THE GEAR • April 2022
An inspiration for women and girls across Africa and recent winner of National Geographic Travellers’s ‘The Innovator’ award, Florence Kagiso is the first female tour guide for not only Botswana but the entire African continent. The Desert & Delta Safaris guide tells The Club how to pack for a trip into the bush
I would never go guiding on safari without one. A light, loose scarf (like the one I’m wearing here) can give you protection from the sun, sand and wind, as well as protecting your binoculars if you leave them on your lap. I get mine from the lovely little on-site shop we have here at Desert & Delta Safaris’ five-star Chobe Game Lodge. The management team here is 50 per cent female so there’s lots of nice stuff in there for us and the guests.
You just need a bag that fits a bottle of water, your binoculars and maybe a camera. I’ve got one of those super small bags that fold up in the palm of your hand and can be stored away, taking up no space at all until you need it. In terms of colour, anything too bright should usually be avoided while out on safari, but that’s mainly for walking safaris.
You miss so much when you don’t have a pair of binoculars – from the more subtle animal behaviours to birdwatching (Botswana is bursting with more than 400 species). I like looking out for the African Openbill – its bill is shaped like a nutcracker, designed to crack open the shells of various fresh water molluscs. My pair are from Nikon and, while they’re large, they’re still light. I’d recommend 10 x 40.
We supply rehydration tablets at Chobe Game Lodge and our sister camps, and I would say it’s worth having one every second day with a large glass of water. Our water is purified so it is safe to drink, but making it safe to drink does tend to remove most of the minerals and electrolytes. Dehydration isn’t a huge problem – as long as guests don’t over do it on their gin and tonic sundowners!
There is a new Botswana wildlife app that’s proving really useful for both guides and guests. It’s a fantastic way to track and understand the wildlife you see on your trip – it’s also worth paying for. The free apps aren’t very good. I would say apps are helping to positively transform the safari experience, but guiding on an African safari is something that takes a lot of training and intuition to be able to understand the behaviour of wild animals when taking guests out amongst them.
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