Partner Spotlight: Simba & Spice

Simba & Spice Setting Sun
Simba & Spice Setting Sun

Crooked Trails is proud to be among the first supporters of Simba & Spice, an ethical travel start-up based in Tanzania. Simba & Spice is a Tanzanian-owned and operated social enterprise that values the impact of responsible tourism on visitors, staff, local communities, and wildlife. They craft each travel experience to respect the needs of travelers, employees, host communities and the natural environment, to ensure that their contribution to the tourism industry is transformative for everyone involved. They connect travelers with local guides who provide exciting, educational and ethical excursions in Tanzania and Zanzibar. Travel is a privilege, and their trips are designed with that in mind!

Simba & Spice is the brainchild of a small group of Tanzanian/Zanzibari travel guides and Canadian development workers who worked in tourism for over a decade, witnessing the majority of tourist money going straight to operating companies who retained control while locals did all the ground-level work. Meanwhile, they noticed animals being crowded on safaris, indigenous people losing their land and livelihoods to make way for luxury hotels, island villagers facing neglect from the tourist market,  and they started to think… we can do better!

Cortleigh & Malam

In 2018, Cortleigh and Malam – a Canadian/Zanzibar couple – recognized that Roger and Feisal (see bios below!) had the experience, knowledge and values to start up an ethical travel enterprise of their own. Cortleigh also saw an important opportunity for cultural engagement and global education to lay the foundation for travel experiences that matter to visitors and host communities. To achieve this goal, Cortleigh’s long-time development partner Sauti Moja Tanzania – an indigenous-run organization with a mission to support to Maasai visionaries with the initiative and desire to empower their communities – was brought into the mix, with the intention of sharing Maasai culture with travelers as well as offering insight into NGOs. And with these three pieces: mainland wildlife, Zanzibari livelihoods and Maasai communities – Simba & Spice was born!

Cortleigh and Malam recognized that the greatest challenges to starting Simba & Spice would be marketing and administration, so they approached Crooked Trails to help Simba & Spice come to fruition.

Crooked Trails has been mentoring the Simba & Spice team from the very early stages of creating their travel company, and now we are ready to debut their trips. Our intention, as with all our partner communities, is to help build their capacity so that they can find their footing and continue to grow, taking ownership and driving the development of positive local tourism. Crooked Trails travelers have the unique opportunity to be a part of their story, as they travel to Tanzania and participate in some of this new local operator’s excursions to the most genuine community hosts.

Roger Msangi

Meet the dynamic Tanzanians that make up the Simba & Spice team!

Roger Msangi: Founder & Safari Managing Director and Tour Guide 

Born and raised in Tanzania’s Manyara region, Roger knows the country like his own yard. Prior to starting Simba & Spice, Roger studied wildlife in college, earned a diploma in Business Education and then worked for seven years as a registered tour guide, leading trips from Tanzania’s most popular national parks to remote walking treks through the bush. Roger has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro more than 20 times! He enjoys guiding visitors on hiking and biking adventures throughout the country. Roger has exceptional knowledge of Tanzania’s flora and fauna and enjoys teaching clients during safaris. When Roger isn’t working you’ll find him playing football with his family. 

Maneno Juma

Maneno Juma, Head Safari Chef

Maneno has worked with travelers for 13 years and is an expert in bush cooking! He has spent most of his career working on walking safaris, carrying meal supplies with donkeys up and down the Ngorongoro Highlands to Lake Natron. His official certification as a chef is from the Silla College of Cooking, but his real expertise has flourished on safaris. Like any good Tanzanian, Maneno is an avid football fan. 

Feisal Ali

Feisal Ali, Founder, Zanzibar Managing Director

Feisal has worked in the Zanzibar tourism industry for 15 years, and recently returned from living in Norway. Feisal’s experience and energy is what makes Simba & Spice such a fun travel company. Feisal loves showing travelers the real local places in Zanzibar, and if you get him on the right day, he will cook up a meal of Swahili delicacies for you to enjoy! When Feisal isn’t working with travelers, he is farming his land or playing reggae music on the beach. 

Said Ramadhan

Said Ramadhan: Zanzibar Guide Manager 

Said is a native Zanzibari who lives with his family in the quiet fishing village of Kizimkazi. Said has been welcoming travelers for 13 years, earning himself a reputation as kind, relaxed and adaptable. Said’s favorite thing to do with travelers is taking them on ‘dhows’ – traditional sailboats – for snorkeling and seaside picnics. Said is fluent in Spanish!

“Captain Cholo” Mahmoud

“Captain Cholo” Mahmoud: Zanzibar Ocean Tour Guide  

Captain Cholo is Simba & Spice’s expert on everything related to the sea. Captain Cholo was born and raised in Kizimikazi and for over seven years he has enjoyed taking travelers on tours of the sea where they can buy the catch of the day direct from fishermen, and he will show you how to prepare and cook it in the traditional Swahili way. You’re sure to meet Cholo when you’re in Zanzibar, as he leads all of the Ocean Livelihoods Experiences. 

Saada Ramadhan

Saada Ramadhan: Zanzibar Tour Guide

Saada is from the quiet fishing village of Kizimikazi and is happy to show guests around the town and prepare the best Swahili food! She also facilitates homestay experiences and can help you see Zanzibar life from a female perspective. 

Find Simba & Spice on Instagram at @simbaandspice!

Our friends in Tanzania and Zanzibar are ready and excited to show you the best of the region. Take a look at a few of our sample itineraries or contact us to create a customized trip!

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