It’s been 12 years since the inception of our “Chobe Angels”, Botswana’s first and only all-female guiding team. Join us on a journey back to the start and discover how a single question shaped a new era for women in travel…

In her recent piece on Chobe Game Lodge for The New York Times, Hillary Richard delivers a revelation just in time for Women’s Day: the acknowledgement that prowess behind the wheel isn’t the exclusive domain of men.

Highlighting the operations at Chobe Game Lodge, she notes, “Vehicles steered by women consumed less fuel, demanded fewer repairs, and boasted longer lifespans. In essence, the women excelled as drivers, bringing significant cost savings to the company.”

At Chobe Game Lodge, we have much more to celebrate —women constitute the backbone and heart of our team, comprising over 60% of our workforce.

Botswana Breaking Barriers

Botswana remains at the forefront of breaking gender barriers. A compelling testament to this traces back to 2004 when the Botswana Wildlife Training Institute (the government-regulated institution responsible for certifying safari guides) posed a pivotal question to us. This inquiry marked a turning point, reshaping the landscape of safaris across Africa forever.

We were asked if two young women guides could join our team. These ladies, who had completed their courses and tests, were welcomed into the Chobe family… and thrived. Two decades ago, fewer than 10 female guides were working in Botswana. Today, there are around 90, with 19 of them representing us.

Our guides, comprising approximately 20% of Botswana’s female workforce in this profession, are affectionately and widely known as the “Chobe Angels.” This Women’s Day is another opportunity to highlight their incredible story and journey through the safari industry.

Entering the industry as a woman wouldn’t be without its prejudices and struggles, especially at first when they experienced resistance from male guides at other safari companies operating in the Park. With time, and consistent demonstrations of expertise, came greater acceptance and equality.

Every guide, regardless of gender, wakes before the sun and rests when the moon is comfortably high in the sky. They all undergo identical rigorous training and encounter the same challenges and victories that come only with hands-on experience in the field. Twelve years of our “Chobe Angels” later, you’ll notice a definitive air of respect between all guides.

A Gentle Approach To Wild Things

A woman-led safari offers our guests a different kind of interaction with the wild—which many who have visited us will attest to. Iconic ethologist and conservationist, Jane Goodall, once affirmed, “Women tend to be more intuitive.”

In many ways, being a woman and being a mother (most of our guides have children) brings a gentleness into the untamed wild that makes room for small details often overlooked. That and having the ability to tune into your mood as a guest with us—the kind of superpower that soothes a child’s sobs or makes you pick up the phone to your mom when things aren’t going quite right.

However, don’t let this delicate touch steer you away if full-throttle adventure is what you’re after. Remember, these ladies know how to manoeuvre a game vehicle. One of our Chobe Angel veterans, Ms. Modibu, goes so far as to consider the wildlife as her colleagues.

It Takes A Team

The triumph and recognition of our all-female guiding team epitomise the equality and empowerment we tirelessly pursue in every aspect of our endeavours. Be it on the frontlines or behind the scenes, our identity is shaped by the strength and dedication of our women. Today, in particular, we honour them with profound respect.

We take pride in our accomplishments thus far… and remain resolute in our commitment to empowering people, safeguarding our planet, and offering transformative experiences to all who journey with us.

Book your getaway here.

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