Grand Safari Greetings to you!
Despite our best intentions, nothing we do at Hayward’s Grand Safari’s would be possible without exceptional, hardworking and committed team members. But I have also come to learn that as a leader, it’s vital one’s planning is impeccably thought through, as this is what makes each team member shine in their various roles.
Regardless of the standard of our team, without proper preparation for each and every event, the overall performance would be blatantly poor. Nowhere else is this more clearly demonstrated than on a grand tented safari in Africa – a true-blue, grand expedition-styled tented safari that we’ve set up specifically for a VIP event, function or product launch.
At the Hayward’s Safari Academy, 26.0 km north east of Pretoria, competence and leadership training are ongoing for all of us. Our 1 000-hectare private wildlife reserve has all the attributes needed to not only run exemplary safari camps, but also to maximise the opportunity to increase each crew member’s proficiency with safaris and wildlife in general. Celia Du Preez, the company’s Executive Production Manager and my Communications Manager, is also a skilled staff trainer and like me, truly enjoys this aspect of the business. We coach our team members before safaris and we also bring in specialists to up their game in subjects like silver service, cigar and whisky appreciation, wildlife interaction, canvass and tent appreciation, communication, fire-fighting, first aid and customer care.
The thing about big tented camps is that there is nowhere to hide imperfections, nor are there any excuses for not delivering exactly what our client has requested. It’s always a challenge to ensure things don’t go awry. Running a grand, five-star, mobile, tented camp sleeping 40 to 200 guests, that can measure 1000m x 1000m needs some confront and a great deal of planning. Yeah, it can get “interesting” sometimes, to say the least!
Apart from the logistics, we have to consider various “curved balls” and deal with situations professionally and often, sensitively. From things like communication between client, agent and the delivery team or directly with the guests who have the highest expectations and the unpredictable, uncontrollable weather. And, when we’re in the wilderness and at the mercy of Mother Nature, bush fires are a real possibility too. Aah but let’s not forget Africa’s most magnificent creatures all around – lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant, great herd of antelope, giraffe and zebra and of course the less magnificent ‘goggas’ – mosquitos, ticks, snakes and scorpions – all so inquisitive to see what it is we are up to!
Whether it’s a sudden 100km/hour squall, 300 buffalo that appear from nowhere, or a pride of lions looking to share the warmth of our campfire, there’s nothing mundane or predictable about a safari and for this, our team has to be prepared. The grand safari is a true adventure and entirely authentic right down to its marrow. It awakens the soul and revitalises one’s lust for life. It’s a rare and privileged moment in time for everyone participating.
There’s nothing more fulfilling than witnessing that moment guests grasp what they are momentarily a part of and seeing the sparkle in their eyes as their enthusiasm for life kicks back in. This is the moment my team and I work for.
If you’ve ever had the privilege of being attended to by our team, click here to tell us about your experience.
Perhaps one day soon, you’ll find the perfect reason to join us on a grand safari and I look forward to your company around the fireside with us again.
Yours in explorations beyond the obvious