In Botswana, women from the Khwai, Chobe Enclave, and Makgadikgadi communities face challenges when seeking career opportunities as safari guides compared to their male counterparts. This trade is still largely male-dominated, holding more than 90% of safari guide employment. Meanwhile, less than 5% of female safari guides receive regular training, mentorship, and development.
African Bush Camps Foundation (ABCF), the nonprofit arm of African Bush Camps (ABC), strives to improve the quality of life among communities surrounding ABC’s properties. Founded in 2006, ABCF currently manages 42 community-based development projects to focus on community conservation, education, empowerment, protecting vulnerable wildlife, and preserving natural resources. The latest ABCF initiative launched a female safari guide training project, aiming to create job opportunities for local women as safari guides. The initiative includes providing skills training, mentorship, job shadowing, and rotations at African Bush Camps.
When launched in November 2021, the initiative received an overwhelming response, with over 300 women from nearby communities applying for five positions. The first cohort of five women will participate in a two-year training and internship program. All aspiring safari guides will acquire new skills, such as mokoro guiding (dugout canoe) and walk guiding. The participants are currently undergoing practical and theoretical training with African Guiding Academy before starting with on-the-job training and rotations at African Bush Camps in early 2022.
Through this project, ABCF actively addresses gender inequality by creating access and opportunities for women interested in pursuing a career in professional safari guiding, intending to develop 25 female guides by 2025. The female safari guide program will allow the trainees to gain valuable work experience in the industry and develop personal and mentorship relationships, increasing confidence and competency as a guide.