Sebastian Chuwa, Tanzania’s leading botanist, acquired his love of botany from his father, a medicine man who relied entirely on traditional Masai knowledge of plants to cure patients. Sebastian joined the Ngorongoro Conservation Area as principal Botanical Officer in 1974. While working and living in the area, Sebastian discovered four new plant species, two of which are now named for him. He was featured in a 1992 BBC nature documentary, The Tree of Music, which told the story of the indigenous ebony tree of Africa. Sebastian later started a project of propagating indigenous tree species on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, an effort that has since seen the replanting of over a million trees (www.blackwoodconservation.org). In 2001, he was one of only five people to be awarded to win the “Spirit of the Land” Award given by the Salt Lake Olympic Committee and took a brief break from safaris to collect the award in person. He was also nominated for the Rolex Conservation Award for his work with ebony trees. Sebastian has an in-depth knowledge of his country’s natural history and ethnic cultures and has been guiding since the early 1980s.
Sebastian was arguably the finest WT guide we’ve ever had.
We were all very impressed by Sebastian’s accomplishments, academically and environmentally. He inspired us all. Loved all his stories.
Our safari leader Sebastian exhibited a deep interest in sharing the history and cultural customs of his people. His knowledge of animals, trees, plants and birds is exceptional. He give us the lay term for each bird or flower and the botanical name as well. His interaction with the staff at the lodges and camps was always pleasant, professional and at times humerous. One could easily see that Sebastian is well liked by all who work with him.
Outstanding person. An honor to have him as a leader.
Can’t say enough about Sebastian Chuwa. He was an inspiring leader on many levels.
We felt very privileged to have Sebastian as our trip leader. He is an extraordinary human being.
I feel honored to have met Sebastian and to have been in his capable and knowledgeable care.