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Transformation through mentorship

Shara Burger | From The Kitchen

Over the past two months, Nina’s and my personal social media feeds have been peppered with posts from Marataba Conservation Camps, and we have had a number of people asking us what we are doing there

In short, the crisis brought on by COVID-19 lockdowns opened a creative space for us to get involved with other products, to collaborate and help where we can. We have created what we call a ‘transformation mentorship program’ in which we incorporate ourselves into existing teams and we work with them to help them find their magic.

This involves operational training, setting up systems and processes and, very excitingly, staff exchange programs, giving teams access to each other to learn more, by experiencing what other people are doing in their own operations.  

These staff exchanges are a key part of our mentorship programs and we kicked off with two of the Maratabateam visiting Tanda Tula Safari Camplast week, Mike Appalsamy and Tizike Mumbo (above), to work with Chef Ryan and Luke Street. Below is some feedback which we received directly from them…. Enjoy!

Mike Appalsamy

This is Mike’s first real job. Having finished his BComm degree at the end of last year he is now a full-time employee at Marataba Conservation Camps. This was not the year he had planned (was it for any of us?), but it has worked out really well so far!

Having grown up going to the bush with his father, Mike knew there was something special about working in conservation. But it was his first trip to the Kruger National Park that really got him. Then he just knew – he had to get his degree and start working in the bush.

 When he started at Marataba it was on a volunteer basis, helping out with the incredible conservation projects that are take place there. Then he was offered a permanent position as Front of House and helping with maintenance. Currently he is also completing his guiding qualification. Although he is excited to guide and be involved in that side of tourism, his end goal is lodge management.

‘It has been a real eye-opening experience being at Tanda Tula and I have been unbelievably inspired. I see what a well-oiled machine Safari Camp is, how efficiently things run and I have learnt so much. I have been constantly taking notes and cannot wait to get back to Marataba to share with the team all the knowledge I have gained. I feel this has been such a hugely beneficial exchange: from check-ins to stock sheets, everything is different and new and I really feel I can bring many of these systems back with me to help improve operations back home at Marataba.’ 

Tizike Mumbo

Although originally from Malawi, this gentle chef has been living in South Africa for over five years already. He came here with the intention of seeking greener pastures and what a good decision it was.  

Tizike was very close to his mother, and as a child he loved watching and learning from her while she cooked over the fire. As soon as he completed his studies, and with much enthusiasm, he completed a two-year cooking course at a catering school. This led to him working at a couple of hotels and five-star lodges in Malawi, until he decided to head south to explore greater opportunities.

 ‘I loved being at Tanda Tula and working in the kitchen here. I am impressed by the hygiene systems and extreme levels of cleanliness that this kitchen operates at, as well as the very clear communication that takes place in this kitchen. I also can’t wait to take this to Marataba and apply many of these arrangements.

‘I have also learnt a lot about portioning, storage and stocktaking, all of which I feel I can implement when I return home to make my life a lot easier. The other aspect was plated dinners – this is something I would love to take back and try at Marataba as I see the reduction with food wastage. The teamwork and effort that Ryan and his chefs have has been really inspiring, and I hope that this is something I can also grow and nurture on my return.’

Chef Ryan and Tizike Mumbo collaborate in Marataba and Tanda Tula mentorship programme

Luke Street and Mike Appalsamy collaborate in Marataba and Tanda Tula mentorship programme




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Tanda Tula will allow postponement of a booking for up to 12 months, if travel is cancelled with a commitment fee or 60 days or less prior to arrival due to a WHO-recognised pandemic directly impacting the guests’ ability to travel (e.g. lockdown, no flights, guest not allowed to board a flight, guest falls ill due to a pandemic and unable to travel).

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