Her name, ‘Aziza’, is a beautiful Swahili word meaning ‘powerful and beloved’ and she most certainly lives up to it. Aziza Mbwana, Assistant Head Ranger at &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, is affectionately referred to as ‘Mama Tembo’ (tembo being the Swahili word for elephant), not just for her impressive knowledge of the gentle giants, but also for being one of the most respected matriarchs at the helm of &Beyond’s world-renowned herd of expert guides.
‘Aziza’ is also a palindrome, meaning it reads the same, backwards and forwards. Just as her name implies, Aziza means what she says and says what she means and her no-nonsense, can-do attitude has turned her into an admired role model.
Rewind to 2004, when Aziza became the first ever female guide employed by &Beyond in East Africa and the second female guide in all of Tanzania. Now, with 16 years of guiding under her belt, Aziza was recently named the Best Female Safari Guide in the 2020 Tanzania Tour Guide Awards, a truly well-deserved (and long overdue) accolade.