“Through the years I have come to learn, that no matter how luxurious or exclusive our lodge may be, it is our people that make our guest’s experience truly unforgettable.
Our carefully selected team of staff, all have a genuine passion for not only the hospitality industry, but also our African wildlife, and more importantly, for one another. We are a proud and solid family.” ~ Adine Roode, Managing Director
Adine has walked side by side with the elephants of Jabulani, from the time of their arrival from Zimbabwe to current day, where she now finds herself as the key decision maker at Jabulani.
Having been a significant part of our lodge’s success since it was built, Lente handed the reigns over to Adine in 2014.
However, they both continue to work side by side as co-directors at HESC, which will always have significant synergy with Jabulani.
As a young girl, Lente had the responsibility of raising an orphaned cheetah, whose mother had been shot by a local farmer. This sparked a lifetime commitment in her, to protect every cheetah she could, and ensure a future for the species.
In 1989, the Hoedspruit Cheetah Project (HCP) was built, with the aim of breeding cheetahs, which then were endangered. Over the years, all kinds of wildlife were brought to the HCP, and so the decision was made to rename it, The Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC). It was here, that Jabulani was taken for rehabilitation when he was rescued.
Lente Roode’s brave and bold actions in not only successfully hand rearing Jabulani, but in rescuing an entire herd from Zimbabwe in 2002, led us to where we are today.
Our lodge was built and designed by Lente Roode, and although she may not be actively involved in the running of the lodge any more, her stamp of elegance and voice in conservation, still resonates throughout many details of the lodge today.
They met and fallen in love at HESC many years ago, Stefan was a guide, and Chantel worked as their head curator. Before long they had started working at Jabulani together, and stayed with us for a lengthy five years, before accepting a management position in lodge in the Sabi Sands.
We welcomed their return, as well as their beautiful daughter Meghan.
It feels good to have them home, leading the team at Jabulani
Stefan and Chantel
His Jabulani journey started off as a ranger, in March 2014, which he excelled at. But we soon identified Schalk’s other set of skills, his flair for anything maintenance related, which he was always happy to help out with. So, we promoted him to Maintenance Manager in December 2015.
Schalk’s work ethics are exceptional, and he expects nothing but the best from his team too. With our safari experience being one of our most important aspects of the Jabulani experience, we decided he would be the perfect fit for the position of a Safari Manager, which he has fulfilled since June 2016.
A proud father to a little girl and a baby boy, family and work are both very important aspects in Schalk’s life.
Jabulani Front of House
Working with elephants since 1996
Tigere started working with elephants from the age of 16, on a farm in Zimbabwe. He had been working with the original herd of Jabulani elephants when the evacuation took place. However, he could not join the team until later, once he had a valid passport.
In 2005, Tigere was reunited with the elephants and his colleagues and met Jabulani for the first time.
Tigere has proven himself as an excellent leader, and always eager to learn. In 2017, he completed his FGASA Level 1 in field guiding.
His wife and three children remain in Zimbabwe, which he visits whenever he is on leave.
Employed at Jabulani since 2005
Working with elephants since 1999
Elephant Manager since 2019
Owen first started working with elephants in Victoria Falls and had the good fortune of meeting Paul Coetsee, who was Jabulani's elephant manager at the time. Paul and Owen kept in contact, as Paul recognised Owen's potential.
When the opportunity arose, Owen applied for a position at Jabulani and has been working with us since then.
Fourteen years later and Owen works beside Tigere Matipedza as one of only two elephant managers at Jabulani.
In March 2007 Adele took on the responsibility of our reservations and has grown strong and trusting relationships with our local and international supporting travel agents, as well as our repeat guests who are familiar with Adele’s friendly voice, and her professional correspondence.
Through the years we have enjoyed watching her family grow too. Adele is happily married to Francois, and they have three beautiful children.
In her spare time, Adele loves a good book and continues to have a passion for travel outside of office hours too.
Shortly after that, an opportunity for a guide at Jabulani became available, and by January 2016, Ruan was part of our family, and as of April 2018, Ruan is officially our head guide.
He has a passion for photography and nature, which makes for a great combination for a ranger.
Originally from Newcastle, in KwaZulu Natal, Jase did his first years of guiding in the Eastern Cape region, and then decided to discover and learn about different areas of South Africa, and so, ended up in Limpopo, at Jabulani.
Jase has a fascination with honey badgers, his favourite animal to see in the bush, other than a leopard.
Growing up camping and caravanning, he has an inherent passion for creepy crawlies (particularly spiders and snakes) and botany and he loves to share his knowledge with our guests.
Growing up, Liesa and her family, who originate from Johannesburg, spent a lot of their time visiting the Kruger National Park, and that is where her love for wildlife began.
It was in 2012 that Liesa decided to follow a career as a ranger, and she soon met Schalk Human, our Safari Manager at Jabulani, working at a lodge in the Waterberg. He taught her a lot of what she knew today and became her mentor.
Liesa gained further experience at another lodge in Kapama, before her brief experience with us in 2017. From there she travelled to the USA to work at Disney, as a cultural representative of South Africa for a year. We were fortunate to have a position for Liesa at Jabulani when she returned from her travels.
Off duty, Liesa has a wide variety of creative interests, especially singing and songwriting, often keeping us entertained.
The Jabulani Chefs enjoy the freedom of expression when it comes to their culinary creativity and prowess in the kitchen. Each day they create a new menu of their choice, and personally present and discuss their menus with our guests.
Starting off as a Junior Chef, Dylan was promoted to head chef within just three months.
He continued to excel in the Jabulani kitchen, and in November 2016, was promoted to Executive Chef.
Chef Dylan is a strong leader, as he is a strong chef, and is not only respected by Head Chef Alex and Senior Chef de Partie, Zandrie, but also the rest of the Jabulani staff.
Dylan’s flair lies in fusion cooking, combining elements of various culinary traditions, to create a unique taste experience for our guests.
“I love working at Jabulani, as you have the freedom to express yourself on a plate, as well as being surrounded by our fantastic Jabulani family”, says Chef Dylan
Chef Alex has been with us since October 2014, and has relished in the change of pace, and having the luxury of being able to truly focus on each individual guest’s personal tastes.
“Being an intimate lodge, with just six suites and one villa, it truly allows me to spend time with a guest, and get a feeling of his likes and dislikes, and ensure I create the perfect dish for each person, every time”, says Alex.
Be sure to try Chef Alex’s meat dishes, which is definitely his strongest flair, if we had to choose one, which is very difficult.
Alex van As
Zandrie began working at Jabulani as a Commis chef, in February 2016, and was soon promoted to Senior Chef de Partie. As of 2018, Zandrie is our Senior Sous chef working closely and continuously learning from Chef Dylan and Chef Alex.
Being very creative with her cooking styles, the atmosphere at Jabulani compliments her talents, as we encourage our chefs to bring their personalities and passion to our guest’s tables.
You will want to try Chef Zandrie’s delicious Risotto, and keep space for Chef Zandrie’s tempting desserts.
Senior Sous Chef
Each one of the Jabulani Butlers, wear their uniform with pride. A team of four superb men, all with wonderful natures, and a true passion for the work they do.
The butlers work long hours, but when they welcome guests to meals or interact with them at any other time, their smiles are genuine and infectious.
Much like the Jabulani Rangers, they get the opportunity to share time with our guests, and so too, are our lodge brand ambassadors.
Both of Sakkie’s parents worked on the Kapama Reserve, and he would often work on school holidays to earn pocket money. After school, in 1999, Sakkie was employed as a construction worker on Kapama, and soon moved to working with the electrician in the maintenance team. Lente Roode, asked him to join the maintenance team at Jabulani, as it was being built.
Carl Olen, our then general manager, noticed Sakkie’s diligence and spark, and took him under his wing to train him to become a butler, which he has been doing successfully ever since.
Sakkie is a very hard worker, and takes his work seriously, but does have a very mischievous smile that captures most people’s hearts.
Isaac (Sakkie) Shiburi
OB (as he is also fondly known as), comes from the same home town as Sakkie, Acornhoek, which is in easy distance of our lodge, and has been with Jabulani since 2007, having previously worked as a butler in the hospitality industry.
OB is gentle, genuine and kind, and will go beyond call of duty to help at any time.
Obert (OB) Chauke
Much like Sakkie, Shadrick started his career on Kapama as a labourer, and was made responsible for pool maintenance of the lodge.
Carl Olen, our first GM at Jabulani, had an eye for quality in people, as most of the staff he has employed remain with us today, and that includes Shadrick. It was Carl, who noticed the potential in Shadrick whilst at Kapama, and trained him to become the butler he is today.
Like his colleagues, Shadrick engages easily and warmly with guests, and is always ready to share a story or two of his time at Jabulani.
A happy, determined and energetic individual, Songs is self-taught from books about hospitality, and started doing scullery work, and soon moved up into fine dining waiter service, working in five-star hotels in the Cape region.
Songs is a long way from home, as he grew up in the Eastern Cape, but moved to Cape Town after school, to follow his dreams, which he has accomplished thus far, and is very proud to be working at Jabulani.
Many ask how he got his name, “Songs”. He was named “Songs of Life” by his mother, as he was the fifth and final baby born to the family, and her last “song of life.”
Our housekeeping team is a complement of hardworking and dedicated ladies, who are passionate, discreet and respectful of guest’s privacy at all times. Though we have a large team, we highlight those that have been awarded the long service award for ten years or more of service to Jabulani.
Fondly known as ‘Tannie Ansie’, by the younger staff members, Ansie is like the ’mom’ of the team on the ground. Kind and caring, she always has time for everybody and is ever ready to lend a helping hand.
“The key to an exceptional housekeeping team,” says Ansie, “is the importance of consistent attention to detail, every single day.” She leads by example in this regard.
“The quality of guest that stays at Jabulani, expects only the best and there is no room for exception. My team understands that and they all work with pride, which I think shines through every day.”
Ansie’s daughter, Corlet, is the K9 Dog trainer at Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre.
Head of Housekeeping
In July 2017, after working at Jabulani for ten years, Dephney was delighted to receive her certificate for long service, saying that she will work here until she retires.
Being so close to her home, which is based in Acornhoek, is a big advantage for Dephney, but it is not only the proximity that keeps her motivated to work at Jabulani. She also loves meeting so many people from different cultures that she would never meet in other jobs.
Dephney says, “I make sure that I always do my work with confidence because I truly love my work.”
It is hard to forget Einah’s beaming smile that greets you along the pathways of Jabulani.
Originally from Acornhoek, Einah started her career with us in March 2008. She has dedicated over ten years of her life to her Jabulani and excels at keeping the front of house in a state of exceptional order and cleanliness.
“I love doing my job, experiencing elephants and other animals, and working with my colleagues,” says Einah.
Hellen has been a proud employee of Jabulani since June 2004 and works every day as if it was her first.
Like many of her colleagues, Hellen comes from the nearby township of Acornhoek, and that is a big advantage for her, being so close to home.
“I take pride in seeing a finished room that I have cleaned, seeing it look beautiful for our special guests. Evening turndowns are my favourite, as we leave little chocolates and a story for our guests, who really enjoy it, and that makes me happy.”
Lydia started working at Jabulani in April 2006. Welverdiend in Mpumalanga is her home town.
She particularly likes the way the suites are built.
“The suites are solid with polished cement floors and traditional thatched roofs. It is a pleasure working in them and I enjoy doing the turndown services,” says Lydia.
Albert has been with us from the days as were building Jabulani. He started work in January 2004 and is now involved with both gardening as well as the pool maintenance.
His home is in Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga, which is a couple of hours away from Jabulani.
“I am enjoying my work at Jabulani because I get to meet different types of people from different countries, so I learn their cultures, as well as learning about elephants,” says Albert.