fellow Guardians, who I think of as brothers. Their beautiful stories about their daily work at their respective zones made the trip more interesting.” -Sankuyan Kitipai


I was so happy to reunite with my colleagues from Kenya and Tanzania. It is always fun spending time with them. I appreciate the Ilchokuti for their warm reception. I enjoyed the games, the dance and was very excited about the awards. I am glad that the organization has never failed in recognizing my efforts.” -Olubi Lairumbe


“I never imagined I would ever travel to such a far destination. I enjoyed the friendly competition between the Guardians and our counterparts in Tanzania. Songs and dance made the event livelier, and I enjoyed listening to the conservation stories shared by my counterparts in the neighboring countries. I was inspired by their great effort to save lions in very challenging environments.” -Sumulei Munke


“I was happy that I got a second chance to travel to Tanzania. I was part of the team that travelled to Ngorongoro last year. In both trips, I enjoyed viewing the beautiful landscape. It is always a pleasure to spent time with the Lion Guardians and managers, who are very caring and exciting to travel with.” -Lekutuk Kimiti


“The trip was a moment of happiness. It was my first time to travel to Tanzania. The trip was long but fruitful. The games were very exciting and I was happy that the Guardians won most of the awards on the Games day.” -Leiyio Leng’ete


“I was thrilled by the beautiful landscape in Ngorongoro conservation area. The stay in Ndutu Lodge was nice and full of happiness, I enjoyed the meals and more so the nyama choma [roasted meat]. I am so happy that Lion Guardians management team recognized my hard work and rewarded me with a wonderful trip to a beautiful land.” -Lenku Mirumu
“I was not new to the area since it was my second trip. The trip was the third opportunity I got from the organization due to my hard work. Last year I visited Tanzania and the Maasai Mara for the first time. The games were very enjoyable.” -Lipap Sayioki


“I enjoyed all the moments spent in Tanzania with my colleagues and other counterparts from the neighboring country. I am grateful to the organization for considering my good performance and granting me a second opportunity to travel to Tanzania. The gesture showed the great confidence and love that the the organization has towards all hard-working Guardians.” -Mitiaki Solonka

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