How We Ended Up on House Hunters International

tanzania safari company on house hunters international

It all started with this blog. Last year a casting producer for House Hunters International contacted me through my About page. If you aren’t familiar with the House Hunters International you are apparently in the minority because I’ve been told it’s one of the most watched shows on cable television.

The producer asked if I would be interested in doing an episode about my move to Tanzania and our process for finding a house. (They were interested in featuring someone who worked with animals–I guess owning a safari company qualifies for that.) I initially dismissed the idea because, having not actually seen the show, I assumed that it only featured people living in huge, expensive expat-style houses. But a friend encouraged me to just check it out more. So I replied to the producer, we exchanged a few emails, talked a few times by phone and I filled out a lengthy questionnaire about my move and how we found a house to live in.

And then it was time to submit a casting video.

We decided to film it while Kakasii and I were on a safari touring several lodges and safari camps to use for our safari clients. Kakasii was such a good sport about the whole thing even though I know he absolutely had no clue what any of this was about. It’s hard to explain American reality TV to a Tanzanian.

After several more emails we got the nod from the powers that be at the production company: we were going to be featured on House Hunters International.

If you’ve seen the show you know there’s usually a back story that explains where the featured person came from. We were able to film that part of the show while I was back in Baltimore last August for a friend’s wedding. One of the scenes we shot was a “girlfriends’ lunch” with some of the women I used to work with at Lutheran World Relief.

tanzania safari company on house hunters international

For the Tanzania part of our episode, we filmed here for five very long days! But the crew was so great–David, the producer; Mike, the cameraman; and Joe, the sound guy. They were so patient and encouraging through the whole filming, even when the rest of us got really tired.

tanzania safari company on house hunters international

We filmed some safari scenes inside Arusha National Park, with the beautiful Mount Meru as our backdrop.

tanzania safari company on house hunters international

And we filmed at a Maasai village.

tanzania safari company on house hunters international tanzania safari company on house hunters international

And we filmed scenes of what life is like in Arusha, including how we buy charcoal for cooking from a Maasai lady that delivers it to our house on the back of a donkey.

tanzania safari company on house hunters international

If you want to see the finished show, our episode of House Hunters International will air on Monday April 13 on HGTV at 10:30 pm Eastern and again at 1:30 am Eastern. The network does sometimes end up changing air dates so you can check here for times.

We won’t actually get to see the episode ourselves for three or four weeks after it airs when they send a DVD to us here in Tanzania. So please come back and comment on how it was so we know what to expect!

This entry was posted in Family Time, Our Community, Tanzanian Culture, Twin Fun. Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to How We Ended Up on House Hunters International

  1. Jennifer G. says:

    This is, quite literally, one of my most favorite shows on television and I am sooooooo excited that I can now say “I know someone…” Fun! =)

  2. dccoker says:

    Great stuff, Brenda. Karen and I will look forward to watching the program!

  3. Jeanne Gilbertson says:

    How exciting! I, too, watch this program and have already set my DVR to record the program just in case I am not home! I will send a follow up message once I have seen the program!

  4. Cecil Maureen Johnson says:

    How great is that!! I watch that show and like seeing the properties
    of other countries. I have it marked on my calendar and so look
    forward to seeing the show. Your LWR Baltimore lunch looked like
    so much fun. Easter Blessings!

  5. Jan Sasse says:

    Your turn to be famous, and your sweet little ones will probably be offered a modeling job, not to mention the publicity for your Safari business. WIN, WIN, WIN!!!

  6. Janice Wendorf says:

    How wonderful is this? I agree with Jan’s comments about the modeling offers for the twins. So looking forward to watching!

  7. Janis Poppe says:

    Certainly enjoyed the segment on HGTV last night. Makes us feel closer to you now. We had a friend from Tanzania, John MKenda for years. He passed away a couple years ago. Anyway thur him we know a little about your area. He lived at the base of Mt. K. Your family should be very happy in this house. There were many things to take into consideration. How is the business going? We didn’t know that is what your occupation was. Very interesting and so glad you decided to be part of the house hunt.
    Blessings, Janis

    • Janis, I knew John Mkenda well. I actually met him on my first trip to Tanzania in 2001 and then saw him on subsequent trips. I even saw him at least once when he was visiting Nebraska. I know his friends Alex and Marlys Meyer, who have done so much to support the wonderful work John did here. (I went to Midland with Alex and Marlys’ son Trent.)

      Business is coming along here. We’ve received one inquiry already from someone who saw the show last night and wants to do a safari with us!

      Thanks for watching the show and for coming back to the blog to share your comments!

  8. Jeanne Gilbertson says:

    Brenda, I watched the show last night and thoroughly enjoyed it! I visited Arusha last year in May, the show brought back many wonderful memories. I hope to return to Arusha this October with Operation Bootstrap Africa. Maybe we will have an opportunity to meet. I am hoping to also visit with Dr. Mark and Linda Jacobson, it would be great to visit everyone at the same time. I will keep you posted about the return trip to Arusha. God Bless you and your family.

    • Jeanne, I hope we’ll have a chance to see each other when you’re in Arusha in October. Do you know Jean Wahlstrom from the board of OBA? I first met her and Marvin when I was still working for Lutheran World Relief but we see each other occasionally when they’re back in Tanzania.

      Thanks for watching the show and coming back to the blog to comment!

      • Jeanne Gilbertson says:

        Brenda, I have not had the opportunity to meet Jean Wahlstrom yet. I support OBA by sponsoring a girl at the MGLSS. I also support the Olarash school. I hope we can meet when I return to Arusha. Again, I really enjoyed the TV show and getting to know you and your husband lthrough the show. While watching the show I knew which house you selected as I recognized the play area for the twins!

  9. Cecil Maureen Johnson says:

    Brenda, the show was great! They made it real by putting in pictures
    of the roads and vehicle rides. Brought back memories of my trip to
    Kenya and Uganda. My 15 yr. old grandson watched the show with his
    family. I was happy to see his interest. It was wonderful to see your
    family. Best Wishes on your business!!
    God Bless You!

  10. Lisa S says:

    Brenda and Kikasaii I saw the show the other night and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is good for others tto see that there are stable countries in Africa that are safe to visit and live in. The programmed showed that the old stereotypes of Africa are just that. It is large continent with many countries and cultures. Your house looks large and comfortable and the opportunity to leave near Mt Kilamanjiro will provide your twins memorize for life. Plus it is a bonus that hey are multilingual! I have a friend that had mentioned she wanted to go on a safari. Do you have a webpage for your company that you could give out?

    Thx, Lisa

    • Hi Lisa, thanks for stopping by to comment! I’m glad you enjoyed the show. We had so much fun making it.

      Tanzania, like any country, has its challenges but it also has so many wonderful things about it too (not the least of which is the views of Mt. Kilimanjaro)! Max and Elly are thriving here and I love seeing them embrace their Tanzanian heritage. And their Swahili is excellent–much better than mine.

      The name of our company is Tanzania Choice Safaris. You can find us at and on Facebook at We would love to help your friend plan an incredible Tanzanian safari!

  11. Kristi says:

    I just saw your show. I loved it. Getting to see some part of Africa that was real life was THE BEST. Good luck to you and your family.

  12. Sharon says:

    Very good episode. I enjoyed seeing the beautiful scenery.

  13. Pingback: A New Place to Call Home | The Joy of Life is Love

  14. Graca Ward says:

    You guys looked like such an adorable family on the show. I’ve just passed on your website details to our daughter who wants to travel next year. All the best to you all. xx

  15. Rebecca Hamilton says:

    I absolutely LOVE your episode of House Hunters International! I have watched it on Hulu a handful of times and it is definitely my favorite episode… and I have seen almost every single episode of HHI thanks to Hulu! I wanted to check out your safari information and found this. Thank you for sharing your story of moving to Arusha! I would love information on the safari if you don’t mind.
    Writing from Loveland, Colorado USA

    • Hi Rebecca, I’m so glad you enjoyed our episode! It was so fun to make. Our twins have grown up so much since then, though. I’ll email you with some information about doing a safari in Tanzania! Brenda

Leave a Reply to Janis Poppe Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.