Living in the tourism capital of Botswana, it is natural for many of Ngamiland’s residents to make ends meet in the travel and tourism related businesses.
Despite numerous challenges, such as meager salaries, long hours in scorching heat and dangers lurking in the wild, the need to provide for their family keeps these workers going.
After finishing her Advanced Diploma in International Tourism, Tshabo decided to break into the tourism industry by registering a mobile safari company called Dobinet Travel and Tours Mobile Safari with the help of Youth development Fund.
With a background in waitressing and housekeeping, Tshabo found it easy to start her own business when the finances were made available.
Although her business is doing relatively well, the hard working woman however decries licensing strategy from the Tourism Department, which she says is a set back to her business.
“My Mobile safari business licence restricts me to the Makagadikgadi, Trans Kalahari, CKGR and Tsodilo Hills only. I am prohibited from doing business in the fascinating and lucrative parts of the Okavango Delta that most tourists come to Ngamiland to explore. I am also restricted from Moremi Game Reserve, which includes Lenyanti, Savuti Khwai down to Chobe and yet we know tourists come here mainly for Safari experience.”
Emphasizing the need for the tourism department to reconsider amending their licensing policy again as the current one which she says was changed around 2012 was disadvantaging local entrepreneurs, Tshabo said,“ This license is so counter productive that I even found it extremely tough to pay back YDF money because of the many licence restrictions which hampered progress and made it difficult for the business to maintain a healthy cash flow.”
From a tender age, Disho loved small birds and animals. He promised himself that when he grew up, he would seek a career path in wildlife research, but as fate would have it, Disho did not have the opportunity to pursue tertiary education so he opted to study professional guiding, a job that he has come to love and cherish.
In 2004 he graduated and is currently working as a professional guide in one of the busy luxury Okavango Delta campsites.
“I earn a salary that is able to put bread on my table. I am even on the process of getting married soon through savings from my salary.”
He appreciates the salary but the most exciting part of the job, for Disho is mingling with different people from different backgrounds and being exposed to their culture.
He also loves the calming and relaxing natural habitat he works in complete with birds and animals surrounding him.
Although he maintains that there is no place better than the bush to be, Disho confessed to missing his family back in the village for the two months he spends in the bush before his regular 17- day break to check on his family.
The other challenge he said was the real danger of the possibility of being mauled down by a charging animal. “ One needs a bold heart and a lot of experience to survive in this career,” he said.
For Wilfred, cooking diverse dishes for different palates is fulfilling. Schooled in Italian, Chinese and Tswana cuisine, Wilfred can easily get creative and come up with different variations of recipes to satisfy the diverse demands she meets in the busy tourism town of Maun.
“Guests compliment me on style of cooking and in most cases our clients often ask to meet the chef. I am happy at work but eventually I hope to open my own international restaurant to showcase my signature dishes some day in the future.”
Wilfred explains that although she gets a decent salary, the best part of her job is seeing her guests enjoy the food she serves. “At the end of the day I look at my work and pat myself on the shoulder, I love good food.”
Jackson works in one of the lodges in Maun as a housekeeper. “I love my job as a house keeper. It is a smart job and even though the salary is small, I am able to take care of my family and myself.
“When I finished my form five I vowed to work on something related to cleanliness because I am a hygiene conscious person. I love keeping things clean and in order. I believe I am a cleanliness freak,” says Jackson with a chuckle.
She finds folding and pressing laundry therapeutic, relaxing and meditative and dreams of pursuing a housekeeping related course in future.