The first time I visited Botswana was in April 2007. I needed to leave South Africa to renew my visa. My boss knew many people the lodge industry, so she set me up to go on a working holiday for a week. This was an amazing experience in a beautiful country new to me.
In Botswana, to be a ranger you must be a citizen of the country. I was considered a student and wasn’t allowed to drive the game viewer. I did have the other ranger duties such as, explaining to the guests about animals and plants, handling the spotlight on night drives and sitting dinner with guests. This was amazing as we saw plenty of different things I had never seen in South Africa. One night I was even lucky enough to spot a chameleon! My first and not the easiest find, I was incredibly happy.
In my off time I went leopard tracking and took care of an abandoned banded mongoose the other guides had found. The banded mongoose (Mungos mungo) is a common resident, found throughout central and eastern Africa. It lives in open forests, grasslands and savannas and feeds mostly on beetles and millipedes. Mongooses use various types of dens for shelter including termite mounds. While most mongoose species live solitary lives, the banded mongoose live in colonies with a complex social structure.
This trip was great as I was part of several site inspections. A site inspection is when someone comes to your lodge or hotel to make sure it’s up to standard. Many times a marketer visits, to do an inspection, to see if that lodge is worth marketing through their company. This gave me quite a bit of insight into what other lodges were like outside of South Africa. I would highly recommend going to Botswana, if you are ever traveling to Africa.