Meet Dominic Elirehemia – Senior Guide Swala Camp
Dominic joined Sanctuary Retreats in May 2000 where he proved his capability in many different areas, beginning to work for Sanctuary Kusini Camp as a waiter and then as trainee guide. He moved to Sanctuary Swala camp as assistant guide in 2004. Dominic attended guide training courses and this resulted in him achieving the status as a senior guide.
Dominic doesn't hesitate to go the extra mile for his guests to ensure that they enjoy a wonderful Tanzania safari, using knowledge that he has built over 11 years of guiding experience, in the Serengeti and the Tarangire National Park.
What made you want to be a guide?
I have always had a love for nature since I was small. Tanzania is famous for ecotourism and I knew it would be a rewarding career to get into.
What makes a good game tracker?
Understanding the animals behavior and movements of specific animal species - when they need to drink or eat or where their territories are all plays an important part. Once I find tracks I can get an idea which way they are moving and why. It depends on the animal, for example lions mainly hunt or mark their territory at night and this means they will rest during the day. So if I find their tracks in the morning and see they disappear off road I will know they are resting close by, maybe under a tree or close to some water.
What do you enjoy most about the camp?
I have been at the Swala guiding luxury safaris for many years and know all the territories and places for resting or hiding for the animals. Due to the waterhole at Swala and all the animals nearby, it makes it easier for me to find them for the guests. I also means the guests have shorter drives to track the animals.
What three items do you always pack for a Tanzania safari?
Most important here are binoculars, books and enough food and drinks. Another important thing to take is enough sprays to keep away the insects and tstsetse flies.
What is your most memorable game drive or safari?
That's a very difficult one, although difficult to find animals such as wild dogs is always very exciting, especially when they are out hunting. One day I had the wild dogs chasing elephants, maybe because of the smell of blood from new born baby, and we got some great photos that day (see picture).
Wild dogs chasing elephants at Swala
What is your favourite animal and why?
Twiga (Swahili for giraffe) - they are very smart, beautiful and our national emblem. Once you spend time with them in the bush you will understand what I mean. The Tarangire has many giraffes and they go through many different changes of colour.
What is your favourite season?
All African safari seasons are different, though we mainly call them the dry season (August to December) or the wet season January to July. The weather is always changing so it is difficult to say these are the specific months. In the dry season animals are easier to find, numbers are more and lots of interactions can be seen. In the wet season everything is green, animals are giving birth and the bush feels new and smells good. Birding in the wet season is also amazing as we have so many migrants visiting the Tarangire and I love my bird watching as we have over 550 bird species here in the Tarangire.