As anyone who has been on safari in Africa knows – it’s the string of larger-than-life characters and unique personalities that make for the best safari experience.
Born in the beautiful village of Kachikau in the Chobe Enclave, Ishmael is one of Botswana’s most experienced guides. He was raised near Chobe in Botswana and began guiding in the 70s. At this time there were just two or three lodges in the area at that stage as the tourism industry in Botswana was in its infancy.
“I can remember seeing palm trees dotted all over the riverfront, huge Jackleberry trees lined the riverfront and water lilies covered large parts of the river,” he reflects. “Years of boat activity and tourism development has seen a considerable change in the area. Most of the palm trees are gone and big trees are few and far between.”
Angie recounts a particularly memorable moment with Ishmael – or Ish as he is called – on her recent trip in Botswana at Savute Safari Lodge.
“Ish was explaining and showing me how elephants use their tusks and their strength to dig into the Boabab trees for the moisture. After his explanation, we ‘posed’ for a photo as an elephant so silently came out from behind one of the Boabab trees and towards the tree, we were sitting in. Ish very quietly told me to walk slowly up on the rocky outcrop (the elephants cannot walk on these rounded stones), and literally meters from this beautiful creature we sat in silence, observing this beautiful giant, with the sun going down behind the Baobab trees. Magic!”
It’s this deep understanding of the African bush, calm demeanour and sense of adventure that have made Ish a beloved guide for decades.