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