August is Women’s Month in South Africa; 31 days in tribute to the women who shaped the country as well as an acknowledgement of the power of women to change the world. At Singita, we are celebrating their contribution to our success and introducing you to some of the talented women who you will meet at our lodges and camps. Hailing from vastly different backgrounds but sharing a profound love of our continent and the need to help preserve it, the women of Singita are an essential part of the diversity that shapes our success.
Head Guide, Chantelle Venter
HEAD GUIDE, SINGITA KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
Growing up in the wine country outside Cape Town, Chantelle spent much of her time outdoors, “running around, climbing and falling out of trees, riding horses, falling off skateboards and getting bloody noses in the karate class”. A career spent behind a desk wasn’t her calling and after qualifying as a field guide, she worked in South Africa and Botswana before joining the team at Singita Kruger National Park. As Head Guide, Chantelle leads the team of expert guides and trackers who bring the bush to life for our guests; sharing their knowledge of the wilderness and inspiring people from all over the world with their passion for preserving it. Although the long days start at 04h00 with preparation for the early morning game drive and can end late in the evening when joining guests for dinner, Chantelle says she thinks of it not as a job but as indulging a lifelong passion: “It’s an action packed day filled with beautiful sunsets, amazing people and wildlife viewing”.
Operations Room Co-Ordinator, Alina Peter
OPERATIONS ROOM CO-ORDINATOR, SINGITA GRUMETI
The Joint Operations Centre of the anti-poaching and law enforcement units at Singita Grumeti is a room lined with monitors and digital screens showing aerial footage of the concessions overlaid with various real-time data points. This is the Operations Room; the heartbeat of the Domain Awareness System (DAS) that uses information about activity in the protected area to help the Grumeti Fund anti-poaching scouts to efficiently respond to any incidents on the property. Arusha-born Alina Peter is in charge of the smooth running of this conservation nerve centre which she does with an MBA in Information Technology Management, although she’s quick to point out that this isn’t your average IT job! Her role includes reviewing reports from the scouts in the field with her team, ensuring DAS and all integrated applications (radios, collars, vehicles & camera traps) are functioning as required, managing the radio network and coordinating any active operations with the scouts and the Law Enforcement Manager. Although her job is largely administrative, you won’t find her trying to avoid getting her hands dirty – in fact, she trains with the Special Operations Group every morning in preparation for a military-standard fitness test!
Sous Chef, Diana Matanda
SOUS CHEF, SINGITA PAMUSHANA LODGE
Having recently undergone a breathtaking design transformation, Singita Pamushana Lodge in Zimbabwe is making waves for its innovative architecture, interiors and food. Of the latter, Group Executive Chef Andrew Nicholson describes the new menus as a celebration of beautiful local ingredients and the bounty of the kitchen garden; “We have refined the dishes, and have kept the style simple but elegant”. Sous Chef Diana Matanda, who is from Zimabwe’s capital city of Harare, is responsible for bringing the food experience to life. It’s a natural evolution for Diana, who loved being in the kitchen from an early age – even before she could reach the stove-top! – and has climbed the ranks at Singita Pamushana from her starting position as Senior Chef de Partie in 2013 to her current role as Sous Chef, which she moved into last year. Diana appreciates the challenge of being a female chef in a very male-dominated industry but sees the attention it brings as an advantage: “My goal is to inspire other female chefs in my country”.
Head Chef, Alice Wilhelm
HEAD CHEF, SINGITA FARU FARU LODGE
“In my family every meal feels like an occasion. Everything is considered, from the menu planning, food preparation and choice of wine to sitting down with friends and family to enjoy the meal we have prepared. My father likes to experiment and often prepared dinner and from a young age I would help him in the kitchen. My mother is an amazing baker of cookies and cakes, so my reward was that I always got to lick out the cake mixing bowl. I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a chef.” Alice Wilhelm’s food-filled childhood in Somerset West near Cape Town provided all the inspiration she needed to pursue a career as a chef, which she did by studying at The Institute of Culinary Arts in Stellenbosch. Valuable experience at some of the finest restaurants in the Cape Winelands paved the way for her appointment at Singita’s lodges in the Kruger National Park. Two years later, she leapt at the opportunity to take up the role of Head Chef at Singita Faru Faru Lodge in the Serengeti and it is an experience that she is thoroughly enjoying. When asked what she thinks makes Singita special, Alice says: “It is a life-changing company. Whether you are a guest or a staff member, you will be left in awe of what Singita does for the community and environment. And the food is pretty good too!”
At Singita, whether working in the lodges or supporting our conservation purpose from the management offices, everyone is part of an extended family, and no matter what their role, each is essential to Singita’s bigger picture. Learn more about our 100-year vision and make a contribution to protecting and preserving large areas of African wilderness for future generations.