It is our pleasure to introduce the heart and soul of Shumbalala Game Lodge. At Shumbalala we value everyone, mostly you as our guest but also every member of the team. Some will become very familiar to you and then some will be making your stay memorable by working behind the scenes which is equally important.
Meet the Team
Lodge Supervisor & Chef
I have had the amazing privilege of being able to grow up in the bush since I was a small child.
I have always had a love and respect for nature and the animals.
I love working with people and am in the fortune position of being able to serve people every day.
I have not always been in the tourism industry, although my family has been involved in hospitality for as long as I can remember and it has always been a part of our lives.
Growing up in the tourism industry has taught me to put others first and to serve with a happy heart which I love living here at Shumbalala Game Lodge.
I look forward to serving you!
Hostess & Duty Manager
I was extremely blessed being brought up in the bush, and had the privileges of living in and travelling around to some of Africa’s most remote places.
Being raised in both Hoedspruit and Northern Botswana has taught me to have a unique love and eternal respect for the outdoors and our surrounds. Being able to work and live in a magical place like Shumbalala Game Lodge; fuels my passion for nature and conservation.
I have been in the hospitality and service industry since leaving high school; and it brings me a great joy to see people happy and smiling due to the experiences that we provide.
I look forward to helping make your stay at Shumbalala a memorable one.
Field Guide & Duty Manager
I was born & raised in Johannesburg, but spent a large part of my childhood visiting the Kruger National Park with my family.
In the last three years of guiding in Thornybush, I've come to specifically enjoy birding, plants and the other smaller things that nature has to offer.
Bush walks are a highlight for me as it gives me an opportunity to experience the bush on a much more personal level and to share Nature with our guests, leaving them enriched.
I developed a love and passion for the bush at a very young age and I am very excited to share this with all our guests.
I look forward to meeting you!
Francois van Rhyn
Field Guide & Duty Manager
Since I can remember I knew that I will end up doing something animal related as I've always been interested in animals and nature.
Being a wildlife enthusiast, I followed my dream in becoming a Wildlife Photographer. During this remarkable experience I found myself where I always dreamt of being... in the BUSH!
Shortly after the photography course I pursued my dreams further and became a field guide.
I am so fortunate to be working at a world renowned Lodge in the heart of Big 5 territory, where my dream and my job became my lifestyle.
I am amazed at how much the bush has to offer and how much I still get to learn from it.
Come and join us in the amazing and brilliant experience we call, Safari.
Unity and Jesicah, lead by Danielle, is responsible for the amazing cuisine served while you are staying with us.
These ladies create magic in the kitchen leaving most guests in awe of their creativity so far into the African bush!
Should you have any food preferences, likes or dislikes - these chefs are flexible and happy to please.
Deborah is the newest member of the family while Sheila has been with us for many years.
Their smiles would win any guest over long before their impeccable service does.
They are happy to serve and to share many special memories with our guests.
I was born and raised in Acornhoek in the Mpumalanga Province. As a young boy I was a cattle minder and decided I wanted to do more with my life.
I went to a field school at Londolozi Game Reserve where I was trained as a tracker.
From there I worked at several well known game reserves before coming to work at Shumbalala.
My job is my passion, I really love it and look forward to a great future here!
I was born in the Klaserie Nature Reserve, (a stone's throw away from Thornybush) I am 44 years young and a father to a son and two daughters.
At a very young age I had a keen interest in animals and at the young age of 19 I decided to attend a tracking academy. I obtained my level 2 tracking qualification, and got my first job as a tracker soon after I graduated.
I went on to obtain my level 3 and 4 tracking qualification over the next few years in various Nature Reserves. I am only one year away from obtaining the ultimate tracking qualification of becoming a Master Tracker.
Sam looks forward to welcoming you at Shumbalala with his warm friendly smile where you can experience his great skills out in the natural habitat of the big 5
From left to right:
Suzen Mathebula, Shielah Mnisi, Onicah Ngobeni and Sarah Gumede
These ladies are at your service and am responsible for your immaculate room which is serviced three times per day. Onicah and Suzen has been the longest standing family members, dating back since before Shumbalala has been revamped in 2001 while Sarah is the newest member to the family!
Maintenance & Gardening Team
Maintenance & Gardening
Raymond & Isack ensures that the gardens remain in perfect condition and that all maintenance are of top standard to ensure that you, our guest have a care-free holiday.
They are continually in argument with the warthogs who considers Shumbalala their preferred bathing and grazing destination!