Aziza Mbwana has just been promoted to Assistant Head Ranger at Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. She is the only woman working in Tanzania as a Ranger at the moment. With International Women’s Day around the corner, we celebrate her dedication over the years, ensuring guests share in her passion for nature and fellow Rangers learn from her mentoring them.
Aziza started with &Beyond as a Ranger 10 years ago at Lake Manyara. Looking back now, she can only laugh at her first couple of days at the lodge, still trying to compete with the boys.
Growing up in Tanga (a town at the Tanzanian coast, close to the Kenyan border), she had started working as a historical city guide and also guided tours on the Pangani River for guests to see Crocodiles and birds before she entered the field guiding world. It wasn’t easy in a man’s world. With a lot of male competitors at the first interview with &Beyond in Arusha, remembers Aziza. “You are supposed to stay in the office and not in the bush”, was the first comment she received from fellow interviewees. “We will compete until the end” was Aziza’s response and she was the one to pull through the East African Ranger Training course at Mwewe with only 3 other Rangers qualifying with her.
Ten years later, Aziza is living the &Beyond values every day and has a passion for the Caring for our Land, Wildlife and People. “The values all belong together, she explains excitedly. “Not caring for one is like driving a car with 3 tyres. I am lucky to be able to have a job where I can share my passion with my team and guests”.
Q & A with Aziza
A moment to be proud of?
One day I gave a young lady a lift from Arusha and we got chatting. After she told me she was studying to become a guide I asked her how she had decided on this, especially as a woman. “There are a lot of female guides she said. I know about this Aziza, if she can do it, I can do it” the young girl answered. I asked if she had met this Aziza? She was yet to find out that I was the one she had been referring to. This was a very proud moment for me to find out I had inspired someone to take up a career as a guide.
What is the most important thing in your life?
My daughters Leils & Loema.
What is the biggest challenge?
To balance the two most important things for me in life. The passion for my job and the love for my family. My youngest daughter will be in school soon and I have not figured yet how I will be able to balance everything.
What is your favourite animal?
Definitely Giraffes, they are very prehistoric, the tallest, they don’t attack anyone and I love their eyelashes. They walk like models on a catwalk.