“The staff are a unique group of people, so welcoming and caring. There is such a nice spirit here” – Rhino Ridge Lodge Manager, S’phamandla Shabalala
You will immediately feel the sense of community ownership when you visit Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge – there is an enthusiasm, warmth and professional pride in every interaction with the staff of the lodge. Says Lodge Manager S’phamandla Shabalala “It is Isibindi Africa’s commitment to staff development that attracted me to take up the position at this lodge.” Employing locals from the Hlabisa community, S’phamandla explains “I love taking staff from a basic level and growing them into competent professionals. It is so rewarding and such a sense of achievement.”
The level of professionalism achieved by S’phamandla and his team saw Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge receiving that rare accolade of “Certificate of Excellence” from TripAdvisor within their first months of opening. Here’s who you will find making every effort to make you happy and comfortable during your stay at Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge.
Dave who is of Scottish descent but speaks excellent Zulu without a trace of an accent started life off as a farmer! He hails from the South Coast of KZN where he worked for an NGO assisting with agricultural development. His hotel training started off in the well known Protea group where he worked in various departments before joining Rhino Ridge in March 2016. Dave is a keen golfer and loves all types of fishing. One of his more memorable occasions was when a bull elephant decided to pay the lodge a visit and very nearly came in the front door!
“It is Isibindi Africa’s commitment to staff development that attracted me to take up the position at this lodge.” Employing locals from the Hlabisa community, S’phamandla explains “I love taking staff from a basic level and growing them into competent professionals. It is so rewarding and such a sense of achievement.”
“The Wilderness is our original home that still lingers in every human” believes Nunu Jobe, who hails from a community adjacent to uMkhuze Game Reserve.
His passion for conservation evolved into a successful seven-year career as a Trails Ranger, sharing his unique philosophy with guests in Imfolozi’s Wilderness.
Nunu’s dream of creating partnerships between neighbouring communities and park tourism is being realised through Isibindi Africa Trails where he is Operations Director.
Spa therapists, Promise and Lungi, have thrived in their time at Rhino Ridge.
They both arrived completely untrained and with no work experience whatsoever. However, through the dedication of Spa Training Manager Glynn, and their own perseverance, they have become fully fledged spa therapists who have both been awarded certificates to practice professionally by the International Esse Institute.
Nomvelo, is just one example of how the lodge's socio-economic efforts have benefitted members of the community.
Nomvelo comments, "For me, working at Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge has been great. I enjoy meeting new people and working alongside the friendly staff. Since the lodge opened in March 2015, I have been promoted twice from a general worker to housekeeping and now I work as a receptionist in Front of House. Rhino Ridge has changed my life!"
Zama, who started her journey at Rhino Ridge as a gardener in February 2015, has grown in leaps and bounds within a year, and now takes on the role as a housekeeper at the lodge.
In Zama's own words "I came to Rhino Ridge as a gardener. Since then, I have learnt many other skills and have been promoted to housekeeper - and not just any housekeeper because I strive to give our guests the best service. Rhino Ridge has the winning formula when it comes to making superstars out of their employees."