Gobe Motshidisi is part of Chobe Game Lodge’s team of 16 women who are professional guides. Some people also refer to them as the Chobe Angels. How did her journey begin and what’s it like to be female in a male-dominated profession?
Gobe was born in Francistown and raised in Letlhakane, a small town in central Botswana. As a little girl she always wanted to work with animals, but thought the only way to do this was to be part of the Department of Wildlife. And that seemed out of reach. ‘I never dreamed I could be a guide working among wild animals,’ she says.
‘Then a friend did a guiding course and explained it to me. Since I love animals and being around them I decided to do the course too,’ she says. It would be better than sitting at home not sure what to do with her life.
Part of the requirement for the course is practical training and she struck it lucky when she got a placement at Chobe Game Lodge. When her compulsory practical was over and her training complete, the lodge was impressed enough to hire her in 2012.
‘Most of my guests are happy to have a woman as their guide,’ she says. But there are some misconceptions too. ‘Once I had a flat tyre and my guests were waiting for me to call for help from the lodge only to find that I am taking out my tools to change it. We were soon on our way again.’
What about other guides? ‘Let’s say you meet a male guide on one of the sandy roads in Chobe, sometimes he will choose the easy way and give you the toughest way just to challenge you,’ she admits. But it’s a challenge she welcomes, a chance to prove her mettle.
That’s the main reason why she foresees a career change in her future. ‘I want to do something that will keep me home with my family.’ After all, being a good guide and parent is the highest calling there is.
* This is part of a series called Voices of Botswana, which shares the stories of some of the people we met on our Botswana adventure. You can find them all in the people category of this blog.
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