Meet the team - Rico and Carmen

 

Rico

  • When did you start working at Makanyi?

In July 2014, a year before Makanyi Lodge opened its doors to the public.

  • Which position did you start in?

General Manager

  • How did you end up working at Makanyi Lodge? 

I was the guide at another lodge and was blessed to take Jessica and her family out on safari. During their time in Africa, they had fallen in love with the African bush and upon their second visit to South Africa, they asked me if I’d like to join them in a new venture which I happily agreed to.

  • Are you currently studying? If so, tell us a bit more about what you are studying. 

Not at the moment

  • Describe your job in 3 words:
    • Living
    • The
    • Dream
  • Describe yourself in 3 words:
    • Passionate
    • Caring
    • Kind
  • The best thing about living in the bush is:

Being surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature and sharing it with people who have the same love and passion for it.

  • The worst thing about living in the bush is:

When the temperature soars to over 40 degrees Celsius in the summer months.

  • When you were growing up, what did you want to do/be? 

From a very young age I fell in love with nature and have always wanted to work and live in the bush. Fast forward and the passion and love still remains and I can happily say that I am living my dream.

  • Who would you most like to swap places with for a day and why?

Andrew Marshall, our sales director.

He gets to travel the world meeting new people and educating them about Makanyi Lodge and what makes the lodge so unique.

  • Who is someone you really admire or look up to and why?

Jessica Gold, the owner of Makanyi Lodge.

I really look up to Jessica as she is a unique individual. She is passionate, strong minded, loyal and an all-round genuine person. She really has a good, caring heart which is very important and rare to have in this day and age.

  • What is something you would like to do in the next year, that you have never done before?

Sky Dive

  • What is your biggest phobia?

A Solifugae (Google it and you will see why).

  • Where would you love to travel to one day? 

The South Pole

 

 Carmen

  • When did you start working at Makanyi?

I started working at Makanyi with my partner, Rico in July 2014.

  • Which position did you start in?

General Manager

  • How did you end up working at Makanyi Lodge? 

Through my partner, Rico.

  • Are you currently studying? If so, tell us a bit more about what you are studying. 

No, I finished my studies in 2018, however, being surrounded by nature and wildlife I am learning new things on a daily basis.

  • Describe your job in 3 words:     
    1. Rewarding
    2. Challenging
    3. Exciting
  • Describe yourself in 3 words:
    1. Perfectionist
    2. Hardworking
    3. Passionate
  • The best thing about living in the bush is:

The peaceful, quiet surroundings of nature.

  • The worst thing about living in the bush is:

Being far away from family and friends.

  • When you were growing up, what did you want to do/be? 

A game ranger or marine biologist.

I grew up on the East Coast of South Africa and spent most of my time in the warm Durban water and was fortunate to also spend time in the African bush when we went on holidays. I have an immense passion for wildlife and knowing how humans are destroying the environment, I wanted to do what I could to help educate people on this matter.

  • Who would you most like to swap places with for the day and why?

It would have to be David Attenborough. He has given the natural world a voice. His knowledge and passion for nature is unparallel. He is a person we can all look up to as he is an inspiration in the work he has done on this planet.

  • Who is someone you really admire or look up to and why?

My parents, they have encouraged and given me the freedom to be who I want to be and have allowed me to follow my dreams.

  • What is something you would like to do in the next year, that you have never done before?

I’ve been to Ethiopia before, but would like to visit again specifically the ancient city of Harar to meet the Hyena Man and feed wild hyena’s by mouth.

  • What is your biggest phobia?

Solifugae’s (Red Roman’s) they freak me out.

  • Where would you love to travel to one day? 

It’s a tough one as I’ve travelled the majority of the world. I’d have to say Antarctica.


Meet the team - Tumelo and Matimba

Tumelo – left and Matimba- right

This month, we would like to introduce two staff members who we believe deserve acknowledgement for their hard work which has resulted in growth within the company for both individuals.

They are Nevermind Masiya (known as Matimba) and Tumelo Sibuyane.

Below, each of them give us a little bit more insight into how they came about working at Makanyi and have answered a few ‘quick questions’ (in their own words) to help us get to know them a little more:

Tumelo Sibuyane

Tumelo has been working at Makanyi since November 2016. He started his journey employed in our Gardens and Security team and has since been promoted to our Barman / Waiter team. Tumelo showed great initiative and determination in order to advance into his new position.

How did you end up at Makanyi?

I heard from a friend that there was a vacancy in the Garden and Security department at Makanyi. I applied, was interviewed and was successful in my application. During my service as a Gardener, I fell in love with being a barman. Through communication with the management team, I started learning the job practically which led to my stepping up from a gardener to a butler.

  • Describe your job in 3 words
    • Providing
    • Challenging
    • Influential
  • Describe yourself in 3 words
    • Loving
    • Caring
    • Honest
  • The best thing about living in the bush
    • Everyday feels like a holiday. I get the peace of mind being surrounded by nature and animals
  • The worst thing about living in the bush
    • Being far from my family
  • When you were growing up, what did you want to do/be?
    • I wanted to be a mobile crane operator or truck driver
  • Who would you most like to swap places with for the day?
    • An elephant (they are majestic in their movement and fearless)
  • Who is someone you really admire?
    • My parents for their unconditional love and care they have always provided me
  • What is something you would like to do in the next year, that you have never done before?
    • A cruise
  • What’s your phobia?
    • Snakes
  • Somewhere you would love to visit?
    • Victoria Falls

Nevermind (Matimba) Masiya

Matimba has been working at Makani since June 2017. He was originally employed as a maintenance assistant and has since been promoted to our Maintenance Manager. Matimba has an incredible work ethic and completes all tasks presented to him with a sense of pride. We are extremely fortunate to have Matimba as part of our Makanyi staff family.

How did you end up at Makanyi?

I visited Makanyi and there was a position available for a maintenance assistant. I grabbed the opportunity as Makanyi seemed like a great place to work and I knew it was something I could not resist. I started in my position and then was promoted to the maintenance manager. I am a broadminded person and believe in being punctual. I believe there are always solutions to problems.

  • Describe your job in 3 words
    • Exciting
    • Stressful (a good stressful)
    • Challenging
  • Describe yourself in 3 words
    • Reliable
    • Respectful
    • Productive
  • The best thing about living in the bush
    • Learning to adapt to living life remotely and the beauty of nature.
  • The worst thing about living in the bush
    • Sudden fires, dangers may emerge anytime
  • When you were growing up, what did you want to do/be?
    • I wanted to be a mechanical engineer / electrician
  • Who would you most like to swap places with for the day?
    • Rico, just to feel how it feels to be a general Manager
  • Who is someone you really admire?
    • Amos, our Head Chef – he is very passionate about his work
  • What is something you would like to do in the next year, that you have never done before?
    • I would like to further my studies in electrics and aircons. I would like to one day have my own company for an investment for my family for when I retire
  • What’s your phobia?
    • I am scared of failing to deliver the very best in my job and any other task I have been given
  • Somewhere you would love to visit?
    • Mozambique


Makanyi hosts the Futuro's Hospitality School

What an incredible day we had here at Makanyi Lodge as we hosted 23 participant’s from Futuro’s Hospitality School based in Hluvukani, giving them the ultimate in 5-star guest experience.

The day began with the participants heading off on an exciting game drive through the Timbavati, whereby they got to experience some amazing animal encounters in their natural environment as well as enjoy coffee and tea in the African bush.
Upon arrival back at the lodge, they were greeted by our friendly staff members with warm towels to freshen up before heading through for a delicious breakfast prepared by our talented chefs.

Once they had finished breakfast, each of our various lodge departments gave informative presentations which allowed the participants the opportunity to ask questions about the in’s and out’s of the day to day activities.

The day was concluded by a final word from our human resource manager with templates provided by @wilddreamsrecruitment on how to present themselves at a job interview, guidelines for writing up a professional CV as well as other key aspects on a successful career.

It was a wonderful experience for both participants as well as our staff members. We are grateful that we could be part of this amazing initiative and we wish all the participants the very best in their future endeavors.

Below are some of the moments we captured during the day:

 

 


Meet the team - Sam and Sakkie

This month, we would like to highlight another two staff members who are an inspiration, showing that hard work and determination can definitely help you achieve your goals.

They are Sam Mohlahla (left) and Success Sibuyi (known as Sakkie on the right) 

Sakkie is employed as a maintenance assistant and Sam as a gardener and they are both in the process of attaining their FGASA level one certificates to further their experience and expertise to eventually join our guiding team.

Below, each of them gives us a little bit more insight into how they came about working here:

Sam Mohlala

How did you end up at Makanyi?

I started working at Makanyi in March 2015. I was employed as a gardener. I am currently studying a nature guide course. Ever since my arrival at Makanyi in 2015, my love for nature grows day by day.

  • Describe your job in 3 words
    • Everything
    • Loveable
    • Light
  • Describe yourself in 3 words
    • Funny
    • Honest
    • Loveable
  • The best thing about living in the bush
    • Earning whilst being on holiday at the same time.
  • The worst thing about living in the bush
    • Being far from my family is so sad.
  • When you were growing up, what did you want to do/be?
    • As a teenager, I wanted to act on TV dramas. In fact, I wanted to study drama in art.
  • Who would you most like to swap places with for the day?
    • An eagle. I just imagine being up in the skies on your own, having a clear visual of everything underneath.
  • Who is someone you really admire?
    • Everyone with no boundaries to help or listen to other people’s issues.
  • What is something you would like to do in the next year that you have never done before?
    • Going abroad, crossing the borders out of my country, just to experience life out there.
  • What’s your phobia?
    • I don’t like failing, I like to achieve what I’ve put my mind to.
  • Somewhere you would love to visit?
    • Mauritius

Sakkie Sibuyi

How did you end up at Makanyi?

I started at Makanyi Lodge in 2011 and was employed as a gardener. From there, I started working in the maintenance department. I have trained to be a tracker and sometimes assist with tracking. I am currently studying to become a guide, I write my exam on the 5th of October. Being a guide is something I have always wanted to do.

  • Describe your job in 3 words
    • Exciting
    • Challenging
    • Busy
  • Describe yourself in 3 words
    • Humble
    • Honest
    • Kind
  • The best thing about living in the bush
    • I love living in the bush because it is quiet.
  • The worst thing about living in the bush
    • Being away from my kids.
  • When you were growing up, what did you want to do/be?
    • I wanted to be a chef.
  • Who would you most like to swap places with for the day?
    • Rick Ross (US rapper)!
  • Who is someone you really admire?
    • My mom. She has always given me the love that I need.
  • What is something you would like to do in the next year that you have never done before?
    • I would like to take the guests on a game drive for the first time.
  • What’s your phobia?
    • Snakes
  • Somewhere you would love to visit?
    • USA, because most of the guests that we drive that come from the USA are so friendly.


‘Star of the Quarter’ award

This month, we would like to highlight two very special staff members, who received our most recent ‘Star of the Quarter’ award. They are our Guest Liaisons, Kim Byars and Elinda Van Lelyveld.

They both started working at Makanyi in February 2018 and are integral in making sure that our lodge is run smoothly and our guests are looked after. Below, each of our GL’s give us a little bit more insight into how they came about working here:

Elinda Van Lelyveld – left & Kim Byars – right

Kim Byars

How did I end up at Makanyi?

In December 2017 I wanted to visit my sister Angie, her husband Sean and my niece Haylee for Christmas at the beautiful Makanyi Lodge.

Whilst visiting the family, an opportunity became available to apply as a Guest Liaison at the Lodge. At first, I thought DEFINITELY NOT, as I am very much a city girl, but then I gave it some more thought and concluded – what do I have to lose? It’s a new challenge, a totally new industry and a privilege to deal and interact with guests from all over the world.
Before Makanyi I worked in the corporate world where I was the personal assistant to the two directors at an insurance company. I loved my job but sitting behind a desk day after day was preventing me from discovering my true passion which is dealing with people every day and making sure they have the most fantastic stay.
It was a very difficult decision to make as I knew the sacrifice I would be making, like not seeing my friends and family as often as I was used to, but I am so incredibly happy and so blessed for such a wonderful job and team.

  • Describe your job in 3 words
    • Social
    • Entertaining
    • Hard work
  • Describe yourself in 3 words
    • Determined
    • Confident
    • Funny
  • The best thing about living in the bush
    • Meeting people from all over the world and making them a part of the Makanyi Family
  • The worst thing about living in the bush
    • The isolation from friends and family
  • When you were growing up, what did you want to do/be?
    • Actress
  • Who would you most like to swap places with for the day?
    • Kim Kardashian 🙂
  • Who is someone you really admire?
    • My mother, she is my inspiration
  • What is something you would like to do in the next year, that you have never done before?
    • Travel around America and Europe
  • What’s your phobia?
    • Elephants
  • Somewhere you would love to visit?
    • Italy

Elinda Van Lelyveld

I was born and raised in Vereeniging, a small town situated approximately 50km from Johannesburg. I studied Hospitality Management for 3 years after which I started working at a small lodge in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. Having worked at this particular lodge for just under 3 years, I decided it was time for me to spread my wings and gain further experience working at a slightly bigger lodge, and I was lucky enough to get this job.

  • Describe your job in 3 words
    • Enjoyable
    • Relaxing
    • Exciting
  • Describe yourself in 3 words
    • Passionate
    • Hard working
    • Perfectionist
  • The best thing about living in the bush
    • My heart belongs in the bush. The best part is the peacefulness it gives every person that comes here
  • The worst thing about living in the bush
    • There is no such thing. what’s there not to like? Apart from having to drive 45min one way for McDonalds
  • When you were growing up, what did you want to do/be?
    • I’ve always wanted to work in a lodge
  • Who would you most like to swap places with for the day?
    • A Honey badger, because they are so cool and fearless. Plus, it would be super interesting to see what they get up to
  • Who is someone you really admire?
    • Both of my parents. They are the best example of love and care. They would walk to the end of the world for you, and they have set an example of how I want to live my life
  • What is something you would like to do in the next year, that you have never done before?
    • Travel the world
  • What’s your phobia?
    • I am afraid of heights
  • Somewhere you would love to visit?
    • There is no specific place, but I would love to go to different beach resorts / islands


Safari Season starts here

June marks the beginning of the dry season in the Timbavati, and the arrival of the short winter season brings with it some perfect game-viewing conditions for the lucky guests here at Makanyi Lodge.

Of course, there’s never a bad time to go on safari, but here are our top 3 reasons to enjoy one this winter:

1) Spot the game

With low amounts of rainfall experienced during the winter season, chances of spotting game congregating around a watering hole are high.

The dry season also leads to a thinning out of the bush on the ground, making animals much easier to spot (something that anyone who has missed an elephant in some tall grass will confirm!).

2) The night sky

The cold weather that Winter brings provides an amazing opportunity to observe the night sky. The reason why Winter is best for star gazing is the air above us is colder, which means it can’t support as much moisture and results in fewer obstacles between the eyes and sky and that is why the night sky looks so beautiful in Winter. Makanyi Lodge now also offers its guests the opportunity to learn a little more about the night sky with a night safari and the use of an amazing telescope.

 


3)Beat the heat

Despite being winter, daytime temperatures are relatively mild compared to the scorching summer months, with reduced humidity levels being another welcome relief.

Evenings and early mornings are still a little on the chilly side, so don’t forget to pack a jacket or jersey to wear on your game drives!

So, there you have it. And, with our “Stay 4, Pay 3” special offer currently available, there has never been a better time to join us at Makanyi Lodge.

 


Makanyi Lodge goes green with the first electric safari vehicle in the Timbavati

Makanyi Lodge goes green with their first electric vehicle

https://youtu.be/3F7_hjgGW7Q

Makanyi Lodge has officially taken ownership of an electric safari vehicle, which is a first for the lodge, as well as a first in the Timbavati Nature Reserve. We at Makanyi Lodge have always looked at ways to ensure that we preserve our beautiful natural environment and when we heard about Electric Safari Vehicles doing conversions of game viewers, we jumped at the opportunity to convert one of our Land Rovers - and the results have been astonishing! So much so, that we look forward to having our entire fleet converted in the near future.

Below are a few images taken during the handover of the electric vehicle at Timbavati Main Gate

Handover of the electric vehicle at Timbavati Main Gate

 

Handover of the electric vehicle at Timbavati Main Gate by Electric Safari Vehicles

 

Founder of Electric Safari Vehicles, Steven Blatherwick and General Manager of Makanyi Lodge, Rico Demetriou

So what difference does an electric vehicle have over a normal aspirated vehicle during safaris? We asked our Our GM, Rico, and head ranger, Sean, who have been using the vehicle this past week for their safaris, and this is what they had to say:

General Manager ~ Rico Demetriou

https://youtu.be/YN_aTXDbS6Y

Head Ranger ~ Sean Savage

https://youtu.be/aTZXfrk7RvM

We also asked our guests who were on the vehicle with Rico and Sean for their feedback, as they had experienced both types of vehicles during their stay here at Makanyi Lodge:

The electric vehicle is smoother and quieter and also better when approaching animals. Better for the planet, more healthy for the staff and guests, and also very comfortable. - Lorraine and David

 

At Makanyi Lodge, we had an amazing experience on the electric Land Rover! It was so quiet and it made my experience even better as you can get closer to the animals without disturbing them. -  Jayne Wallace

 

Having been on many safaris, I was given an opportunity to go on an electric vehicle during my stay at Makanyi Lodge. The overall experience was amazing, from the smooth ride without vibrations, and also when stopping to view the animals. For a photographer, asking the ranger to move silently forward or backward when the animal moves,  in a normal motor he would have to switch the vehicle back on and at times the animal / bird reacts to it and moves off. With the electric vehicle it was not a problem as the vehicle is always on and, when stopped, there is no noise or vibrations  - making it ideal should we need to move a tiny bit for a better angle. Well done Makanyi Lodge, the experience was amazing! - Tanya Harris

For a more in-depth analysis of our electric vehicle, Steven Blatherwick founder of Electric Safari Vehicles, gives us a breakdown of the 2009 model Land Rover Defender that we have converted to electric:

https://youtu.be/6s_OBNpGe5E

We are excited to have this vehicle in our fleet as we believe that this is the future of safari vehicles and the experience that we are able to give to our guests, not to mention the amazing benefits for the environment. We look forward to having our entire fleet converted as the benefits of having an electric vehicle are immeasurable.

 

For more information about electric vehicles, you can visit www.electricsafarivehicles.com or email Steve directly on enquiries@electricsafarivehicles.com

 

All images and videos were captured by Massimo Da Silva from Hospitality Online 


A buffalo calf finding its feet

The African buffalo forms part of the Big 5 animal group, an old hunter’s term given to the 5 most dangerous animals to hunt in Africa. These majestic animals reach shoulder heights of up to 1.5m and weigh up to 750kg and are primarily grazers (grass eaters). The breeding season generally takes place during the months of March through to May and the gestation period is roughly 11 months where the female will give birth to a single calf.

 

As the sun started to rise and the guests had finished their pre-safari coffee, we headed out for our morning safari in search of some amazing wildlife. After tracking their footprints we came across a beautiful herd of buffalo. Upon further inspection, we noticed a baby calf that had just been born moments before our arrival. Guests were left speechless as we spent some time watching this adorable calf trying to find its feet.

Watch the adorable footage our GM Rico took of this buffalo calf trying to stand for the first time.


Makanyi Safari Lodge Launches its new Experience Weeks

The award winning Makanyi Lodge in South Africa, is pleased to announce its new “Experiences” for its guests. Located in the southern sector of the Timbavati, an area of prime game viewing, this lodge offers more than just your typical safari. Those who hire out the 16-person lodge for exclusive use, are able to create their own bespoke safari experience, with programmes consisting of Energise, Photographic Safaris, a kids Bush’Ed and Experience South Africa.

Wellness: Guests can tailor their Makanyi stay to focus on health and wellbeing as well as providing a retreat to heal the mind and soul too. Activities such as yoga, HIIT, healthy eating and spa treatments are available to all guests as much or as little as they wish. The bush is renowned for being a very calming and spiritual place for the mind and body to switch off and fully engage with the natural surroundings. Meditation, mindfulness and consultations with nutritionists and Makanyi’s very own fitness expert, Yvonne Wake, are also offered at Makanyi. Not only do guests have an opportunity to watch incredibly beautiful wild animals living in their natural habitats, but also the sounds, smells and sight of the sunrises and sunsets are simply enough to realign and rebalance each person that visits the sensational Makanyi Lodge.

Photographic Safaris: Makanyi’s professional wildlife photographers are available to accompany guests on safari, and give their expertise, advice and knowledge on taking photos of wildlife in differing lights on the plains of the Timbavati, home to the “Big Five” as well as the renowned, albeit elusive White Lions. Guests will be taught camera settings, lighting, and editing at all levels, to take the best pictures in the most incredible setting.

Bush’Ed: An educational programme for children, where they can learn about conservation, survival skills, and tracking animals. They are also given the opportunity to fish by a peaceful dam, or learn about the astonishing solar system, with a ranger being a guide to the beautiful sights completely free from light pollution, where they can see the stunning constellations of the Southern Hemisphere and an enjoy an unspoilt view of the Milky Way.

Experience South Africa:  Makanyi offers special excursions for their guests to nearby attractions, such as the Blyde River Canyon. Indulge in a luxury South African wine tasting evening or craft gins, panorama tours and much more. All the best experiences to fully delve into what South Africa has to offer.

 


Amazing cheetah sightings

We have been fortunate of late to have some incredible cheetah encounters while out exploring the magnificent Timbavati Landscape. With an estimated 7100 left in the wild and only +-120 left in Kruger / greater Kruger national park spending time and sharing some interesting facts about them is a truly unforgettable experience for our guests. Below are just a few facts about these endangered animals that we like to share with our guests:

  •  Unlike other big cats such as lions, cheetah's never roar but rather purr and often make a chirping-like sound to communicate with each other.
  •  Its fur is of tan color that allows it to blend easily into their environment. Its entire body is covered with black closed spots whereas a leopard has rosettes.
  • The pattern of spots in every cheetah is different, making each one of them uniquely identifiable.
  • They have a characteristic ‘tear stripes’ that stretch all the way down to their nose starting from the corner of their eyes.
  • Cheetahs can run at a speed of 70 miles (112km) per hour and can accelerate from 0 to 60mph (96km) in just 3 seconds.
  • Though this cat is the fastest land mammal it cannot run at top speed for a long time. It can sprint at that speed for 100 yards, beyond which its body gets overheated and can reach up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit or 41 degrees Celsius.
  • The cheetah uses its long tail for balancing and steering while on the hunt. The tail actually helps it to take sharp turns in any direction while running at its top speed.
  •  They use their non-retractable sharp claws to successfully take down their prey to the ground and then use a suffocating neck bite to kill their prey.
  • Once they successfully hunt, they need to make sure that they eat their food quickly to prevent scavengers from getting hold of it. Jackals, vultures, leopards, lions, and hyenas often take away their kills.

Below are some of the images taken by Warren Jacobs recently while on safari.