The Royal Kruger Lodge Team has been hand-picked with care, resulting in a team very capable of delivering 4-star service excellence. However, this team’s true strength lies in their hearts, because they are, without exception, passionate about giving our guests a true African experience. From accommodation, meals and activities, to going the extra mile with the little details, we want your stay to be very special.
Each team member brings something unique and valuable to the team. They hail from different parts of Southern Africa and all say that they love learning about each other’s cultures, traditions and languages from one another. They take great pleasure in sharing these with our guests too. You can get to know our team below.
JJ – Owner & Manager
JJ fell in love with Africa almost 3 decades ago. If anything, that love has grown stronger and today, it inspires him to share everything that is special about his beloved Africa with guests from around the world. Originally from a teaching background, JJ also loves to equip and empower others, and his team attests to this. Under his management, Royal Kruger Lodge is a place where you can enjoy an authentic experience of the African bush, under the care of a very competent team. It is a place where you are welcomed into your African family.
Julia – Assistant Manager & Head Chef
When you meet Julia, you know you have gained a friend. Julia has a deep love of people and she loves making others feel welcome and happy. Julia was head-hunted from a 5-star hotel in Gauteng by a previous manager in 2000. Ever since Julia has considered Royal Kruger Lodge her home and aside from her expertise and high standard of excellence, Julia has brought her warm spirit and mouth-watering food to the Lodge. Julia is known and loved for her special culinary ‘surprises’ and her deep desire to help guests leave their stress behind as they relax and enjoy their stay in the bush.
Thuli – Chef
Thuli loves to laugh and her joy is palpable when you meet her. She joined the team 5 years ago, and she loves sharing African traditions and cuisine with guests, and hopes that they will remember their time at Royal Kruger as being extra-special. Her favourite meal to prepare is fillet steak, with mealies (corn) and locally grown vegetables.
Xolelwa – Assistant Chef & Housekeeping
Xolelwa means forgiveness, and the lady who bears this beautiful name has been at Royal Kruger for 4 years. She loves the local animals that visit the lodge and admits that her favourites are the graceful giraffes and the quirky warthogs. Xolelwa is passionate about preparing mouth-watering food for guests and her favourite is steak prepared over the boma fire. Every meal is prepared with care and Xolelwa understands that meals are about so much more than tradition – they are about sharing and socialising as you savour rich flavours, aromas and textures.
Dumisile – Housekeeping
Dumisile has been at Royal Kruger Lodge for 3 years and she says it is a place that fills her heart with joy. She also loves the local animals and shares Xolelwa’s soft spot for the giraffes and warthogs. Dumisile’s favourite thing about life at the lodge is the traditional music. She believes there is power in the team’s voices when they sing together in worship – power to heal hearts and bring peace. Dumisile delights in offering guests the gift of traditional music and hopes they will carry it in their hearts for a long time.
Busi – Housekeeping
Busi loves people and since first joining the team in 2015, she has enjoyed working in this beautiful place. Busi has a vibrant personality and has a deep love of traditional songs and dancing. She enjoys sharing African songs and dancing with the guests as this is a special way of conveying the beauty and diversity of African cultures to others.
Emily – Assistant Manager & Admin
Emily was first recruited to the Royal Kruger Team by Julia in 2001, to help with serving guests at meals and in the bar. However, Emily’s love of a good challenge and learning new things soon became evident and after an absence of a few years, Emily returned in 2011 to help in the admin department. Emily loves meeting new people and applies her admin, planning and logistic skills to helping guests maximise their holidays to see and do as much as they would like to. Emily wants guests to feel welcome and to leave as family, having enjoyed an unforgettable stay in the bush. Her favourite animal is also the giraffe.
Charles – Gardens & Maintenance
Charles loves and cares for Royal Kruger Lodge as his own home. Since his arrival in 2003, he has come to appreciate the peace and silence of the bush. He says the beauty of the environment and the animals touches him deeply. Although Charles works behind the scenes a lot, he loves welcoming guests to the lodge and helping them to move their luggage into their rooms. Serving at the nightly boma dinners is a joy for him too.
Robert – Tour & Safari Guide
Royal Kruger’s guests have enjoyed the professionalism and vast knowledge of Robert since 2012. Robert loves people and this shines through in his warm, friendly approach to others. He believes that communication and teamwork are crucial to giving guests the best possible experience and he sees his role as being two-fold. Firstly, he sees himself as a team player and values the way in which the rest of the team works together to coordinate every aspect of the guest experience. He also sees his roles as a custodian of nature and never underestimates the privilege of being able to share knowledge with guests, to expand their appreciation and understanding of our precious wildlife. Robert is creative and sees each tour, safari and walk as a unique adventure. He is reluctant to choose favourites but concedes that there is a special place in his heart for zebras, leopards and cheetahs.
Rick – Nature & Safari Guide
Rick was persuaded back into his guiding career during the World Cup in 2010. Originally from the city, he appreciates the peace and beauty of the bush and is passionate about conserving our precious wildlife and the environment. To this end, he served in a Rhino monitoring project. With virtually just his GPS and firearm in the wild, Rick says it was one of the best years of his life. This deep love of the wild is something Rick loves sharing with guests when he conducts safaris and nature walks. His speciality is foot safaris which provide a wonderful opportunity to see all kinds of birds, animals, insects and plants. Rick loves people and sharing his wide knowledge of the local fauna and flora, to help others have a better insight into just how precious our natural heritage is, and the importance of preserving it. Rick’s favourite animal is the audacious Honey Badger because their arrogance far outweighs their weight and helps them to achieve surprising victories in the wild.
Rick appreciates his colleagues at Royal Kruger Lodge for their sincerity and commitment towards each other and their guests, and he believes this is what makes them the happy family that they are.