Ombeni African Safaris
A Pilgrimage Back Home
Top: Dr. Jonathan Overby (l-r)
and Ombeni Emanuel Pallangyo,
the president/CEO of Ombeni
Above: Ombeni African Safaris’
Pallangyo wants to bring technology to his village in a way that supports the further development of the village, a dividend made possible by
the profits of the safari company and Pallangto’s own personal funds.
“The technology is the first thing that I will try to bring to the village where we will build a computer lab,” Pallangyo said. “This will be the first
time that the children there to ever touch a computer keyboard, just the keyboard. That will be the first technology that will be happening in the
elementary to high schools in Tanzania. We are going to be building a computer lab in the heart of the village where the children to the elders
can come there and use the lab. This is also a collaborative effort with an energy company and others to bring simple things to the people.
Think about it being 7 p.m. and you are using candlelight and you don’t have enough fuel to power the candlelight, you just have to turn it off
and go to bed. Think about not being able to do your homework. Bringing the solar power will help some children from that village to actually do
some things that are productive after school. The computer lab will be like a learning center where everyone can come and look something up
and learn something.”
And Dr. Jonathan Overby who went on a safari in Tanzania last February is committed to helping the children of Mt. Meru after visiting with the
“I am fully invested in these children,” Overby said. “I have seen the need of these children. I have been in their presence. That’s why I am
committed to the Songolo School to do what I can. My dream is to, in time, to bring one person to go to college here at UW-Madison from that
village and as the years go by to see that another person comes. It will take some time to garner interest. But there is a way for people to give
support to the school. And I am happy to be a part of that generosity. I can actually see that moment, that day when a student gets off that plane
from Tanzania and comes to Madison, Wisconsin and enrolls as a freshman at UW-Madison. What that will do for the esteem of that village to
know that their daughter, their son is here in this part of the world getting an education hopefully with the goal of going back and reinvesting in
Pallangyo’s dream for his village in Africa just may come true someday, hopefully someday soon.
Part 2 of 2
By Jonathan Gramling
Ombeni Emanuel Pallangyo, the president/CEO of Ombeni
African Safaris, had a dream growing up in his small village of
Mt. Meru in Tanzania, Africa. Tanzania is in the heart of safari
country with its proximity to Mt. Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti
plains. Most of the safari companies are European or American
and export their earnings back to their home countries.
Pallangyo had a dream of starting an African-owned safari
business that would use its profits to benefit Africa.
Ombeni African Safaris is a family-owned business based in
Tanzania that allows Pallangyo to live in the United States —
where the target population for his safaris lives — and still
deliver a quality product in Africa.
“The operations are run by most of my family,” Pallangyo said.
“All of the heads of operation are from my family — brothers,
cousins and nephews — to make sure that everything is done
as exquisitely as it needs to be. They are operating on the same code as I am. They are in South Africa and
all of these places. They are all family. And you will be at the village. And that is Africa. It’s not just like the
Serengeti. Sure the Serengeti is great. But if I just send you to the Serengeti, ii isn’t complete. Go and meet
new friends. Go and explore new things such as the culture and traditions. Go eat with the local people. Sit
down and play the music with the local people. Hear the different sounds. Hear the stories.”
As a son of Mt. Meru, Pallangyo is determined to benefit his village as well.
“I believe in helping the people back home,” Pallangyo said. “I believe that Africa has so much to offer
people. Tanzania has so many natural resources such as minerals and wildlife. It is so blessed from Mt.
Kilimanjaro to the Serengeti. I believe sincerely that Africa can feed its own people too. And we start one at
a time. I start by doing my part, supporting my school where I went. That’s what brings me back. But it’s
been more than 3-5 kids. It’s probably going to be 5,000 kids by 2019, supporting them in four different
schools. There we are so involved from orphans to public health to education to technology. I don’t like
asking for money, but I like to share an experience with you. And then you naturally give back. You pay for
your safari and then you go back. From that, we give back. So you go there and you meet the people. That’s
how you can meet new friends.”