Inspired by an adventurous childhood and a wonderful appreciation of nature and beauty, Charles Odhiambo-Sonko decided it was time to share his passion and country with the rest of the world. An expert travel guide with amazing experience and knowledge, Charles can help you plan and follow your travel dreams.
What motivated you to become a Tour Guide?
Since my childhood, travelling, mountaineering, camping, hiking and exploring has been part of me. The fact that I joined the scout movement and other travel clubs in school gave me an opportunity to travel and appreciate wonders in my country and all over East Africa.
It is this much childhood appreciation of nature and the beauty of the places I have been to, which motivated me to become a Tour Guide so that I could share the beauty of my country with the rest of the world and help people explore the unexploited wonders.
What is a normal day in the life of a Tour Guide?
My time and schedule is mostly influenced by the kind of tour and needs of my clients. Normally my wake up time in parks is 10 am E. African local time this enables me to prepare for the game drive which is conducted early in the morning at 6am.
When clients are arriving, my schedule looks like this:
Arrive at the airport, meet and great, assist passengers at baggage check-in, or circulate inside the safari brief and itinerary. Find out if any tourists need a pre-board (wheelchair, mobility impaired, large tour groups, etc.)
As a tour guide (or tourist guide) I provide assistance, cultural and historical information and contemporary heritage interpretation to people on organized tours, individual clients, and educational establishments, at religious and historical sites and at venues of other significant interest.
To do all this, a day finds me up very early in the morning and going to bed very late but I love my job and I get time to sleep.
What is your favorite or most popular product/service?
Safari tours: Looking to see some wildlife? I provide you with some fantastic safari trips! Explore the grasslands of Africa in search of the big 5, returning to camp in the evening to retell your adventures next to the campfire!
City trips: A creature of the city
Short breaks: If you want to discover a destination’s ‘best bits’ but are short on time then look at some of our shorter tours starting from just a week long but still giving you a great taste of the destination!
Single tours: Many of my tours have ‘single’ departures, providing single travelers with the opportunity of travelling with other singles.
Festival tours: Make that trip extra special by opting for a ‘festival’ departure and witness some of the E. Africa world’s most interesting and enjoyable local festivities!
Camping Safari: Sleep next to the nature and wildlife by just moving your tent tracking the trail.
Who are your customers?
· Private travelers
· Photographers and videographers
What are the best 3 locations/holidays you have ever been on?
Serengeti National Park (endless land), Tanzania
Masai Mara National Park, Kenya
What are the advantages of working for yourself?
It gives me a chance to give the best service to my clients without any interference and influence. I take that as a challenge to carry all the blame from my clients just in case they are not satisfied with my services but also my clients only have to deal with one person instead of so many people that may charge them a lot of money.
What are the disadvantages of working for yourself?
Some errors and calamities during travel are unpreventable thus; some tours do not turn up to be perfect as the Tourist or clients expected. In that case, you carry the blame alone and the burden of refunding your clients for unattended services. Some tourists don’t trust you until the tour is complete. You have to face and attend to all risks alone
What has been your greatest challenge so far?
Making new clients trust you before the safari, helping them understand that you will give them the best services.
What are your greatest achievements?
· Getting referrals from previous clients
· Completing my education in Tour Guiding and Administration
· Increasing the number of clients last year
· Compliments from clients for my job well done
· Upgrading my carrier
How do you ensure work life balance?
I plan my schedule, which includes all that I intend to do on that particular day. Planning is the key to a balanced life.
What advice would you give to someone starting a business?
Just be ready to face the outcome of the risk you have took and do what you love most, so that in time of challenges you can have a reasons to stick on it and move on.
Name one thing that you could not live without in your business.
Prayers and God’s guidance
What is your ultimate goal - and has this changed from when you started?
To give my clients the best of time, experiences and services. This has never changed I have continued to live up to that because it is not about money to me it is about enhancing people’s traveling experiences.
Does the internet help you in spreading the word about your business?
How big a role does Social Media play in your business?
Apart from marketing it enables me to connect with the people from all walks of life who end up being important in my career and business progress.
To find out more information about Safaris and holidays in Africa or if you are in need of ‘A Guide to Africa’ just contact E.A Tour Guide and Safari Driver - Charles Sonko.