November 2017 News Blog
It's official: the Christmas decorations are up, and we've entered the silly season with enthusiasm! Our front of house staff couldn't wait until December to start lighting up the reception area with sparkly lights and cheerful ornaments, and their energy is infectious. We have enjoyed some truly memorable occasions on safari during the course of the month, with the very special birth of a little rhino, and a number of humbling and awe-inspiring moments with elephant, giraffe, lion, hippo, crocodile, and of course the beloved cheetahs. Our guests have given us kind and generous feedback after their experiences with us have ended, and we cherish their words and photos long after they have landed back home. There is plenty to be thankful this holiday season, and gratefulness is at the forefront of our minds as we spend each day in the wonderful world of the wild in our private piece of heaven.
FEATURED TEAMS: FIELD GUIDES AND FRONT OF HOUSE
Over the last couple of months we have featured our Housekeeping and Maintenance teams, which keep the cogs turning at Tshukudu on a daily basis. This month, we are introducing you to the people who are the faces of Tshukudu, and who are likely to be the people our guests form close relationships with during their stay. We are very pleased to have each one of these members on our team and are confident in the work they do every day.
Field Guides (left to right): Alister Kemp, Nuria Trassierra, DJ Vorster, and David Jacobs.
All our Field Guides are highly qualified and have a passion for guiding and conservation. Their extensive knowledge and training ensures that the game experiences are unforgettable, exciting and informative. First to rise in the early mornings to prepare coffee and rusks on the veranda, and last to leave after keeping guests company during the boma dinner in the evenings, they go above and beyond to try and provide all our guests with spectacular game viewing opportunities and Tshukudu hospitality. Their long hours and dedication are often overlooked or taken for granted. Together with the Front of House staff, guest satisfaction forms their main priority.
Our Front of House team (left to right): Kedibone Mabelane (Reservations), Monique Smit (Duty Manager), Chavonne Martin (Duty Manager), Christine Sussens (Manager: Finance & HR), Amor Schultz (Reservations).
The ladies in Front of House are responsible for all communications received from guests, travel agents, and referral networks concerning reservations arriving by mail, telephone, fax, and through our central reservation system. They create and maintain reservation records and promptly attend to any cancellations and modifications. Over and above the normal booking administration they are also responsible for liaising with the in-house guests and various lodge departments on a daily basis to ensure that everything runs smoothly and that all our guests' expectations have been met. Working very closely with our Field Guides, they represent the front line and are the face of Tshukudu.
WILD MOMENTS CAPTURED ON CAMERA
We have created the Tshukudu experience to ensure that our guests are comfortable and relaxed during their holiday, and that they sleep well, eat well, and feel entirely looked after, but what most visitors to Tshukudu are most looking forward to are the early morning wake up calls, which hold the promise of some breath-taking wildlife viewing. We are so pleased that the game viewing reputation that has grown with Tshukudu has has lived up to expectations, and we watch our guests, new and old, return from safari with photos and memories of fantastic experiences in the bush.
This month, we were thrilled to see that one of the female rhinos under our protection had given birth to a perfect little girl. When we first layed eyes on this indescribably precious sight, the little one was about 3 weeks old, and she is doing well as she navigates life at her mother's side. We take the protection of our rhino very seriously and have 24-hour security patrolling our fences, and we can only hope to celebrate this little rhino's life for many years to come. What a moment for all involved!
As always, we are humbled in the presence of elephants. Their sheer size is extraordinary, and for many of our guests, with us is the first time they enjoy the unique experience of seeing an African giant up close and in its natural habitat. They are emotional, and far more intelligent than we can possibly know, and watching them interact with others in their herd is mesmerising. We've enjoyed the privilege of seeing hand-reared elephants overcoming challenges in early life and going on to live fantastic lives, wild and free, and we have watched both joyful and sorrowful occasions play out in the wild. At the end of the day, we are only here to observe these creatures, and we can say it is something we'll never be able to describe quite accurately enough.
From bright and bold full moons, to scaly and formidable crocodiles, camouflaged leopard tortoises, superbly colourful butterflies and beetles, secretive leopard, and those big cats we have the pleasure of sharing our lives with; the diversity of species at Tshukudu is astounding. We seem to have moulded a sunset tradition with our female cheetah, Ntombi, whereby we spend the last vibrant minutes of daylight with her at her favourite watering hole. And sometimes, we're not the only ones! Often, while we sit quietly with Ntombi, we watch as other animals arrive at the water to quench their thirst. This time, it was the ever-precious rhino...
Floppy, Hunter, and Ntombi are the three cheetah on the Tshukudu reserve, and are known and loved by those who know them. Their story runs deep at Tshukudu, beginning with their mother, Savannah. These three siblings live wild and free on the reserve, but we have the special privilege of spending quality time with them. Ntombi (the female) was hand raised by Vicky and Chris after she was rejected as the runt of the litter. She was successfully integrated into the reserve where she now lives on her own (natural for female cheetahs), while her brothers stick together. We are lucky enough to be able to be close and enjoy hands-on relationships with them, giving our guests unique opportunities to learn about these endangered cats.
GRATITUDE TO OUR GUESTS
There are so many wonderful people we meet every day, exciting conversations we have, and interesting things we learn about our visitors from all over the world. There is a special relationship we form with our guests from overseas and from within South Africa itself, and we gain so much from seeing photos pop up on Instagram and Facebook (and even videos on YouTube), which have been captured and posted by our guests. Thank you to all who share their Tshukudu experiences with us on social media, and a special thanks to those who take the time to send an email with feedback.
Here, a short message from the Fischers and Krawehls in Germany: As promised we are sending you a copy of the picture prior to our departure. Thank you very much for your kind hospitality. We enjoyed our stay in Tshukudu Lodge very much. Also thanks to DJ who showed us the beautiful nature as well as all the animals."