Growing up in Lengijave, in the shadows of Mount Kilimanjaro, young boys were expected to herd cattle. But Adumu Safaris co-founder David, had little interest. As a punishment, he walked 7km one-way to school. While he loved it, his family was not able to send him to high school.


One day, a tourist was visiting his village and David, having had some schooling, was the only one able to communicate with him in English. He took the man on a hike where they saw elephants and other magnificent wildlife. Inspired, David asked his father for $80 to pay for tourism school, but again they could not afford it. So, David went to the chair of the village, much to his father’s embarrassment, to ask for money. However, even after becoming a guide, he did not have the connections or resources to gain many clients, often resorting to catching tourists leaving the airport.


After explaining his situation to a client, the client decided to pay for David to go to college for African wildlife management. It was much easier to get opportunities after that and David soon found himself studying in the US and working for US Fish & Wildlife. 


While some were kind and generous, David also remembers a time when tourists threw feces at kids as they drove through his village. Experience in the safari industry taught David that companies often exploited local communities and it was exceedingly challenging for Indigenous Maasai to become guides of their own homelands. Adumu Safaris was founded to challenge that status-quo, to systematically put the safari industry in the hands of Indigenous peoples and empower local communities.