When did you know you wanted to be a hotelier and in particular, a General Manager?
From a young age I wanted to work in the bush, and started guiding in 2001, I guided for Sabi Sabi, Singita and worked myself up to Head Guide, Safari Manager, Lodge Manager and eventually GM. I am also a FGASA assessor with Level 3 guiding and Professional Trails guide Qualifications.
Where have you served thus far as GM?
I was Assisting Lion Sands Tinga and Narina Lodge as Relief GM and Currently GM of Sediba Luxury Safari Lodge in Welgevonden.
Have you had any mentor(s) along the way & how important were they to your development?
I had numerous mentors along the way and everyone played a huge roll in where I am today.
Have you ever had to open a hotel or lodge and would you say that requires a unique skill set? If not, would you be interested in doing so or not?
I have not had the opportunity, although at Sediba Lodge it feels like starting a lodge all over, which is a great challenge and gives me the opportunity to use my 20years experience in getting this lodge right at the top again.
From the first day you served as a GM, until today, you must have learnt so much. If you could share any one piece of sage guidance, to new GM’s, what would it be?
Everyday is a learning curve, believe in yourself , set goals but remember you need a team to get you where you need to be.
I imagine that being the GM of a property, in a small town, would come with different dynamics to being the GM of a property, in a big city. The same would go for managing a beach property on an island or a bush lodge in a remote corner of the world. Can you share how one adapts to managing in different locations (environments)?
Having been privileged enough to be in a remote area for the past 20 years, you make plans and in saying that your planning needs to be spot on. You can’t quickly drive to buy anything, so Propper planning is the key.
Being the general manager of a hotel, during the Coronavirus Pandemic, must have been very challenging. What was the key to survival and did you gain or learn anything from the adverse situation?
I was Lodge Manager during the pandemic and just on my level is was extremely challenging. The key to survival was able to stay postive for yourself and the team, not knowing what the future might hold. I will never forget the first day the teams were called back to the lodge it was magical and very emotional but made us stronger than before.
Your favourite thing about serving, at your current post?
Being able to use my own initiative and experience and being hands on in everything I do.
How important is it for general managers, such as yourself, to visit other properties?
I think its very important and have visited a few properties over the years, that’s the only way to see what your competitors are doing, where the industry is going and most importantly building relationships with other GM’s.
How is your establishment contributing to the greater good & making the world a better place?
Defnitely on the green path…Our solar plant for both lodges will be implemented in the next month, using less plastic in and around the lodge.
Any old items that is still in good use we sponser to the local schools in Vaalwater.
Training, 2 of our guides just achieved their Level 3 Specialist Guiding qualification, enabling our teams to better themselves.
Interesting Insights about the General Manager:
What is your ideal or favourite vacation destination?
OOOh, I am a total sucker for Camping in Kruger National Park and Botswana.
What is your favourite wine?
Alvis Drift 221 Chenin Blanc
What is your favourite dish?
Thai Steak Salad with lots of Chillies.
What favourite hidden gem, near your establishment, should we visit?
Bushman paintings in the Welgevonden reserve.
Best question you were never asked or a fun fact about yourself?
I embarrass my son next to the rugby field!