The talented women of Singita fill various important roles, each contributing to the success of our efforts to protect and conserve wildlife and to assist communities to thrive socially and economically. Many of the women working at our lodges were born and raised in the surrounding villages, and their success at Singita has had a direct and positive impact on the health and happiness of their families, and in turn their broader communities.
August is Women’s Month in South Africa; 31 days in tribute to the women who shaped the country, and an acknowledgement of the power of women to change the world. Here, we continue to celebrate the special women of Singita, who are each driven by their profound love of our continent and the need to help preserve it; a crucial commitment with an impact that will surely be felt by generations to come.
Loster Makamu – Head Housekeeper at Singita Boulders Lodge
On the outskirts of Singita Sabi Sand in South Africa is the small town of Justicia, where Head of Housekeeping, Loster Makamu has been a lifelong resident. Her journey with us began nearly 22 years ago, when she was employed as a housekeeper in the staff village. Various promotions through the years, from scullery assistant to laundry attendant to housekeeping supervisor, ultimately led her to the role of Head Housekeeper at Singita Boulders Lodge in 2009. Her duties are hands-on as well as administrative; personally checking each suite and public area of the lodge before attending to emails, ordering supplies, catching up with her team and checking in at the laundry. She is a valuable and much-loved member of the team; a sentiment that she returns when asked about the best part of her job, saying “meeting and interacting with people from all corners of the world and the lovely staff with whom I work. The staff are like one big family – they are the reason that this is one of the best lodges in the world. The pride we take in our work is what makes us special”.
Mishi Mtili – Field Guide at Singita Grumeti
At Singita Grumeti, which comprises 350,000 acres of private concessions in the Serengeti, Field Guide Mishi Mtili is a born-and-bred Tanzanian, hailing from Mto Wa Mbu on the northern shore of Lake Manyara. She was assisting in a wildlife census when she decided to become a game ranger in order to better understand the animals she was counting. She trained at Singita Grumeti and is the only female field guide working in the concessions at this point; a fact of which she is very proud. She considers herself a role model for other women in rural Tanzania who she believes should be empowered to follow their dreams, especially in industries which are traditionally male-dominated.
Grace Leonard – Lodge Manager at Singita Sabora Tented Camp
Singita Sabora Tented Camp Manager, Grace Leonard, was born in the bustling town of Arusha, southeast of Grumeti, and raised in Kenya. She was drawn to the diversity and pace offered by a career in hospitality: “You are on your feet and doing varied tasks each day and not stuck in a cubicle, which makes you think, feel and react more sharply to your environment. Hospitality offers me an opportunity to meet people from different cultures which opens your mind and teaches the values of tolerance and respect”. Grace started working at Singita six years ago, fulfilling various roles in lodge management before landing the top job at Singita Sabora in March last year.
Singita Sabora Tented Camp, Tanzania
Grace reflects on the impact that Singita Sabora and the transformation of the Grumeti reserves has had on the local communities: “I think about our achievements with the 21 villages surrounding us. The majority of our team members are from these villages, including our Head Chef Michael Matera and two graduates of the Singita Serengeti School of Cooking who are working with us as Commis Chefs. There is even more I could say about the staff; they are truly the most welcoming, kind, happy and helpful group. Beyond their graciousness, what I have found to be equally impressive is their sincere commitment to our conservation efforts. You can see it in their love and respect for the environment – these are the fruits of our labour”.
South Africa celebrates Women’s Month in August every year as a way of honouring and celebrating the impact that women can have in all industries across the world. Female empowerment is a fundamental part of the community partnerships Singita undertakes through its various non-profit funds and trusts. These projects include small enterprise development, adult education, scholarship funding and empowerment workshops for girls. Next on the agenda for women’s empowerment at Singita is the Serengeti Girls Run, which takes place in October this year and will raise much-needed funds for the next generation of female leaders in conservation. Find out more about this once-in-a-lifetime conservation safari here.