Siwandu is like a duck; guests (mostly!) see an effortless operation. Good food, cold beer, clever guides and a pristine tent. But underneath the surface we paddle hard.
The guiding team is the feathers to our duck. But when they’re not with guests exploring the wonders of the African bush they’re washing 4x4s, packing cooler boxes and keeping animal-sighting records up to date. Our guides also spend 3 hours a day studying!
They come into their own in the evenings around the campfire, serving ice cold drinks before ushering guests to their candle-lit dinner tables. But while guests are out of camp fridges get stocked and counted, the lounge gets cleaned, limes get squeezed, ice gets made, guest names get memorized and tables get set.
Our housekeepers float around Siwandu like ninjas – they’re seldom seen by guests, but there are always signs that they’ve visited the tents. From wake-up tea and coffee before sunrise, to turn-downs during dinner and everything in between, they make sure you’ll love spending time in your tent.
Their work is on display breakfast, lunch and dinner (and snacks in between) but it’s when we have special dietary requirements in camp that the kitchen becomes a boiling pot of activity. Vegetarians, honey-eating vegans, non-honey-eating vegans, nut-allergies, lactose intolerant, gluten intolerant, no broccoli, lots of broccoli, no raw onions, no melted cheese, no olives, only small tomatoes… they’ve catered to them all. And don’t forget the chef that cooks for the 40-strong-and-always-hungry Siwandu team.
The maintenance team is to Siwandu what webbed feet are to a duck – we can kick as hard as we’d like, but without them we’ll go nowhere. Their ‘get-it-done’ style ensures our cars and boats work, the dripping tap in tent 3 gets fixed and that we always have enough water & electricity in camp. Blue pools, strong structures and sustainable waste disposal all comes second nature to these guys.
Safety is paramount in a camp situated next to a hippopotamus-filled lake. Day and night, there is always an Askari around to ensure that guests are safe. They spend long nights outside, ever alert and ready to respond to anything unusual.
Admin and Logistics:
These guys hold the entire duck together. From updating all of us on flight-arrivals and departures, to keeping track of each tomato or toilet-paper roll that gets used in camp. They inform, they plan, they fill out paperwork, they communicate with other camps, airlines and the local authorities, and at the end of the day, they welcome guests back from their afternoon game-drives with big smile and a glass of Amarula – the best creamy liquor you’ve ever tasted.
Well, with such an efficient team around us, what else is left to do than to make sure we have enough potatoes in camp and sit back and write blogs about ducks?