She is a force of Nature, let her soar.

The safari and guiding industry has always been traditionally male-dominated. This was due to the fact that much of the work of a field guide required physical strength, bravery and resilience. With the rise of the 21st century and the liberation of women’s rights, much of these occupations in fact did not require physical strength as it did expertise and skill. So, many courageous women started entering into male-dominant professions such as the guiding, creating a new movement of guiding professionals as we know today. EcoTraining is proud to be a part of this development in the guiding industry.

Celebrating women of EcoTraining who have the courage to chase their dreams

EcoTraining, through a variety of wilderness and field guide programmes, has trained thousands of women to flourish and succeed in the safari industry. To be a woman in guiding industry does not mean that you have to lose your femininity or change who you are to fit in with the stereotype defined by society. What it does mean is that both men and women need to possess certain qualities such as integrity, professionalism, responsibility, courage and empathy… all the makings of a good field guide.

Watch this video of Yuka Ota, a young Japanese girl in her element on the shooting range as part of her training course.

The guiding industry is broad and there are many women who work behind the scenes to ensure that guests are well taken care of and feel welcomed. The cooks and the cleaners who form part of the hospitality crew, play an important role in our camps and it is no easy task when operating from unfenced remote locations in the wilderness. Often the unsung heroes of many stories, EcoTraining celebrates and values these women. We are proud to share with you that our very own Keina Mmolawa and Victoria Maluleke have been promoted into new positions of camp coordinators.

Behind every successful woman is a tribe of successful women who have her back – Good Morning Quote

Meet Keina and Victoria, this is what they have to say about their journey…

Victoria shares, “I started in the kitchen as a cook and created the most amazing meals, as I’m told by students and staff. I have now been promoted to Camp-Coordinator. I must admit, I was nervous at first but I never back down to a challenge, instead, I rise up to the occasion. I love my new position and all the opportunities I get to learn from it. I believe that working hard can take you somewhere, I found myself lucky and blessed to a point where I was recognised to fulfil such position of responsibility. You must reconnect with yourself, know who you are, why you are here and knowing what you want in life will help keep you focused and happy. Never wait for someone to tell you how good you are. You must trust in yourself and your abilities. Remain positive, work hard and always encourage others.”

Keina shares, “I am one of those people who likes to try new things and I don’t mind getting my hands dirty. I have been with EcoTraining for 8 years now. When the position for Camp Co-ordinator opened up, I told myself that I wanted to give it a try. Over the years at EcoTraining, I have learnt what the position entailed and I knew that I would be able to do it. Needless to say, I was promoted to Camp Co-ordinator. This opportunity means a lot my family and me. I have developed a global mindset and outlook, especially because I engage with different cultures everyday of our students coming from all around the world. My advice to hardworking women who want to progress in their career, never give up on something you are willing to do. Know that nothing is impossible when you believe in yourself.”

As a field guide instructor at EcoTraining it can be a very demanding but deeply rewarding job. You get to meet people from all around the world, teach them about the environment, and be on the fore-front of conservation. EcoTraining’s Kiwi, Nicola-Anne Jack is an assistant instructor at our Mashatu camp in Botswana. This is what she has to say about her journey…

“Although I was born is New Zealand I spent my childhood growing up in the beating sun, dust and thunderstorms of South Africa.  It was during this time, with regular visits to Kruger National Park, that my passion for African wildlife developed and it never really ever left. It was only when I was 33, armed with my teaching degree that I decided it was time to gather my courage and pursue the career I really wanted in African Wildlife Conservation. In 2015 I completed my FGASA Field Guide Level 1 course with EcoTraining hoping this would be a step in the right direction.  Looking back now it was rather a giant leap in the right direction. More recently I was promoted to Assistant Instructor at EcoTraining in out Mashatu camp in Botswana. I look forward too many more years of living, learning and working in the African bush, surrounded by the wildlife I loved so much as a child.”

Nicola leading a bush walk in Mashatu, Botswana

Any society that fails to harness the energy and creativity of its women is at a huge disadvantage in the modern world – Tian Wei, CCTV News

It is the nature of women to be strong… there is no limitations to what women who stand together can achieve. Walk confidently in the direction of your success and remember that success is not measured in wealth as it does the difference you make in others lives. This month we celebrate all women, mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers, aunts, friends and even colleagues.