Celebrating Women in Regeneration 2024 for International Women’s Day

Words Emi Vilas Bôas
Date

This year for International Women’s Day we highlight the innovative achievements of women across the globe who are part of the Regenerative Travel Community. Their leading contributions to social, economic, cultural, and political spheres show promise for a more equitable world.

According to 2019 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women in hospitality encompass 51.2% of the workforce. Even with this majority, women’s ascent to leadership positions in the industry faces challenges. In the US and Canada, only 30% of leadership roles are held by women, compared to an average of 41% in Europe and 45% in Singapore, a report from Diversity for Social Impact shows. A UN Women report from 2019 showed how tourism can offer great opportunities for leadership roles and how an increasing number of women are challenging gender stereotypes, taking on roles once dominated by men.

This article highlights women in regeneration and select members of the Regenerative Travel community who are doing groundbreaking work toward creating an equal world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination around the world.

African Bush Camps initiated the Female Guide Program in 2021 to increase women’s representation in Botswana’s male-dominated safari guiding industry

African Bush Camps, a safari company operating in Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia, initiated the pioneering Female Guide Program in 2021 to increase the representation of women in the field. Over 90% of Botswana’s safari guides are men, with less than 5% of women in the field receiving regular training. At the end of the guide program, the guides will be experts in conservation, safe practices, wildlife, photography, and natural history. Their goal is to have 25 female-accredited safari guides by 2025.

They offer their visitors different safari experiences in various lush and diverse destinations. The company was founded by Beks Ndlovu, a professional Zimbabwean guide whose mission is to provide a safari experience in the intimate heartlands of Africa, all while running in harmony with nature. 

The camps operate with minimal impact on the environment. Each booking contributes directly to the African Bush Camp Foundation and its goal of working to empower, educate, and conserve in the areas and communities they operate in.

African Bush Camps prefer hiring guides from neighboring communities surrounding the camp due to their abundant knowledge and intense love for wildlife, nature, and conservation. The field of safari guides is historically male-dominated. African Bush Camps have shown a commitment to changing that narrative. In Botswana, where African Bush Camps operate four different camps, more than 90% of safari guides are currently men. In response to this gender disparity, “The Female Guide Program is such a pivotal part of what we do, not just as African Bush Camps, but also as African Bush Camp Foundation. It is rooted in one of our core pillars: education. It’s about equipping and empowering females, giving them the skills and the knowledge that they need to learn about conservation, wildlife, and guiding, which is also giving them the opportunity to go back into their communities and teach future generations about the importance of conservation.” Koinonia Baloyi, African Bush Camps Foundation Communication and Fundraising Officer. 

To experience the Female Guide Program in person, African Bush Camps offer a unique opportunity to their visitors through the Women Empowerment Safari. This nine-night journey takes you through three different camps, providing an immersive insight into their Female Guide Program and other empowerment projects aimed at developing healthy and thriving communities by giving women a voice and the opportunity to develop skills, ownership, and independence. By choosing this experience, a large portion goes towards funding one woman’s training through their program, enabling her to become a certified guide.  

Hotel Aguas Claras in Costa Rica emphasizes gender parity, staff development, conservation, local cuisine, job security, and affordable healthcare to support employee well-being

With the Caribbean Ocean at their doorstep and the Costa Rican jungle in their backyard, Hotel Aguas Claras was founded by San José multimedia artist Elisabeth Steinvort, who fell in love with the area in 1992. Her daughter, Elena, was brought there when she was only a few weeks old. Today, the hotel is a collaboration between mother and daughter. “The hotel is really an art project,” she states, pointing to various artworks like murals, upcycled furniture, and paintings. 

Hotel Aguas Claras embraces the natural beauty of its surroundings while actively contributing to its preservation by supporting conservation projects, giving guided tours that focus on the importance of biodiversity, and preserving natural habitats and marine ecosystems. For example, they harness the power of solar energy to warm their guest’s water. 

Beyond that, their main focus is their community. They offer a range of local culinary offerings, showcasing Costa Rican cuisine from local suppliers. In an industry often marked by seasonal fluctuations,  Hotel Aguas Claras supports its local employees by prioritizing job security and avoiding layoffs during the low season. 

Furthermore, their staff’s health is in focus, with low-cost healthcare provided as a fundamental benefit for employees and their families to combat the limited access to health services in the area. Emphasizing women’s health, they also offer gynecologist visits as part of their commitment to the well-being of their female staff. 


The World Bank’s Gender Data Portal shows that despite high educational attainment for women, Costa Rica ranks low when it comes to economic participation and opportunities. At Hotel Aguas Claras, their workforce is around 40% women, both in general and leadership positions, with their goal being to bring it to 50%. The hotel heavily invests in its employee’s ongoing education and personal growth, ensuring each staff member meets the highest standards and also has the opportunity to thrive and grow in their career.

Cherero Camp is empowering women and gender equality in the Serengeti by increasing female representation in the bush

As seen in many places in Africa, women are underrepresented in the “bush workforce,” partially due to positions requiring them to be away from their families for an extended period. Cherero Camp is solving this disparity by giving women more opportunities to take a break from the camp and offering extended maternity leave. They are working on increasing the number of female employees at their camp and in leadership positions.

In Tanzania, education and employment have traditionally been reserved for men. This often leaves women with no choice but to remain at home, leading to a lower socioeconomic status. This is changing as more women enter the workforce. In fact, employed women have contributed to a paradigm shift in Tanzania, with female employment rising from 67% in 2000 to 80% in 2019.

Located in the heart of Serengeti National Park, Cherero Camp epitomizes Tanzanian hospitality under the ownership and operation of Kantabile Afrika. Boasting spacious tented suites adorned by local artisans and private bathrooms, the camp adheres to the “leave no trace” principle, allowing for seamless relocation without environmental impact. Despite strides, challenges persist in ownership, wage equality, and fostering a supportive environment for women. Additionally, female-led businesses suffered disproportionately during the pandemic, highlighting the need for continued progress, particularly in diversifying the labor force beyond agriculture.

Cherero Camp recognizes this need and are involved in progressing women’s rights. They are dedicated to promoting justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) and see the importance of female representation in society. The camp seeks to create a harmonious environment that creates balance and tranquility, recognizing that elevating women can lead to positive, sustainable effects for generations.

Cherero Camp actively promotes hospitality as a way of life and offers training to their employees, giving them the opportunity to develop their careers. Their chef is a testament to that, starting as a kitchen hand with no culinary school background but has now grown into the chef they employ today. The same goes for their host, Sophia, who navigates the challenges of being a woman in leadership and heading a team of predominantly older men. 


Over 500 million girls globally don’t have access to necessary menstrual care products and resources. This is commonly referred to as Period Poverty. Cherero Camp is a patron of the local school in their community, proudly supporting the Days For Girls program, which helps educate girls on periods and reproductive health and supplies them with period products.

Preserving Traditions, Empowering Women: Basata’s Impact in South Sinai

In the desert hills and Red Sea in South Sinai, Egypt, Basata stands as a symbol of sustainable tourism. Founded by Sherif and Maria El Ghamrawy, they offer hospitality but also commitment to the empowerment of Bedouin women through education and economic opportunities. Basata’s journey it’s about fostering community development and preserving cultural heritage.

In 1998, Sherif El Ghamrawy’s vision extended beyond Basata’s hospitality, leading to the establishment of Hemaya NGO. This move solidified Basata’s dedication to uplifting the local Bedouin community, providing a structured platform for educational initiatives and economic empowerment. 

Basata’s ethos is firmly grounded in its strong ties to the indigenous Bedouin culture. Through Basata’s marketplace, women are empowered to exhibit their handcrafted goods, fostering economic autonomy and safeguarding cultural heritage. These women not only achieve financial independence but also a sense of esteem for their craft and heritage.

Additionally, Basata has repurposed a traditional Bedouin dwelling into a kindergarten tailored to the needs of Bedouin children. In the afternoons, this space serves as a training center, providing local Bedouin women with invaluable skills and opportunities for personal and professional development.

Moreover, Basata’s inclusive ethos extends to solo female travelers. Recognizing the unique needs and concerns of this demographic, Basata offers them a special rate, ensuring that every guest feels safe and welcomed in their desert sanctuary. This gesture promotes responsible tourism and also fosters a sense of camaraderie among travelers from diverse backgrounds.

Rebecca Adventure Travel: Solo Traveling Expert

Solo female travel is not just about exploring new destinations; it’s about empowerment. Embarking on solo journeys can foster confidence, provide fresh perspectives, facilitate meaningful connections with others, and cultivate a profound sense of independence.

Rebecca Braak, founder of Rebecca Adventure Travel, emphasizes the empowerment of solo female travel, citing benefits such as increased confidence, new perspectives, and a sense of independence. Through her company, which specializes in trips to destinations like the Galapagos, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, she offers women-only tours and provides valuable tips for safe and fulfilling solo journeys, whether travelers seek luxury, adventure, or culinary experiences. 

Rebecca Adventure Travel supports various initiatives aimed at empowerment, such as Lucy in the Andes, focused on women’s empowerment in Ecuador’s Andes mountains. This program provides education and resources on family planning, women’s health, relationships, and legal advice. Additionally, the company backs a school in the Isinlivi community, south of Quito, benefiting around 250 students. This school hosts Local Dreamers, a project fostering a safe environment for Ecuadorian children and teenagers, empowering them through sports, languages, creative activities, and intercultural communication.

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