Mambo, the bush man

Here in camp we have a very interesting friend who occasionally comes to visit us; a strange old man who lives in a cave in the Chyulu Hills. His name is Mambo, and although we don’t know his exact age we are sure he is over 78 years old. When he was a young murran he decided to go and live in the bush, and has been there ever since.mambosm.jpg

Mambo never got married and so he has no family of his own. He is a specialist in herbal medicines, and he brings plenty of them to us and to others in the local area when he comes to visit. He barters with people for food and water and occasionally for money when he wants to buy some local brew, and in return he gives them his herbal medicines, which he makes from plants, roots, leaves and bark. He has different medicines for all sorts of different conditions: stomach pain, coughs, colds, diarrhoea, back aches…

Mambo never used to eat farm produce; instead he used to hunt or feed on the leftovers of lions when they had made a kill. He has even told us that he once cut a steak from an eland when a lion was feeding from it!

Mambo is almost like an honorary Lion Guardian because whenever he visits us he delivers the latest information about lions he has seen or heard, or tracks he has found. In return we give him some food; he is getting old so he cannot hunt anymore. People have been offering him food and shelter, but he doesn’t want to come and live like other people. He prefers his own lifestyle. Have you ever met such an interesting character!?


  • Christine C. says:

    Interesting indeed! He must have some preternatural connection to the lions that he can go up to their kills and just take what he wants!

  • Nancy says:

    Thanks for sharing this man’s amazing and colorful story. It reminds me of the story you told of the woman curing your scorpion sting with her spit. I always enjoy your take on things, Antony. Very unique and creative. You find gems where few are capable of seeing anything at all. Especially where I come from — we are so numbed and jaded, incapable of taking in the splendor, mystery, and even humor of what is around us and in us. Thanks for noticing and appreciating your experiences in this world and sharing them with us. Take care, Nancy

  • Dana-Phoenix Arizona says:

    Interesting people are what makes the World go round. Hopefully Mr. Mambo is happy with his lifestyle, such a simple life that I’m sure there are people that envy him.

    Nancy, your comment is very touching and I agree that so many of us don’t appreciate what we have and take so much for granted in our little World.

  • Paula says:

    I wish we could document Mambo’s story. His name doesnt sound Masai at all, it’s Swahili for “News”! I hope you you can keep him sitting for long enough to capture some of his adventures on sound and in writing.. please. And more photos of his face please. I’d love to meet him.

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