Willy grew up in a mud hut in a small village in Northern Tanzania. His parents could only afford 7 years of formal education, after which Willy headed to Arusha to work as a mechanic. He worked his way up and went on to create the best safari business in the country.
Willy believes that one of the best ways to help people is to educate and employ them. Today Kibo Guides and Willy’s other company Tanganyika Wilderness Camps operates 11 lodges and 10 mobile camps. They train and hire guides and staff from neighboring villages and currently employs 870 Tanzanians.
As president of Tanzanian Association of Tour Operators, Willy’s generosity is legendary both in terms of his humanitarian work and his willingness to help other young entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses respectfully and responsibly.
Through his Tanganyika Foundation Willy supports a Maasai girls’ school in Arusha, rural medical clinics, and several other schools and villages. For 20 years, he has been our key advisor and partner in Tanzania for our Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) initiative, as well as our collective work to improve schools and support rural villages. To date through the Grand Circle Foundation, we donated $2.1M to more than 30 village in support of 22 schools, including the investment of $544,428 for WASH projects including wells, water filters and toilets.
Willy helped Harriet Lewis design and operate the Next Generation Leaders program, for rising college freshmen from Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan. The capstone event is the trip of a lifetime to Tanzania. These students interact with young student leaders in Tanzania.
Willy is very proud of his Maasai heritage. He has shared his beloved homeland, love of nature and respect for the Maasai, Barabaig and Mandoke people with tens of thousands of travelers. His programs give visitors a change to learn more about the native people of Tanzania.
He was a lead supporter of the Serengeti De-Snaring Program to stop poaching by removing thousands of snares and releasing hundreds of caught animals. Promoting responsible tourism protects the sacred landscape of the Serengeti.