Tatenda Chitambwa is our Lodge Manager. Although he’s been with us for the past two years, this experience is a drop in the ocean compared to the 11 years of industry expertise he has in total. In a bid to share more about our people and the roles they play in making Nambiti Hills Private Game Experience what it is, we thought we’d follow a few members of the team to see what they get up to on an average day at the lodge. 

We sat down with Tatenda and here’s what he had to say about a day in his life… 

Q: What does your job entail?

A: “As a lodge manager, I have many responsibilities and I am required to be multi-faceted. My role involves overseeing various operational functions, managing departments, admin related to management and maintenance, Human Resources and policy management too. As a result, I collaborate with other professionals and senior heads to ensure that everything is as it should be.   

I feel that the most important part of my job is my responsibility for the overall guest experience and guest satisfaction. It’s a huge job that requires great patience, excellent communication, interpersonal skills and warm hospitality behaviour.”

Q: What does the average day look like for you?

A: “No two days are ever the same and each one brings fresh challenges. When I find things a bit stressful, I remind myself of the reason I got into the service business… to make my guests happy. As a Lodge Manager, it is easy to get lost in all the administration and the daily details of running a lodge. My day starts exceedingly early with checking emails, assessing reports from the previous night’s manager on duty and updating myself on the arrivals for the day. After this I have the staff morning meeting, where the team gets together to touch base and communicate their tasks, identify who may need additional support, consider what challenges the different departments may be facing, and do a little team building before everyone gets on with their day. 

Each member of the team that I lead influences the overall guest experience, either directly or indirectly. An example of this is the housekeeping and maintenance team who prepare the guest rooms for arrival. Whilst the guest may not entirely compliment the condition of the room, it is the work done by housekeeping and maintenance staff that increases their level of luxury and comfort.

Every guest wants to feel special and appreciated, so I must make time to meet the guests upon arrival, mingle and engage with them on numerous topics. Sometimes, I am met with questions, other times just a grin. Last impressions are just as significant as the first, so as I bid the guests farewell, I take that opportunity to get any feedback about their experience not just at the lodge but also with the nature on the reserve.”

Q: What is challenging about your job

A: “As there are no “typical” days, I can never anticipate what the day will look like. This keeps me on my toes. On some days, we will have a big morning breakfast rush where it is “all hands on deck” and everyone steps in to help clear tables and pour coffee, other days are challenging because of month-end audits where schedules must shift. The other challenge for me, perhaps like most Lodge Managers who live on-site, is that I am always on call and will be expected to work after hours.” 

Q: What do you love most about your job

A: “I enjoy spear-heading a diverse team who have a willingness to learn so that they can become experts in their field. So much of the credit for our success as a lodge goes to the amazing team of staff behind me. They are efficient and they work incredibly hard and because of that, my job becomes easier.

I love meeting people from all over the world, this must be one of the perks of my job. It has enriched my knowledge of humanity, different cultures and traditions. 

I enjoy solving problems. On occasions when there may be complaints from guests and I need to respond promptly, I am always prepared to address them and see complaints as opportunities for learning. Every situation is different, and I cannot always predict how to handle different issues but it is then that I remember the golden rule of hospitality: “The guest is always right.” I then try my best to address their concerns and resolve the problems raised.” 

Q: What is your favourite part of your day?

A: My favourite part of each day is when I am welcoming guests. When they arrive and I experience the joy and satisfaction when they see their accommodation, it’s just wonderful. Nothing beats it!

Ready to meet Tatenda in the flesh?

He’d love to meet you and help make your stay the most memorable one of all. For more on how you could join us at Nambiti Hills Private Game Experience, call us today on +27 (0)31 333 6723 or email reservations@nambitihills.com Alternatively, you can check out our latest specials here: https://www.nambitihills.com/packages-and-specials/