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Meet the Aspiring Female Guides in Botswana

“As women achieve power, the barriers will fall. As society sees what women can do, as women see what women can do, there will be more women out there doing things, and we’ll all be better off for it.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Female empowerment is all about giving women the tools they need and the power to make all of the decisions that affect their lives and communities positively.

Female empowerment includes the betterment of women’s lives through education, work, literacy, training, and other things. Female empowerment is about promoting a woman’s self-worth, her ability to do things on her own, and her right to make changes in the world for herself and for other people.

With that said, we would like to introduce you to our Female Guide Project:

In November 2021, we launched the African Bush Camps Female Guides project. This project aims to empower females in Botswana through professional skills development and accredited safari guide training.

It is no secret that females in Botswana’s villages, do not have the same professional options as men, in their communities. When it comes to being a professional safari guide, it is still a male-dominated profession. How many times have you gone on safari and had a female guide take you on an authentic safari experience?

Little to none, right?

More than 90 percent of Bostwana’s safari guides are men. Females get a lot of training, mentoring, and development now, but less than 5% of the workforce does.

Since there was no active investment, training, or skills development in female guides. We decided to step in with ABCF, to make sure these females recieve the skills and experience they need to become professional safari guides, and provide for their families while doing so.

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Our Female Guides Project

Our female guides project aims to increase the number of job opportunities for local women in the field of safari guiding and other closely linked fields. This project aims to train female safari guides in the field of wildlife conservation through a combination of skills training, mentorship, work shadowing, and rotations at African Bush Camps, among other methods.

female guides in kwapa

An overwhelming number of women from Botswana have expressed an interest in participating in this initiative. We have selected five women to be a part of the first cohort of participants.

ABC will provide safari guide training over the course of two years, with a combination of classroom, practical, and on-the-job experience. The five ladies who have been selected for the programme have already spent four weeks in theory and four weeks on safari with the African Guiding Academy before starting their careers as trainee guides at ABC.

Each of the following departments at the camps is expected to provide one week of training for the guides. Which includes training in cleaning, waitering, maintenance, and cooking. This will provide them with holistic training in the way that each camps operate.

Following their time spent in each department, their focus will be to assist their potential colleagues. This will take place on a rotational basis in order for each  trainee to become familiar with the camps and the diverse contexts in which we work.

What Impact Will This Project Have?

The first cohort of this project aims to develop these female safari guides through thorough training and practical experience. At the end of the project, each trainee will receive their professional guiding license. These ladies will develop new skills which revolves not only around guiding, but other popular activities offered by our camps, such as walking safaris, canoe safaris, and mokoro safaris.

This programme will allow them to gain significant professional experience in travel and tourism, as well as other related fields, such as hospitality. Through personal mentorship and relationships, we aim to boost their confidence. Our top priority is building a competent group of ABC female guides that will join our renowned group of professional guides.

female guides in Kwapa

Once the project is complete our female guides will be experts in:

Wildlife

Southern Africa has a diversity of wildlife, especially in Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. It is our aim to equip our female guides with knowledge of these majestic animals, so that they will be able to easily identify them when they take their guests on safari and be able to answer any questions relating to them, in a meaningful and educational way.

Conservation

Our female guides are nature’s teachers. They understand conservation, and its impact on local communities and take responsibility for conserving their surroundings.  In the words of our founder, Beks Ndlovu, “I believe that the world’s solution to crisis will be derived from nature, and that’s why I believe the survival of the world’s wilderness areas is key to the survival of humanity.”

Safe Practices

Part of being a professional guide means that you are responsible for travellers’ safety while exploring the African bush. It is important that our female guides know how to handle their weapons, are equipped with first aid skills, understand wildlife behaviour, and know how to respond to potential threats.

Photography

Our female guides will also be trained to handle photography equipment and to capture some of the priceless moments, you may experience on an African safari.

Natural History

Our professional guides are natural historians in the sense that they operate in the areas where they were born and grew up. Guides will also be educated in the cultural, environmental, and political history of the region, to offer every traveller a fully immersive safari experience.

We interviewed the first female cohort…

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Tracking

Tracking animals in the wild is truly the art of reading natures headlines. Our guides need to know what clues to look for when tracking a herd of elephants or a pride of lions, even leopard cubs. Great tracking leads to great wildlife experiences. It is equally important that our guides are the centre of attention of your African safari. You need to be engaged in a meaninful way, while experience the safari of a lifetime. A strong personality will also help our guides manage difficult situations.

Communication

Great communication goes along way. It is important to us that our guides are able to articulate themselves well and are able to communicate in a effective way. Most of the skills acquired by our guides require a certain level of communication.

Patience

The African bush requires a lot of patience. Some safaris may take hours, and others may be full of wildlife surprises. It is important that our guides do not only rely on luck, but on their experience when it comes to providing travellers with breathtaking

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