Djuma's make over - a splendid transformation!

The only constant in life is change, is how the saying goes.

There is a perception that in the bush life meanders from day to day with seamless ease, that our main source of upset is elephants on a picnic in our gardens or a lion's kill blocking the main access road.
Think again - think reality TV and then a make over show to top the best cable TV you have ever seen.

Yes, Bush Lodge, Galago and Vuyatela have had a fantastic season and wow have they been busy. The lodges have subtle enhancements, noticable nips and tucks,some permanent make up and some incredible injections of glamour. Sit back and grab your snacks - there are no ad breaks in this synopsis!

We have pulled out our thatch at the roots, rebraided, highlighted and trimmed the rooves; hung chandeliers, rolled out plush carpets; sanded and painted furniture and walls to a divine rainbow of bush hues;built staff houses, kitchens (with walk in fridge! oh la la), a beautiful dam for bush lodge; replaced linen, towels, cushions; sourced divinely scented new amenties to compliment the exquisite new showers; aquired stunning new coffee machines (anyone for an expresso?), artworks and wireless access.......
The list is endless - best option come and see for yourselves!

Once our set was in place we needed a whole new look for all our staff - we needed to rise to the occasion, well actually we just wanted new outfits!
Enter orange, black amd khaki dresses with doeks for housekeeping, bush chic jackets for the kitchen, hard wearing teesav for the groundsman and effortless olive and stone for the rangers, trackers and front of house team. Just in case all this glamour has you dazzled we all have new name badges, you'll still be able to identify who is who in the zoo! Best of all our chic look can be yours if you just pop into our well stocked curio "boutiques"!

Leading this whole adventure our owners Japie at Bush Lodge and Pippa and Jurie at Vuyatela and Galago.

The driving force behind all this caterpillar to butterfly evolution is Seasons in Africa - a real breath of fresh ideas and inspiration. Jack and Duncan lead the way with vision and commitment. Duncan is our operations director, he turns the dreams into a day to day operational reality. Duncan's passion translates into confident staff, enthusiam and professionalism at all levels. Duncan is also a celebrity in his own right - he has been live on fire-chat with WildEarth!

So far so good but, I hear you ask, what about the PR?? Never fear, in White River our captain of marketing leads the ship. Patrick and his entire team have dazzled - stunning new brochures, a soon to be launched web site (built form scratch by our IT genius, Brendon), a magnificent portfolio of images for each lodge; add to this the hundreds of air miles and pavements his teams travel to get the word out on the street; Seasons in Africa's power house of innovation, great lodge combinations and special long stay packages; exciting road shows - Cape Town, Durban and JHB...... You definitely will be hearing about us.

Bush Lodge is still led by Anet - tireless in her committment to Bush Lodge, and a real "mind the gap' lady........if there is a space on game drive Anet fills the gap, she can't get enough of the bush! Kim & Mandla, Greg, Andrew and Abel all form part of this excellent team along with staff who have been with us right from the inception of Djuma. Guest feedback is testament to the absolute joy the staff recieve in sharing their world.

Marietjie,assisted byThembi, manage and nuture Galago Camp.
Aubrey and William lead the game drives as well as Lex and Graham taking groups on occasion. Galago camp has visitors who have been coming back year after year (some for as long as 15 years!) so it is always busy! Plan faaaar ahead and book now!

Jimmy, Pinky and Marietjie are ready to welcome you to Vuyatela. Charles, Texon,& Ephraim are your guides, the staff are also all the originals, with a few new faces, who can't wait to share the vibrancy of the camp with you. Lots of personilised service with wonderful exclusivity in the beautiful suites, absolutely fabulous!

Our shared staff are a delightful mix of talents:

Lots of info so may be you are feeling a little peckish - just the remedy; Jess Fourie! Our wonderful addition who is cooking up a storm and leaving us all, well for want of a better word, plumper, for it.Jess came to us from Leopard Hills and has added zest and dedication to Djuma, she is our secret weapon, our very own Nigella! Food,at Bush Lodge and at Vuyatela has never been such a delicious celebration.

Phila (aka, Phila- Fabulous) is our therapist - sophisicated, talented and a true professional. One treatment is just never enough.
Mildred, my absolute right hand lady for so many years , is now front of house at Bush Lodge and at Vuyatela. She is charming, efficient and loves being with our guests, oh and when she laughs you just have to join in, a beautiful lady.

In all of this wonderful array of talents is Djuma's true hero - Warren! If ever you are at Djuma and you need anything our code for Warren is 0800warren. There is no challenge or project that gets the better of him; Warren knows every vein and artery that is Djuma, our Mr Fix-it (I think he may get the Oscar!)

In Hazyview Kelly heads reservations, while Lizel handles all of the lodges bookings and transfers. We know they are very busy and our new reservation system means we are all constantly in touch with the coming and goings, special requests and booking details that we need.

I saved the best for last - the control tower that ensured our show had the best make over for our budget -
our bean counters in Jhb! Louis, Almarie and Lorika are our guiding force in spending and reporting, this team certainly keeps us on the straight and narrow and they do it so nicely we are happy to be in budget. Besides brands are so yesterday, these days budgets are vogue!

Whew, all this make - pretty is exhausting!!
So at the end of the day sipping Gin &Tonics at our new bar counter, in our new bar stools looking out at our familiar and much loved bush veld, it is time to reflect : old sages are so right, so much changes yet so much remains the same - the Djuma ethos, core and vision remains steadfast: committed, passionate and ready to welcome all our guests to our home, Djuma!

PS now that the make over is a "wrap" our bush lives are pretty much back to normal, elephants in the garden and lion kills....