There are few experiences that move the soul in the way that time on safari can, but part of what makes our members’ experiences so special is the opportunity to interact with lodge staffers—from the guides and butlers to the chefs and managers you meet along the way. In a predominantly male industry, many of Africa's best luxury lodges are helmed by women. Here, Indagare spotlights a few of our favorite female lodge managers in Kenya, Botswana, Rwanda and Tanzania, who are making the safari lodge experience truly special.Contact Indagare to help plan your safari experience and match you with the safari lodge that is best for you.
I am very confident that Botswana will be the trip of a lifetime. Vumbura Plains is situated in the heart of the Okavango Delta and offers an amazing array of activities, both on the water and on land. The most mind-blowing experience is the hot air-balloon flight over the delta, but my favorite activity is still the mokoro excursion (in a traditional canoe), because it makes me feel part of the delta.
How did you prepare for your role? It is very interesting and fun, because we have men within the company who are supportive. I feel very comfortable as a female manager, which inspired me to explore more traditionally male roles like guiding. I wrote the guide license exams and qualified for a professional guide license with the help of the male guides at Vumbura Plains. They supported me with amazing knowledge to prepare for my exams and practical. I am happy to work for Wilderness Safaris because it empowers women. I would like to remind all of the women interested in working in the tourism industry that their involvement matters.
I love that we host one group at a time, because this gives me the opportunity to really get to know them, so that we can give them personal service. We also have a lot of repeat guests that become just like family. I also work alongside my husband, Claude, and we have an incredible team at Castleton. Team does not explain the people I work with, they have become a family to me–what more can one ask for?
What activity or excursion do you recommend? Castleton is private so families or friends can set the pace of their safari, with a full staff, including a chef, a host, Field Guide and private game drive vehicle. I really enjoy connecting guests to nature in this incredible private concession in Sabi Sand—whether that is setting up a picnic on our lawn and watching the resident birds or maybe hiding a cooler box with their favorite drink next to a stream so that the guests can sit with their feet in the water and switch off and immerse themselves in the surroundings, the bush sounds and smells. That is a wellness experience!
How has the hospitality industry evolved since you started? I am very proud of who I have become and what I have accomplished over the years. The industry welcomes any race and gender and I believe this is what keeps it so incredibly interesting, satisfying and exciting. Singita is very supportive of female managers and staff and I have received incredible guidance over the years and we have a lot of very talented, strong women in the company. There are incredible people out there that will support you through your journey. It is very important to stay true to yourself and stick to your word.
Sanctuary Chief's Camp, Moremi Game Reserve,Okavango Delta, Botswana
Serengeti House, Serengeti, Tanzania
I enjoy seeing my team energetic and working seamlessly to ensure guests feel at home. We enjoy interacting with guests (especially around the fireplace) and forming a connection—and telling stories. Seeing their happy smiles fuels our energy to deliver a world-class product and service.
How do you set your team up for success? Ensuring that your vision is realized by your team is of the utmost importance. Being consistent with the way you manage and leading by example is also key. Taking the time to get to know your staff outside of work and creating an environment where they feel confident and are happy has helped me a lot in my role. You have to really love what you do and give it 100 percent at all times!
What should travelers know about Serengeti House? I would like them to know that Africa is a beautiful continent that still has the raw and authentic beauty to it and that safaris are the best way to experience nature. The Grumeti Fund protects this private concession with many incredible conservation and community projects. Singita is a conservation brand with a 100-year purpose to protect large areas of Africa for future generations, so guests can leave a safari knowing they have made a difference.
Tanzania has so much to offer! I was surprised by how diverse the country was when I arrived five years ago and I am still exploring and learning new things all the time. I encourage guests to take the time to meet with local tribes, just sit and exchange life stories. They want to know about you, just as much as you want to learn about their culture. Also take the time to just go with the flow—Africa moves to a slower beat.What is your must-do recommendation?Quietly sitting with the magnificent elephants of Tanzania, I find them so calming and human-like. I could spend hours just watching them interact with each other, drinking from the watering hole in front of Mwiba Lodge or simply feeding.
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